Business development is the process of identifying, encouraging, and acquiring new customers and business opportunities to drive organizational growth and increase profits. It's the key to transforming your business into one with strong relationships, promising prospects, and higher revenues. To create a successful business development strategy, it's essential to understand the four stages of business development - startup, growth, maturity, and renewal or decline. The first step is to identify your ideal audience.
Focus on specific companies, industries, or people who are sure to push your business forward. Quality is more important than quantity: a large audience isn't always necessary, but a high-performance audience is always necessary. Keep in mind that successful business development doesn't happen overnight; strong relationships can take months or even years to turn into a sale. Once you have an answer to these questions, you can start analyzing your competition.
Identify what differentiates you from your competitors and leverage that difference as your competitive advantage when communicating your value to potential customers. Once you've identified your target audience, learned everything there is to know about them, and established an action plan to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you can begin to outline the channels you'll use to reach your goal. This involves evaluating your total revenue goals for the year and describing the specific methods you'll use to achieve those goals. These channels are described in the main business development strategies and tactics you can use to generate new business. The most common business development strategies are a combination of networks, referrals, advertising, and content marketing.
It is through the strategic use and leveraging of these outreach tactics that companies foster successful business relationships and partnerships. Networking is the most commonly used business strategy. It's based on the theory that decisions to purchase professional services are based on relationships of trust, and the key to better developing new relationships is through the creation of face-to-face networks. While many business relationships continue to develop that way and the benefits of creating direct networks with your target audience are still valuable, networking can be an outdated practice in today's market if used improperly. Modern buyers and prospects are pressed for time more than ever before, so creating face-to-face networks is a time-consuming process. It can also be expensive if travel and time away from the office become commonplace.
Companies can use new digital networking techniques to help cover costs and time, reducing networking to a digital outreach strategy rather than a regular face-to-face meeting, but even social media requires an investment of valuable time and attention that can be lost if misused. Closely related to networking are referrals; referrals are one of the most powerful tools for generating new leads for any organization. Referrals are based on trust; when someone refers a product or service they have used themselves or have heard good things about from someone they trust, it carries more weight than any other form of advertising or marketing. The scope of business development is wide and varies from organization to organization. In general, professional services organizations generate new business following a three-tier funnel approach. The first two stages are attracting leads and generating engagement, which are traditionally marketing functions.
The third and final stage - Converting Opportunities into Customers - is traditionally a sales function. In this structure, the business development plan would consist of looking for new sales and distribution channels as well as new marketing partners. This is an example of strategic business development; strategic business development aims to align business development processes and procedures with the company's strategic business objectives. The goal is to acquire the ideal customers for the organization's highest priority services achieved through the use of brand promises that you can keep. For each channel you have set S. M.
A. R. T objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-related) that will help you measure and track your progress. Your overall business development objective doesn't necessarily have to be directly linked to generating profits and revenues but there should be a component that aims to introduce new leads into your company's sales funnel. When a strategy is solid enough for the company's objectives and well implemented it has the potential to drive high levels of growth and profitability for the company.
However a flawed strategy and implementation can hamper growth and frustrate the best employees and the most valuable talent; that's why it's essential to have a thorough understanding of the business development strategies that produce the best results for your company and how to integrate them into your business development plan as a whole.