What is the Role of a Business Development Professional?

What is the Role of a Business Development Professional?

If you are considering hiring a business development professional for your company, or if you have recently been put in charge of business development, it can be difficult to know exactly what that job entails. If you aren’t sure what the role and responsibilities of a business development professional are, it will be impossible to hire the right person for the job or get the job done yourself.

As with any position, a complete and detailed job description is essential. Coming up with a list of requirements that a business development professional must fill is the best way to ensure that the job gets done right.

Business development involves increasing the exposure of a company while enhancing that company’s public image so that it attracts more business. In order to do this, there are five general areas that a business development professional must concentrate on:

1. Market Research. If you don’t know where your company currently stands and/or where it is headed, you need to—quickly. The first step is finding out exactly what the company’s target audience looks like. This involves gathering specific information about the company’s geographic market, as well as the specific industry and market trends in that area.

2. Competitive Analysis. In order to achieve your desired market position and share, you need to know your competitors. What do they offer clients that you can offer? How can you bring more value to your target audience so that they will chose you over the competition?
Current Client Assessments. Before you can secure new clients, you need to know how you are viewed by current customers. This involves things like warm calling or sending out customer surveys to gage satisfaction with your product and services.

3. Prospective Client Assessments. To assess where you stand with prospective clients, approach these prospects through things like email marketing and cold calls. Further, keep in mind that it may take more than one touch to get the information you require so follow-up is crucial.

4. Networking. New business development involves a lot of networking. Exhibitions, seminars, conferences and tradeshows are great places to show off your company, connect with current customers and meet new ones. If you find yourself spending a majority of your time in the office, you probably aren’t getting the job done.

Business development is a challenging role but its rewards are great. The most successful business development professionals are willing to get out there, get their company noticed and bring in the number and type of clients necessary for success.

Understanding the Difference Between Sales and Business Development

Understanding the Difference Between Sales and Business Development

Sales, marketing and business development. They are all the same, right? Actually, no. Sales, marketing and business development are all very different tasks and it is important to know how they differ from one another so that your business is as successful as possible.

While many small businesses, out of necessity, may have just one person in charge of sales, marketing and business development tasks, it is still important to differentiate between the three job descriptions because each job has a very different objective, as shown here:

  • Business Development: An individual in charge of business development identifies and implements new areas of business. These include things like new distribution channels, new markets and/or new products. Those in business development never sell a particular product or service.
  • Marketing: A marketing professional will attract customers by identifying the needs of a certain type of customer. Marketing is a means of working toward the goal of getting products sold to customers. It also plays a role in gathering and confirming the particular features or benefits of a product or service that is desired by customers.
  • Sales: In the most basic terms, sales means transactions. A sale is what happens once a customer has been identified. A salesperson is responsible for selling a product or service at a determined price.

Here is another way to look at it. New business builds or creates new buildings. Marketing gets people through the door. Sales gets people from the door to the cash register. Sales professionals should always be closing but new business development professionals should always be opening!

If you are a business development professional you need to be able to look out for the needs of the entire company for which you work. Much of your day-to-day tasks will be spent with managers from different departments and helping them prepare for presentations, for example.

Business development and sales professionals are two parts of a whole. They both work to grow a business but they do it in different ways. Only when they do it correctly, however, will a business grow and flourish.

Connecting with Prospects Over the Phone

Connecting with Prospects Over the Phone

Sales calls can be difficult for even the most seasoned salesperson. However, those who are the best at making sales over the phone care less about making a sale and more about getting to know the person on the other end of the line.

The first thing you need to do when talking with a prospect over the phone is to find out where his or her priorities lie. This can be very difficult because as a salesperson, your first inclination is usually to tell a prospect what an outstanding product or service you are selling.

While it may seem unnatural at first, it is essential to allow prospects to do most of the talking. That’s because if you don’t give a prospect the opportunity to speak, you will never know what he or she wants or needs. When you do begin to talk, you should focus on asking probing questions.

It is unrealistic to expect that every call you make will end up in a sale, but there are ways to become more successful over time.

    1. Begin on a positive note. Research shows that when you begin a telemarketing conversation on a positive note, you drastically increase your chances of making a sale. Instead of beginning a call with phrases like, “I know you’re swamped,” try something more upbeat such as, “Great weather we’re having.”
    1. Never bad mouth competitors. Psychologists tell us that when someone says something negative about a competitor (or anyone for that matter), the person listening tends to, consciously or unconsciously, project those negative attributes onto the person talking.
    1. Focus on the details. Instead of talking in general about a product or service you are selling, speak specifically about the features and capabilities that will directly benefit your prospect.
    1. Ask how the prospect wants to move forward. Find out when and how your prospect wants to be contacted going forward. It is important that you allow the prospect to have some control instead of you always leading the way.
  1. Create an atmosphere of mutual respect. Instead of viewing yourself as less important than a prospect, always set a tone of mutual respect. This sense of respect will go a long way toward building strong relationships that ultimately lead to sales.

How to Reduce Customer Churn

How to Reduce Customer Churn

Do your customers have commitment issues? If you have a high churn rate, you may be wondering if it is something you are doing or if your customers are just flaky.

You may never know why customers decide to cancel an order or discontinue your professional relationship. However, if your churn rate continues to rise, you need to take a hard look at how you can reverse this trend. If you don’t, you may soon find yourself without any customers at all.

If you are looking for ways to boost customer loyalty, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Communicate. While no one wants constant calls and emails, if the only time you communicate with your customers is when you want to sell them something this is a problem. Consider follow-up telemarketing calls after customers have made a major purchase to find out if they have questions or are satisfied with their purchase.
  2. Focus on Your Weaknesses. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your products or services. Figure out what you can be doing better and make it your mission to improve. Further, make sure you are open to change.
  3. Look Over Your Shoulder. Always keep an eye on the competition. Check out what they are doing and see if you can incorporate some of those things into your business strategy. It is also important to remember that your competition is always looking to poach your best ideas so keep on your toes.
  4. Do What You Do Best. If you are known for your outstanding customer service, quick turnaround or flawless products, you need to work hard to make sure that you never ever let a customer down in the area where you really shine. If a customer comes to you because you always deliver faster than everyone else, the one time you don’t deliver on time may be the last.
  5. Find Out Why a Customer Moved On. When a customer returns a product or stops doing business with you, do your best to find out why. Consider calling the customer or sending them an email asking for their feedback. Many customers appreciate the opportunity to give you constructive advice. And even if they have nothing good to say, you can learn from negative feedback, as well. Finally, they may be so impressed that you care that they give you a second chance.

No one likes to lose a customer but the secret to lowering your churn rate is to find out why customers are leaving and make the necessary changes. Likewise, if your customers are happy, you need to keep them that way so they will remain loyal for years to come.