Designing a business development strategy for your company

16 November 2020

Every business has plans for growth. Bringing in new clients, scaling up the work of existing ones and taking on new staff to fulfil demands. But how do you go about that task? Where do you start, what do you need to decide on and what is the timeline associated with it? It all begins with a business development strategy.

Implementing a business development strategy

Having a business development strategy is essential for every business that is in the market for generating leads and closing deals. Plans should provide a degree of structure to networking ventures, highlight targets to work towards and outline the best practices to ensure visible success.

To support you on your journey, we’ve outlined 9 steps to help you create and structure your business development plan.

1.    Define who your ideal client is

Ideal client profiling enables you to segment your audience and identify your best set of customers. This is an essential part of tailoring your outreach and networking strategy, helping you to identify those who will serve a purpose for your business. By establishing early on who your ideal client is, and why you want to work with them, you will save valuable time when you are out prospecting.

2.    Set targets and constantly review them

Without knowing what your objective is, how are you ever going to reach it?

Make sure that you are constantly setting clear targets that are going to test you, but are also achievable. Once you have set your goals for a certain period, work on your strategic plan of action to best deliver against those objectives. Review your targets on a regular basis to give you an indication of how you are growing and progressing.

Writing a checklist

3.    Deal with decision-makers

Make sure you identify the individuals in an organisation that can sign off on a deal in the initial stages of outreach, and spend more time upfront getting to the right people. By establishing this early on, you will save a lot of time on the back end of a deal.

4.    Know your client inside out

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Find out absolutely everything there is to know about the company before you start outreaching. Use all the resources available to you, such as reviewing recent news articles about the company and looking up their teams’ LinkedIn profiles. Showing your prospect that you are interested, and have invested the time before even meeting them, will go a long way.

5.    Ask, don’t talk

The single biggest mistake a lot of us make in business development is that we invest so much time talking about how great our products and services are, that we forget to ask our prospects what they are looking for / what they need / about the problems they are currently facing. Without knowing these pieces of information, how are you ever going to provide the solution to their problems?

6.    Manage your follow-up process effectively

This is where you really need to take charge! Don’t be nervous, be the person pushing forward the communications and setting the ‘rules’ of the exchange. Why? Because your potential client has 101 other competing priorities and you don’t want to be put on their ‘to do’ list. You want actions to be taken when you require them. Be proactive, but respectful in doing so.

Women on phone while on the laptop

7.    Keep the energy levels up throughout the process

It’s easy to be proactive and engaged in the beginning stages of a new business conversation, but when the ‘back and forth’ emails begin, or when the solicitors are reviewing contracts, it’s easy to take our foot off the gas. In fact, this is where the deal requires the most energy so don’t stall now! Push on, show your continued enthusiasm and make this deal yours.

8.    Be a consultant, not a salesman

We all enjoy buying. But we often don’t like feeling as though we’ve been sold to. Use this to your advantage.

The difference between a consultant and a salesman is that a consultant will take a strategic approach to selling, offering as much value as possible through developing an understanding of the prospect’s pain points. A salesman on the other hand, is more forceful in their approach, and will constantly push to close a deal. They have more of a focus on the features rather than the benefits of their service and this can be off-putting for clients.

9.    The sale only begins once the deal is signed

Yes, lots of hard work went into getting the contacts signed, but now comes the real challenge of exchanging value. You need to ensure that you and your team deliver the best possible offer with first-class customer service. It’s too easy to get carried away and excited about making a sale, without it yet having gone through. Remember, it’s only done once the dotted line has been signed…

Two men shaking hands

Growth is at the heart of our team. We’re always looking for new opportunities to widen our client base and deliver invaluable results across our specialist areas of digital marketing. If you’re in the market for an agency to help you, it could be a match made in heaven. Get in touch with a member of our business development team!