The strategies involved in business development vary from one organization to another because the needs of every organization are unique. Growth for a new start-up may involve improving branding and increasing customer acquisition. At the same time, established companies may focus more intently on developing new products or identifying ways to cut costs and increase profit margins.
Often placed under the same umbrella as sales, business development influences sales but is not directly concerned with closing deals and making sales. Instead, they assess company performance and develop strategies to achieve long-term growth and expansion. Meeting and exceeding revenue goals is only part of the equation. Business development leaders examine the bigger picture and pull together all aspects of the company in their efforts to achieve revenue goals and expand into new markets.
How can business development lead to business growth?
While the marketing department focuses on advertising and sales representatives strive to meet monthly quotas, a business developer looks at data and metrics from all areas of the company to identify strengths and weaknesses. They may recommend a change in marketing strategy, investments into employee training, or eliminating unprofitable investments. They can advise all aspects of the business on increasing the most important metric: the bottom line.
Advising Marketing Efforts – Marketing is concerned primarily with interfacing directly with customers and closing sales. However, by analyzing sales metrics, business developers can inform marketing teams about current trends in customer purchasing behavior, allowing marketers to develop campaigns to target a specific audience. These efforts may include altering or strengthening existing branding efforts. Business developers may also be instrumental in identifying untapped markets for current or future products. Seizing opportunities for market and product expansion can fuel future business growth.
Balancing Budgets – Successful business is based on an organization’s ability to maintain and increase healthy profit margins. Business developers can be instrumental in determining the best distribution of company funds, identifying products with the best return on investment or business ventures where costs may be exceeding benefits. Cutting costs while increasing profits and investing in more profitable endeavors assists in maintaining consistent growth and stability.
Networking – Building relationships with potential partners and clients is essential to business growth. Business developers sift through business contacts, identifying those most likely to yield strong partnerships or sales opportunities. These pivotal relationships may generate leads for marketers and sales representatives. Marketing, sales, and development teams should work closely with one another to take advantage of opportunities before they become stale.
What qualities should business development leaders possess?
Finding the best individual to lead your business towards growth and success is vital. Yet, due to the intense demands placed on business development leaders, these positions can be challenging to staff, and turnover rates can be high. When considering possible candidates, business owners may erroneously assume that gifted top performers understand how to lead others. However, the ability to complete a task effectively and the qualities required to lead a team are distinct and different. Instead of promoting a top employee to direct your business development team, consider partnering with an executive recruiter to seek talented individuals with the proper background experience and vital skills to spearhead these efforts.
- Curiosity – Understanding customer needs and motivations is key to laying plans for future business endeavors. Naturally curious individuals know how to ask intelligent, probing questions. The answers lead them to a greater understanding of customer needs and behaviors. They listen well to understand the impact of existing problems on business outcomes and seek inventive solutions.
- Customer-Focused – Building relationships and understanding your customer is the first step towards earning their trust and business. With a clear grasp of what they lack and how your organization can fill that gap, you can match your product and your sales approach to reach your audience in powerful ways.
- Inbound Marketing Expert – Technology offers abundant opportunities to reach your audience. Unfortunately, outreach emails, referrals, and ads are plentiful and often get ignored. Providing your target audience with valuable tools and information first creates a positive connection with them before you attempt to make any sales. Current market conditions lend themselves to individuals that can master this style of customer interaction.
- Originality – There are many tasks and skills that you can teach individuals. However, the ability to find unique, simple solutions to the complex problems standing between you and achieving your goals requires innate creativity and originality. Individuals who can dissect a complicated situation, identify the heart of the issue, and suggest realistic solutions are invaluable.
- People-Pleaser – It is always better to exceed customer expectations than to mop up after making a mistake. An adept business developer understands how to manage customer expectations effectively. Clearly communicating company values and culture creates an understanding between all involved parties. Being open and transparent with customers provides realistic expectations. Consistently meeting or exceeding such expectations builds a base of repeat customers.
Talented business development leaders are an invaluable resource for any business, as this individual stands at the helm directing efforts and suggesting course corrections as needed. Successfully achieving company goals and realizing desired growth and expansion depend on their ability to accurately evaluate situations and offer solutions. The individual that you hire to fill this position will have an unparalleled impact on your ability to achieve your business goals. Partnering with an expert in executive search can be a wise decision in hiring for this pivotal position.