Business Development for 2011 and Beyond
‘Competence and efforts in business development has proven to be the main deciding points for a business to grow and survive or struggle, fail and possibly close’
By Michael Marshall, PhD (AskTheBusinessDoctor.com)
In this article we will focus on business to business
This subject is worthy of a series of workshops and college level courses.
I will abbreviate much and just discuss a few highlights to this dynamic and important subject.
The majority of businesses that are struggling do so primarily due to lack of business development.
Business development refers to developing business with new customers and clients in new niche markets as well as expanding business with existing customers and clients meeting more of their needs.
It is safe to say that most attempting business development are failing in both their efforts and their lack of competence.
The lack of competence is common with business management and leaders as well as the staff.
The majority of businesses struggle with this.
Recently I spoke with a president of a company that discussed with me about their need for more competence and more effective efforts in business development and their need for staff with competence in business development.
He was fearful of going out of business if they did not improve on this.
He recognized the need for new customers and clients in new niche markets and expanding capabilities, products and services to meet new applications and needs.
This president went on to say that he personally has tried to do business development but has failed due to lack of competence in it.
The he tells me how he is determining what skills and type of individual is needed to fill a position for business development in his company.
You tell me: Do see a real problem with this situation?
Hint: The blind leading the blind
For business development to be effective significant change management is needed to support such and to integrate competence and efforts into the business organization at all levels.
Foundations to business development include:
1. Competence in business development
2. Aggressive efforts that are effective
3. Integrating competence and efforts to all levels of a business organization
4. Reliability of products and services
5. Products and services that are marketable to markets and not obsolete with little demand
6. Business ethics
7. Attitudes and willingness to expand capabilities, products and services
8. ‘Creativity’, ‘Out of the Box Thinking’, Forward Thinking’
9. A research and investigating mentality
10. An attitude of how the business organization can accomplish things, meet challenges new needs and opportunities instead of why they cannot
To uncover needs, new opportunities in new niche markets and then work the issues over time to hopefully lead to sales revenue is a risk and does cost money.
Without aggressively doing so has a bigger risk for the business struggles to get worse leading to failure.
If you are not willing make positive efforts with competence, another competitor will come along and do so to put you out of business.
It is this simple.
Business development starts with a research and investigative approach and utilizes ‘creativity’, ‘out of the box thinking’ and ‘forward thinking’.
This makes sense when new customers and clients in new niche markets with new applications and new opportunities is what is being searched for and is the goal.
Cold calling is a requirement which requires special skills and talent.
Most fail at this.
Cold calling is often screened by fellow company staff and can hinder getting the appropriate individuals to cold call.
With downsizing, staff do not have time to receive cold calling inquiries even if the information is important and of value.
An approach that does seem to be effective is cold calling to network to individuals for fundamental research about the targeted company or business, key contact names and to uncover needs and pain points. The main reason for the cold calls is ‘research’.
After needs and pain points and key contacts are uncovered, a call via networking and establishing referrals internally is effective.
Internal referrals and internal networking along with significant insights and knowledge to the clients’ needs and pain points is very powerful.
This business to business approach can be utilized internationally but it is important to know there are very sensitive matters that are culture driven. In some countries, such an approach will insult senior management and alienate them and get the lower level staff in trouble and possibly terminated.
You need to be sensitive to this international difference and be utmost careful to prevent any such damage.
There are many sources available to uncover a wealth of new markets and new opportunities to target.
1. Visit numerous trade shows and investigate (be creative, outside the box thinking and forward thinking)
2. Participate and exhibit in numerous niche market trade shows
3. Professional trade associations; utilize for information and possibly become a member and network
4. Advertise in niche markets publications with the message of seeking new applications
5. Possible PR and write some articles for niche market publications
6. Efforts and competence of such needs to be in all your organization’s marketing communications, website, correspondence, trainings, and internal operations, goals, objectives and all efforts
7. U.S. Commerce Department to help expand business internationally
The old and obsolete sales and marketing approach used to be;
‘Are you a farmer who nurtures customers or are you a hunter looking for customers’?
In 2011 and beyond a new dimension is added that is;
‘Are you business development competent with a research and investigative mindset with appropriate skills to do so’?
Anyone using the old phraseology and approach is obsolete and in need of new training and education. Their skills and knowledge are in need of upgrading. Most likely they are part of your problem.
It is important to recruit, hire and retain individuals with competence in business development that have the expertise outlined in this article.
A business organization’s competence in business development must be significantly increased at all levels.
Everyone key to such efforts need to participate in formal training and education in this. This includes president and CEO. Since their responsibility is to lead then lead with competence.
Utilize local college and university courses in business development.
Hire an outside professional consultant and advisor specializing in business development to come in to train, coach and advise.
With business development, ‘Competence is golden and currently there is not a lot of gold lying around business organizations’.
This can be improved.
Hopefully this article helps you develop some gold reserves.
Feel free to contact me directly for more information.
Michael has 25 years of business experience in numerous markets with a variety of products and services. Prior to his extensive business career, he was a behavioral health counselor.
His education includes a PhD in business, MBA, BS degrees in psychology and social human behavior, Federal International Business Certification, and over 34 other advanced certifications in; business management, business development, sales, marketing, marketing communications, customer service, product management and development, training and business strategy.
Michael currently has 28 business publishing’s on various business subjects, internationally.
His passion is ‘Business Development’ and ‘Creatively Finding Ways to Grow the Business’ using his psychology and behavioral health background and training.