In today's post , I'm going to give you a step by step explanation of a more efficient, effective organizational chart template for consulting companies. It even includes a mindmap and video to make the model as clear as possible.
But first, a warning in advance:.
I am NOT following the typical, conventional Organizational Chart. The typical structure of CEO, CMO, CTO, CXO, etc is top heavy and unnecessary. It's old-school thinking that creates organizational silos. What's more appropriate (and more important) is that you streamline your consulting business to deliver the highest value for your BEST client.
Now, the good news
We are keeping it simple. I'm going to keep the concept as simple as possible. I'm not going to make it complex because it doesn't need to be. We're going to lay out the functional areas of your business in a very simple fashion.
We are building a business "machine". Your business should be a machine. Your "machine" should create a high level result consistently and predictably. Your service model should be structured, well-organized, and well-understood by you (and your client). This org chart will help you create a machine that produces high value over and over.
We are going to put you back in your appropriate position. You are the leader of the business. Your job is to envision the business, structure it, and nurture it to full health. Along the way, there are a lot of "other" jobs you can find yourself stuck in. You're really going to like today's post if you feel like you are currently playing out of position and you want to get back on track.
What the Organizational Chart Looks Like...
A quick overview
Let's look at the overview together really quickly. Here are the main functional areas of your business.
Leadership - where the big picture of the company is established. Vision is established. Structure is set. People are placed. Without clarity here, nothing else matters.
Marketing - where clients are brought in, served and welcomed into community.
Finance - where money matters (budgets and cash flow) are tracked
Legal - where agreements and contracts are reviewed.
These are your main elements. Now let's dig into each, beginning with the most important role of them all: leadership.
The Role of the CEO or Managing Partner(s)
Let's begin with the leader of the company. Yes. I'm starting with you. What's the job of the CEO?
CEO Job Description: The role of the CEO is to architect (construct) a business that creates high level value over and over again. One of the main reasons you might be feeling friction today is that this role actually has TWO parts. There is the main visionary of the business and the main operator of the business.
The visionary side of the CEO is looking into the future for new growth opportunities to expand the company's main message. The operational side of the CEO is thinking shorter term and looking for efficiencies in day-to-day operations.
Both are necessary, but friction is found when you try to switch back and forth between both ways of thinking on a daily basis. It's too difficult to think deeply about new client opportunities/service offerings and then immediately shift to research different CRM platforms for existing clients.
The constant switching limits your ability to do either well. However, it is much more manageable if you divide up these important questions and deal with them separately.
Questions the "Visionary Side" of the CEO Needs to Answer:
- What is the main problem we solve? Who do we solve it for? How are we going to solve it? When do we know we have it right?
- What partnerships do we need over the next 2 years, 5 years, 10 years to accomplish our main mission?
- What size business are we supposed to be? How much money are we supposed to make?
- What kind of people do we need at each position in our company? Where do we find them?
- What is the succession plan for me and for other executive members so the company lasts forever?
Questions the "Operational Side" of the CEO Needs to Answer:
- What are our major priorities this year? How are measuring our success on those priorities?
- Are the employees working on purpose? Do they see a direct connection with where we're headed and the work they do each day?
- Is the current client base growing or shrinking? How do we know?
- Where is the #1 place we can be better? What is our plan for improvement?
These questions draw a line between what the visionary and operational responsibilities of the CEO. Now that leadership is clear, marketing can begin to do it's job of attracting clients, serving them, and creating community.
The Role of Marketing
Now, let's go to marketing. Why is there so much focus here on the marketing? Because if you don't have clients, you don't have a business. Clients create the revenue that affords for every functional area in the business.
For that reason, it's really important to have a specific playbook for how clients are attracted, converted and retained. Let's walk through what that looks like.
Client Generation Leader Job Description: This person's role is to attract prospective clients and match them to the right product. Most people think about marketing/sales people as commission-driven, fast talkers who only want to make the sale...and then move on to the next victim. That couldn't be further from the truth (when you do it right)
Truly, the combination of marketing and sales is a matchmaking proposition.
Marketing looks outward, finds the right audience, and attracts prospective clients with a promise to help them solve a problem. Sales looks inward, reviews the existing inventory of services and matches a solution to the prospective client's problem. Many organizations separate these two "departments" and treats them like different areas of the company. I don't get it...it just makes too much sense to put them together!
Therefore, the Client Generation Leader is like Prince Charming when he found Cinderella's slipper at the ball. He had to scour the town, house by house (marketing) and find the woman whose foot fit neatly into the glass slipper (sales). That's what the client generation leader is thinking about, "Who fits neatly inside of the offerings that we have?"
Questions the Client Generation Leader Needs to Answer:
- Who is our BEST client? Where can we find that person en masse?
- What is the best method to reach our BEST client?
- What is our most successful prospect to lead conversion method (ebook, whitepaper, blog post)?
- What is our most successful lead to sale method (software demo, free consultation, webinar)?
Now, that the Client Generation Leader has found the right audience and converted them into a sale it's time for the next person to ensure the client gets maximum value from what they purchased. Enter the Client Success Leader.
Client Success Leader Job Description: This person is excited about the entire client experience making sure clients are on-boarded, served, and concluded in the right way. Not only are they an expert in delivering the productized service, but they are also focused on client feedback throughout the process so that the service can be tailored to any specific needs that arise.
This person is a sports coach who sees the whole season in advance and prepares to win from the very beginning. This is a private tutor who opens the math book at chapter 1, page 1 and works with you all the way through chapter 15. This is the personal mentor who always has a wise, step-by-step strategy to solve for any problem you face.
The Client Success Leader makes sure your BEST client receives the full value they were promised.
Questions the Client Success Leader Needs to Answer:
- What is the success rate for our clients? Are they finishing our programs?
- Which steps is our process do clients enjoy the most? least?
- Why do certain clients fail (fall out, not complete)? Does this an opportunity to create a new offering to support them better?
- What is our client satisfaction rating? What specific metrics are we using?
The Client Generation Leader matched the client up with a solution. The Client Success Leader made sure the client got the experience they paid for. Now it's time turn this happy client into a client for life. Enter the Client Community Leader
Client Community Leader Job Description: The Client Community Leader is all about keeping clients for life. This person wants the client to be connected to the company for as long as they breathe.
This is the person who introduces your continuity or membership offer. Up-sells, cross-sales, and referrals are also nurtured here.
The Client Community Leader is like the Director of Alumni Affairs. Once your BEST client "graduates" through the productized service you can open your doors (services) to them as an alum. This is the person who loves to create community and wants to make the community aspect of your company as robust as possible.
Questions the Client Community Leader Needs to Answer:
- How many new community members have we won in X time period? How many have we lost?
- How many referrals have we earned?
- Are there any opportunities to reclaim old customers?
- How can we learn even more about our current client base? How can we support them better over the long term?
As a client flows through all three roles - they are converted, served, and retained. You as the leader of the company now can think about the finance part of your business and track where and how money is moving.
The Role of Finance
Finance Leader Job Description: Finance is worried about tracking the money. Not only the budgets (expected spend) amounts, but also the current cash flow. Cash flow isn't just about the money in the bank, but the money in the business. Sometimes, your bank balance can lie to you. You can be owed money that hasn't come in and you can owe money that you haven't paid out yet. In either case, you want to make sure someone is tracking that activity so that you can plan according for the future.
This is the guy who loves spreadsheets. He likes his data clean, easy-to-read, and easy-to-interpret. He believes that numbers tell a story and is excited to share with you what he believes the story is telling.
Questions the Finance Leader Needs to Answer:
- How much money is in the bank today (bank balance)?
- How much money is in the business today (cash flow statement)?
- How much have we spent on X this year?
- How much will we spend on Y this year?
- Are any specific expenses out of the norm?
Your finance person is now tracking your numbers so you know where your money is going. As you grow, how do you make sure your partnerships and agreements are healthy? Clearly, you are going to need some legal help. See below.
The Role of Legal
Legal Leader Job Description: Legal makes sure your agreements are a good deal for both sides. Many conversations start out feeling good but when it comes down to brass tacks, minor details can change and alter the complexion of the arrangement. As you're working with clients, employees, and partners it's important to have the right kinds of agreements so that everyone knows what the appropriate expectations are.
Legal is your private security. The guy that guards the door and makes sure there are no interruptions with day-to-day workings of your business. Because in reality, the real cost of legal challenges isn't the financial cost of a lawsuit...it's the interruption of your business activities. You can't attract, convert, and retain customers if you are focused on legal issues. Your legal team makes sure you are protected from those distractions that would otherwise keep you from being a great company.
Questions the Legal Leader Needs to Answer:
- What permits, licenses or registrations do I need for my business?
- Are there any specific compliance issues that affect our business?
- Are there any new laws that affect how we do business?
- Is the agreement we are about to sign fair to us? Is it fair to our partners?
If you use this organizational chart as a template you should quickly see where you are spending most of your time versus where you should be spending most of your time. Use it as a mirror to notice your gaps and refine your organization.
My encouragement to you is to keep it simple. This is a more efficient, effective organizational chart template for consulting companies. Yes, you can certainly add more elements, but you don't have to.
It's important to remember here that you're building a machine. Structure your business around the value your offer clients. Resist the temptation to create typical business silos. The silos create more layers of management without focusing on getting the client served better and faster.
I want to remind you that all those operational elements are part of marketing. For example, even if you are a software-based company do not create a separate "department" specifically for your technical people. The software you sell is part of the productized service being delivered. Your tech people fall under the Client Success Team not the Technology Team.
Use it as a mirror. Put it against your existing Organizational Chart and see how things match up. Make the improvements. Gain the efficiency.