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Relationship Management

Why Management Consultants Need an AI-Powered CRM

By Rebecca Hinds

A recent article by CBInsights proclaimed that “A tectonic disruption is hitting management consulting.” On the one hand, the management consulting industry is ripe for growth. According to CBInsights research, consulting is a $200B+ industry. What’s more, over the next decade or so—from 2018 to 2028—employment for management consultants is projected to grow by 14%, a rate that surpasses the average growth rate for all occupations. Yet, disruption of the management consulting industry is all but inevitable. As Clayton Christensen—a former BCG consultant who developed the theory of "disruptive innovation"—has said,  “[W]e’re still early in the story of consulting’s disruption…More likely than not, alarms won’t sound until it’s already too late in the game.” 

Here is why adopting an AI-powered CRM is an important first step for management consultants to withstand disruption. 

1. Walk the talk

Companies seek out management consultants because they trust and value their expertise in helping them transform their business and adapt to new ways of work. According to Scott Cairns, Managing Director of Creation Business Consultants, consultants need to “walk the talk”. He explains, “We tell clients not to rely on the old ways of doing business to survive and management consultants also have a responsibility to stay ahead of the curve. We have seen many changes to client needs over the past ten months, and consultants large and small have to adapt in order to demonstrate their value and help companies thrive in 2021.”

Management consultants cannot afford to rely on antiquated technology. Technology now holds 20% of the global consulting market. Investing in and leveraging state-of-the-art technology, especially those that rely on artificial intelligence, can be a key way for management consultants to forge trust with their clients. 

2. Develop long-term strategic relationships 

The management consulting industry is shifting from high-value short-term projects to longer-term strategy development. In light of this transition, it’s more critical than ever to develop long-term strategic relationships. 

An AI-powered CRM system can be your intelligent assistant for fostering these long-term relationships. Affinity captures all your communication data, which allows users to easily track relationships and eliminate communication silos amongst team members. It will even send you a reminder if you forget to reply back to an important email or if you need to follow up with someone who has not emailed you back. As your intelligent assistant, an AI-powered assistant will ensure that you don’t drop the ball on key relationships. 

3. Harness the power of your network 

Management consulting firms rely on attracting new clients. Yet, for many it’s an uphill battle—a staggering 81% of management consulting firms list attracting and developing new business as their number one challenge. An AI-powered CRM can show you the—often hidden—paths to unlocking your next opportunity. 

In addition to attracting and developing new business, management consultants are increasingly being asked to use their network. As a recent press release explained,

It’s becoming increasingly common for consultants to offer input in recruiting non-executive directors or board members, as well as assessing the change management and emotional leadership capabilities of senior teams.”

The result is that management consultants who can facilitate connections “to help clients grow their network represent added value." 


Affinity Enterprise feature, Teams facilitates successful network sharing by allowing different teams to proactively share their relationship strengths and networks, while also ensuring that private and confidential information is not shared beyond individual teams. As well, Affinity’s Alliances feature is especially valuable in empowering management consultants to share their relationship Rolodex with clients to provide distinctive value. 

It’s all but inevitable that management consulting as we know will be disrupted in the coming years. One of the best antidotes to disruption is being nimble and investing in technology that allows you to meet emerging objectives. An AI-powered CRM should be a key part of management consulting firms’ strategies moving forward. Without investing in new technology, management consultants won’t be able to reinvent themselves as their customers do. As then CBInsights report concludes

Every day, there are more ex-consultants ready to share their expertise. Every day, the tools that companies can use to form their strategy get better and more advanced. And every day, consulting firms need to prove that they can be relevant in this new world — and not simply the prestige name that Fortune 500 CEOs hire to get the board off their back.


Relationship Management