Updated: Oct 30
Recently, I chatted with a Consulting Partner CRO who has seen success building revenue—let’s say $3M, but the example could just as easily be $2M or $15M. The point is, this person felt they had hit a revenue plateau and didn’t see how their current tactics would get them to the next level. Other execs at the firm felt differently, and didn’t see the need to revamp their growth strategy. Having organizational buy-in is important if you’re hoping to achieve large scale goals— so how should someone navigate this situation?
It doesn’t matter what type of consulting you’re doing: if you rely on the same strategies, you’ll eventually exhaust your runway for growth. This is the case whether you are all-in on a single technology, like #Salesforce or #ServiceNow, or are one of a variety of practices that exist within a consulting firm. To remain relevant, you have to diversify.
But let's take a step back. There are some key questions to consider before you can start to formulate a plan. What is the ultimate goal for your business? How do you plan to get there? What do you want to grow into? When I worked at Salesforce, there was an expectation that Salesforce partners would grow at the same rate as Salesforce - 28-35% year over year. This might sound reasonable, but not all companies grow at the same pace. Maybe your goal doesn’t match that target at all - perhaps you’re interested in growing faster, or recognize that it’s more feasible if you increase business at a slower rate. Understanding your business, ability to invest and capabilities is crucial.
Step one: Set your target
The first question to consider is what is the overall target for revenue growth? Alternatively, if you’re part of a larger firm you’ll want to have a solid understanding how much revenue you’re expected to grow for your specific practice. Once you have a handle on the numbers you’ll have a better idea of the scope of the changes required.
Step two: Consider your staffing
The next area of consideration requires an analysis of current staffing levels. Can you grow with your existing staff or do you need a bigger team? For example, I worked with a firm a few years ago whose board wanted them to grow pretty significantly but with the caveat that they weren’t hiring any additional sales reps. So, what did they do? They just boosted quota targets across the board, including giving the VP of Sales a quota to hit! Unsurprisingly, this is not a recipe for success. Rather, it’s a surefire way for your sales team to receive minimal mentorship, and ultimately quit.
Step three: Review your processes
After you’ve found clarity on your targets and the team you require to meet them, it’s time to figure out if your existing business processes can function effectively at a higher run rate. Honestly, the answer is probably not. I’ve seen many consulting firms learn this the hard way, with projects going off the rails and AEs going rogue to close deals because there isn’t a good sales process in place. More projects means a need for better processes, better internal and external communication guidelines, greater oversight, and stronger quality assurance. The list of operational improvements you’ll need will likely depend on where you’ve spent the least amount of time in the past. This step could get time-consuming, but it’s pivotal that you understand where you’ve been in order to get where you’re going. Take the time to go through your sales processes, documentation, and to speak with front line employees—they’ll have the best insights into what is and isn’t working.
Step four: Develop your strategy
Only after considering your targets, staffing and processes can you begin to consider how to adapt your strategies to achieve the desired revenue growth. You also must understand what you'll need to invest (time and money) to meet targets.
Wondering what to include in your strategy, and how to develop it? Look for a future post to address some ideas. Want to talk about your growth strategy?
Set a time on my calendar to meet.