In this article, Learn the ‘why, what, and how’s’ behind consultancy projects, download our project proposal checklist from Brian, and find additional project proposal resources to help you and your team win business.
While the term “consultant” grows increasingly broad and wide-ranging in the modern business world, what consultants predominately ‘do’ for their clients is quite straightforward. Whether a consultant is an independent expert or part of a large consultancy organization like Stern & Stewart or McKinsey; consultancy professionals work with clients across a wide array of industries and business sectors to ultimately find and solve specific barriers or business challenges.
In order to achieve this main objective, consultants need to learn about the businesses they’re getting involved with through large-scale evaluation of multiple aspects of the organization, or through a smaller-scale focus on one area in particular. No matter how large or small-scale the project may be, consultants need to create attractive project proposals in order to win the respective business; as consultancy work can be highly competitive.
Why Do Companies Hire Management Consultants?
There are many reasons an organization could decide to bring in an external professional or consultant, but the top three reasons can be summarized into:
1.To get a fresh outsider’s perspective and opinions
Bringing in an objective 3rd-party opinion can be useful for a multitude of reasons, from shining a new light on a stale process or situation, looking at a problem from a new angle, and especially useful for company executives making an important decision for the firm’s strategy or operations. Moreover, consultancy work requires having a high-level perspective; meaning, not getting involved in the intricacies of company politics or culture, and just looking for problems to them find creative solutions.
2. For specific business expertise
Consultants can provide specialized input and decision-making help when dealing with business situations a company hasn’t come across before (for example, a big international acquisition), or providing expertise in specific business areas a small company may not have resources for yet (i.e, marketing operations and direction).
3.To fill structural or resource gaps
Some organizations don’t have the full-time staff to complete projects on hand, or may not be financially viable enough (possibly before starting investment funding rounds) to fulfill positions as they would like. In this case, consultants can be brought in on a short-term basis to help fill the gap and help complete existing projects.
Now that we’ve established the ‘what’ and ‘why’ around the consultancy, we can begin to discuss the ‘how’. Essentially answering the question, ‘how are consultants hired?’
How Management Consultants Win Business
As aforementioned, consultancy work is a competitive playing field. There are large, established consultancy firms like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc. the list goes on, as well as independent, stand-alone consultant freelancers; and everything in between. As we’ve already addressed why companies hire consultants, from a consultant’s perspective, the how can be much harder.
In order to win over a business, consultants typically are pitted against each other, as companies compare their profiles, their ‘fit’ to business needs, and most importantly, the ‘make or break’ factor; their consultancy project proposal. Luckily, there is a wealth of information and tools to help professionals make their proposals stand out from the consultancy crowd (so to speak), and ‘wow’ potential customers. Brian, for example, can help consultants win business by providing support throughout the project proposal process, and even provides a checklist (available for download below) to keep professionals on track.
How Can Brian Help Consultants Win Business In 3 Easy Steps
Anyone can ask Brian for his Project Proposal Checklist: The goal is to provide structured guidance on how to write a project proposal. At AskBrian, we strive to add specific skills to help professionals like you be more successful in winning new projects.
- Sign up for a free trial of Brian here.
- Make sure your account is set up, by sending a simple email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- To get the latest project proposal checklist, simply email email@example.com: ‘Send me the proposal checklist!’
It’s that simple.
Below, find Brian’s project proposal checklist, with extra tips where Brian can further assist with your pitch. What’s more? Find additional FREE resources to give your consulting proposal a powerful ‘pop’.
Brian’s Project Proposal Checklist
The request for your project proposal is in, how can you win in? By following this checklist. Download the PDF using the form below.
1) Manage the Process Like a Pro: Define the Cornerstones
- Who has which role in the process (esp. lead partner, process manager, master owner, …)?
- Create a digital space for the files (client input, proposal versions, research, pricing)!
- Schedule all internal meetings to discuss the proposal (briefing, story, draft 1-x, dry-run)!
- Clarify the trivial things: language, format, maximum size, how/where/when to send out!
- Book the capacity for slide creation and research!
2) It’s About the People: Bring the Best Team Together
- Who will be working on the proposal and what’s the team’s availability?
- What is the best team we can put together in order to deliver the project?
- Do you need external experts to write the proposal or to deliver the project?
- Does it make sense to cooperate with another company (disclosed/undisclosed)?
3) Make Sure You Understand: Collect as Much Information as Possible
- Read and understand the RFP (Request for Proposal) in every detail!
- If there is the chance to ask additional questions – what is the most important to find out?
- Is there a chance to get some more context and insights?
- Who are the main decision-makers and what is important for them?
- Learn about the situation of the company! (Ask Brian for more information on this)
- How are the numbers in the industry developing? (Ask Brian for more information on this)
- Trigger some specific research in order to find out more!
4) Craft the Piece of Art: Develop an Unbeatable Proposal
- Start with a storyboard – what is the main story and structure of your proposal?
- What are similar projects or proposals you could use for reference?
- Get the actual proposal master and start to build the deck, every slide has an owner!
- Which project methods can you apply? (Ask Brian for more information on this)
- Make sure the content looks nice – use creative visuals! (Ask Brian for more information on this)
- Prepare the commercial offer – use the latest pricing sheet!
- Get the CVs of the project team members early and customize those!
- Finally, double-check the spelling and consistency of numbers and wording!
5) The Proposal Is Just One Factor: Get Ready For the Beauty Contest!
- Write down and discuss the answers for the 20 most common pitch questions!
- Who will participate in the pitch and who will take which role?
- Which clients can you actively suggest as a reference?
- What can you do after the pitch in order to increase your chances to win?
(Brian’s Project Proposal Checklist Version 1.0. All rights reserved by AskBrian GmbH)
Need More Inspiration For Your Prize-Winning Pitch?
Check out Venngage, a user-friendly site that helps management consults and business professionals alike put together presentations/infographics / etc. to help them get ahead of the competition. Their motto is ‘Say goodbye to dull documents, dry data, and confusing communications with Venngage — the infographic design solution.’, and you can even get started for free!
Hubspot also offers a free resource on how to write a consulting proposal, with a step-by-step template providing a foundation for bidding work with new clients (make sure to update it to meet the unique needs of your specific professional field and customers). The article explores the specific elements that should be included; salutation, summary, project scope, deliverables, timeline, fees, and pricing, why to choose you, and next steps.
The downloadable template from Hubspot goes over the following topic areas to consider for your proposal:
- Schedule of Project Activities
- The Team
- Your Investment
As a final consideration, try to put yourself in the shoes of the company you’re pitching for to manage expectations. Check out this article explaining how companies can benefit from hiring a consultant, how to improve performance, in both winning the business and achieving success for the company. Additionally, take a look at this article that gives advice to companies on creating and shaping consultant contracts.
Hopefully, this article will help you blow other prospects out of the water with a killer project proposal, and with Brian as your digital AI assistant by your side, win business!
From all of us at AskBrian, good luck with your project proposals, and make sure to use Brian’s proposal checklist! Download the PDF using the form below.