3 Benchmarks to Help with Consulting Growth

February 18, 2022

by: David Hofferberth, Founder and Managing Director of SPI Research

COVID appears to be slowing down, and now professional services executives must reassess their entire organizations to prepare for the future. The challenges associated with sales, talent, and delivery will be impacted by the events of the past two years. Service Performance Insight looks at benchmarks in these three key areas as a good place to start, in preparation for growth this year and beyond.

1. Marketing & Sales

The pandemic limited in-person conversations between the sales team and its prospects and clients. Everyone used tools like Teams and Zoom to communicate. While these technologies are very efficient, they limit the ability for the firm and their clients to truly get to know each other, their needs, and their service requirements. Marketing and sales organizations must rethink how they reach potential clients. The “blanket approach” won’t work. They need refined marketing campaigns built on data to show them the types of services they should market. It takes time and both marketing and sales must become more efficient at growing revenue.

Agility is key for marketing and sales leaders if they are going to become more efficient and quickly adjust to opportunities in the marketplace. For successful professional services organizations, agility comes from visibility and access to information quickly. Not surprisingly, the most successful firms have the highest visibility across the entire organization. According to the 2022 SPI Professional Services Maturity Benchmark Report, high-performing professional services organizations (those in the top 20% of the market) are 48% more likely to have highly integrated business intelligence systems.


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2. Talent Optimization

Talent has become a larger issue concerning leadership for several years now. COVID just exacerbated the situation as many senior consultants finally decided to retire in what is termed as the “great resignation”. These individuals need to be replaced by others with equal skills.


A preview of the 2022 SPI Professional Services Benchmarks Report shows that last year saw a higher-than-average attrition rate at 14.2% in the US (see chart above), and one can see why executives are concerned. Professional service organizations must improve recruiting and hiring, as well as training and retention. 2022 is the tipping point in the professional services market for talent.

3. Service Delivery

In professional services, there has been a trend toward remote service delivery for several years now. According to the 2022 Benchmarks Report, over 50% of the professional services were delivered remotely last year, marking the first time in SPI's 15-year benchmarking history this has happened. And while remote service delivery can lower costs and make consultants more productive, it does have a tendency to make them feel disconnected, which fuels attrition and reduces client contact.

And Speaking of Benchmarks

Watch the on-demand webinar, where I reveal key findings from the 2022 Professional Services Maturity Benchmarks Report. This report has become the go-to resource for professional services leaders looking to gain insight into ways we can analyze the performance of our service organizations and improve processes to achieve service excellence. 

About the Author

David is the Service Performance Insight founder, Managing Director, and licensed professional engineer who has served as an industry analyst, market consultant, and product director. He is focused on the services economy, especially productivity and technologies that help organizations perform at their highest capacity.