What Is Business Development?
What crosses your mind when you hear someone say he/she is in business development?
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, you probably think it is sales, no?
Maybe setting up a business with business plans and future projections?
Maybe just the act of hustling?
There’s one certain thing though, it is among the most important components in business
What Is Business Development?
The BD function in business encompasses all processes involved in securing new businesses and long-term contracts for long-term growth. This includes sales enablement, strategic partnerships, increased market segments, marketing, and even product development.
Many times people assume business development solely focuses on sales growth.
Associates are expected to develop their own sales pipeline and ensure the clients have been taken through the entire sales funnel but other factors are considered as well.
What Should You Consider While Looking For Business Expansion?
1. Client needs
A product exists to solve a problem.
Before a business is set up, entrepreneurs are tasked with finding out why a client would reach out to them.
A tech company with low success rates may lose business in the long run due to reduced referrals, customer loyalty, and product effectiveness. Once issues with delivery and product quality are sorted, the company can enjoy the market expansion.
If your product offerings do not align with the client’s needs/ fill the gaps between the client and a desirable outcome, then the company’s growth is inhibited.
Business developers are expected to ensure that they can communicate the problem statement and share a solution in the form of a product offering
2. Company Objectives
All companies want to attain growth. However, specifying the company objectives per quota promotes practicality and informed decisions.
3. Product offerings
How flexible are your services/products?
Different market segments will require customized products and flexible terms. A company targeting both corporates and SMEs might have different price structures or involve payment plans to cater to the SMEs. This depends on the scope of work and the clients’ budget.
4. Long term partnerships
All BD endeavors are meant to provide long-term value in business; ensuring a consistent flow of cash from identified partners and clients to facilitate growth.
Relationship building is crucial in the development of long-term partnerships. Clients are nurtured using trust and mutual respect. Strategies such as corporate social responsibility and goodwill are considered for continuous growth.
This explains the use of consultative selling and constant follow-ups, product meetings, and presentations.
Business Development and Sales
Business Development Executives and managers are expected to develop their own sales pipeline and ensure the clients have been taken through the entire sales funnel.
Their job description will include prospecting, pitching, scheduling client meetings, sending proposals and quotes, negotiating terms of agreement with clients, and meeting sales quotas. This does not necessarily mean that a company cannot have both salespersons and a BD department.
Companies focusing on transactional selling can get sales executives to facilitate direct sales.
Biz Dev takes somewhat lengthy sales processes which mostly depend on the cultivation and nurturing of relationships. Sometimes closing a sale can take months. Hence the need for a well-defined sales structure. Companies with huge budgets allow strategies involving cold calls, product demonstrations, etc.
A good business development associate should be able to identify prospects and decision-makers before communicating the value proposition. This requires associates to stay up to date with current market trends and proactively seek new opportunities for the existence of the organization. This includes competitor strategy, market niches, and product effectiveness
Business Development, Marketing, and Product Development
Marketing is a sales enablement strategy specializing in brand awareness and consumer targeting.
BD associates are expected to share constant feedback with product managers for effective product offerings. Analytics developed through customer feedback are used to determine factors such as the market price; the manager is in turn expected to share this Intel with the marketing department to improve awareness of any changes in a product
Tips To Being An Effective Business Development Associate
1. Do your research
Understand the target market and the specific client needs.
This comes in handy in cold calls and subsequent meetings with the client. It also increases the chances of conversions since you will be in a better position to communicate the client’s pain point and provide tailored services that can exceed the client’s expectations.
2. Ask Relevant Questions
Talking to the right people will land you the deal. Depending on your target market, most decision-makers in corporates are strongly guarded by gatekeepers. You need to create meaningful relationships [p with the gatekeeper for them to trust you enough and introduce you to the decision-makers for a meeting. SMEs are more straightforward forward and you might only have to talk to the CEO to close the deal.
Always confirm if the contact person will need to run the proposal by someone else to facilitate a decision.
Confirm if the client has any concerns in regards to your product offering.
3. Be an Active Listener
Be attentive enough to the client that you can remember little details about them. Bringing this up appropriately the next time you communicate will make them cozy up to you. Studies show that.
4. Focus on Consultative Selling
Get to understand the previous solutions the client has used that were not successful. Guide the client towards buying your product by showing the unique selling point and the features that help address the client’s problem area.
This way the client is convinced that you are genuinely trying to help him and are not solely focused on making a sale (Even though that is the end goal)
5. Use Rapport Building
Recap the most important issues discussed in the previous meeting with the client to confirm further developments on the same.
6. Call to action
End the conversation with a call to action; for instance, should we place an order? This guides the client in deciding to purchase the product within a shorter timeline by eliminating decision fatigue.
If the client does not give a definite response you can ask follow-up questions in the lines of confirming any reservations and providing solution-based responses
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