Why do human capital consultancies plateau? Part two – Clients & IP

Targeting clientscropped

Last week we explored the important role a unique value proposition plays in helping human capital consultancies continue to grow, rather than plateauing at a revenue level of $3m, as so many do. This week we’re looking at how to target the right clients for growth and how to create and leverage intellectual property (IP).

After articulating the UVP (Unique Value Proposition) to include some indication of the results and return on investment a client might expect, the leadership team have to get it to the right clients; those where you have the right to win.

To find out where you have the right to win, go through your invoicing file and look at where your business has come from over the last few years. Create a simple matrix: a service/market matrix, like the example below.

Service Market matrix

What are the main industry verticals or affinity groups which have delivered the majority of your revenue and profit? What are your main service offerings? Find the intersecting cells which are strategic for your firm then focus your sales and marketing efforts there. In this way you will be able to drive revenue and growth.

Scaling a human capital consultancy requires a set of codified offerings which a growing team of trainers or consultants can deliver. This could take the form of, among other things, methodology to assess leadership skills, process maps, interview guides, or questionnaires. Having IP that is exclusive to your firm and that can be used by consultants with the same effectiveness, no matter if they are a principal or a new starter, makes you far more valuable to a potential acquirer. In fact, for those of you with aspirations to sell it’s worth having a look at our buyers research report, which shows that after financial stability buyers are looking for deep domain expertise. We are frequently asked to find firms who have a strong inventory of IP.

This IP also needs to be managed; who knows it and who needs to know it? What are the development plans to help the new consultants get up to speed quickly and how will you know if they are effective? This is the very subject you consult on your clients with and, like the proverbial cobbler’s children, it’s too easy to wing it and fall behind within your own firm. The IP you use to deliver your service is a major asset and should be managed accordingly.

If a client were to come to you saying they wanted to get the right UVP, to the right clients with the right IP, you’d do a superb job of building their leadership and organisational capability to deliver. So why not think of yourselves as your own most valuable client and do the same.

If you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact us.

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