Hay Group

Hay Group uses the Financial Times to acquire and retain business clients worldwide

The challenge

Support business development with accurate and authoritative insights into industries, organisations and market trends.

The solution

As part of the FT’s corporate service, consultants receive digital access to FT news and analysis, plus custom email briefings on specific topics or companies.

The benefits

Improved client engagements and advice, new opportunities and leads identified, plus time saved researching prospective clients.

Turning strategy into reality

Hay Group is a global management consulting firm of approximately 2,600 employees working in 49 countries. Its clients come from the private and public sectors and span every major industry.

The firm works with clients to help improve the performance of their businesses through the way they organise, lead, develop and reward their people.

In a demanding economic environment, Hay Group faced the challenge of finding ways to develop new client business and build on existing relationships.

As Gary Spokes, Knowledge & Information Manager at Hay Group, explained: “The key to success – even in tough times – is establishing long term client relationships. Becoming a true partner starts with our consultants acquiring a deep understanding of client businesses and local markets. At the same time, our consultants work and train in international teams, so they offer a global perspective.”

Information objectives

Hay Group’s investment in its people through formal training and knowledge management practices has become a key part of the firm’s approach and client service. To support its consultants around the world, Hay Group’s information strategy focuses on two areas:

  • Internal systems. Establishing mechanisms to share best practice, technical expertise, continual improvement and learning from client engagements. An intranet and internal communications systems encourage knowledge sharing
  • External sources of information. Supporting business development with accurate and authoritative external information sources which provide insights into industries, organisations and market trends

Timely delivery of new information is crucial. Hay Group consultants need to be aware of developments concerning their clients as they happen.

Gary Spokes explained: “Our goal is to use knowledge to increase client satisfaction and drive business growth. One of the challenges we face is providing our consultants with easy access to information on the move since they are highly mobile and often working at client locations.”

Customised, actionable information

To meet its business information requirements, Hay Group selected the Financial Times because of its objective and unbiased approach to journalism, the international perspective it offers on world events and the high quality of its business and market analysis.

As part of a corporate licence, FT.com was deployed to all consulting practices in Hay Group. They access FT.com on a daily basis and use tools such as email alerts and briefings for updates on specific topics or companies – either via mobile devices or laptops.

In tandem, the consulting practices are supported by a knowledge and information team which conducts in-depth analysis on their behalf, providing information to support immediate client engagements or research trends and markets for business development activities.

“The Financial Times is an invaluable partner for Hay Group. It aligns unrivalled insights into all business and market sectors with our expertise. All of which help us and our clients make better business decisions,” Spokes added.

Hay Group's marketing team also uses the FT to identify topical issues that relate to the firm’s specialist expertise and provide additional commentary to clients.

Engaging effectively with clients

Hay Group has seen substantial benefits since making the FT part of its information strategy.

FT.com has become an integral tool to support client engagements and discussions with senior leadership teams. Hay Group consultants read the FT to keep informed about broad trends in business globally and industry issues.

As Deborah Allday, EMEA Regional Director M&A at Hay Group, commented: “I use the FT to support the development of thought leadership materials - for example on our M&A market offering - and help me develop my thinking on business challenges my clients face based on their specific industry issues.”

“The FT often covers issues or events that pertain to my key clients. I can either use these articles in a client conversation, or they prompt me to drop an email or call a client, using the information in the article as a pretext for contact.”

Email alerts are seen as particularly useful to keep up-to-date with clients or trends relating to their particular area of expertise. They are used by consultants to initiate a sales call, highlight relevant information to clients and demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the client’s business and industry.

Driving new business development

For sales prospecting, the FT provides a vital link to help consultants identify emerging opportunities and link Hay Group’s offering with company developments and local markets.

Jennie Wright, Head of Marketing at Hay Group, commented: “The FT is a valuable tool for providing timely leads into the issues facing our clients. It's authoritative, provides an unsurpassed quality of writing, explains the complex in a straightforward manner and delivers well- researched insights into the business and political landscape facing all industry sectors.”

The news and special reports on FT.com organised by country and industry, and including a five year archive, are used to help research prospective clients and understand the potential opportunities in a market.

Consultants often have short lead times before meeting prospective clients, so they need up-to- date information quickly and in a volume and style that can be digested quickly. And since the FT is a trusted source of data, consultants also save time since they don’t have to validate this information against other sources.

First impressions count

The FT is regarded by Hay Group as a valuable input for consultants to have a meaningful discussion with prospective clients and make the right first impression.

Through FT.com, consultants gain an important part of the picture of the issues facing the people they’ll meet and an authoritative perspective to lend extra credibility to client meetings.

As Spokes concludes: “We’re now looking at new ways to further integrate FT content into the workflow of our consultants and make full use of the multi-media tools available on FT.com.”