We all have friends and colleagues who specialise in something or have a valuable skill that occasionally becomes pertinent in our own lives. For example, if you’d like to take legal action against a neighbour whose new fence infringes on your boundary, a lawyer friend may have some handy tips about what you should do. But this sort of informal advice should not be confused with an actionable plan. For that, you’ll have to take up the services of a lawyer who specialises in property law and who will formally commit to your case. They will then review all the relevant information and suggest the best legal route to resolve your problem.
On the other hand, when a company is faced with a particular challenge that cannot be solved with internal resources, it does not help to know what the solution might be, but to bring in an expert to help the company implement that solution.
A consultant with specialist knowledge and experience should deliver an objective and insightful perspective that helps to solve the problem the business is facing. The analysis and solution the consultant provides are typically documented in a consulting report.
The consulting report will often act as the foundation for any action that the business takes to resolve issues or achieve certain outcomes; it’s therefore extremely important to ensure that this document is full of solid facts and sound advice.
A consulting report is a formal, structured document that is comprised of data, performance analysis and recommendations for the road ahead. The information within the consulting report is strictly objective, and all facts presented must be backed by legitimate sources.
This type of document has to be created by a professional who can share pragmatic insights and offer solutions to the technical questions or problems that the business would otherwise not be able to solve on its own.
Although the contents of the consulting report will vary depending on the industry, the objective and the particular purpose it needs to fulfil, generally, there is a basic template that you can expect to encounter when paging through this type of document.
Key contents of a consulting report:
There are as many types of reports as there are problems to solve; the key is to understand the audience and the purpose of the report so that the client can immediately gain value from the investment made in acquiring these specialist insights.
Examples of consulting reports:
The consulting report isn’t a nice-to-have piece of corporate literature. For your client, it is the bedrock upon which their development plan is built. Therefore, it’s important to consider who within the business will be utilising and applying the data and recommendations contained within the report so that there is no room for error or misinterpretation when it comes to assimilating the information into a strategy.
Effective reporting requires an efficient process that lets you focus on the research, interpretation and presentation. Having ready-made templates makes it faster and easier to arrange your data into a sequence that quickly starts to take shape into a meaningful document. Of course, you can’t apply the same template to every scenario, but there are plenty of transferable commonalities that you can apply to each report.
Here are some useful templates and examples to get you started:
Businesses invested in excellent customer support often rely on various digital platforms to collect, store and utilise customer data. A customer support dashboard can help track key performance metrics from multiple tools such as HubSpot or HelpScout. Templates can focus on insights such as closed conversations, number of active users and inactive users. Key metrics to include in your report are:
A sales report will share insights on sales data collected over a period of time. In order to analyse a company’s sales performance, there are some important things to cover in a sales report, namely:
This data is extracted from platforms such as Salesforce, Pipedrive and HubSpot CRM – to name a few.
Marketing reports are critical when trying to prove the effectiveness of campaigns and secure investment in new strategies and tools. A marketing report should offer a visual overview of marketing performance. Data for this type of report will come from your HubSpot CRM, Google Analytics, Hotjar and other similar platforms. A marketing report will show how landing pages are performing, where website traffic is coming from, and if there are any areas that can be optimised in the buyer’s journey. A marketing report should cover the following key areas:
Consulting reports are essential when problem-solving or as general prophylaxis to ensure that business strategies are fulfilling their objectives. When compiled and presented effectively, they become invaluable assets that help organisations map their journey to growth and progress.
Learn how to write high-quality reports by following our free eBook, Data for Business Intelligence.
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