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Business Development Collaboration? Never really heard of this term before or there is not much information on this particular topic…It is something that not many firms are putting into use yet but time and technology has proven its ability to be a highly effective method in business development.
When we talk about business development, we are talking specifically more on how internal teams can work with one another to bring the sales revenue in – separating and distinguishing the difference between successful and uber-successful, superstar firms.
Usually in every firm, the sales team is the one mainly responsible for bringing the business in and hence the most highly valued in the whole firm. But look at it this way – before the business comes in, it could be possible that the new potential prospect called and made an enquiry on your firm’s products and services or the newly clinched sale prospect called and asked about billing of the invoice. In both cases, the customer service and billing departments would be involved.
If they should encounter a bad experience at any point of time, it could burn the opportunity of clinching a sale or further sales with the new client. You must be thinking “The business development team knows what we are doing and our marketing is top notch, right?”. What if you could double the closing speed with half the effort? Wouldn’t it make hitting targets so much easier just like taking a walk in the park?
Let’s expound on this further. Imagine an important contract is up for renewal and this renewal could affect your bonus for this year and hence getting your new fancy automobile. The client has gone silent, refusing to reply to your text messages, calls or emails.
Plus there is so much stiff competition from other information technology (IT) firms, you really have no idea whether the client would continue to choose your firm as their preferred IT services provider.
As staff members rallied together and discussed the issue, they realized that their head of customer service actually had a personal relationship with the client’s head of IT operations after knowing each other at a business conference. The head of customer service engaged and identified service issues that could have cost the firm millions in lost business.
Now that you understand how a business development collaboration could improve your business revenue, let’s break it down further into 4 most important pillars to get you started:
1. Business development is an organizational mission
You have gotta come to terms with this notion that business development is an organizational mission instead of an individual or departmental one. The saying “Teamwork makes the dream work” definitely rings true!
You need to decide from top down, that your firm will empower strategic partners, employees and business colleagues to drive business growth by using their combined networks of influence. Create systems and processes as well as address personnel or obstacles that stand in the way.
2. Circles of influence
The circles of influence are not to be overlooked and what are they? They are Networks of Influence (NOI), Community of Influence (COI) and Event Engagement Influence (EEI).
NOI – popular networking social media like LinkedIn and Twitter offers powerful insight on the relationship between a firm’s employees and its prospects.
Eg. A mid-sized catering firm penetrated a major fintech company after its head of business development noticed a mid-level employee engaging directly with the prospect’s VP of operations, whom she had met at a business conference.
COI – face to face interaction remains crucial to business development success. However, advancing technology like the internet eliminates the prospect’s need for such communication in many stages of the sales cycle.
Thus our reliance on communities such as interest groups or non profit organizations, is key to bringing people closer together than ever before.
EEI – events are another important driver for face to face connections. Always do up your homework or action plans before an event, during an event and after an event.
They are foundational to your event strategy, especially what you do after an event because after all, that is the most important stage to gaining a return on your action plan and engagement. Being prepared is half the battle won.
3. Prospect relationship maps (PRMs)
Leveraging relationship-building activities such as NOI and COI will increase the potential entry points into many prospect organizations. Developing a formal process for PRMs serves as a powerful account-based strategy because they dive into many aspects – prospect companies, their employees, work history and social media profiles etc. This paves for a smoother highway to success.
4. Strategic Advisory
The benefits of consultative selling are well documented and your prospects can definitely benefit from this. There are many subject matter experts, data and intellectual property at all levels in your firm.
Developing a strategy and process to deliver this data in layman terms be it using an advisory board or digital marketing, adds value to your prospects on an ongoing basis and will reap its harvest when the closing of a sale is at hand.
Business development collaboration makes or breaks the company and revenue in the long term. Practising all these deliverables with well planned execution will put you in a more favourable position with prospects, stakeholders and clients. It ensures longevity to continued business success – like a tree, planting its roots in the ground and grows strongly with lush green leaves no matter the season.