The market (your customers) probably sees you with different eyes than you see yourself. Or it perceives you the same way as many of your competitors, i.e. not as distinct. Dealing with one’s own positioning in the market is not so easy, but it is crucial for the success of any consulting firm.
Positioning does not happen by itself – it requires an intensive examination of your company and your capabilities (in terms of skills and competencies, of successful projects, of collaboration forms with customers, etc.), of your competitors (how does the competition position itself, where are my unique selling propositions, etc.) and of your customers (how do customers perceive me, with which positive attributions, etc.). And it requires an awareness and commitment to see positioning not only as an “expensive evil” and a “mere communication instrument”, but as an essential driver of growth & value enhancement.
An effective market positioning stems from its external attribution: Customers who are seeking external consulting support in your consulting field must (1) have you on the radar as a solution provider who is eligible for supporting their challenges and must (2) recognize your differentiation, i.e. have an indication why your offer is better or fits better than that of your competitors.
The fact that your customers know you, trust you and at best recommend you to other clients is in many cases not enough for sustainable growth. Existing customers can break away, the challenges your customers are facing can change or new competitors can enter the market and offer a better or more innovative service.
There are very few – if any – “invulnerable” unique selling points in the consulting industry. However, there are opportunities to build and highlight individual strengths and to enhance these by managing all customer touchpoints coherently and consistently. It is not only about positioning attributes typical for the industry (“we are IT consultants / change consultants / project management experts …”), but about a smart mix of our own capabilities, which make a difference to clients because they build the basis of why you perform and excite your customers. These capabilities manifest themselves in 4 dimensions: the value proposition, the resources (skills, abilities, tools, methods, etc.), the consulting processes (“delivery models”) and the pricing models.
In order to achieve a distinct positioning, the following questions must be addressed: (1) What challenges or problems do we solve for customers (the “what”), (2) what ways, approaches, methods and tools do we use to solve these challenges (the “how”) and (3) what added value do we provide to customers, i.e. what levers do we apply and what results do we achieve for customers (the “why”)? An effective positioning usually consists of a combination of several of these dimensions and will be individually specific for each consulting firm. Based on these individual strengths in terms of “what”, “how” and/or “why” it is then necessary to derive coherent offerings, services and bundles of services that consistently contribute to the market positioning and inspire your customers.
With an intelligent positioning it is easier to win new customers: We support you in achieving a successful positioning by applying an inside-out and outside-in perspective . MORE