The purchase working group of Consult’in France has recently published its biennial barometer, during a breakfast gathering buyers, consultants and journalists.

The purchases barometer offers the opportunity to evaluate the evolution of relations between buyers and consultants. This year, the working group highlights the importance of « soft skills » in the consulting added value, by assessing the opinion that each part has of it, from the purchase to the project accomplishment.

This year, we have to underline a strong rise: for the first time, consultants assigned the average to their relationship with buyers, a rating that has increased by more than 13% since 2015. Buyers appear more satisfied and assigned near 7/10 to this relationship.

 

« We are facing more and more professionals, specifically trained to buy intellectual services, or more precisely, management consulting, who pursue their careers in purchases. […] The fact of having buyers who understand well what is consulting, what it serves and how it leads to performance, allows us to save time and to move upmarket », notices Bertrand Maguet, partner of MLA Conseil and administrator of Consult’in France.

 

Zoom on « soft skills » for the 2017/2018 edition:  

 

Soft skills are essential to the project success and to sustain the results. They are divided into 5 families and are part of the 3 steps of a consulting mission:

  • Collective values : ethics, duty of advice, solidarity …
  • Collective intelligence: analysis, method, creativity, consultant complementarity
  • Relational skills: listening skills, strength of conviction, adaptability
  • Position qualities: motivation, involvement, autonomy and communication skills
  • Resilience and agility: change management, crisis and conflicts management

 

The Soft Skills TOP 4 includes: collective intelligence, relational capacities, resilience and agility/quick mindedness.

During the strategy development phase, collective intelligence and relational abilities are largely awaited. However, consultants and buyers do not assign the same meaning to these soft skills: consultants focus on analysis concepts and team cohesion, whereas buyers focus on a successful beginning of the project.

  • 40% of consultants judge that collective intelligence is the first awaited skill during the strategy phase

 

During the initiation phase, position qualities are recommended, such as the elaboration of the organizational mode, process definition or communication skills. Consultants value rigor and methodology, and buyers expect increasingly agility and resilience.

  • During the initiation phase, buyers favor relational capacities (1/3 of them) as well as position qualities (1/3)

 

During the steering phase, resilience and agility are highly expected. Buyers are especially focused on consultant relational abilities (listening skills and strength of conviction), but also on position qualities (commitment, pedagogy and communication).

  • ¼ of buyers recommend agility and resilience to support the company during the steering phase