How to Find the Best Management Consulting Firm
Going beyond the "big 3" to find the right consultants for you.
Finding the best management consulting firm is difficult. Most firms are either one of the “big three” in the consulting industry that everyone is familiar with, or they are part of a large mass of smaller firms that may appear indistinguishable from each other.
Searching the web for “best management consulting firms” isn’t much help. Most firms that make such lists are ranked on things like employee size and revenues — as if they should be graded on how much money they extract from clients rather than results.
The truth is that the top management consulting firms meet the following criteria:
- They are experts in the problem that your organization is trying to solve
- They are available when you need them
- They are able to commit their best talent to meet your needs
If your organization is undergoing a massive transformation, digital or otherwise, a big three firm may be just what is required. However, for smaller projects and initiatives, these firms may not be the right choice. For starters, they are less likely to have specific expertise in your industry, region, or domain than a smaller, more specialized firm. They are also likely to hand out smaller projects to their most inexperienced consultants, leaving your organization in the lurch.
For many management consulting engagements, a boutique consulting firm or individual consultant is a better — and far more affordable — way to go. Finding an expert or team with specific expertise in practice areas that matter to you in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, supply chain, consumer goods, private equity or other industries, will take you farther faster than ramping up a junior consultant from a big three firm. The rise of independent and freelance management consulting has only added to this competitive advantage. Freelancers now make up one third of the workforce, with some of the fastest growth happening among highly-skilled knowledge workers.
Leaders need to be crystal clear on their expectations and desired outcomes before talking with firms or consultants.”
Whether your project involves strategy consulting (entering new markets, supply chain strategy, transformation), performance improvement (operations, cost reduction, pricing), implementation consulting (PMO, interim management), M&A (strategy, due diligence, integration), there are a few standard practices that can help you find the right management consultant or firm.
- Define the work to be done. Many management consulting engagements fail before they begin thanks to loosely-defined goals, objectives, and outcomes. In fact, many larger consulting firms feed off this failure to string several redundant engagements together! Leaders need to be crystal clear on their expectations and desired outcomes before talking with firms or consultants. This should include clear ownership, success metrics, communication plans, deliverables and deadlines.
- Assess the skills gap. Now that you understand the work to be done, it’s time to evaluate the skills required to complete your project. The right firm or consultant will complement the skills you have in-house while bringing additional expertise to help you deliver. What other similar projects have they completed? Do they have the right industry expertise? What technical or analytical skills do they bring to the table?
- Screen multiple firms — quickly. Often the process of evaluating, hiring, and onboarding a management consultant is a long, drawn-out affair. Working with an expert marketplace like Catalant’s is a much better option. Rather than contacting multiple firms through their websites and engaging in redundant interviews, clients can simply post project details and quickly get in touch with multiple consultants and firms.
Where to Find the Right Management Consultant
A quick web search for “find management consultant” yields more than 742 million results. Combing through those results and vetting multiple candidates — filling out forms, setting up introductory phone calls, etc. — is a painful process. An expert marketplace like Catalant is a better option for several reasons.
- Fast access to the skills you need. Once you understand the skills and capabilities you need for your management consulting project, the Catalant marketplace makes it easy to find the consultants and firms that best meet your needs.
- Evaluate multiple firms quickly. When using the Catalant platform, management consultants and consulting firms come to you. Simply post your project or need, and within a day or two you’ll have multiple consultants and firms bidding on your business. Our built-in tools make it easy to evaluate your options, message potential consultants, and schedule video or phone interviews.
- A dedicated team at the ready. If you need additional help finding the best management consulting firm for your project, our team is ready to help. With dedicated resources to help understand your needs and match you with the right consultants, Catalant ensures you’ll find a good fit in less time than you think.
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