Strategic Business Development Opportunities
It’s no secret that today the business development strategies of businesses are changing. Old strategies that worked for many years are losing their effectiveness as the competition heats up.
In the business world, you’re only as good as the business development strategies you use. New tools and their rapid evolution have had an increasing impact on the way businesses are delivering their product and services.
Firstly, let’s look at the historical approach to business development.
Business Development for the Ages
Historically business development has been based around three stages being existence, survival and success.
Stage 1: Existence
In this stage the main problems of the business are obtaining customers and delivering the product or service contracted for. What is your targeted approach?
Stage 2: Survival
The business has enough customers and satisfies them sufficiently with its products or services to keep them. This is where companies get stuck. They are comfortable with where they are and don’t strategise, invest or take risks to go to the next level.
Stage 3: Success (maybe)
The decision facing owners at this stage is whether to exploit the company’s accomplishments and expand or keep the company stable and profitable. If you are no longer looking at growth or diversifying you are a sitting duck against the competition.
Now let’s look at 9 top strategic opportunities to prevent you from staying in the existence, survival or just succeeding stage.
9 Top Strategic Opportunities
1) Identify and Separate Business Development and Marketing
Starting by reviewing your business development and marketing strategies. As part of this approach we want to separate the business development responsibilities from marketing so there is cohesion but a distinct focus on each area of the business.
When we deal with business development, we speak about building and nurturing the relationships with potential clients, existing sources and strategic alliances. By contrast, the core efforts of marketing are about being visible as a business especially in the new digital world.
2) Ensure Business Development is a Key Part of Customer Engagement
The opportunity is to use business development as an important part of the customer relationship and client engagement process. As you learn more about your clients, your interaction should be more tailor-made and personal.
Personalised invitations to events especially run by yourself can generate great value and secondary contacts.
3) Implement ‘Attentional Leadership’
We are living in a time of enormous and constant demand on our time and our attention. While marketing is all about “getting attention,” business development is more about “giving attention.”
As content has grown increasingly abundant and immediately available, attention becomes the limiting factor in the consumption of information, including by your customers.
The leadership team needs to learn to give attention to your business connections in order to stand out in the marketplace.
4) Refine your Niche and Business Development Implementation
In a competitive marketplace, businesses are realising that one generic approach to win over customers does not work any longer. We need to apply a more effective approach by focusing on a narrower segment or group of customers to ensure success.
From a practical point of view, it is more efficient to invest your time in building relationships with a specific group of potential clients. Along the same approach it is better to build a narrow and deep approach to business development rather than being wide and shallow.
5) Understand your Business Development and Marketing Return on Investment (ROI)
Many businesses cannot pin point direct results and accurate ROI from each business development or marketing initiative within the company.
What we can measure we can track and what we can track we can deliver results on.
This is to ensure you understand what does and doesn’t work so there is no guess work. Increase focus on what works and end any project that does not bring measurable ROI. Some are more difficult to measure than others but everything has some form of measurement. We are not looking for 100% accuracy, we are looking for outcomes and results.
By doing this you will know your numbers. How often have you heard a business excelling in an area of the business but the overall profitability is not achieved. Once you can measure the positive areas in may uncover areas of the business that aren’t doing so well or where wastage exists.
The business development and marketing ROI numbers tell a story — and understanding the story behind your numbers can be one of the most important ingredients for long-term business success.
6) Switch from Company Focus to Customer Focus
Many businesses at some point get the opportunity to participate in a proposal to serve a customer with complex matters in their area of expertise. This is a great opportunity to boost your business development.
How? By taking a more strategic approach for these projects.
Instead of pitching only your specific capabilities or technical delivery, add more of your strategic approach to dealing with their needs. Convey that you not only understand complex problems but are here to help resolve these issues.
7) Create an approach incorporating Best in Practise Systems
Building a database through a lead generation system can be a great way to add value to your business.
Part of this system includes generating contacts through content distribution, in the right channels at the right time. Being able to track activities with key contacts, measuring the results in different stages of the client engagement process and analysing data to identify potential customers can really add long-term value.
8) Stand Out and Differentiate
If I ask you what you are known for, do you know the answer? Are you aware of your sustainable advantage?
Learn to stand out and differentiate your business by your innovative business development approach.
Focusing your business development efforts to help you stand out in the marketplace and get the right exposure will help you to both attract new customers and gain industry recognition.
9) Look for New Revenue Opportunities
Many of your connections, people in your network that like and trust you, are willing to pay you to share your knowledge, experience, and ideas with them.
You can learn how to effectively turn a cost centre like a technical department into a new profit centre serving your clients.
Historical business development applied through stages of a business is no longer enough. Macro-trends indicate that customers have made fundamental changes in the way they make decisions which has enabled businesses to embrace new approaches to business development.
What do these strategies mean for your business? Here are some key implications:
- The days of trying to be everything to everyone are numbered. The newer strategies favour the specialist.
- You need to combine both online and offline business development strategies. Do not ignore any of them as one leads to the next.
- Professional competence and excellent customer service are no longer enough — they are merely the cost of competing in your desired industry. Your company must develop a robust business development capability if it is to compete effectively.
We are confident that those owners and managers who best adapt their strategies to these market conditions and execute on the strategies described above will make the most progress in their business development evolution today and in the future.
Which of the nine strategies most appeal to you and where can you implement those strategies now? Share your thoughts and feedback so as business owners we can help each other out.
If your business needs guidance on business development strategies, contact the Cashflow Tech Systemz team at firstname.lastname@example.org