Articles on Consulting

I’ve sat through a lot of software demonstrations over the past 11 years – both in-person and online. As part of my first job with Legg Mason Funds Marketing I was often asked to help evaluate a wide variety of products ranging from entry level VOIP customer support tools to enterprise level content management systems. In my current role I frequently evaluate products for use by clients or my internal team. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of online demonstrations for social media monitoring and analysis software. Some account executives and sales reps do a great job with these presentations; most don’t.

Here are some common mistakes that people make

  1. Don’t pause for questions. Many reps make the comment to “interrupt them at any time” – and then proceed to run through the presentation without stopping for 5 minutes at a time. It’s hard for a customer to interrupt over the phone. I’ve tried to stop people multiple times and wasn’t heard. When giving remote demos make sure to pause frequently to allow for questions.
  2. Don’t clear their screen. Close other files especially email programs so that notifications aren’t popping up during the demo. Clear other Web browser tabs and clear your Google search history box. You might not want others to see what you were searching for before the call!
  3. Don’t think about screen resolution. Some reps seem unconcerned with how the resolution they’re running will appear on a customer’s screen. For example, demos from wide screen laptops don’t look good if the customer is using a desktop with typical screen resolution.
  4. Don’t present from somewhere quite. It’s obvious when a demo is being presented from a cube farm, Starbucks, or the airport. Background noise is distracting – especially if you’re on speaker phone.
  5. Don’t take time up front to understand the customer’s specific project needs and what they’re expecting from the presentation. This gets into the overall strategy of planning and executing demos. Make sure you understand the customer’s needs and expectations. Customize your demo accordingly.
  6. Don’t know the company they’re selling to. This seems like a given, but I’m always surprised how infrequently reps do their pre sales background work.  The lack of effort is even more apparent when the next vendor’s rep clearly knows a lot about my company and our work.  I understand sales reps and account executives are generally short on time, but even 10 minutes of upfront research can make a great impression.  If you have time, do a bit of research on the individual you’re going to be talking with. Most people aren’t hard to find online – blog, website, LinkedIn, etc.
  7. Don’t know their product’s technical details. Or don’t have a sales engineer with them. I’ve been surprised that most companies I’ve been speaking with lately haven’t had sales engineer on the call. This is often typical of relatively small companies in an emerging market.
  8. Don’t know their competitors. Or don’t know their competitors beyond the top 5. One vendor I spoke with hadn’t heard of a number of the competitors I was looking at. The customer shouldn’t know their market better than them.
  9. Don’t follow up on customer questions. Don’t go more than a week without responding to questions that could not be answered on the call.
  10. Don’t seem prepared. Some reps seem to think they need to squeeze in a demo that day. Yes in general the sooner the better, but definitely take adequate time to prepare.
  11. Don’t contact customers to arrange a demo quickly enough. There may be dozens of potential products I’m potentially interested in, but given time constraints I’ll probably only arrange calls with ten or fewer. A product may not make the short list simply because their vendor took too long to respond.
  12. Don’t double check to make sure their software is running well before the call. Check with your admins or product development team to make sure no upgrades or outages are planned. If you anticipate any issues reschedule.
  13. Don’t recap the call and make sure they have all the follow up steps and questions correct.

If you’re interested in reading more about similar topics check out Dave Sohigian’s Tech Demo Guy – which is a blog I enjoy about sales engineering.

Find it on Amazon

I’ve seen this book recommended by a number of people and finally had a chance to dig into it. I definitely recommend this to anyone who’s responsible for providing software product demos. This book focuses mainly on the presales/sales engineering role, but it’s also applicable to account reps and anyone else who conducts software trainings or internal presentations.

The author does a great job of summarizing the key concept of this book into one concise page.

Do the last thing first

  1. Begin by showing the best, most compelling screen(s) in less than 2 minutes. You want to leave them asking “wow, how did you do that?”
  2. Walk through how you created the result (compelling screens). Do it rapidly, smoothly, and without any detailed explanation in less than 4 minutes. Only show features that solve customer needs.
  3. Let the audience guide where the presentation goes next based on their needs and interests (i.e. critical business issues). Obviously you still need to have structure and control the flow. But this customized portion should be the bulk of the time (20 -30 minutes).

It’s that simple. If most sales engineers and account reps followed this principal there would be a lot less bloated, boring, uncompelling, and ineffective sales demos every day.

Here are some additional interesting points made by the author.

  • Showing “extra” functionality can make the customer feel that they would be paying for features they don’t need. Stick with what’s relevant to the client.
  • Start a demo with two general confirmation questions. 1) What are the expectations/needs, and 2) what are the time constraints. Yes you should have already nailed all this down, but you still need to confirm that nothing has changed.
  • Don’t close with Q&A. Close with a summary that you control. This is true of any presentation.
  • Sales engineers should always run through their demo with the sales team before demoing to the client. Obviously.
  • There are three types of questions during a demo. This is a really interesting section of the book.
    • Great questions – support and move a demo along. Answer immediately and briefly
    • Good questions – Pose the biggest risk of derailing a demo. Put these questions on a “not now list” for the Q&A portion
    • Stupid questions. Also go on the “not now list” but likely you won’t need to answer
  • When dealing with an unexpected, relatively large audience (up to 30 people) take time at the beginning to identify the audience’s needs and expectations. Create a “to-do list” for everyone to see. Cross out features your product doesn’t have, star each item you will demo, and bullet the items that are relevant but that will not be demoed. Once the audience understands what you will be covering give them a chance to stay or leave based on the outlined agenda items. Then run through your demo based on the structure you originally intended addressing the starred items along the way.

I recently had the misfortune of dealing with a technical sales rep that seemed to make every wrong move possible. It was like they followed a script from How to Suck at Sales and Drive Away Customers for Dummies or Used Car Sales 101. The company’s software is solid, and a good sales rep probably could have persuaded me to go with their product. Here’s how this person did just the opposite.

  1. Call a potential client right away, and without doing any research on the individual or the company. It’s great to respond to unsolicited inquires in a timely manner. But it doesn’t have to be within 2 hours. It’s always a bad sign when a rep opens with “tell me what your company does…”
  2. Don’t know the competition. I shouldn’t be introducing legitimate competitors he’s never heard of. This rep seemed to only know of one industry research report on their sector – and referred to it as the Bible. There are actually three by Forrester alone. He should try reading them, and not continuously referencing one that is actually older and less relevant. Furthermore he shouldn’t tell me they’re the only vendor with technology ABC, when in reality several others have it and are doing a better job with it.
  3. Discount competitor’s strengths.  Just because the rep tells me their competitor’s products aren’t as good as theirs doesn’t make it so. Continuously referring to his competition (the ones he knew about) only made him seem unconfident and disingenuous. He should have differentiated their product by focusing on their own features and strengths.
  4. Discount a potential customer’s concerns. This should be pretty obvious, but it wasn’t to this guy. “That’s not important” or “you don’t need that” is probably not the best approach when dealing with a potential customer who obviously is well versed in their market and competition.
  5. Have no recollection (or record) of talking to a potential customer. Really? How is this possible? I had already had two separate conversations and exchanged emails with this rep. Three months later and “my company sounds familiar” to him… Are they tracking their leads on a public chalkboard? If I ever decided to do business with his company I would make sure to request a different account rep, mainly because I now think he’s too incompetent to ever have confidence in him managing our needs.
  6. Suggest delaying our conversation until I’m “close” to buying. With that attitude and approach we’ll never get close. Why would a rep ever pass up the chance to build rapport and trust from a potential customer who has already expressed that they are serious about finding a vendor in the near future? Did my needs not match his quarterly sales goal timing?
  7. Don’t follow up after a potential customer has used your free trial. I really don’t know how any company lets this slip. I had already expressed interest in their product. I’d spoken to their rep multiple times. A month later they made a free week trial available; which I took advantage of and formed a favorable impression of their product. I never hear back from any of their reps. Very strange. My only guess is that the original rep left the company and the cleaning person erased their sales leads chalk board.

If you’ve read your share of sales books the following titles probably aren’t new to you. But if you’re new to sales, or  just haven’t taken time to wade through the mountains of sales books available, these two are a great place to start. They’re straightforward, practical, timeless, and two of my favorites.

Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets (Michael Bosworth)
Bosworth spends time discussing how selling should be about helping people buy, not forcing sales. What this boils down to is adding value to the process through honesty, helping the buyer realize a shared vision/solution, and making the buyer generally feel good about the process. For anyone with a consulting background this philosophy is very familiar.  In consulting we take time to truly understand the client and their unique challenges and needs. We don’t quickly jump to assumptions or push generic solutions. Selling should be no different. Selling is about helping customers arrive at vision of a solution, and then providing (or facilitating) that solution.

3 Stages of Buying Cycle

This book provides a great road map for identifying and staying inline with the various stages of the buying cycle. Bosworth defines these 3 stages as:

  1. Define needs
  2. Evaluate alternatives
  3. Risk evaluation and action

If you’re not in tune with where the buyer is in the buying cycle – you have little chance of success.

3 Levels of Need

Another critical concept for salespersons to understand is the 3 Levels of need. These three levels are defined as:

  1. Latent pain/need – buyer doesn’t know what they need, or that a solution is even possible
  2. Active pain/need – buyer realizes that there is a problem or opportunity, but doesn’t know of a solution
  3. Vision of solution – buyer has a solution in mind, but may or may not have a provider/vendor in mind

Potential customers/clients need to be approached very differently depending on their level of need. The difference between a latent need and a active need is HOPE. It’s a salespersons job to create hope.

95% of potential customers in most markets have no hope or VISION of a solution. They may have a latent need or pain, but they don’t have a vision of how that pain can be alleviated. Therefore 95% of potential customers aren’t looking for a solution. It’s in this space where the most sales opportunities exist. It’s a salespersons job to help a potential customer realize a shared vision. However, this process takes time, hard work, and earned trust and respect. This book provides great examples and strategies for moving clients through the 3 levels of need.

The One Minute Sales Person (Spencer Johnson)
This quick read, originally published in 1984, focuses on basic concepts and approaches that are easy to comprehend, but not always easy to adhere to. The main emphasis is Johnson’s “One Minute secret” that the key to selling is not selling… it’s helping people fell good about buying. Yes it’s essentially semantics, but the underlying message is an important concept to understand. Johnson also wrote the widely popular Who Moved My Cheese?

Partnering with the CIOI recently read Partnering With the CIO: The Future of IT Sales Seen Through the Eyes of Key Decision Makers. It’s good context for anyone partnering or selling to C-level execs or senior government staff. The main takeaways:

  • CIOs have evolved and now need to be thinking more like CEOs. IT today is about providing value, efficiencies, and revenue streams. Therefore, technical sales reps need to focus more on how their products can provide business value and competitive advantages (the 80% of the sale) and less on their company and platform/product (the 20% of the sale).
  • “What happens after the sale?” is a CIOs #1 concern. “Will we be left out to dry?” or “will we receive effective, ongoing support?” Sales reps often disappear after the sale. Reps need to stay involved or else the client will have no loyalty to that rep – and likely lose respect for the product and supplier.

Sales Engineer - Part Sales Rep. Part EngineerThe role of a sales engineer isn’t widely known outside the world of large software and hardware companies. Naturally a sales engineer combines skills of both a engineer and sales representative. I like this definition from Pragmatic Marketing.

Sales engineers (SEs) are the technical glue of a technical sale. Sometimes called “systems engineers,” “pre-sales support,” or “field consultants,” SEs act as the sales team’s technical encyclopedia during the sale, representing the technical aspects of how the product solves specific customer problems. They perform technical presentations for the product. They own the demonstration script for the product

Others have argued that sales consultant is actually a more accurate name for the role. SEs almost always work together with one or more sales reps. Although startups and smaller software companies often combine the roles of SEs and sales reps. SEs don’t typically don’t exist in most consulting companies. Certainly not my company. The SE role is typically covered by a collection of other individuals including project/program managers, business development staff, and technical experts/engineers. My position as a senior/project manager often requires me to fill the role of a SE and sales representative in selling our services and demoing our products.

It’s a specialized profession that requires deep technical knowledge, as well the ability to think creatively, quickly assess people, and handle difficult situations. Many programmers or engineers would not make good sales engineers because they lack the right mix of personality and initiative.  However, for those that are able to make the transition it’s generally an exciting and rewarding career.

Here are some useful sales engineering resources.

Blogs/websites:

Books:

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the National Conference on Health Communication, Media and Marketing conference in Atlanta. Social media has been one of the main areas of focus at this conference over the last couple  years. My presentation was intended to inform the audience about emerging strategies and approaches to social media monitoring and analysis. Many Federal Government agencies have now embraced social media as a communication and marketing platform, but few have leveraged its power as a platform for researching public sentiment and behavior.

I used a project I’m currently directing for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Investigating the Use of Social Media for Environmental Health Communications – as the foundation for the 30 minute talk. Our project is providing groundbreaking research on how the public is using social media to discuss and share health information.

Or – How not to be the person that nobody wants to invite to lunch…

For anyone who isn’t already familiar with Dale Carnegie, I recommend you get acquainted with his work by reading How to Win Friends & Influence People. This book was originally published in 1937 and still holds up today. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading – or rereading – this book.  Most of the principles and guidelines should be obvious to us all. However, remembering and adhering to his advice is an ongoing struggle for most.

Being Liked = Success

We can all think of a least one friend that is liked by almost everyone. Other people simply like being around them. They have hundreds of numbers in their cell phone, or 500+ friends on Facebook.  Now think about that friend’s personality and attitude. Chances are they closely follow one of Carnegie’s key points (without even knowing it) – don’t overly criticize, condemn, or complain (the 3Cs). There are more than enough other people contributing to the 3Cs.

Many of us can also think of coworkers or friends who have been very successful in their careers primarily because they are genuinely liked by others. These people might not have been pegged as “most likely to succeed” back in high school. But by treating people the right way, having a great attitude, and creating a large network of friends and colleagues, they have been able to achieve great things. Of course being universally liked isn’t a prerequisite for success – think Donald Trump – but it certainly helps. Combine this type of positive attitude and likeability with talent and hard work, and we have a recipe for great success.

Some Key Takeaways.

This is a book that is meant to be read more than once and revisited from time to time. Here are my key takeaways from my last skim through the book.

  • Reduce The 3C’s – Criticize, Condemn, Complain
  • Never say “you’re wrong.” It forces the person into a corner and into defense mode.  You can get your point across and make it obvious who’s in the wrong without actually saying it.
  • Ask questions instead of giving orders. For example use “Is there a way you can deliver this faster” instead of “You need to get this done faster.”
  • Be quick to admit your mistakes.
  • Talk about your mistakes before criticizing other’s mistakes.
  • Don’t always be right.  Even if you are always right – which is highly unlikely – people tend to dislike someone who’s always right. This isn’t to say you should make an occasional mistake on purpose. Rather it’s a matter of letting some opportunities to prove others wrong slide. For example, we don’t need to correct insignificant details in someone’s story.
  • Smile. Chances are that well liked friend of yours smiles a lot.
  • Increase celebrating achievements.
  • Increase praising others publicly.
  • Show genuine interest in others.
  • Remembers names and use them. People love hearing their own name.
  • Praise in public, criticize in private.
  • A great quote from Charles Schwab that he credited as one of the keys to his success: “I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”

If you enjoy this book, you may also want to check out some of his other work.  I also recommend reading The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking. It’s a classic guide to speaking and presenting in public.

Washington Technology recently released their list of the 2010 top 100 Government Technology Contractors. They are ranked based on related revenue from IT products and services, systems integration, telecommunications, professional services and engineering services. These contracts total more than $130 billion. Lockheed Martin retains the top spot again this year.

Two notable upward moves on the list are Deloitte LLP  from 51st to 18th – due largely to their acquisition of Bearing Point, and ICF International from 99th to 66th – due in part to their acquisition of Macro International.

2010 Company Contracts 2009
1 Lockheed Martin Corp. $16,700,588,328 1
2 Northrop Grumman Corp. $11,145,533,497 3
3 Boeing Co. $10,462,626,196 2
4 Raytheon Co. $6,727,232,555 5
5 Science Applications International Corp. $5,474,482,583 7
6 General Dynamics Corp. $5,431,882,984 4
7 KBR Inc. $4,545,440,824 6
8 L-3 Communications Corp. $4,176,624,682 8
9 Booz Allen Hamilton $3,352,844,339 10
10 Computer Sciences Corp. $3,293,278,386 9
11 Dell Computer Corp. $2,700,000,000 15
12 Hewlett-Packard Co. $2,564,014,201 12
13 Harris Corp. $2,165,268,040 13
14 ITT Corp. $2,074,983,916 11
15 BAE Systems Inc. $1,956,884,247 14
16 CACI International Inc. $1,911,928,093 20
17 IBM Corp. $1,774,623,164 18
18 Deloitte LLP $1,730,165,554 51
19 Verizon Communications Inc. $1,721,565,974 16
20 Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. $1,634,268,549 19
21 United Technologies Corp. $1,476,229,982 17
22 Battelle Memorial Institute $1,335,906,153 21
23 DynCorp International LLC $1,258,019,560
24 URS Corp. $1,225,071,020 22
25 DRS Technologies Inc. $1,006,436,334 23
26 Rockwell Collins Inc. $951,046,892 35
27 Accenture Ltd. $924,092,794 25
28 Honeywell International Inc. $915,809,845 30
29 Serco Inc. $874,739,954 28
30 SRA International Inc. $869,734,080 26
31 ManTech International Corp. $855,567,586 48
32 Sprint Nextel Corp. $848,854,000 27
33 General Electric Co. $844,458,207 24
34 Aerospace Corp. $835,402,095 29
35 Apptis Inc. $826,790,863 50
36 Bechtel Corp. $756,597,943
37 VSE Corp. $686,912,905 31
38 Unisys Corp. $666,332,137 32
39 General Atomics $661,619,386 36
40 QinetiQ North America Inc. $660,647,787 34
41 Alion Science and Technology Corp. $625,817,000 39
42 SGT Inc. $602,586,194 62
43 Combat Support Associates $579,957,228 41
44 Stanley Inc. $572,197,243 45
45 Wyle Laboratories Inc. $571,152,677 43
46 AT&T Inc. $557,855,301 42
47 Fluor Corp. $533,950,701
48 Alliant Techsystems Inc. $520,341,034 37
49 Arinc Inc. $501,641,640 44
50 Comtech Telecommunications Corp. $495,744,635 81
51 Chemonics International Inc. $476,304,239 70
52 CDW Government LLC $465,619,910 60
53 World Wide Technology Inc. $440,684,035 46
54 Arctic Slope Regional Corp. $430,015,537 58
55 Nana Regional Corp. $429,673,300 47
56 Qwest Communications International Inc. $427,120,938 55
57 Vangent Inc. $419,731,090 52
58 immixGroup Inc. $403,719,325 93
59 GTSI Corp. $383,844,248 49
60 Tetra Tech Inc. $381,344,102 56
61 Development Alternatives Inc. $379,600,000 59
62 Mission Essential Personnel $375,973,219 82
63 Coffey International Ltd. $367,621,087
64 Xerox Corp. $353,041,647 75
65 Eyak Technology LLC $342,368,972 65
66 ICF International Inc. $340,845,273 99
67 RTI International $338,846,391 66
68 Chenega Corp. $324,548,094 61
69 CH2M Hill Companies Ltd. $317,146,896 87
70 Shaw Group Inc. $306,356,970 85
71 NCI Information Systems Inc. $301,731,100 72
72 Westat Inc. $291,640,068 69
73 Artel Inc. $266,739,661 76
74 Trax International Corp. $266,369,223
75 Cubic Corp. $266,105,255 96
76 Louis Berger Group Inc. $259,546,578
77 Scientific Research Corp. $259,438,652 88
78 Sierra Nevada Corp. $246,678,386
79 Siemens Corp. $238,809,098 90
80 Chugach Alaska Corp. $229,526,943 74
81 Southwest Research Institute $229,018,335
82 CGI Group Inc. $228,061,083 78
83 Telos Corp. $223,008,225 63
84 Alutiiq LLC $219,762,894 91
85 Energy Enterprise Solutions LLC $216,105,776
86 Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. $213,982,367 73
87 ICS Nett Inc. $212,217,576
88 Oracle Corp. $206,931,072 80
89 InDyne Inc. $205,171,900 71
90 Camber Corp. $204,581,854
91 Motorola Inc. $203,986,410 64
92 Creative Associates International Inc. $193,922,433
93 Orbital Sciences Corp. $192,467,905 83
94 Teledyne Technologies Inc. $187,643,748 77
95 MicroTech LLC $180,368,009
96 STG Inc. $178,969,267 94
97 Concurrent Technologies Corp. $175,568,824
98 Cobham plc $173,304,406 95
99 Carahsoft Technology Corp. $172,359,708
100 Rolls-Royce Group plc $171,065,429

Full article

I’m always intrigued when someone puts together a top 10 (or any number) list of Web design or consulting companies. This one was compiled by the folks over at TopSEOs – who provide research and insight on internet marketing agencies and tools. They actually have a whole series of rankings based on category, e.g. SEO, development, and social media. I’m not sure how much science there is behind this list. There may actually be some “pay for rank” angle at work.

I always like checking out Web companies that I am not familiar with.  And a top 10 list is a good place to start. These are all relatively small or boutique design and communications shops. I also spent some time flipping through their portfolios. Some of these company’s sites are presented well – I was most impressed with agencyQ, while others left a lot to be desired.  I actually didn’t make it through the splash Flash intro on the #1 ranked company. I HATE it when a site takes over my browser with a full screen Flash movie.

Here’s their top 10 list

This article discusses Sapient’s approach of using intense, full-day workshops to bring together stakeholders and project teams to discuss and define system requirements. This type of approach is very useful on large projects with numerous stakeholders, designers, developers, and managers. Having developers attend, and take an active role, in this early phase offers numerous benefits.  It often takes weeks, or even months – especially on Federal Government projects – to line up enough meetings to thoroughly define requirements.  This approach allows much of it to happen in one day. Not to mention the intangible positives, like stakeholder buy-in and team building, that these workshops offer.

Improving Communication between Customers and Developers

Climbing the Consulting Company Corporate Ladder – A Comparison

I find it interesting to see the different attitudes companies have on disclosing their corporate hierarchies and career paths to outsiders. Larger organizations tend to be more open with their corporate ladder structure. And consulting companies perhaps more so than other large companies. In many cases a corresponding salary range and status can be directly assigned to the position levels; which makes this type of information even more valuable for job candidates.

With the emergence of websites like Glassdoor.com, Vault.com, Indeed.com, Salary.com, and numerous others, it’s much easier to get a picture of what these position titles equate to in average salary and bonuses.

Here’s how the career paths (aka corporate ladders) of these consulting companies stack up.

consulting career ladder comparison

I found it interesting to see how these companies are presenting their career paths on their websites. Here’s a breakdown.

McKinsey & Company Career Path

McKinsey & Company has one of the strongest online corporate ladders.  It gives nice brief position descriptions and allows you to select from three types of candidates to see the likely career path and starting point.

McKinsey & Company Career Path

McKinsey & Company Career Path

Accenture Career Paths

The Accenture website makes it difficult to track down this information, so I can’t really give them high praise for that. However, I like how they define the different paths for the associated career types – consulting, enterprise, services, and solutions. It would be great if all companies offered up estimated years in a position, e.g. 2-3 years as an Analyst before moving to Consultant, like Accenture does for the consulting career path.

Accenture Career Path

Bain & Company Career Path

Bain does a great job of outlining their positions and career path. You can hover over each of the candidate types to see the likely starting position(s), and click on any of the positions on the career path to read more about that position.

Bain & Company Career Path

Boston Consulting Group Career Path

Nothing special about Boston Consulting Groups career path (road to success) presentation, but at least they have one on their website. You can click on each position to read more about the role.

Boston Consulting Group Career Path

Booz Allen & Hamilton Career Path

There’s nothing interactive of special about Booz Allen’s career path presentation, but again, at least they have one on their website.

Booz Allen Hamilton Career Path

Booze & Company Career Path

Booz & Company’s presentation of their career path is average. Better than some. You can hover over the candidate types (undergrad, MBA, experienced) to see the likely starting position.  Position descriptions could use some more meat.

Booz & Company Career Path

Deloitte Consulting Career Path

Deloitte doesn’t display their different career paths in any type of graphical presentation, but there is reference on their site to the most common Human Capital (consulting) career path:  Analyst – Consultant - Senior Consultant - Manager – Senior Manager – Principal/ Director

Capgemini Consulting Services Career Path

Capgemini offers decent descriptions of the roles but nothing specific about advancement criteria or typical timeframes.
Typical career path: Analyst or Consultant – Project Lead – Senior Manager – Director or Vice President

Sapient and Razorfish Career Paths

I also checked out Sapient and Razorfish but neither offered career path information. It’s unfortunate because that would be very interesting to see for digital consulting firms. Perhaps they are just too small (relative to the other companies discussed) to have published career paths. I suspect if any of the big Web shops ever does disclose and present this information on their website, others will soon follow suit.

Who do you think presents the best career path? What other companies should I look at for part two of Consulting Company Career Paths?

Based on Vault’s 2010 Prestige Ratings

There’s no real surprise here at the top of the list. McKinsey once again lands in the top spot – as they do on most consulting rankings (e.g. management consulting) based on prestige. The rest of the top 15 is made up mainly of firms that have huge stakes in U.S. Federal Government contracting. I’m a bit surprised to see Accenture below Gartner, but their scores were very close, so it’s splitting hairs at that point. Sapient is the only true Web consulting/interactive firm to make the list. Curiously Razorfish – which based on the last data I saw – outpaces Sapient in total revenue making it the larget interactive agency/firm.

Top Technology Firms Based on Revenue

2010

Rank

Company Headquarters
1 McKinsey & Company New York, NY
2 Booz Allen Hamilton McLean, VA
3 Deloitte Consulting LLP New York, NY
4 Gartner, Inc. Europe United Kingdom
5 Accenture (IT Consulting) New York, NY
6 IBM Global Technology Services Armonk, NY
7 Cisco Systems, Inc. (IT Consulting) San Jose, CA
8 Lockheed Martin Corporation (IT Consulting) Bethesda, MD
9 Oracle Consulting Redwood City, CA
10 Capgemini (IT Consulting) Paris, France
11 Northrop Grumman Corporation (IT Consulting) Los Angeles, CA
12 HP Services Palo Alto, CA
13 Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) (IT Consulting) San Diego, CA
14 Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) Falls Church, VA
15 Siemens IT Solutions and Services, Inc. Norwalk, CT
16 Infosys Consulting Inc. Fremont, CA
17 Unisys (IT Consulting) Blue Bell, PA
18 Cambridge Consultants Ltd Cambridge, MA
19 Dell Perot Systems Plano, TX
20 Tata Consultancy Services Mumbai, India
21 Keane, Inc. San Francisco, CA
22 Sapient Boston, MA
23 CGI Montreal, Canada
24 Hitachi Consulting Dallas, TX
25 Cognizant Teaneck, NJ

This data comes from Advertising Age’s 2005 rankings. Yes it’s a bit old, but still interesting to see how the large Web companies stack up. Some might be surprised to see New York firms outnumber California firms on a technology related consulting list, but keep in mind that much of this business is rooted in traditional advertising agencies that have morphed or spawned “interactive” agencies.

The Top 50 Interactive Agencies

Ranked by U.S. Revenue from Interactive Work

RANK U.S. Interactive Revenue
2005
AGENCY [PARENT] HEADQUARTERS 2005
1
Avenue A/Razorfish* [aQuantive] Seattle $189.8
2
Sapient* Cambridge, Mass. 176.0
3
Digitas* Boston 155.0
4
Agency.com* [Omnicom] New York 92.5
5
OgilvyInteractive* [WPP] New York 91.2
6
Grey Interactive Worldwide* [WPP] New York 77.0
7
Modem Media* [Digitas] Norwalk, Conn. 75.4
8
Organic* [Omnicom] San Francisco 72.0
9
Tribal DDB* [Omnicom] New York 66.0
10
IMC2 Dallas 64.0
11
R/GA* [Interpublic] New York 62.6
12
AKQA San Francisco 61.6
13
Leapfrog Online Evanston, Ill. 57.9
14
TMP Worldwide* [Monster] New York 51.3
15
FCBi* [Interpublic] New York 48.0
16
Critical Mass* [Omnicom] Chicago/Calgary, Alberta, Ill. 45.5
17
Digital Impact* San Mateo, Calif. 45.0
18
Arc Worldwide* [Publicis] Chicago 44.8
19
Euro RSCG 4D* [Havas] New York 37.0
20
IconNicholson* [LB Icon] New York 35.0
21
Carat Fusion (1) [Aegis] San Francisco 33.0
22
VML* [WPP] Kansas City, Mo. 32.9
23
iCrossing Scottsdale, Ariz 31.7
24
Fry Ann Arbor, Mich. 30.0
25
AtmosphereBBDO [Omnicom] New York 28.8
26
WhittmanHart Interactive Chicago 25.2
27
Macquarium Intelligent Communications Atlanta 25.0
28
Nurun/Ant Farm New York 24.0
29
iProspect [Aegis] Watertown, Mass. 23.2
30
Refinery Hatboro, Pa. 22.8
31
Intercept Interactive New York 21.0
32
Blast Radius New York 20.9
33
IDEA II Houston 20.0
34
Molecular [Aegis] Watertown, Mass. 19.8
35
Gage Minneapolis 18.3
36
Brulant Beachwood, Ohio 17.6
37
Blue Dingo New York 17.5
38
Apollo Interactive Culver City, Calif. 15.5
39
Genex Los Angeles 15.0
40
One to One Interactive Charlestown, Mass. 15.0
41
RPA Interactive Santa Monica, Calif. 14.7
42
Flying Point Media New York 14.5
43
Arnold Worldwide Marketing Services* [Havas] Boston 14.2
44
Valassis One to One Solutions Lincoln, Mass. 14.0
45
Marden-Kane Manhasset, N.Y. 14.0
46
DNA Studio Los Angeles 13.2
46
Tequila [Omnicom] New York 13.2
47
Enlighten Ann Arbor, Mich. 13.0
48
Moxie Interactive Atlanta 12.7
49
TransUnion Marketing Services Chicago 12.6
50
Bridge Worldwide* [WPP] Cincinnati 12.0

Notes: Figures are in millions of U.S dollars. An asterisk (*) indicates figures are Ad Age estimates. 1 Formerly Carat Interactive. Published May 1, 2006.