New engagements are the cornerstone of any Consulting firm. Without them, the business wouldn’t grow or prosper. That’s why everyone is always on the lookout for ways to win new engagements.
We tend to focus on the deal itself, and often overlook how we get there in the first place. But every new Professional Services or Consulting engagement comes from somewhere, usually a certain opportunity or person. It’s important to remember that without new engagements, there are no new deals.
We have put together this list of 5 ways to win new engagements—ranked from hardest to easiest—and what each can mean for you and your consulting firm.
1. Cold prospecting
Cold calls, cold emails, cold ABM sends…it’s cold out there when you’re by yourself trying to drudge up leads. This is the most draining part of business development as we (and your SDR team) know it. It can be taxing and time-consuming and generally has slim chances of success. Brrrr.
2. Responding to an inbound lead or RFP
RFPs are pretty commonplace in the world of Professional Services. With these, you are selected as a vendor to go through a multi-page document question by question to prove why your solution is worth the buyer’s time.
These are good because you know the firm that sent out the RFP is a motivated buyer, but they are also bad because it pits you directly against any number of competitors. In the end, an RFP can be hit or miss; usually it’s a miss.
In a similar vein to the RFP are inbound leads from your website, events, paid advertising, or organic searches. Once again the buyer is showing an interest, but with inbound leads they tend not to be as far along the buyer’s journey as an RFP sender. As a result, they need to be led along the decision path a bit more.
On the flip side, the prospect may only be looking at a few potential vendors—or maybe you’re the only one they’re talking to—so the odds are more in your favor. Better still, you have the opportunity to apply the full weight of your sales machine against the opportunity, rather than having to rely solely on the merit of your answers to the RFP questionnaire.
3. Partner channel
Partner channels are a great way to win new engagements thanks to the amount of warm relationships and knowledge about a particular prospective customer or client that they hold. The partner team can often set you up for success just by involving you in a weekly touch base with the partner, or by looping in on calls with the client that involve your solution.
Not only are partners the gateway to joint opportunities, but the likelihood of success and speed to closing a deal are improved by the high-level connections partners tend to have with the prospective organization.
It’s all about the referrals. Referrals, referrals, referrals. Although great, and definitely easier to win than inbound leads, RFPs, or cold calls (brrrr), partners are actually the most difficult way to win engagements through referrals.
4. Networking through existing or past clients and contacts
Your own clients provide a much better kind of referral than a partner referral. You already have an established relationship with them, so a lot of the initial legwork is already done.
Word-of-mouth is obviously a wonderful thing. When an existing client can talk you up to a new prospect, that can go a long way towards sealing a new deal. But never neglect the value of being able to sell to the same contact more than once—people change jobs all the time, and when someone moves to a different organization they may need to engage your services anew for their new company.
It happens more often than you think. Introhive’s platform maintains CRM databases in real-time, keeping up-to-date with who left and where they went. According to our contact-base data, 2,000 contacts move from one company to another in just one month.
The best time to strike is immediately after an existing relationship changes companies. The trick is knowing when an existing client moves from one company to another. That’s a great reason to have a CRM database that automatically tracks who has gone where, and when.
5. Networking through colleagues’ contacts
How many times have you been introduced to someone because you or a colleague knows someone at another organization? This is the very best kind of referral, becayse there is no such thing as a cold prospect when there are warm introductions.
It can take a lot of legwork to go around asking if anybody knows somebody at a company you’re targeting. What you need is a way to proactively discover these kinds of connections with no effort required. Artificial intelligence has the capability to map out all the relationships within your organization based on all previous contacts, showing you at a glance who knows who and how well. It beats the heck out of manually looking through connections on LinkedIn.
This kind of data accuracy through data enrichment and relationship insights is the most valuable tool you can have in your engagement toolbox.
Win new engagements and more
Go beyond these 5 ways to win new engagements and learn more from industry experts about how to grow your Business Development team into selling superstars with Introhive’s Business Development Playbook:
- Win more new business faster
- Grow existing revenue through smarter cross-selling & upselling
- Maintain and strengthen client relationships to increase retention
Download the free BD Playbook today and take charge of your engagements.