The forgotten importance of Business Development

Nowadays, business development has shifted to be mainly a sales based position. The main focus and push being driving revenue, developing a business has lost its main objective – creating partnerships that enhance a product, service or brand. Business development is different from sales. It focuses both on the qualitative without lessening the importance of quantitative value as well. 

Business development’s main skill is to understand how to build a brand and create a meaningful position that generates a differentiated value around the buzz. They cover both sides of the coin – internally create a philosophy of brand focused development culture, while externally a full time brand ambassador. The final value being driving change through every marketing and sales practices employed by every team member. 

Not only Marketing but Business Decisions 

When employing business development services, any consultant or agency you engage need to have a very well rounded understanding of basic business strategies and goals. They need to be able to keep in the forefront of every stage of the project the central challenge – customer acquisition and retention. Every metric provided needs to tangibly address how and why it can help customer engagement. Your evaluation process of hiring any business development consultant or agency should focus on not only the quality of their design and modern look, but also on the benefit of business advice they provide. This will provide not only qualitative merit but also quantitative. 

Simple Curiosity goes a long way

In this era of constant change, most marketing and sales pitches focus mainly on what one does best. But there is a great balance between having experience and expertise, and having a constant learner attitude and genuine professional curiosity. This means in all interactions your business development contact demonstrates a genuine intent to identify and understand the biases within a company, hypotheses versus facts and data, and facilitate deeper learning within all meeting for better decision making. The focus is business growth and making informed decisions that everybody agrees on, rather than using it as a platform to be right. 

Don’t Forget the Post-Project Accountability

Once the project requirements are done, many agencies and consultants alike leave the pieces to be picked up by the company. As much as there is a detailed plan set for the main project timeline, a follow up plan and support plan needs to also be in place for continued monitoring and dividing of new set responsibilities and processes. A good business development agency will help steer the ship and leave a guide for others to direct the ship well. For any post-project focus and multiplying the work started, account management work needs to be implemented fully into the daily routine. Business development is not a side project when things are slow but a business priority that needs drives all business decisions and forecasts. 

Failing to distinguish between sales and business development, might lead to management to have fluctuating focus, processes and goals. Some objectives will have been met and successful, while others will not be and evaluating what has made a good difference will become increasingly difficult. Unless the consultant, account manager or agency you employ does not clearly create, test and optimize innovative business development processes that are custom to your company, it will not be a scalable strategy. 

What have been some of your business development blunders? Leave us comments and reach out to us if you have any project questions. 

How’s your agency experience? Let us know in the comments, what works and what doesn’t. What is your criteria now?

Expand your Marketing Potential

In recent years, there has been a shift to move company branding and communication in-house. While this can at first seem beneficial as all the external messaging is being properly vetted, most times internal teams do not have the time to research and know all the new digital updates and opportunities. Many projects seem to be completed last minute and without much planning, leaving your team without a vision and focus.

Successful brands do not shy away from using agencies and partners to help them better evaluate their marketing tasks. While sales teams need to be reigned in and provided with the most relevant information to accomplish their quotas, marketing teams benefit from diversification and an outside perspective with fresh eyes to understand how the market sees their brand. Depending on the agency experience and offerings, hiring out industry expertise can allow better access to diversified skill sets.


Lessen Risk

One of the main ways you can change things up to increase the reach and perception of your brand, can be to allow industry experts to take calculated risks, learned from many different industry projects. In marketing many things are trial and error, but trusting agencies that have a variety of clients and diversity in their services, helps diminish the many errors your team could make when spending budgets. As your audience needs constant engagement, agencies can devote longer spans of time to engage, track, report and use data from listening and observing to provide new product ideas and when needed sunsetting services that no longer bring ROI.

Many companies can experience communication bias. Knowing that your service or product is great, does not mean everyone at first glance sees all the benefits. With the growth of digital solutions and alternatives, end users have many ways they can reach the information you are looking for. With a diversified agency, you do not need to hire an expert for all your online channels and lessen the workload and worry if the plan in place will work or not.  

Value Over Price

The unavoidable truth in every business industry is that competition is everywhere around you. With many options to choose from, most opt for price as the final decision maker. While price is important for your budget, the value the partnership should always be in the forefront. Although most decision makers would say that this is the case, in reality the bottom line always speaks volumes.

Some ways you can evaluate the value of an agency includes assessing their company culture and approach, looking into their online presence and credentials, and meet the people who will work on your account during the evaluation and pitch process. Not only that, gauge their ideas and excitement around your brand goals and in this way let the agency demonstrate their techniques. The more transparent the communication, you can expect your project to be handled in the same way.

Although the main worries companies have are loss of control and different cultural habits, consider what it would cost you to keep things as they are versus delegating it to experts in their field to handle all the big and small details. Working with a marketing agency opens up new avenues of flexibility and opportunities to better manage your resources to fit ever changing industry demands. Remember, as a client you will never cease to have control over the direction of the service you receive but also take some time to do your homework.

How’s your agency experience? Let us know in the comments, what works and what doesn’t. What is your criteria now?

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