7 Strategies for Solid Growth of Business Development

business dev

B2B Business Development Strategy – An integral approach to grow your business (2020)

The following blog explores the nitty-gritty of B2B business development, what it encompasses, how different it is from sales & marketing, and various business development strategies for your company’s growth and success.

Let’s begin…

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When it comes to B2B organizational growth, it acts as the thread that ties together all of a company’s functions or departments. 

Eventually, helping a business expand and improve its sales, revenues, product offerings, talent, client service, and brand awareness. But how do you really define business development?

What is Business Development?

In the simplest terms, business development can be concluded as the collection of ideas, initiatives, and activities aimed towards your business advancement. 

This further includes increasing revenues, growth in terms of business expansion, booming profitability by building strategic partnerships and making calculated business decisions.

It is a process of taking your business a step ahead, by identifying new business areas, distribution channels, markets, and the like, by cultivating partnerships or commercial relationships with another company.

Thus, your business development strategy can be key to the success or failure of your firm.

Business Development vs Marketing

Historically, business development has been a subset of the marketing function that was focused on acquiring new marketing or distribution relationships and channels.

Marketing            vs            Business Development
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.Business development is the process of pursuing strategic opportunities by a company by developing new products, entering into new markets and forming business partnerships with other companies.
Types
Strategies enhancing product, price, promotion and place are marketing efforts.Product development, market development and business partnerships are business development efforts.
Cost and Time Frame
Marketing efforts are less costly and can last for a relatively shorter time frame than business development efforts.Business development is expensive and generally span over a longer time frame.

Business Development vs Sales

B2B Sales and Business Development are just two ways that are basically the part of the same activity that happens around the corner most of the time. 

But sales and business development should never be considered the same job at all. Instead, think of the two roles as complementary halves of a whole. 

  Sales                    vs                  Business Development
Sales is a segment of marketing. It is wholly concerned with closing a winning deal with the qualified prospects that come from your organization’s business development activities. Sales is about transactions, about selling a product or service to a client at an agreed price, by using different business strategies.Business development is a process of taking the business a step ahead, by identifying new business areas, distribution channel, markets, and the like, by cultivating partnership or commercial relationship with another company.
Types
Selling product, execution of plans, distribution of products and services are sales effortsLead generation nurturing, devising of the plan, business expansion and business partnerships are business development efforts.
Time Frame
The overall time horizon of sales is short Business development spans over a longer time frame.

Business Development Strategies:  (For the current times)

1. Checking the feasibility of the business model

business model

Considering that the market is constantly evolving every week (and for the worse), it is imperative to reconsider the existing business model and reassess where your business stands as per your assumptions concerning the revenue and cost. 

This is also a very crucial time to track current financial metrics and cash flow. Be mindful of what your runway is. 

B2B businesses need to evaluate the impact on new sales, collections, credit cycles, and potential bad debt as a part of your business development strategy.

2. Networking 

networking

Networking is probably the most universally used B2B business development strategy. 

It is constructed on the theory that professional services buying decisions are rooted in relationships, and the best way to develop new relationships is through face-to-face networking. This can happen in networking events.

It is certainly true that many relationships do develop in that way. So if you are networking with your target audience, you can surely develop new business. 

But there are limitations. Today, buyers are very time-pressured, and networking is time-consuming. It can be very expensive if you consider travel and time away from the office.

So, implementing newer digital networking techniques can help with the cost and time front. You can thus come up with various digital marketing strategies for your business development.

3. Outbound telephone and mail

mail and call

Professional B2B services firms have been using phone calls and mail to directly target potential clients for decades. 

Target the right firms and roles with a relevant message and you would expect to find new opportunities that can be developed into prospective clients.

There are a couple of key challenges with these strategies. First, they are relatively expensive, so they need to be just right to be effective. Second, if you don’t catch the prospect at the right time, your offer may have no appeal relevance — and consequently, no impact on business development.

The key approach is to have a very appealing offer delivered to a very qualified and responsive list through proper analysis and research.

RELATED POST: How To Change Your Prospecting Tactics During Covid-19

4. Tracking expenses against the revenue status

revenue status

During this catastrophe, it is of utmost importance for businesses to conduct a proper assessment of their fixed and variable expenses as well as the actual revenues for their business development.

This proper assessment will give you a clear picture of where a company stands financially and help the entrepreneurs in planning ahead in the current disconcerted market

This strategy can be implemented even when the pandemic effect settles.

5. Plan policies for next 3 months/ 9 months/ 18 months

Since it is tough to gauge how long this epidemic will last, it is vital to be prepared for all scenarios. 

If we consider it as a 3-month problem, an instant halt on variable expenditures like hiring, marketing, travel, etc. can help. 

However, if the crisis continues for 9 months to a year, entrepreneurs will have to reconfigure their B2B business strategy to reduce the variable expenses, renegotiate fixed expenses (rent, salaries, equipment lease payments, etc.), and focus only on the crucial essentials for survival. 

It may be a good idea to revisit your sales strategy – selling online versus in-person, as your business development plan. Analyze if you need to cut back or scale up on marketing costs. 

Some serious reconsiderations would be required if the effect of the pandemic continues for 18 months or beyond. B2B businesses will need to strategize, communicate, and act with compassion. You would require a revision of sales revenue goals and product timelines along with a new operating plan. 

In this case, B2B entrepreneurs and leaders will have to keep the communication transparent as much as possible with their investors and employees.

6. Thought leadership and content marketing

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Here, the strategy is to make your expertise visible to potential B2B buyers and referral sources. This is accomplished through writing, speaking, or publishing content that demonstrates your expertise and how it can be applied to solve client problems.

Books, articles, and speaking engagements have long been staples of professional services business development strategy. Many high visibility experts have built their practices and firms upon this strategy. It often takes a good part of a career to execute this approach.

But changing times and technology have reshaped this strategy. With the onset of digital communication, it is now easier and much faster to establish your expertise with a target market. 

Search engines have leveled the playing field so that relatively unknown individuals and B2B firms can become known even outside their physical region. 

Webinars, on the other hand, have democratized public speaking, and blogs and websites give every firm a 24/7 presence. Add in video and social media and the budding expert can access a vastly expanded marketplace.

But these technological developments also open firms to much greater competition as well. So, you may find yourself competing with specialists whom you were never aware of. 

The entire impact is to raise the stakes on your business development strategy which is possible through thought leadership and proper content marketing.

7. Referrals

referrals

The close acquaintances of networking, Referrals are often seen as the mechanism that turns networking and client satisfaction into a new business. 

Just like you establish a relationship, and that person refers to new business to you.  Satisfied clients do the same.

Clearly, referrals do happen, and many B2B firms get most or all of their business from them. But referrals are passive. They rely on your clients and contacts to identify good prospects for your services and make a referral at the right time.

The problem is referral sources often do not know the full range of how you can help a client. So many referrals are poorly matched to your capabilities. 

Other well-matched referrals go unmade because your referral source fails to recognize a great prospect when they see one. 

Finally, many prospects that might be good clients rule out your firm before even talking with you. One recent study puts the number at over 50%.

To your rescue, there are new digital strategies that can accelerate referrals. Making your specific expertise more visible is the key. This allows people to make better referrals and increases your referral base beyond clients and a few business contacts.

The Bottom Line:

Business development may be difficult to define concisely, but it can be easily understood using a working business model or concept. 

An open mindset, willingness for an honest and realistic self-assessment, and the ability to accept failures are a few of the skills needed for successful business development.

Our B2B Sales & Marketing Consultancy firm can help you in the ideation, implementation, and execution of a successful business development strategy to keep you ahead in the B2B business world.

Remember, the brightest minds in business development should be ready to accommodate the change in order to achieve the best results.
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