Due to the wide-open scope of business development and activities, there are no standard practices and principles. From exploring new opportunities in external markets to introducing efficiencies in internal business operations, everything can fit under the business development umbrella.
How To Build Business Development Skills
Business development professionals work to develop a company by evaluating their performance and looking for areas to improve. Improvement may come in the form of building and maintaining relationships with allies and partners, or it may involve identifying opportunities for growth in other channels. Working in business development offers growth potential and the option to have a fulfilling career.
Business development is the identification of long-term methods to increase value through the development of relationships, markets and customers. The core responsibility of a business developer is growing a business. Depending on the industry, the day-to-day tasks and strategies to achieve this goal will vary, but the overall mission remains the same.
While many business development roles require a degree, it depends on the company and position. In most cases, you’ll need experience in sales, marketing or business management. Certain skills are also vital to your success in this field, including those in sales, communication, negotiation, marketing, data analysis and project management. By building these skills, you can increase your chances of success in the field of business development.
Business development vs. sales
When trying to define business development, people may not know how to differentiate between their roles and the roles of salespeople. However, understanding business development involves looking at how the company can grow effectively. Although the sales team works to expand the company as well, business developers work with other potential partners and businesses, rather than direct customers.
If a company is seeking to expand and grow in other ways, business development opportunities may be the best solution. A skilled business developer can form and nurture long-term partnerships that lead to additional leads and closed deals. As a result, the business may be able to grow without the need for a massive increase in sales staff.
Business development focuses on the long-term success of a business and finding the best ways to achieve that success. By identifying and creating business development opportunities, companies can form relationships with partners that will help them through referrals for a longer period of time. For some companies, business development is the means that create long-term value.
Sales personnel focus on a particular market or a particular (set of) client(s), often for a targeted revenue number. In this case, business development assesses the Brazilian markets and concludes that sales worth 800.5 billion can be achieved in three years. With such set goals, the sales department targets the customer base in the new market with their sales strategies.
Marketing involves promotion and advertising aimed towards the successful sale of products to end customers. Marketing plays a complementary role in achieving sales targets. Business development initiatives may allocate an estimated marketing budget. Higher budgets allow aggressive marketing strategies like cold calling, personal visits, roadshows, and free sample distribution. Lower budgets tend to result in passive marketing strategies, such as limited online ads, print ads, social media ads, and billboards.
Strategic Initiatives or Partnerships
To enter a new market, will it be worth going solo by clearing all required formalities, or will it be more sensible to form a strategic alliance or partnership with local firms already operating in the region? Assisted by legal and finance teams, the business development team weighs all of the pros and cons of the available options and selects the one that best serves the business.
Does the business expansion require a new facility in the new market, or will all the products be manufactured in the base country and then imported into the targeted market? Will the latter option require an additional facility in the base country? Such decisions are finalized by the business development team based on their cost- and time-related assessments. Then, the project management/implementation team swings into action to work towards the desired goal.
How Can Sales And Business Development Better Work Together?
Clearly define what BDRs and SDRs do
To give you a practical example, when I was a BDR for a SaaS company, I was only in charge of sending the first emails and would then pass the lead to sales. The problem was, my AE thought I was going to follow up on those leads.
Make your ideal customer profiles visible
If you haven’t already done so, make sure you do thorough user research and create your ideal customer profile. This research will highlight details about your audience that you can use for everything from marketing to ads to content creation and, of course, to find new clients.
Organize regular alignment meetings
Create experience-sharing moments
Link part of the bonus to team performance
While this may work for AEs, it forces BDRs to focus solely on their number. As a result, they’re likely to develop lower quality leads — pushing leads regardless of quality, resulting in lower conversions and sales at the end of the pipeline.
Base part of the individual bonus on the team’s performance. With this approach, the team must work together to get the bonus. Since they depend on one another to hit the numbers, they’ll coordinate activities and push harder when they fall short of their goals.
The Future Of Business Development
Business development is a powerful tool for business growth — but not everyone understands it. As a result, it’s somewhat underrated and unappreciated. And the fact that it’s so closely tied to sales (but isn’t sales) creates even more confusion.
We are now at a stage where business development is defining its borders. Companies are investing in this role to stay ahead of the competition. According to the 2020 Future of Jobs Survey by the World Economic Forum, business development positions are the sixth most in-demand emerging job roles, where data scientists came in first.
Changes in customer behaviors make business development vital. People now have plenty of ways to find (or not find) your company, and business development is the only role that’s tasked with following the trends and finding new channels to connect with prospects.
It needs to work closely with other departments to get access to the right resources and make things happen — especially sales, since they are the ones who ultimately turn business development into revenue.