How Can I Succeed at ‘Business development’?

Business development has evolved into a title that combines marketing and sales. The drive to increase revenue or traffic relies on the business development role. There should be no confusion: Business development’s key criteria is to hunt and drive new business.

Organizations sometimes outsource key objectives of marketing through a third party agency, public relations or investor relations. Other organizations create a hiearchy in which this role is on the shoulders of a more senior sales professional who has the ability to create partnerships, discuss key business issues with clients.

Business Development tends to be much more relationship-based and less transactional than conventional selling.

Keep these 3 elements in mind:

1) Business Development deals are usually more complex and have a longer sales cycle
2) There can be strategic reasons for doing certain Business Development deals, such as partnering with potential acquisition suitors
3) Whereas, account manager, account executive, etc. are focussed on “farming” existing accounts or expanding business within key accounts or general customers.

4 strategies for the successful Business Development professional:

1) Define clear goals and metrics. Do you need to close three distribution deals? Is there a big partnership you’re gunning for? Know what’s important and how to prioritize.

2) Figure out who your referral partners and allies will be. These are people who naturally meet the kind of people you are trying to target. Meet with them periodically, and be sure you stay on top of their minds.

3) Diversify your network. All research shows the most powerful networks have a wide range of relationships, across sectors, functions, age groups, and so on. Don’t just meet with the same types of people.

4) Have a system. Relationships are a lot to manage, and the more relationships you’re trying to manage, the more difficult it becomes. Have something that records when you were last in touch with key contacts and when you need to reach back out. Take all the memory and leg work off of you.

Larry LaRose is the President of PNL Coaching, a firm providing corporate training and individual 1 on 1 coaching.

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