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1Qualification of a Consulting Opportunity


Qualification of a Consulting Opportunity

Qualification of the opportunity involves:

  • Asking how the work can be sold
  • Assessing the available information  and the likelihood of success
  • Asking whether more information is required?
  • Making a decision based on the above

How Can the Work Be Sold?

  • What is the sales pitch?
  • A key factor driving the prospect’s buying decision (speed, quality, and price)?
  • What personal relationships exist and how can they be best leveraged or combined?
  • What can the account executive and members of the project team do to positively influence the sale?
  • What are our chances?

Assess the Available Information in order to qualify the opportunity.

Use the acronym – MANREACT to assess the available information as described below:


  • M oney – can they afford the fee?
  • A uthority to buy
  • N eed / urgency, both client and vendor
  • R isk
  • E ffort required by us
  • A bility to implement / Approach; operational feasibility
  • C ompetition / Characteristics
  • T iming  – what is the compelling event

MONEY/ Pricing/ Buying Power

  • Can the client afford our selected fee structure
  • The objective is to get the job at a fair price, not giving too much away
  • What would we need to do to match the client’s financial requirements
  • We should not be wasting our time with inappropriate target groups


Refer back to buying role…

  • Decision-makers and roles
  • Dealing with the ‘right’ person(s) at the ‘right’ level(s)?
  • Can they make the required decisions
  • Decision making processes and structures?

NEEDS of the prospect / client             

  • Does the prospect know/ agree what is needed.
  • How clearly is the need defined?
  • Management’s view of this need
  • Differentiate between needs and wants
  • Objectives and terms of reference
  • Clearly stated deliverables

NEEDS of the vendor

  • What are the vendor needs for the work?
  • Availability of other work
  • For existing staff and to meet growth plans
  • Availability of required skills
  • Is it within our Target sector?
  • To maintain reputation
  • To enter new fields
  • To leverage potential
  • Training potential for our staff
  • To address conflicts within the organization

RISKS – what are the risks?

  • Of getting the work?
  • Of not getting the work?
  • Nature of the Project
    • Technical
    • Skills
    • Staff attitudes
    • Senior resource use

EFFORT of the proposal

  • Formal proposal required?
  • Existing relevant documentation
  • Further information required
  • Availability of our best people for proposal
  • What is the decision / evaluation process?
  • Approximate total cost of proposal effort?
  • What is the cost / value / probability relationship?
  • Is the proposal effort worth it?

EFFORT of the project

  • Client location; cost of S&T
  • Extent of relevant experience and subject matter knowledge? /similar field/ past project documentation?
  • Is new technology involved?  Research required
  • Do we need and have the technological skills?
  • Are associates/ subcontractors required?
  • Required project structure

Ability/ Approach/Design

Approach – Ability

  • What is our ability in this area
  • Have we done this work before
  • What approach to use?
    • Methods
    • Style
    • Involvement
    • Steps
    • Proposed solution?

Approach to designing the job

  • Designing the job well is often the key to:
    • Getting the job
    • Delivering a good product
    • Making a profit
  • Designing the job happens before the job is awarded, not after
  • Designing the job is the heart of the proposal development process


  • Types (Big firms, local/international, specialists/generalists, etc)
  • Size, reputation and style of competition
  • Relative strengths / weaknesses
  • Cost / fee structures
  • Key differentiators
    • Bases of competition (speed, quality, price)
    • Relationships with key decision makers
    • Our areas of potential competitive advantage
    • Partnering arrangement(s)


  • How big – entire organisation, department, or even an individual?
  • Do we have other relationships with the client?
  • Where is the client located?
  • Have we done prior work?
  • What is the likelihood of public exposure?
  • Type of Client Organisation
  • Sophisticated/unsophisticated user
  • Reason for using consultants


  • Proposal timing, start date, due date
  • What pressure is the client under
  • Can we do it within the time constraints
  • What is the effect on quality

Is more information required?

  • Have we sufficient information
  • Where can we get additional information
  • What specifically do we need?

Decision Point

This where the consultancy takes stock of the current situation and decides whether to continue with the effort or not. In simpler cases, many of these steps are intuitive or simply skipped completely.

 Re-Assess the Opportunity

  • Understanding of the prospects needs expectations deadlines and budgets.
  • Agreement on approach (phasing and milestones).
  • Available resources and skills.
  • Methodologies, tools and techniques.
  • Opportunity costs.
  • Pricing.
  • Final risk assessment.

The above is an extract from the course titled “Principles of Professional Consulting” Written by Angelo Kehayas (FCMC). He can be contacted on