February 03, 2016

In challenging economic times, or any time you want to grow a company, ‘proactive business development’ has to be a mantra and a way of living.  Most companies think that this just means their marketing, cold calls or a specific promotion.  Some think it is just responding better to inbound prospects.  Wrong.

Strong Business Development is not just direct sales efforts and it is certainly not the same as marketing.  Business Development addresses all improvements in leads, conversions, transaction size, contract terms, and repeat purchases.  So the number of business development strategies you’re employing can and should be numerous.

We need to not only focus on direct sales activities but also on longer term initiatives that will create more sales opportunities.   Ideally these actions will create leveraged results.  Building strong business alliances that can send you leads every month is a business development initiative every company should be maximizing.   Working with your team and clients on events, value added services, multiple purchase tactics, all build sales and are a result of good business development strategy.  Are you confident in your business development strategy?

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We have found with clients, consistency is the number one key to business development.  Big, time consuming, action blitzes rarely happen.  Like the salesperson that is going to make 50 cold calls tomorrow, action blitzes are challenging to free up time for and to properly follow up.  The person or team that can take one action every workday are the stars.  This can be 3 cold calls a day, 1 alliance meeting per week, 2 coffee meetings with past clients, 1 modification to your service packages.  Small, achievable steps that get done, consistently.


The best person for business development in any company is the owner or President.  They carry the authority but typically also the belief, knowledge and enthusiasm clients and prospects love.  So we always ensure the President has a strong business development aspect to their weekly schedule.   We then say that most roles in the company can also have a ‘proportional’ business development function in their definition and schedule.   When many business development actions are spread across the whole organization, sales are plentiful and consistent.


Good business development is old school.  It is personal.  Effective business development is face-to-face, breaking bread, live on the phone and interactive.  It is NOT 1000 emails blasted out a week.  That is sales spaghetti that doesn’t stick.  So get in front of the people you know and people you want to know.  Look for sales but also look for long-term alliances, relationships and ways to jointly prosper.  Business development is about short-term action and long-term vision.

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