Suppose you’re looking to develop a new strategy plan. What kinds of strategic planning consultants should you contact as possible partners?
I received that question from a good friend and client. Her organization’s new CEO wanted to create an updated organizational vision and strategy.
There was something intriguing about her question: Brainzooming had already collaborated with her and the CEO to develop a scope of work for us to provide strategic planning consulting. When the scope of work reached the purchasing department, though, the head of purchasing said they needed a competitive bid process.
Thus, I was being asked to recommend who Brainzooming should compete against for a strategic planning engagement we’d already been led to believe that we’d secured.
How did I answer her question?
I gave her solid suggestions for two other types of consultants to compete with us.
5 Strategic Planning Consultants You Might Choose
What type of strategy partners could they (or you) engage? There are many flavors of strategic planning consultants with varying expertise. I shared the following five categories with her as possibilities:
- Category / industry expertise – These have a specific experience and depth in your industry. This can be important when a CEO who is new to an industry wants unfiltered expertise and marketplace perspectives.
- Process expertise – These types of potential partners approach strategy planning with specific methods (Collaboration, Appreciative Inquiry, Six Sigma, Scenario Planning, etc.), irrespective of industry.
- Functional / adjacent expertise – This is a partner that you are already using for another business function (branding, operational planning and implementation, sales force growth) who can also support developing broader strategies.
- Model / framework expertise – A firm, expert, or author who is known for a specific market or operational model that makes sense for your organization and/or industry.
- Marquee value – A big name consulting firm that has been at it a long time and can easily deploy a large (albeit potentially junior) team for your engagement. They often feature category or process expertise, too.
From this list, and knowing that we fit into the Process Expertise category, I recommended they talk to:
- A branding agency they were already working with (Functional / adjacent expertise category)
- Another consultant they’ve used in the past who focuses exclusively on their type of organization (Category / industry expertise)
I’m happy to report, that we won the business after re-competing for it.
I’m especially happy knowing that I provided good recommendations about who our strongest competitors would be. That’s what any current or prospective client can depend on from Brainzooming as one aspect of our core purpose: we will provide the best recommendation for them, irrespective of its impact on us.