How To Create An Effective Business Development Strategy

The Business Development Strategy is used to underpin your main Business Plan and essentially it sets out a standard approach for developing new opportunities, either from within existing accounts or by proactively targeting brand new potential accounts and then working to close them.

This document highlights the key issues you should consider prior to compiling your own plan and will hopefully guide you logically through a proven framework.

The key word is ‘Strategy’, because you are creating a workable and achievable set of objectives in order to exceed your annual target.

Your Starting Point:

The key words are Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why? How?

For example:

Who – are you going to target?

What – do you want to sell them?

Where – are they located?

When – will you approach them?

Which – are the appropriate target personnel?

Why – would they want to meet with you?

How – will you reach them?

If you have conducted regular account reviews with your key accounts during the previous twelve months, you should be aware of any new opportunities that will surface during the next twelve months. You will also, when assessing what percentage of your annual target usually comes from existing accounts, need to review data over the last two or three years. (It is likely that you can apply Pareto i.e. 80% of your business will probably come from existing accounts and in fact 80% of your total revenue will come from just 20% of your customers/clients)

You will be left with a balance – i.e. “20% of my business next year will come from new opportunities” – therefore you can then begin to allocate your selling time accordingly.

Ideal Customer Profiling:

Pro-active business development demands that we create an ideal target at the front end – i.e. an “Ideal Customer Profile.” The essential characteristics you will need to consider are:

– Industrial Sector

– Geographical Location (Demographics)

– Size of organizations (Turnover, number of employees etc)

– Financial Trends

– Psychographics – i.e. Philosophical compatibility

Many strategic sales professionals merely profile their best existing clients and try to replicate them – there’s nothing wrong with doing this but we should always remember that we are seeking an IDEAL and we can always improve on what we already have.

‘New’ Opportunities From Within ‘Old’ Accounts:

Because it costs approximately ten times as much, to first locate and then sell to a new customer as it does an existing one (although these costs are rarely reflected in the cost of sales), it is essential that we fully develop our existing accounts working upwards, downwards and sideways, thus making the most of the (hopefully) excellent reputation we have developed already.

Most corporate accounts have several divisions, departments, sites, even country offices and you must satisfy yourself that you have exhausted every possible avenue. Don’t be afraid to ask the question “Who else should I be talking to in your organization”?

This is an extract from my FREE eBook – “How to Construct an Effective Business Development Strategy” which is available for download – please see details below.

Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

Factors That Will Define Digital Strategy – 2013

As digital technologies continues to evolve at an accelerating pace, over the next few years we will see a complete transformation in the way people live their lives driven by the internet, smart phones and other mobile devices. And all this is going to impact the way organizations do business i,e their digital strategy.

As per world’s top notch digital strategy consultants and leaders it is the time to integrate all digital channel together to create a digital strategy and deliver a digital solution that will provide an optimal brand experience. According to a report by ZenithOptimedia, Internet advertising is forecasted to grow by 14.6% in 2013, while traditional media will only grow by 1.7%. This exemplifies the world wide adoption of digital technologies. From a perspective of a digital agency – 38% of agencies rate mobile optimization and content marketing as their top priorities this year as per a report by econsultancy.

There is no doubt that consumers are becoming more and more selective in making their buying decisions. Buyers chose the time and the channel through which they are going to interact with the brand, so it is getting increasingly difficult for brands to know how to best engage with potential buyers. Given below are some of the critical factors that will define the next generation digital solutions – from a digital strategy consulting point of view.

Social Data: One billion users in Facebook and half a billion in Twitter, so there is no denying the fact that social networks have firmly established themselves within the mainstream of digital marketing. The sheer number of users/audiences is impossible to ignore, thus 2013 will see social media optimization occupy a mammoth share of the overall marketing budget. But the real challenge for marketing experts and CMOs is to justify the ROI by realizing the value of the social data, customer insights and conversations that the social networking channels generate.

Activities like creating social media campaigns, building communities, creating shareable content, blogs, enabling social media functionality in corporate websites all will drive business value to organizations including generating referral traffic and improving brand engagement. In 2013 we are likely to see more adoption of social media solutions/monitoring tools/listening tools that will enable organizations to measure ROI and the business value that these initiatives bring to the organizations.

Search: Last year we saw huge number of searches in search engines, as the volume of searches increases, we see most of all search clicks coming from an organic link than from paid links. This means is that with more searches being made year-on-year, the volume of paid search clicks will also increase, which in turn means more money was invested in search advertising. Google, Yahoo, Bing are the powerhouses of search. But beign said so YouTube is now a highly popular search engine – with over 800 million unique monthly users. According to comScore, the total U.S. Internet audience watched 39 billion videos in September 2012, and U.S. Internet users watched online video content for an average of 23.3 hours for the month. According to YouTube, more than 4 billion videos are watched through their platform every day. Customers demand engaging videos which addressed their needs. The video strategy can be a game changer in 2013.

Mobile: Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80% of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smart phones. Marketers must recognize the unstoppable rise and development of mobile technologies and focus on strategies to leverage them.

Emails: With the increase of social media, content marketing and mobile usage, email marketing is also growing at an accelerating rate. 2013 will see even bigger adoption of email marketing by businesses.

Big data: This is the latest digital marketing buzzword, deriving meaning full customer insights from the plethora of information available will be the key.

Integrated Digital Marketing Solution – The Future of Marketing

According to digital marketing experts only one in five organizations are good in digital marketing. Lack of innovation and dearth of value-added thinking are challenged which organizations need to address and optimizing their digital operations remains a high priority.

The average marketing budget will increase by 6.3 % in 2013 – as per Aberdeen Business review (Aug, 2012). So where will marketing spend this budget in 2013? In most of the cases this can be a tricky question. However the most likely answer is that marketing will spend in whatever’s working. Best in class organizations are setting the pace for establishing consistent, measureable lead management processes, establishing marketing and sales alignment and systematic tracking marketing revenue performances. The need of the hour is expanding the utilization of marketing automation systems. Revenue Performance Management capabilities like a process to define ROI on marketing, cost of customer acquisition, and closed loop reporting which gives marketers ability to optimize lead management processes are being rapidly adopted. More and more companies have began to integrate social media with their demand generation and customer acquisition programs, the trend is that companies use social as a signal for lead scoring and content personalization.

As content marketing capabilities continue to mature, companies need to become more strategic in their implementation of content marketing. They need to align content to the buyer’s journey and measure its impact. Today’s dynamic marketing environments make it certain that marketers need to have much greater control on the content. As digital marketing experts try to understand how to transition to modern content marketing, the data gained from granular metrics is invaluable in a transition that meets the demand generation requirements of the business.

In order to overcome the challenges in managing the overall digital experience, marketers should think about their owned digital channels as a part of a unified marketing system – which is comprised of multiple best of breed digital platforms for web content management, marketing automation, CRM etc. All the platforms and technology should talk to each other as part of an integrated digital solution.

How to leverage an integrated digital solution:

The closed loop engagement cycle is the model used to gain customer understanding:

´ Use analytics and forms to capture behavior and profile

´ Analyze the customer context

´ Package the content to align with the customer context

Use the buying cycle to understand how, when and with what to engage prospects at each step of buying process:

´ Understand your customer’s mindset through the buying cycle journey

´ Determine the target groups within your audience

´ Understand and align the messages with the segment and their objections

´ Implement the multi-channel platforms

Leverage Digital Platforms to achieve multi-channel engagement that aligns with customer expectations and drives acquisition:

´ Leverage the Three Key Digital Platforms (CMS, Marketing Automation and CRM)

´ Integrated the three platforms to get a common view of the customer across all channels

´ Both web CMS and marketing automation enable marketers to define rules that govern what content is displayed in a context

´ Automate the engagement cycle

´ Nurture leads through the buying cycle to the point at which they are ready for sales

´ Deliver leads that are ready to engage with the sales team

Moreover as the dynamic of the digital marketing is continuously evolving, the digital solution must rely on user feedback and data analytics to adjust your message to fit the ever-changing demands of each segment of your target audience.

Business Development Strategies – 4 Stages You Need to Understand

Business Development Strategies are presented here as a measure of how businesses can grow and develop over time. In his book, “Fire, Aim, Ready”, Michael Masterson does a splendid job of explaining the problems, challenges and opportunities connected with each stage of business development.

Stage 1, Starting Out: You have just taken your business from an idea to actively running and developing a positive cash flow. ($0 – $1 million).

Main Problem: You really don’t know what you are doing.

Main Challenge: Making your first profitable sale.

Main Opportunity: Achieving a critical mass of customers.

Stage 2, The fast growth stage: Taking your business from the $1 million level to $2 million a year in profits. ($1 million to $10 million in revenue).

Main Problem: You are breaking even or may even be losing money.

Main Challenge: Creating many additional, profitable products quickly.

Main Opportunity: Increasing cash flow and becoming profitable. Being cost effective is key to profitability.

Stage 3, The adolescent stage: Take your business over the $10 million threshold with profits in the range of $2 million to $5 million. Revenue parameters are from $10 million to $50 million.

Main Problem: Your systems are strained and your customers are noticing.

Main Challenge: Turning chaos into order.

Main Opportunity: Learning how to establish useful protocols and manage processes and procedures.

Stage 4, The Stage of Maturity: Your business has now grown with revenues of $50 million to $100 million or higher.

Main Problem: Sales slow down or even stall.

Main Challenge: Becoming Entrepreneurial again.

Main Opportunity: Getting the business to run itself.

You may find that Business Development Strategies outlined herein may be relevant to you today. You may also find them to be more relevant at another time in your life. It is hoped that you will identify where your business is today and will make plans to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.