How to Reduce Bench Time in Your Consulting Firm

January 25, 2024 · Consulting

Written by: Mattias Loxi

Effectively managing the ‘bench’—the period when a consultant is not engaged in a billable project—is crucial in the consulting business, particularly during challenging times.

So, what can be done to minimize the bench and maintain efficiency?

Utilizing this period for skill enhancement, internal projects, and support in marketing and sales is beneficial. Yet, challenges emerge when many consultants are unassigned for extended durations. This not only impacts the company financially but also strains morale and culture.

What can we do to reduce the bench time?

Reducing the bench in a consulting firm is not primarily about lowering costs, but about working more efficiently and smarter to win more business and optimize occupancy.

Strategies to reduce the bench include, among other things;

  • Understanding your bench deeply now and in the future. Everyone in sales and delivery needs to keep track of when assignments end but also understand why a consultant is without an assignment, their competencies, and what the person is passionate about.
  • Strategically manage your utilization planning to proactively minimize bench time by tracking availability from various perspectives. Additionally, identify key personnel crucial for acquiring new clients. By effectively switching consultants, you will also broaden your employees skills.
  • Is your matching process personally dependent? If all salespeople have access to the same information, the chances of finding more candidates for the assignments increase. Perhaps there is a consultant in another team/location who is just as suitable but who has difficulty getting out in their local market?
  • How quickly do you respond to customer requests? And how is the consultant/project presented? The right talent, properly packaged, and with speed greatly increases your chances to win more deals.
  • Do you take advantage of all your sales power? The greatest sales power in a consulting company lies within your employees’ networks, especially those assigned to a project. They often learn first about new opportunities in their own or a nearby project. But how do you capture this information? And have you created a culture where everyone feels involved in sales?
  • Entry services. How easy is it to become a customer and create the first customer relationship with you?
  • Networks and partnerships. How do you work with subcontractors and partners to increase your delivery capacity but also get more assignments?

In our new guide Effective Strategies for Reducing the “Bench” in Your Consulting Firm During Challenging Times you will learn more about the above strategies plus even more strategies on how to reduce bench time. We also cover parts like ‘Why are you losing business?‘, ‘When you need to make cuts‘, and ‘How to utilize bench time and keep up morale‘.

Download the guide in English: Effective Strategies for Reducing the “Bench” in Your Consulting Firm During Challenging Times.

There is also a Swedish version: Effektiva strategier för att minska “bänken” i ditt konsultföretag under utmanande tider

Effective Strategies for Reducing the “Bench” in Your Consulting Firm During Challenging Times

Mattias Loxi, Co-Founder / CMO

Mattias is one of the founders of Cinode. Now in Marketing and Sales - runs the most popular blog and newsletter "Veckans konsultnyheter" about the Swedish consulting Industry. Also runs the podcast "Konsultpodden as well as a lot of Speaking engagement. Add him in Linkedin

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