A really interesting piece of research by Bain Consulting - reported by the Harvard Business Review.
The 40 different drivers of action are arranged Maslow-style in a pyramid (see below). At the top are the emotive ideas of Hope and Vision (Is this product transformative for our business?), at the bottom, Regulatory Compliance.
But the drivers are not of the same weight.
Of the key elements of value for IT Infrastructure buyers (their chosen niche to analyse), second only to "Product Quality" was "Expertise".
Of course, both 'Product quality' and 'Expertise' are difficult to change and if your consultants are low-grade then the firm has big problems.
But more likely, the firm has got genuine Experts in its ranks but it does not do a good job of demonstrating that knowledge in a compelling way.
By Bain's analysis, spending time considering how to show that expertise to your customers and prospects will provide very significant returns.
At the top of the pyramid are inspirational elements: those that improve the customer’s vision of the future (helping a firm anticipate changes in its markets), provide hope for the future of the organization or the individual buyers (for instance, that they can move to the next generation of technology easily and affordably), or enhance a company’s social responsibility.