I personally consider business development to be far more than a glorified sales role. Good business development considers all aspects of a business in order to improve sales, customer experience and profits.
It is definitely NOT just about increasing leads and conversions. It is about developing a sustainable, consistent and profitable business.
Therefore Business Development covers Product, Pricing, Promotion and People.
As I’m sure you know, a business needs to have a product that sufficient customers want, and has sufficient profit margin to achieve desired financial goals.
Business development around products is about identifying what the target market wants, how it wants it packaged and delivered and staying on top of changing customer demands. It includes market research, product development and testing.
Businesses need to get their pricing right otherwise sales and workloads can go up but profit in the bank doesn’t budge or even goes down.
Business development must confirm that profit margins on products are accurate and price to the customer is appropriate. If necessary it includes looking for ways to decrease the costs to produce and deliver the product.
I see many businesses just guessing and selling unprofitable products – even wasting money on marketing that just increases sales of products that cost the business money. Getting the pricing right is one of the easiest and quickest ways a business development manager can improve profits.
Business development includes a diverse range of strategies to promote the business, the quality, the benefits and products. For example in my career as a BDM I’ve used everything from advertorials, radio interviews, tradeshows, TV, networking, conferences, social events, door to door sales, point of purchase displays, presentations, mailouts, newsletters, competitions, social media etc etc.
There are some fundamentals that don’t change but there are also continuously changing strategies thanks to advances in technology and social media.
The good news is that most businesses drop the ball on the fundamentals which are easy to fix – whereas high tech promotion via SEO, online marketing etc can be a bit fuzzy and hard to grasp.
I believe to be effective in business development you HAVE to be good at gaining the trust and cooperation of your colleagues. It is a team effort.
You have to be a good reader of people and understand their decision making preferences and how they like to be presented to.
You also need to be good at motivating the team, getting customer service or accounts or manufacturing on board with your new plan or improvement, especially if they perceive it to be making their job harder!
Business development is about making sure the right people are in the right role and they have clear goals and systems to deliver what they need to. And adequate training.
Effective business development is recognising that success is a mindset. In fact I suggest mindset accounts for 80% of your success in business development. Therefore a good business development person never stops learning, never stops looking for a better way, welcomes feedback and continually seeks to improve.