3 Keys to Building a High-Performing Sales Pipeline

May 12, 2021

How Consultancies Make the Most of the Resurgence in Demand 

By: Jason Mlicki of Rattleback

With 2020 firmly in the rearview mirror, strong demand for a wide range of consultancy services (not just technology) appears to be largely back. The challenge now lies in capitalizing on the opportunity and finding and nurturing the right leads for your business. This blog introduces three levers to pull now while the opportunity is ripe.

The year 2020 was not a friend to most consulting firms. As described in our post from December, most companies—52% —lost revenue last year. Some lost it to the tune of 30% or more. Even though the year was tough, the good news is, that as early as Q3 or Q4 of 2020, many firms were starting to sense some stirrings of recovery. Companies began to see a meaningful lift in new business prospects and opportunities. Dormant pipelines began to slowly start filling again.

Demand is back!

Fast-forward to Q2 2021, and it’s fair to say that demand for consultancy services has largely snapped back into place. We’re feeling it in our own business development activity. Our client base is reporting similar experiences. And, our latest research confirms it.

Relative to the last six months of 2020, 41% of the consulting firms we surveyed say they have more leads today than they did then*. Pipelines are looking much better, too, both in terms of overall value (almost half say their pipeline are at least somewhat larger today) as well as the size of the individual deals (two out of five companies say the value of deals in their pipeline has increased compared to six months ago.) * Source: Rattleback Lead Generation Survey: April 2021

What’s in the secret sauce?

While a quarter of firms continue to struggle with generating leads and with pipelines that aren’t what they once were, those that have been most successful in attracting new business are using strategic investment in lead generation as the catalyst.

And, it’s not just one hook they’re dangling. They’re using a combination of outbound email, organic and paid social media, and SEO, with a handful of other digital and non-digital outreach tools thrown in to round things out. Companies tell us that they are getting the most meaningful bites from their social media posts, SEO efforts, and LinkedIn ads. These tools are also the most effective in turning up quality leads.

Grab your share of the opportunity.

Whether business development continues to lag behind for you or it just needs some renewed focus, our latest research delivers insights that can help. In our on-demand webinar, Rattleback and Deltek offer advice on how to build, manage, and organize your lead generation program to drive more quality opportunities into your pipeline in the second half of 2021. The webinar focuses on three critical levers that need to be part of your effort:

  1. A lead management process that works for your firm.
  2. The right inbound and outbound lead generation tactics.
  3. How to leverage your website to accelerate lead generation.

I hope you’ll join us for this webinar and use the comments section below to join the conversation.


How Consultancies Build a High Performing Sales Pipeline

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About the Author

As Principal of Rattleback, Jason Mlicki has been advising professional services firms on marketing matters for nearly 20 years. He writes about growth strategies, thought leadership development and digital marketing at Rattleback.com. He also co-produces the annual conference, Profiting From Thought Leadership and the professional services marketing podcast, Rattle & Pedal.