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5 Stages to Track Your Consulting Firm’s Marketing

By Michael Zipursky

A consultant recently told me his firm spent three months evaluating CRM systems to find the right one for their business.

“How is your outreach and marketing going right now?” I asked.

“Well, we’re just getting going on that, as we now have a CRM in place. Most of our business comes from referrals,” he said.

Essentially, the consultancy delayed its marketing and outreach efforts by three months because they wanted to have a perfect system in place.

What a shame. Having a CRM in place is a smart move. I believe every consultant should use a CRM. However, you should not delay your marketing or outreach and spend months analyzing the options and thinking about it to find the perfect one, because there is no perfect one.

In fact, there are only five key stages to track your consulting firm’s marketing.

I will share them with you in just a minute. Keep in mind these are the key high-level stages every consultant should track.

You want to consistently follow up by phone and email with your ideal clients.

You may want to adjust them slightly or add an additional sub-stage or two for even more detailed tracking.

But you can run a million-dollar consulting business focusing on just these five stages.

You should track each of them on a weekly basis at minimum. Doing this every day will help you become even more accountable, which is fine.


Let’s get right into it. Here are the five stages…

Stage 1 – Outreach

It’s important to track how many people you have reached out to. An ‘outreach’ is defined as an attempt to get in front of an ideal client. This is done most often by a personal email or custom LinkedIn connection request.

Running ads or publishing content (even if you have a list) isn’t considered an outreach. Yes, you may get your message in front of many people, but what we want to focus on here is directly reaching out to an ideal client in a personalized way.

Stage 2 – Follow Up

Most initial outreaches won’t result in a meeting or conversation initially. That’s why the follow-up stage is so crucial. A CRM system or service that can remind you to follow up with people is exceptionally valuable at this stage.

You want to consistently follow up by phone and email with your ideal clients.

Not every follow up should involve you pushing for a meeting or conversation.

In fact, it’s best to follow up a direct request by speaking with the buyer and providing them with valuable content. What I call ‘engagement materials.’ These demonstrate your authority and expertise and keep you top of mind.

If you’ve done a good job of identifying the value the buyer can gain and have crafted an effective proposal, you should be a winner.

This follow up, when done correctly, moves you to the next stage.

Stage 3 – Conversation

At this stage, you want to track how many conversations you are having with ideal clients every week. The more conversations you have, the more business you will generate, especially if you are using an effective approach to ensure a meaningful consulting sales conversation like I teach here.

Many consultants make business development more difficult than it needs to be. Your #1 focus should always be on having conversations. Everything you do should support that goal.

It’s not about social media, ads, landing pages, funnels, e-books, or any other technology or trend. That stuff is fine, but everything you do in your marketing and outreach should directly help you get to this stage, so you can have more conversations.

Stage 4 – Proposal

Once you’ve had a meaningful consulting sales conversation and identified value you can deliver to the buyer it’s time to move to Stage 4.

This is where you’ll suggest a next step to the buyer, and if they agree, you should draft a proposal that outlines what you have agreed on.

An important reminder: at this stage, always schedule a time to review the proposal with the buyer before you send it. Failing to do so will result in a longer sales cycle and delays.

Stage 5 – Win / Loss

If you’ve done a good job of identifying the value the buyer can gain and have crafted an effective proposal, you should be a winner.

These five stages are critical to track. By doing so, you are able to see the areas in which you are strong and where you can improve.

If you’re currently not seeing the results you’d like in your business, locate the stage at which you’re underperforming and focus on improving it or reach out for help to get better results faster.

Of course, there is much more to each stage than I can go through in one article. I hope you’ve found this helpful and will use it to grow your own consulting firm.

Want More Clients?

If you would like help and personal coaching and support to attract more ideal clients, increase your fees and win more proposals, apply for the Clarity Coaching Program. This is where we personally work with consultants to grow their business. There you can see the kind of results people achieve in the program.

5 thoughts on “5 Stages to Track Your Consulting Firm’s Marketing

  1. Simon Bowen says:

    Great advice Michael!

    For me, Stage 2 is where my magic happens – once I am able to get in front of a client and show them the value using the ‘engagement material’, nine times out of 10, they’re sold. For me personally, that’s my most important stage!

    • My pleasure @disqus_V62RHAw4jp:disqus glad it helps and resonates. Wish you great success with your business.

      • Simon Bowen says:

        Thanks Michael!

  2. Roger Johnson says:

    Great article this is very helpful. I see this as being important for all consultants wanting to scale their business.

    • Glad to see that Roger. Yes, understanding what to track will help you build a sustainable pipeline of business for the long-term.

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