A GuidePoint Expert Network Review

If you’re reading this, you most likely got a call from a GuidePoint recruiter. Here’s a bit about what to expect….

The recruitment process seems very much geared around LinkedIn. I started to get solicitations from GuidePoint within several months of leaving the strategy group at a Fortune 500. Most requests were directly related to my previous employer’s business.

GuidePoint is one of many expert network services that has gained popularity in recent years. The expert network industry has grown rapidly, and there is more demand now than ever for people with expertise in different industries and businesses to consult on various decisions for other companies. This might include decisions on entering a market, maintaining compliance with regulations, or various other things that independent consultants would typically do.

The goal of an expert network consultation is to connect financial and strategy leader with experts in a particular industry. In a certain sense, you’ve arrived. Take it as a compliment to your background, experience, and accomplishments!

Before we hop into our GuidePoint review, let’s go over some of the different consulting services that subject matter experts at these networks are often used for, as well as what phone consultations generally look like. The terms and conditions of the different consulting and professional services may vary, but the basics are the same.

Expert Network Firms are frequently hired by…

  • Private Equity Investors – Building Information for an Industry Investment
  • Strategic Planners – Seeking to understand a relevant market
  • Management Consultants – Seeking to rapidly get up to speed on an industry
  • Institutional Investors – Mutual Funds and Hedge Fund Managers

Expert Calls – Typical Questions

So once you have joined GuidePoint, what is the typical agenda and hourly rate for an expert consultation?

It depends on the client. Given the cost, most expert consulting engagements are centered around a couple of specific business questions that require a very high level of knowledge about the space.

A large number of calls are basically what I refer to as “rapid industry training” for management consultants and institutional investment professionals. For example, a private equity professional may need to learn the particularly of a specific industry so they are ready to work on a particular deal. These calls allow them to accomplish this in a few hours.

You should be prepared to discuss the common business models within an industry and revenue models that support them. Most clients will also be interested in an assessment of the key competitors within an industry and top customer segments. Consultants should be ready to identify the largest consumer of a particular service. Along the same lines, if there are significant human resource or operational issues involved in managing within a particular industry this will also be of keen interest.

A quick warning: be careful about the information you discuss with your GuidePoint clients. Discussing confidential information from your current or former employer is heavily frowned upon, and could lead to legal action.

Growth and competitive factors are another area of interest. Be ready to break down your assessment of an industry’s growth potential to explore the key drivers of growth. Remember that a client will probably have similar expert consultations with multiple consultants: they are generally less interested in the outcome of your analysis (“sales will grow 5%”) that the facts which led you to that conclusion (“because Fortune 500 companies are finally adopting the technology”). If you give them the facts, they can mix and match between consultants later to develop their final assessement.

The same applies to business risk and opportunities for operational improvement. Be ready to discuss various aspects of the business and common ways to improve the company’s results. Many private equity clients are particularly interested in this topic.

Now we will jump into some more specifics of our GuidePoint consulting review.

GuidePoint Consulting Rates

For most new expert network consultants, the typical “engagement” is an hour long phone call. This is sometimes abbreviated to 30 – 45 minutes, although I’ve been fairly successful at keeping clients on the line for up to 90 minutes and even managed to get a couple of repeat bookings! You can set a rate per hour for this engagement

Ask your recruiter and they’ll toss out a consulting fee number like $125 or $150. This is very much on the low end of the range. I started off charging $300 per hour and quickly moved up to $500 per hour once I got a few successful calls under my belt. If you’ve got particularly notable experience (ex-CEO, respected speaker in a field) you can push your rates up to the $1000 level. We describe the logic of how you justify the rate in this article.

Incidentally, ProSapient included a wonderful article about paying your experts what they are worth on their blog…

Broader Capabilities

Like many other expert networks such as Alphasights, GLG (Gerson Lehman Group), Third Bridge, and Dialectica, ProSapient, GuidePoint is active in the survey space.

Most of the survey offers I’ve seen are pretty generic: offering $50 for a 15 to 30 minute survey if you pass some screening questions. Based on what I’ve seen, they don’t do much to scrub the list… so be judicious about which surveys you invest your time in.

Raise Your Profile – Other Expert Networks (Signup Links)

If you’re interested in raising your profile as an expert, run through the list below and sign up for the networks which are relevant to your skills and geography.

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Contact us at editor-at-highestpayinggigs.com