The business development goal of “getting us more customers” is becoming more challenging because B2B customers are more connected to more information earlier in the business development process than ever before. To succeed you need to market what you know not just who you are.
More than who you know – it’s what you know that counts
Traditionally business development required a large rolodex of personal contacts and enough charisma to network with those contacts 5-7 days a week. However it is no longer just about who you know (although it still very important). What you know and how you connect what you know with the buyers in your market have become the keys to business development success. The IT Sales and Marketing Association (ITSMA) has done a great job of profiling this change for technology buyers in their study “How Customers Choose Solutions Providers”. And cross-category data from MarketingSherpa, Sirius Decisions as well as BrainRider’s client experience indicates that this trend applies to other solution oriented businesses including: professional services, agencies, high-tech, software, specialized manufacturing, etc.
The result is that traditionally defined business development roles are no longer equipped to deliver. Here is a quick look at how to redefine business development for your business.
Business Development Objectives, Responsibilities & Capabilities
The objectives of business development have not changed: building relationships, attracting new customers, opening new markets, and business growth. But the strategies, execution, areas of knowledge, and skills required include new approaches to content, programs, and tools. Specifically a business development leader has the following responsibilities:
- Defining the business you are in and how to position it in your market
- Identifying customer pains and needs
- Articulating your value proposition against those pains and needs
- Understanding what your customer wants to know at each decision stage during their buying process
- Prioritizing how to use customer intelligence to connect with your markets and generate more business
- Evaluating and reporting on performance
Along with management and pitching skills creating business development success requires the following specific capabilities:
- Content: producing marketing and sales materials that are findable, relevant, and valuable from a customer point of view
- Programs: promoting your business through the most effective channels and measuring results in order to optimize your performance
- Tools: from updating your website to using databases that track business development activity to analytics that measure performance