What questions do we need to ask to hire the right business consultant?
We are looking out to hire a specialist who could help us in establishing our brand identity with digital marketing and leads generation. It will be helpful to know what factors should we consider before we finalize the decision of whom to go ahead with. We're a young start-up and need to invest carefully.
Before start on ANY, know what you want first!
1. My understand from your question, you want the specialist "establishing brand identity with digital marketing + lead generation"
2. But than, by getting what you want, what is your intention to the wants?
(increase sales or increase profit or improve cash flow or increase no. of customers or test market for product development or what? ...)
3. Without knowing your intention, you can't decide which specialist you like to engage.
4. No glamorous intention/ objective or very long-term goal - just the immediate intention of the wants.
If you are young start-up, not much consideration needed - run on bootstrap - get the right people in core functions and profit share - no $ investment required. When you decided to brand yourself - it would means your business is shaping up where products & services are general accepted by market. Than I would consider you are not that startup after all.
Instead of getting a specialist to help, go and seek reputable large marketing companies who render services to SME, they have more resources and more effective to create the results you want.
My thinking is every dollar you invested will generate positive dollar, since the products and services already accepted by the market. I rather pay at premium to get real result. If you try to seek scrutinize to get a person to help you, you actually increase your risk of failure. Even you try all means to perform very careful selection, you may still miss out here and there, than why not just go for reputable large companies that render services to SME?
A prudent businessman is not trying to save every penny, he is trying to ensure every action he made can produce the expected outcome of what he wants as much as possible.
Jyoti.To hire the rith business makes co-workers in community same question seems to family.We can ask the question of community managment(community manager) it's can be target of what you had planed yesterday to become realised tomorrow in present.For consultant skill question of fidelity card,regular routines and fans clubs pratices http://www;rexrhax;net
First off you need to have to be clear on what it is you are looking for, and what you hope the outcome will be in terms of service and deliverables.
For example, Business Consultants don't necessarily focus on marketing and may not be the best in creating a brand identity and lead generation strategy. But they will help you on your overall business plan.
A Marketing Consultant may be more what you are looking for. But again, know what it is you expect this person to do. For instance, my area of specialty is brand identity and marketing strategy. So while I could help in developing and overseeing brand and lead generation strategies, I wouldn't necessarily be the one implementing it (graphic design work, posting on social media, etc.).
If you have a Strategic Plan, but need a graphic designer or some other specialist, then focus on those areas.
Hamza had a good point. Be really honest. Not just with the prospective consultant but with your internal team about 1) what your needs are 2) what kind of budget you have 3) what needs to be done now as opposed to in 3+, 6+ months.
Hope that helps.
Richard Stern-suggest you find a Consultant with experience in your field.
Provide the candidate with a company profile. Share the problems you think you have.
Ask for a formal proposal.
Get references and check the person out.
Once you read the proposal then you have a baseline to ask questions.
A colleague of mine just blogged on LinkedIn on this very topic! Hope this is helpful: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-do-i-effectively-marketing-my-business-2015-part-3-julie-umnus
In 2014 my company wrote a position paper on hiring executive consultants and seven questions to ask before hiring consultants. I believe this paper will guide you in hiring any consultant. The questions to ask will guide you in the team you need around you to achieve the right list of questions. Be certain to have your board of directors and executives involved in the process.
Hope this helps.
So much of this is dependant on what sort of startup you have. What time of day they post to Twitter would depend on what the target demographic of your user is, and might not even be the primary social media outlet you should be hitting, depending on your field...Different companies have different approaches and media that work best. Take a look at your competition and look at what you think they're doing right or wrong, then frame your questions for your consultant with those ideas in mind as they would effect your company.
First buyer beware!!!! Every week at least one lead generation company contacts me via LinkedIn and other means. I always ask the following questions:
As for lead generation companies I ask:
1. What similar firms in my geography and our size have they worked with and if they have please provide me the names of three of the companies and the power to contact them as references.
2. If they are so confident in their ability to generate leads that result to business why not take a percentage of the end sales and not get paid up front. That way they have as is said some skin in the game.
3. How long have they been in business and from where do they actually operate (i.e. the company might be in Los Angeles but the work is being done out of India).
It is interesting I have NOT ONCE gotten a reply. (I should clarify one company actually replied with a note grateful that I replied honestly.)
As for brand development I would ask number one above. Ask them for a list of 10 clients and you choose without letting them know who, you will contact. I would also visit the websites of all 10 to see if what they developed as a brand that is to your liking.
If you you are able to get invited to conferences to give case studies that is the best, not always the cheapest, way of getting names and building relationships. In the service business you are the brand and your behaviours and how you interact with customers is who you are and will be. I would suggest ask your customers for two people in business they know that could use your help and have them make in introduction. The strongest sales are referrals.
I have been doing this for 28+ years. I am still looking for someone who might positively respond to #2 above.
Great question Jyoti and glad you are asking it.
Certainly, you need to know their experience and successes, want testimonials, a free initial phone consult to be sure you can relate to the specialist. See what their policies are in relation to the need to change an appointment occasionally? My clients get great results because of my training and ability to connect, have fun and be tough when needed. You want that in your specialist. Let's talk!
I'd go with the person you trust the most. This sounds like a copout but consider this. If they answer all of your questions to your satisfaction, you believe they really get your business, they are going to be easy to work with and know what they are talking about then that's going to build the most trust. Also, see how they handle objections. What you are looking for isn't all that rare so there are lots of people out there that can do the job. You should be looking for the person that is qualified but has the personality to work with your firm - otherwise this is going to be a short engagement and it will be wasted money, regardless of their rate.
Who else has the consultant worked with and what were the results?
Can you see testimonials, and/or possibly speak to former clients of the consultant?
How will the strategy and tactics they suggest grow your business and how soon will you see results?
Aside from technology expertise, what is their understanding of social behaviors?
Hello Jyoti. I have some experience that may be of use to you regarding lead generation.
First and foremost, you should have a look at the consultant's track record for lead generation. In any industry there is a list of criterion that defines the quality and likelihood of success of each lead. Ensure that you work collaboratively with your consultant to define these criterion. What is the quality of leads they have generated for other companies/clients? What has been the reported close ratio for these leads? Does the consultant have any recommendations they can share with you from past projects?
Second, compensation for lead generation should be results-based. Depending on your negotiated agreement and what you are able and willing to invest, a small flat -rate fee is acceptable as a retainer for services, but the majority of the compensation paid should come from tangible results.
The last piece of advice I can offer is based on the current connections and relationships maintained by your consultant. Do they have previous or relative experience in the field? Do they have existing contacts or a "warm market" that can be leveraged to your advantage? This isn't necessarily a requirement, but it does speed up the process and may save you some money in the long run, versus just hiring someone to cold-call with no starting point.
Background check financially and emotionally
Work and family history
Goal oriented and open minded and willing to work outside the box with out extra benefits
Jyoti...I would be mostly concerned about two key things 1) the person and 2) the deliverables...meaning, ask questions that determine if you can like, know and trust the individual you are working with, as well...will they provide you the results you are looking for. So ask A LOT of questions pertaining to both:
- Ask them about their background and how that serves them as a business consultant...and serves you, as the customer
- Ask them to describe what their best customer looks like, and then what their worst customer looks like. This will help determine fit with them
- Ask them about their consulting and management style - what do they expect from you, and what you can expect of them
- Ask them about their methodology, process, and time and goal management of your project
- Ask them how they measure and determine success or risks from your project, including how they handle status updates, progress reporting, etc., i.e. I guarantee my customers a 7-10 times return on their investment in the results they will see in themselves and their business. They have to be accountable to your success
- Ask if they have use cases/business cases of actual work and results they have achieved with their customers
- Ask them to detail out how they define digital marketing and leads generation and ensure it fits with yours - and/or they educate you on the functions you are looking for.
Note - they should NOT be doing all of the talking - they should be asking you a lot of questions to understand your Business Goals, Pains/Problems you are having, and Solutions to those problems/pains.
Price should be the LAST thing you as the customer should be focused on. You want to engage a consultant who NOT only gets you the results you want, but exceeds them greatly - not average. If you really want results, you need to look for a trusted advisor and partner to help you grow your business...not just do work.
Have a basic understanding that any relationship must work equally well for both parties in both human and financial terms...If you think trust is pretty much established that work with your choice a qualifiable and quantifiable plan, with measuring guidelines which can be addressed as the relationship proceeds.. Agree with Valerie and Karen----this selection must help you and your company understand Positioning and what part of the customers mind you wish to own,,,,
simple question ask him/her from there past performance than compare with other and than it is eassy to decide
Be honest with the consultant and tell them the real problem with full detail so he/she can give you honest feedback and you can decide based on their opinion, what consultant works best with your business.
- Always work backwards. Start with your audience.
- Who are they? What do they want/need to know? How do they want to hear about you?
- Use these discoveries to determine the best delivery method(s) - eBlast, banner ad, print advertising, "old--fashioned" postcard or a multi-tiered campaign.
- How do you tell you story? Pictures, words, phrases, testimonials, case studies, trials,...- Create the best communication collateral based on the above discoveries!...and follow up!
I would want to see the results & testimonials from other clients. How does the specialist post for you? Do they send out 1 post to all your social media once a day or do they stager your posts throughout the day to all your social media? Do they adjust their posting schedule to the time of day your posts get the most hits? The job of a marketing specialist is to bring you the clients & leads, its your job to close the deal & make the sale. So I would want to know, in your contractual agreement, how many solid leads (not just followers & likes) you can expect & what is your opt out clause if those goals are not met?