How Consulting Firms Are Using AI for Deeper Market Research

Consultants are at the forefront of driving innovation for the world’s leading companies, yet their own research processes are still highly manual and time-consuming. Our 2022 State of Market Intelligence report found that 96% of consultants are reactively conducting internet searches as their way of consuming market intelligence (MI), while 76% wish their MI was more proactive. 

This reliance on a quick yet ineffective method of mining MI could be explained by the ever-growing demands of consultants. From researching a potential new product to re-organizing employee structure, to completely rethinking a company’s strategy, or even suggesting an acquisition for a client, the list is endless. And with the rapid digitalization of services, the challenges driving the market, and rise of generative AI (genAI), this list will only get longer.

The bottom line: time is always in short supply as consultants are constantly spread thin between new business development, client delivery work, and practice development. As the rate of market change only accelerates and economic uncertainty continues, there is a growing need for consultants to build processes and systems to filter through the noise faster.   

Artificial Intelligence in the Consulting Space

While many tools and methods on the market promise to optimize your workflow, nearly 90% of consulting executives believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are priorities for the market intelligence platforms they use. In fact, use cases for AI are becoming more abundant as businesses look to advisory firms for help devising the best possible strategy to develop AI capabilities. 

Additionally, many management consulting firms are looking to build their capacity in the AI space by investing in AI-related startups or developing their own products (i.e., AI bots or platforms) to offer their clients along with advice.

As an increasing number of leaders within the consulting industry adopt AI tools that give them a competitive edge, we share below how artificial intelligence can provide you with the research you need to take the lead in your respective field. 

How AI Supports Your Consulting Job Function

Business Development & Meeting Prep

A consultant’s ability to quickly understand a client’s challenges and align their services to overcome them is critical to developing winning proposals. But using CTRL+F to filter through earnings transcripts or broker research is less than an ideal use of time. AI can proactively surface insights, so you can quickly prep before a meeting and spend less time prospecting the wrong clients.

AlphaSense’s Smart Summaries is the only generative AI tool that draws from a premium content universe specifically curated for business professionals. Smart Summaries provides you with citations to the exact snippets of text from where the summaries are sourced, combining high accuracy with instant and easy verification. Built on a foundation of 10+ years of investment in AI technology and language models developed to answer critical market intelligence questions, consultants are guaranteed reliable, timely responses with Smart Summaries. 

consulting deeper market research artificial intelligence smart summaries

Within AlphaSense, our proprietary AI automatically analyzes the topics a company discusses within its earnings transcripts so that you can transform a qualitative information source into quantitative insights.  

consulting deeper market research artificial intelligence company topics

And with AlphaSense’s natural language processing (NLP) technology, it’s easy to extract and understand sentiment. Our AI pinpoints negative topics within an earnings call so that a consultant can identify client problem areas.

consulting deeper market research artificial intelligence negative company topics

Impactful Market Insights 

Markets are continuously evolving, which means consultants must constantly conduct company and market landscape deep dives at the start of any new engagement. 

But staying abreast of every development can be a consuming task and time is money. Ultimately, no consultant wants to spend hours searching for data across disparate resources, but rather develop deeper analyses. In fact, 53% of consultants cited fragmented information sources as their top challenge related to market research.  

When critical business insights are aggregated into one platform that leverages an AI search engine, it becomes possible to pinpoint critical market data as well as map market landscapes in a matter of seconds.

For example, an AI search trained to understand variations in business language makes it possible to search for electric vehicle (EV) forecasts and delivers results that also mention ‘estimate’ or ‘target’, as seen below.

consulting deeper market research artificial intelligence ev forecast

Additionally, AlphaSense’s AI can decipher trends in qualitative information sources and surface insights relevant to potential companies of interest. While there are plenty of insights available in the public domain, gaining access to proprietary content is critical to delivering impactful research that will benefit clients or help you outperform your competitors.  

Expert call transcript libraries, like Expert Insights, are a prime example of how beneficial the combination of proprietary information and AI can be. Typically, consultants will spend hours and thousands of dollars conducting expert calls to gather unique perspectives to bring to their clients. But with an expert transcript library, consultants can reduce the number of calls and answer some table-stakes questions by just searching across transcripts.  

consulting deeper market research artificial intelligence expert call

“I was able to recently find five or six calls covering theme parks which eliminated the need to hire someone to manage industry-specific calls.”

– Fabiano Lopes | Managing Director at FTI Consulting

M&A Deal Strategy 

For M&A consultants, having a finger on the pulse of major buying and selling deals is essential to advise your corporate and private equity clients successfully. 

Especially in the age of information, having a market intelligence platform that sorts signals from the noise can catapult you to the forefront of your industry. However, only some MI tools are fully equipped with the features needed to identify these opportunities and conduct exceptional peer and company research. 

AlphaSense incorporates language variation tools into their search engines to optimize the number of relevant, valuable results returned to their users. Our synonym recognition technology, otherwise known as Smart Synonyms™, expands keyword and thematic searches to compensate for the many different ways to say the same thing and ensure that users don’t miss data points critical to their research. 

With tens of thousands of Smart Synonyms in AlphaSense, our platform uses AI and machine learning to expand every query and provide you with the information you need to make more informed decisions. 

However, this technology is only useful with an extensive content library. To truly get a grasp of the M&A deal rumors being spread within your industry, you need access to broker research from leading private equity firms; company filings, events transcripts, and investor presentations from sector leaders; and industry or sector-specific news and trade journals that detail emerging M&A and deal rumors. Without these sources of information, you are guaranteed to miss out on valuable insights for your clients. 

But what if you have your sights set on a few leading competitors within your industry and want to keep tabs on their every move and development? With AlphaSense, you can create a watchlist, allowing you to develop a short list of companies detailing how they’re approaching a specific theme or trend through our robust resource of information. Watchlists can also save you time when regularly running thematic searches across the same group of multiple companies and conducting a company deep dive and peer comparisons.

consulting deeper market research artificial intelligence watchlist

Thought Leadership & Practice Development

In between winning new clients and delivering clients, consultants also need to be developing their practice. Time available for these tasks is often limited, so being able to use AI to reveal quantitative insights buried in qualitative information sets is a unique way to set your business apart and surface insights difficult for others to find.

And while AI tools certainly save time, it’s true not every solution will help an organization make multi-million dollar decisions. Finding a solution that is actually impactful needs to be able to show that its investment is worth the effort, time, and resources. To deduce the correlation between implementing new technologies and business success, SAP relied on AlphaSense’s NLP technology, which transformed their hypotheses from manual to automated. 

SAP ran thematic searches on the AlphaSense platform to identify how the trend has changed over time to understand the cross-industry impact of the key KPIs selected. For example, in using AlphaSense’s Search Summary, the SAP team quickly identified a trend line in the volume of mentions of all of their core KPIs within earnings documents.

Staying Ahead with the Right Tools

Once you’ve collected valuable insights from a market intelligence platform, you need to deliver your research and provide clients with actionable advice that accelerates their ability to make decisions. 

To cross that finish line, you need a tool that can help you develop an in-depth analysis to identify a client’s barriers or overall needs and reframe your thinking to drive strategy forward. And to do that, you need to be able to research, analyze and predict market trends and shifts in real-time to provide clients and vendors with actionable insights. In addition, consultants are to support the sales team by helping research teams create content that drives engagement with clients, i.e., high-value presentation materials on and off-stage events. 

While there’s exponential value that market intelligence tools can deliver regarding strategizing on valuable insights, they also have the potential to improve how you present thought leadership content with clients, industry experts, and professionals. Leveraging market intelligence only starts with the insights you discover and ends with how you use them to bolster your position. 

Whether it be reading up on potential clients, learning how an industry is evolving, or searching for market opportunities, AlphaSense can provide you with the tools you need to take the lead.

 Start your free trial today. 

Tim Hafke
Tim Hafke
Content Marketing Specialist

Formerly a writer for publications and startups, Tim Hafke is a Content Marketing Specialist at AlphaSense. His prior experience includes developing content for healthcare companies serving marginalized communities.

Read all posts written by Tim Hafke