2023 Unwrapped: The Consulting Year-In-Review – (Part 2) Improving Efficiency

December 22, 2023
Kevin Plexico
Sr. Vice President of Information Solutions
The Consulting Year-In-Review – (Part 2) Improving Efficiency

As the consulting industry evolves at a rapid pace, leaders find themselves at the intersection of innovation and tradition, grappling with the challenge of staying ahead in a competitive landscape. Recently, we asked some of the top industry thought leaders to discuss the challenges they faced this year and the opportunities they see for 2024 and the future. Part two of our year-in-review blog series focuses on the tools and processes these firms implemented last year to improve efficiency.

2023 Consulting Year In Review (Part 1: Uncertainty | Part 2: Efficiency | Part 3: Outlook)

Consulting Leaders Share Tools and Processes that Drive Efficiency

Tip #1: Use AI for Education & Content Development

Many consulting leaders we spoke with focused their time in 2023 on leveraging AI tools to help them become more efficient. Jason Mlicki, Principal of Rattleback, discussed using Generative AI tools internally to become more proficient in niche industries and solutions.


“At Rattleback, we've primarily been using generative AI to help us come up to speed more quickly on challenges unique to an industry sub-sector or to identify conventional approaches clients frequently take to solve a given client problem.”

– Jason Mlicki, Principal of Rattleback


In addition, Jason is seeing clients leverage a wide variety of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, Writer.com, Tome, and Jasper to augment their content development process. "Most firms are using AI to drive internal efficiencies. Clients tell us they're using it to develop marketing content, automate tasks, generate SOWs, and generate code. Some firms are using it to document processes and speed up other development-related tasks such as writing and running tests and checking code." 

Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., has also been using AI tools to become more efficient. "With margins tight, efficiency is essential, but more critically for us was the ability to turn around on very tight client timelines. We couldn't be slowed down by our old ways of doing things. The immediate impact is in reducing administrative overhead." 


“I can give low-value work to AI tools and focus expensive people resources on areas where they can deliver benefits. RFP responses can be 80% completed by AI for example, subject to human completion and review.”

– Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A.,


Consulting Leadership Panel: 2023 Unwrapped

A Year-End Review of Consulting Challenges and 2024 Opportunities

Watch on Demand


Tip #2: Create an Infrastructure to Stay Agile

Many of the experts we talked with emphasized the importance of staying agile in today's era of uncertainty. However, they also agreed that staying nimble and responsive is nearly impossible without the proper infrastructure. As Luk Smeyers, Founder of the Visible Authority, described, "In today's market, consultancies must be agile, and to do that, they must have a robust infrastructure. Tools like advanced CRM systems, project management software, and comprehensive financial and metrics reporting are not just tools; they form the foundation for agile responses to revenue and profit fluctuations."


“In an era where adaptability is critical, such infrastructure is no longer optional but table stakes in a professional service firm.”

– Luk Smeyers, Founder of the Visible Authority


Tissa Richards, award-winning leadership author and keynote speaker, had a similar sentiment. She used 2023 to implement new internal automation solutions – to make her back-end systems more scalable (including scheduling, billing, proposals, and client intake). "As soon as I identify a task or item that absorbs a lot of my time and takes away my focus from my clients and customers, I look for a solution to help me "win" back that time so I can focus on what I do best."

Consulting firms that use this period of uncertainty to implement automation solutions that allow them to become more efficient and give them visibility into their projects and pipelines will be better set up for growth in 2024. Jennifer J Fondrevay, Founder & Chief Humanity Officer at Day1 Ready™, agrees: "I've upgraded my systems across the board, from invoicing to CRM.”


“As an entrepreneur, I know the more I automate time-intensive tasks, the more I can channel my precious energy into more value-added efforts. The upfront time investment was high, but the long-term payoff of more efficient processes and extra time for business building will be meaningful.”

– Jennifer J Fondrevay, Founder & Chief Humanity Officer at Day1 Ready™


Tip #3: The Importance of Pipeline Management

For consulting firms, an accurate sales forecast is not just a number; it's a strategic compass. It guides decisions, aligns resources, and ensures a company's trajectory is grounded in reality, not wishful thinking. Many of our consulting experts discussed the importance of having an accurate view of their pipeline and creating processes to help move leads into opportunities.


“I focused heavily in 2023 on disciplined pipeline management and the resulting revenue forecasting.”

– Luk Smeyers, Founder of the Visible Authority


Worldgate, LLC founder Scott Montgomery also discussed the importance of understanding and reporting on pipeline. “We implemented a new CRM system to manage our sales process, and we review weekly to ensure sales cycles of current and potentially new customers stay active. Our sales process varies based on the customer we are courting. We have developed and formalized a documented process for each that gives us a place to jump from."

Tip #4: Optimize Marketing Tactics


“Old-school tactics are pushing modern buyers away, leaving revenue teams frustrated, inefficient, and unable to compete.”

– Latané Conant, CMO and author of No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls.


Just doing what you’ve always done won’t fly in 2024 and beyond. Optimizing and modernizing the sales and marketing processes is crucial for consulting leaders looking to push through this year of uncertainty. Part one of our 2023 Unwrapped: The Consulting Year-In-Review discussed the strategy of creating industry thought leadership to help increase visibility and attract new clients. 

In addition, many of our consulting experts talked about the importance of implementing modern marketing tactics such as intent data to zero in on potential clients when they are in the market for services. Combining buyer intent data with digital marketing tactics can help professional services organizations reach buyers actively researching a solution or service online. 

Finally, consulting firms that really understand their customers and their needs are using account based marketing (ABM) tactics to deliver personalized campaigns to a specific set of target accounts. 


“We've seen clients most interested in launching ABM programs using systems like 6Sense to develop targeted marketing within their strategic accounts.”

– Jason Mlicki, Principal of Rattleback


And with good reason. Companies that leverage account-based strategies for their revenue team earn more revenue than those that do not.

And Speaking of Tips for Consulting Efficiency

You can catch many of the consulting experts featured above in our new On-Demand Webinar: 2023 Unwrapped: A Year-End Review of Consulting Challenges and 2024 Opportunities. You will hear an interactive discussion on top consulting leaders' challenges in 2023, how they tackled them, and the opportunities they see for 2024 and the future.

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