The Consulting Year In Review (Part 4): Optimizing for 2023

January 31, 2023
Kevin Plexico
Sr. Vice President of Information Solutions
Consulting Roundup

By: Kevin Plexico, Senior Vice President of Information Solutions at Deltek

Recently, we asked consulting leaders and industry experts to discuss their biggest challenges in 2022 and what they were doing to set themselves up for 2023 success. Part 1 of our Consulting Year-In-Review blog series focused on 2022 consulting challenges, part 2 discussed 2023 headwinds, and part 3 discussed a digital initiatives & processes. Now, in part 4 we focus on the top strategies consulting leaders are implementing to optimize efficiency in 2023. 

How Consulting Firms Optimize for 2023 Success

The consulting leaders we talked with had various suggestions regarding the top ways they are optimizing their firms for 2023. However, most responses fell into 3 buckets:

  1. Stay Alert & Flexible
  2. Focus on Staff & Teamwork
  3. Lean Into Uncertainty

1. Stay Alert & Flexible

Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., has some straightforward advice, "Stay flexible!" He continued, "It's critically important to have a clear strategy and execute it effectively and efficiently. But the management consulting industry is dependent on many factors driven by clients. If you aren't able to pivot quickly, then you won't be able to optimize the value you deliver to your clients or your own business. The next 1-3 years look set to be disrupted and disruptive, and the firms that can adapt without compromising their values or vision will be the ones who do best."

Dave Hofferberth, Managing Director of the consulting research firm Service Performance Insight, recommends companies become even more diligent in reviewing project and company data in 2023. "Monitor changes. Take advantage of your information and have someone who audits that data with a regular cadence. Change occurs quickly, your data should help you respond faster." This can be through dashboards or by following internal processes for regular reviews, but in 2023 visibility will be vital to remain alert and flexible.


Register for 10 Critical Consulting Moves for 2023

Andy Jordan reviews what top consulting leaders are doing to ensure 2023 success

Watch on Demand


2. Focus on Staff & Teamwork 

The cost of hiring and training a new employee is a big undertaking for any organization. According to The Society for Human Resource Management, on average it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee's salary to replace them. Consulting firms are no different, so maintaining their high performing current employees is a must. With that in mind, creating a unique and positive culture is a must.

Scott Montgomery, Chief Customer Officer at Worldgate, LLC, reminds us, "Teamwork makes the dream work. Consulting leaders need to incorporate culture improvements in their daily/weekly to-do lists. It’s easy to overlook, but minor enhancements, over time, can significantly enhance overall performance, reduce static, and create a stronger work ethic from production teams, management, and leadership.”

3. Lean into Uncertainty

Finally, during this period of uncertainty, consulting leaders need to admit that we might not always have all the answers, all the time. Kelly Waffle, Managing Director at The Hinge Research Institute, reminds us, "The way that prospects evaluate and select consulting firms is changing all the time; price, visibility, reputation, expertise, innovation, customer experience, etc. There is no way you can stay current with all the evaluation factors on your own. Consider investing the time, money, and effort into original research that management can use to make more informed decisions−and marketing can use as premium content to educate, motivate, and engage your target audiences."

The uncertainty of the market and the difficulties associated with hiring should cause consulting leaders to focus on managed growth. Jason Mlicki, Principal of the consulting firm Rattleback, advises firms to be more purposeful about where and how they will grow. "The last 2.5 years have been like a see-saw. Demand for consulting services cratered, then roared back more quickly than most expected. The double-whammy of rising costs and softer demand in 2023 will force you to be more purposeful about your growth strategies." Firms need to invest in refining their outbound lead generation campaigns now in order to ensure success in 2023.  Those who are best able to identify, target AND nurture the right customers be poised for future growth.


Consulting Lead Generation Handbook

A Comprehensive Guide to Generating Leads and Growing Your Firm’s Pipeline

Watch on Demand


And Speaking of Consulting Challenges & Solutions …

Watch consulting leader Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., as he reviews the Top 10 Critical Consulting Moves that leaders of professional services firms should make in 2023 to ensure growth and profitability.

Thank you to our consulting partners who helped with this effort: