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When did 'business development' become another name for lead generation? For me it covers the whole business and involves everyone from marketing to your supply chain. It seeks the best way forward for your business and helps you achieve it. It has much, much more value than lead generation.

The business development team has four tool kits:

the four tools of a business development team - understanding, planning, implementing and confirming

Understanding

If you want to grow your business, start by understanding what you sell today and what your competitors do. Then work out what you want your business to be and how you will get there.

You have a few options:

  • develop new products and services
  • improve products and services
  • lower prices or change your marketing
  • Or improve customer experience!

We will call these options ‘solutions’ in the rest of this post.

Planning

Despite what we will soon say about plans, you have to plan. Only planning sets you off on the right track. Further more, only planning lets your team know what they have to do. So, set your objectives (outcomes) and detail and test your solutions. Now, decide how to implement your chosen solutions. Consider resources, risks and the people whose jobs will change. Scheduling (aka building a Gantt chart) comes in the next phase.

Implementing

Build your schedule by agreeing who will do what (tasks) and when. But remember, your plan will not survive contact with reality. So, as you implement your solutions, support your team and adjust your plans to succeed.

Confirming

Ask if you have achieved your objectives. If you have, celebrate success and get ready to do some more.

In a moment, we will touch on what to do if your tasks don’t deliver your objectives.

Do we start by understanding and end by confirming?

Sadly not, developing your business never ends and sometimes you have to step back.

You can’t afford to plough through your plan in the hope the world has stood still. So recheck your understanding. As a result, you will cancel some objectives and tasks will change midstream. Most importantly, new opportunities will come from nowhere and pass you by if you don’t look up once in a while.

Your team and competitors will have new ideas. And then you will have to test new solutions and replan.

We have mentioned that your plans will change. But you may finish your tasks and find you haven’t realised the benefits you wanted. In this case you may take remedial action or go back to ‘understanding’.

Nor should you bound your plans within your business year. Doing so doesn’t allow for the ties between your tasks. It can squish some jobs into impossible time frames and give others unsuitable freedom.

But most of all it is cross-functional

A single team cannot own, let alone do, business development on their own. What you want your ‘business development’ team to achieve? How would including others help?

This blog examines customer experience and its relationship to business performance.

If you would like to share your thoughts, please comment or head over to my contact page and to get in touch.

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