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Reimagining Consulting's Growth Engine: Challenges of Transitioning - Part 3/4

In the first two parts of this series, we explored the potential benefits and different sales models in consulting, with a focus on the Sales Development Model. In this installment, we'll delve into the challenges and pitfalls consulting firms may encounter when implementing this model.

Initial Investment

  • Training: Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) require extensive training to understand the consulting landscape, which can be time-consuming and costly.

  • Technology Stack Evolution: Additional software is often needed to optimize the process, including tools for advanced sales engagement, lead generation, email warm-up, lead verification, and cold emailing.

Talent and Career Progression Challenges

  • Retention: Talent retention is a significant challenge, especially for demanding roles like SDRs.

  • Career Paths: Outlining clear career paths is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent, ranging from promotions to specialized roles or cross-functional opportunities.

Sales and Marketing Integration

  • Inbound Marketing: The best SaaS companies often generate a significant portion of leads via inbound marketing, a strategy that consulting firms can also adopt.

  • Lead Qualification Redesign: The integration requires a redesign of the lead qualification process, including definitions for Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).

Complexity of Services

  • Custom Solutions: Consulting services are often tailored to each client, making the qualification process more complex.

  • Long Sales Cycles: Consulting services often have longer sales cycles, requiring a different approach to pipeline management.

Adaptation Challenges

  • Model Fit: The Sales Development Model may need significant adjustments to fit the consulting business structure. One key adjustment is the pace of sales activities. In a SaaS business, SDRs can make hundreds of calls per week because they sell a standardized product requiring less preparation. In contrast, consulting services are often bespoke, requiring SDRs and Sales Executives to dive deeper into each client's specific needs. This necessitates more time for preparation and a slower pace of outreach.

  • Cultural Shift: Implementing a new sales model often requires a cultural shift within the organization, which can be met with resistance.


Implementing a Sales Development Model in a consulting business presents various challenges—from initial investments in training and technology to the complexities tied to consulting services, talent retention, and the imperative for tight sales and marketing integration. Despite these hurdles, the rewards—such as scalability and the opportunity for Sales Executives to play a more consultative role—make this an avenue worth considering for firms aiming to reinvigorate their sales strategies.

As we conclude this segment, a pressing question looms: should your Sales Development Representatives be an in-house team, or should this critical function be outsourced? This question will be the focus of our final installment, which will compare Outsourced vs. In-House SDRs.

Your insights on this series are invaluable to us and the community at large. While comments are not enabled, we invite you to share your thoughts by reaching out via email or interacting with us on our social media channels. Stay tuned for Part 4, which promises to delve into this critical decision point, offering insights to guide your choice effectively.