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?