Welcome back!

No apps configured. Please contact your administrator.
Forgot password?

Don’t have an account? Subscribe now

How to Sell Multi-Million Dollar Strategy/Innovation Engagements

How to Sell Multi-Million Dollar Strategy/Innovation Engagements

In three years we help Andrew achieve $30MM in revenue and become an equity partner in the innovation consulting practice.

This program was first titled Partner in 3 Years. Then we changed to title to Building an Innovation Practice and, finally, Implementation. Building an Innovation Division. However, we changed the name to make it explicit. This program is entirely about sales. Through the process of selling, Andrew built an innovation practice and innovation capability at his firm.

If you are not interested in the details of sales, this program is not for you.

Follow us as we help Andrew, a senior manager / associate principal at a major international professional services firm, become an equity partner in 3 years by following a highly unconventional path: by re-building the firm’s failed innovation practice. Starting with a total budget of $150K, and signing authority of < $5,000, we take you through every meeting, dinner, coffee chat, obstacle, plan, tactic, pilot, proposal, marital problem, client push-back, strategy, success, failure etc. to achieve total revenue of >$30MM within 3 years. 

Before Andrew, no equity partner had ever been elected from an internal role in this firm. 

We will post special Q&A episodes in response to member questions.

~320 episodes; documenting everything Andrew did to change his career. 

If you would like to receive sample episodes of our Insider content, please register on this site (its free) or opt-in to our newsletter. That’s also free. This is the only way to receive sample Insider content and find out about our promotional offers.


At the start of this program Andrew is a 39-year-old finance specialist serving mid-sized clients in the North-East USA. He recently joined the firm after working at a rival professional services giant for much of his career. He left his prior firm because he was not offered a path to partnership. His career had stalled.

Despite the excitement of joining the new firm, he again fails to make progress and continues to serve mid-size clients, which, given the size of the projects, makes it difficult for him to ever reach the ~$3-4MM/annum hurdle for nomination to the firm’s partnership ranks.

Moreover, Andrew does not know how to sell without selling. He follows a benefits-based sales approach which does not work. At this point Andrew believes that, at best, he may make partner in 7 to 10 years, but he will likely remain a senior manager. In fact, he is considering leaving to join as a partner at a much smaller regional firm.

He is happily married with a wonderful wife and children. Yet, he bears the guilt of knowing he asked his wife to give up her lucrative investment banking job to raise their children. His wife kept her end of the bargain but Andrew believes he did not do enough on his side.

Innovating Within the Firm – Year 1

We take over Andrew’s career to develop an entirely new career strategy and route to the partnership. In a bold and daring move, Andrew is asked to forget about the common route to partnership and focus on the non-existent, failing and embarrassing innovation practice that the firm’s management committee is considering shutting down. It is a cost center and no one in the history of the firm had ever been elected to the partnership from a cost center.

We work with Andrew to find a route into innovation, eventually position him to run the function in a caretaker role, and develop a definition and scalable model for innovation. After a very slow start, September through to December turn out to be important months where a grass-roots innovation campaign is assembled. Our very carefully planned successes and image management strategy gets Andrew noticed by senior management.

New Revenue for the Firm – Year 2

After hitting a major milestone at the end of Year 1, We map out an aggressive but logical plan to shift innovation from its internal focus to external clients. We work with Andrew to continue building out an innovation engine that can scale across the firm. Andrew’s star keeps rising.

We set out, with a detailed strategy, to achieve two highly improbable, but significant, goals.

The year ends with Andrew landing his first multi-million-dollar client engagement. Not done yet, they focus on building out an innovation service for external clients, with a bigger goal in mind than when they started working two years ago.

Innovating for Clients – Year 3

With Andrew we pursue the final, and incredibly ambitious, goal: to manage a full innovation program at a major multi-national client, while going head-to-head against BCG and McKinsey, yet by using a different approach to innovation and in an area where the firm has no prior track record.

This program requires Andrew to find a way to execute a plan of bringing together the firm’s skills in audit, tax, corporate finance, legal, technology and consulting to create new sources of revenue for clients.

We develop a “blocking strategy” which allows Andrew to use the unique assets of the firm, to conduct innovation programs in a way that is different from McKinsey and BCG. In other words, they use McKinsey/BCG thinking to build an innovation practice that leverages the strengths of the firm versus replicating the approach used by BCG and McKinsey.

The program ends with Andrew’s initiatives generating >$30 million in savings + revenue for the firm and an offer to join the equity partnership.

Although the number looks daunting, we will explain to you the exact path taken, how we phased the initiatives, how we built a loyal team around Andrew and how we trained Andrew to become comfortable with sales. The business case and results of each engagement is discussed so you can see how the numbers add up.

We break down each source of revenue + savings into the dollar benefit to the firm, how it was calculated, how it was validated and how you could go about applying the same concept. Significant time is spent explaining the build-up to each pilot, the lessons learned and how the improved process was rolled out across the firm.

Editor’s Note: What we teach is unique. It is valuable. It cannot be found anywhere else. The knowledge, skills, strategies, and technical understanding required to repeat these successes in your own careers would take the average professional years, if not decades, to acquire and that’s assuming you find the right opportunities. We compress all of that learning into these mega programs: (1) Getting Andrew Promoted to Equity Partner Within 3Yrs, from Senior Manager, (2) Corporate Strategy & Transformation of a Major Industrial Company, (3) Merger and IPO of a National Tech. Champion, (4) Turnaround at a Major Financial Institutions Group, (5) EB1A Green Card – An Alien of Extraordinary Ability, (6) Rolling Out AI + Cloud at a Fortune 500 Company. $30MM / Year Contract and (7) Innovating an Industrial Giant: $42 million single project feeThey are developed over many years and given detailed explanations, they each often exceed 250 episodes/program. We are proud to make these available to our clients. As always the programs have two objectives: (1) Show you what we did to radically accelerate the clients’ career, and (2) what we did to create significant value within the company by solving a critical, and often strategic, problem.

Access to this Program

This program is exclusively available to Firmsconsulting Insiders.

Released Episodes

Part 1, The Challenge

0. Introduction to the training program

1. The story behind the episodes

2. Client Background

3. Interview process

4. How we think about this

Part 2, Finding the Innovation Role

5. A moonshot

6. Am I Andrew’s friend?

7. Does career success buy financial freedom or vice versa?

8. The old-boys network

9. Everyone says!

10. The economic model of a career masterpiece

11. The central partnership challenge

12. Unproductive delays

13. Critically altering the problem statement

14. Strategy for the role

15. Finding the innovation opportunity

16. Dealing with a personal crisis

17. Innovation structure within the firm

18. Being innovative

19. Strategy to get the innovation role

20. Tactics to get the innovation role

21. Challenges in his role

Part 3, Defining Innovation

22. Turning debilitating disadvantages into advantages

23. Day 1 in the new role

24. Meeting the firm’s head of strategy

25. Stepping back: what does the firm want/need

26. Defining innovation

27. What is innovation?

28. Announcing an innovation plan with fanfare

29. The real reason you are not a visionary

30. Using a business plan or learning as you go

31. You must know the numbers

32. Ignore best practice

33. Innovate inside the firm or at clients?

Part 4, Building Allies

34. 8 meetings to gain trust without a business plan

35. Withdrawing from non-profits/charities/school board

36. Internal vs. external clients?

37. Replicating McKinsey’s Innovation practice is a bad idea

38. Financial targets for partnership and ideal clients

39. How did we create Andrew’s career strategy?

40. Falling in love with sexy ideas

41. Should the innovation practice act/look hip and/or cool?

42. Importance of private networking dinners

43. The importance of sticking to the critical path

44. What happens after the 8 tax partner meetings?

45. Keeping the burn low

Part 5, 1st Workshop & Factory-in-a-Box

46. Andrew’s plan for the pilot

47. Psychology of running the pilot

48. Listening to 1st workshop and teaching brainstorming

49. After the workshop

50. Should Andrew lead FIAB?

51. An insurgent mentality

52. Trauma in planning FIAB

53. Language degradation

54. Andrews three roles

Part 6, 5th Month into the Program & Factory-in-a-Box

55. 5 Month Update

56. How I work and think things through

57. Why internal resistance is a strategic weapon

58. Cultivating relationships from the workshops

59. Planning the pilot: Partner update

60. Editing the presentation – The idea

61. Using the presentation

62. Marital Problems for Andrew

63. Problems with the Partnership Counsellor

64. Is this idea really innovative?

65. The importance of saying no!

66. When to make the case for partnership

67. Critical insight from Workshop 1

68. Lack of an automated innovation process

Part 7, 2nd Workshop and Big Opportunity

69. Workshop 2: the big one

70. Buildup to the pilot

71. Balancing internal support with reality

72. Working with support services needs more authorization

73. Updating the innovation partner

74. All the leading ladies at an expensive dinner

75. Following up from the expensive dinner

76. Pimp, Napoleon, Hitler Analogies & Metaphors

Part 8, From Innovation to Opportunity Pilot

77. Andrews key next step: explaining the pilot process

78. Coffee with Andrew’s allies within support service

79. What keeps me going

80. When do we create an innovation brand?

81. Airbnb Strategy: Internal Support Services Partner

82. The first pilot: background

Part 9, 1st Innovation Pilot (Big Milestone)

83. Everything shared on Yammer: older version of Slack

84. Benefit 1: consolidating travel

85. Kathy and her team of vloggers

86. Benefit 2: delays in approvals

87. Benefit 3: avoiding integration costs

88. Benefit 4: normalizing discounts

89. Integrating SMS and basic updates: tags and links

90. Building the business case – via Yammer

91. Manipulating the system: Jamie Dimon rule

92. Major celebration: The Fat Hunters

93. Evolution & strategic rise of Kathy

94. Relationship between Andrew & myself

95. Building a grassroots innovation movement

96. Notice the pattern of replicability

97. Grilling the internal benchmarking team

98. Andrew is offered to tour the firm as an expert!

99. How did Andrew go AWOL within Tax for 3 months?

Part 10, Results of the Innovation Pilot

100. The pilot saved $7.12MM! Andrew’s star is born

101. The curse of marginal success

102. Reimbursing Andrew’s time costs

103. Breaking down the approach in the pilot

104. Critical technical problem

105. Critical Insights

106. Andrew’s partner meeting post the support services call

107. Partner dinner with Andrew

108. Wrapping up the first year

Part 11, Building the Innovation Digital Platform

109. Comparison to another Big 4 Accounting Firm & Client

110. Calculating the $30MM number

111. Priorities for the year

112. Andrew’s growing results and name

113. The clam before the storm

114. Five critical presentations

115. Vision for innovation

116. Innovation approach

117. Rules for innovation

118. FIAB (Factory-in-a-Box)

Part 12, Andrew is Promoted to Lead Innovation (Big Milestone)

119. Innovation Program

120. Big Meeting: Updating the partner on what is the overall process

121. Update on Andrew’s Dinner

122. Meeting of the Innovation Committee

123. Making Andrew the Innovation leader

124. Accelerating Andrew’s partnership discussions

125. Expanding Andrews Budget

126. Cultivating the tax + internal support services partner relationship

127. Rolling out the process around the rest of support services

128. Reminder of the Rules of Innovation

Part 13, Building Andrew’s Innovation Team

129. Learning from the worst practices

130. Motivating for the team

131. Who were the first hires?

132. Defining a team

133. Permanent versus contractors

134. Centralized versus co-located

135. Cool / elitist versus practical

136. Full data sharing including emails

137. Major focus on customer service / unusual at a start-up

138. Setting up a rotation system

139. Setting rewards and remuneration

140. Setting titles

141. Setting performance management

142. Dress code

143. Finding a home for his team

144. Building their culture

Part 14, How Andrew Built the Innovation Platform

145. Story of Blockbuster

146. People with fire in their belly usually do not work in consulting technology units

147. Motivation of internal tech teams is wrong

148. Committed funding: why, how much and how

149. Customization

150. Specs: high-level versus the detailed the teams wanted

151. Prepping for meeting with IT: how leverage works

152. First meeting with IT Consulting

153. Define customization

154. The incremental benefit of incremental changes

155. Second meeting with IT Consulting: problems with internal consulting technology units

156. Why not use contractors?

157. Moving from variable to fixed cost

158. Adapting Yammer: no bottom up building

159. Is free really free?

160. Will this work?

161. What were we actually building?

162. Trojan horse strategy

163. Reminder of the Goals for the Year

164. Strategy Behind the Platform

165. Pulling the Trigger on IT hiring

166. Managing the team

167. Working with Microsoft

168. Phasing the Approach; daily updates

169. Modular vs. Minimum Viable Product

170. Launching a pilot in Support Services

171. When to challenge experts

172. How our cost structure drives our verification process

173. How to take advice from external teams

174. Results of the platform rollout

175. Understanding IT consulting’s business model

176. Problems with IT team: Part 1

177. Problems with IT team: Part 2

178. Outcome

179. Why is it so hard to learn soft skills

180. Steven Spielberg and staying under the radar

181. You need finesse

182. Older people starting something new are seen as failures

183. Do not make people look bad

184. The curve of status seeking

185. This program is about Implementation (of sales). Period


186. Things change significantly from here

187. Why we need Factory-in-a-box (FIAB) so badly

188. Success brings problems and attention

189. Why adopting McKinsey and BCG ideas on innovation is a challenge and not applicable

190. Stranger Danger!

More to come…


The Promotion is an original Firmsconsulting program which teaches you how to apply all the skills a McKinsey, BCG et al. partner would use to fast-track a career in corporate, launch a start-up from a zero base or build a profitable business.

In Season I of The Promotion, How to Sell Multi-Million Dollar Consulting Engagements, you can follow us as we help Andrew, a senior manager / associate principal at a major international professional services firm, become an equity partner in 3 years by following a highly unconventional path: by re-building the firm’s failed innovation practice.

Starting with a total budget of just $150K, and signing authority of < $5,000, we take you through every meeting, dinner, coffee chat, obstacle, plan, tactic, pilot, proposal, marital problem, client push-back, strategy, success, failure etc. to achieve total revenue of >$30MM within 3 years.

Life After McKinsey is Season II of The Promotion.

Season III is split into two programs. In the first, McKinsey to Private Equity, we detail follow the tough journey Lisa took to move into private equity. The other program, USA vs CA/AU/UK Residency/Citizenship, explains the unusual strategy we used to help Lisa obtain her green card in about 1 year 4 months.

In Season IV, The Start-up: Building a Luxury Brand, we will help Tatiana, a Wharton MBA graduate and scion of a prominent Asian family, build an ultra-luxury brand from literally nothing.

In Season V, The Start-up: Building an Electric Car Start-Up, we help Richard, ex McKinsey associate, launch an electric car business in China.

In Season VI, The Start-up: Building a Cosmetics Startup, we help Amy, senior legal counsel at a major tech company, prepare to leave her full time job as she launches a major cosmetics brand.

Due to client confidentiality, as always, we have altered some of the details. 

Want to learn more about how FIRMSconsulting
can help your organization?

Related Articles


Career Stagnation. When Promotions End and the Runway Ends

In the final piece for Strategy Insights, called “When Promotions End and the Runway Ends,” I'm going to talk through an interesting client situation. We have an Insider, who later also became a coaching client, named Addie. He works for a large multinational company. There's nothing unusual about his career. He…


CEO of Danone Learns That Being Good is Not Good Enough

CEO of Danone Learns That Being Good is Not Good Enough The next big theme is about how Danone’s CEO has just learned that being good is not good enough. If you follow the saga of Danone, it has branded itself as the socially responsible consumer packaged goods company, or as they…


Things Don’t Change Much—or Do They?

Things Don’t Change Much—or Do They? The next big theme I will call, “Things don't change much—or do they?” Over a period in the last week, BHP, an Anglo-Australian multinational miner, has become the most valuable company in the British economy, which is one of the most advanced, modern economies of the…