Did your 2009 business development strategy work like you hoped? Will you use the same strategies in 2010, or are you going to analyze, learn from your failures (and victories), and adapt?
Learning and adapting is usually a good idea, particularly if your results weren’t as you expected. But what are the best ways to learn from your mistakes, plan, and adapt to a new market condition?
This post explores how some of the smartest small companies in the Baltimore, Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia markets are planning their 2010 business development strategies.
The tried and true. There are certain business development strategies that just plain work and I’ll go over some of them below. These are things that have been working since the beginning of (business) time and they will very likely continue to be effective until the end of (business) time.
If you are not currently using these strategies in a consistent and meaningful way, I very strongly recommend that you start.
Find your ideal customers. With the gigantic number of sales prospects available to almost any company, it doesn’t make sense to target any that are less-than-ideal for you. If you haven’t already, take the time to define your perfect customer in very specific terms.
- What industry are they in?
- What customers do they serve?
- How many people do they employ?
- How much revenue do they generate?
- Where are they located physically?
To get started, take a look at some of your existing customers that you consider to be a really good fit for your company. What are some of their characteristics?
Don’t overlook existing clients. When people think of business development strategy, a lot of the focus tends to be placed on new accounts and new clients. The truth is that it is many times easier to develop deeper relationships with existing clients than it is to start new accounts from scratch. Particularly if you’re target market is a larger company, there are almost always opportunities to sell up, down, or sideways within organizations.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “Are there any other departments/people here that you think would like this?” or “Who else do you know that can benefit from this type of service?”
Don’t overlook new business either. Unless you have an extremely hungry base of existing customers, you’ll probably have to look outside of your existing customers to meet your 2010 revenue goals. There are so many ways to find and target new opportunities and in all likelihood, you are not doing as effective of a job as you could be. The key is to keep an open mind and think outside-the-box. Most organizations become very comfortable with their existing methods of developing new business, when in reality, they could be doing better with other strategies.
- Paid lead services
- Email campaigns
- Networking events
- Sales contests
- Direct mail
How many of those are you using? Which do you think would be best to integrate into YOUR 2010 business development plan?
Take a step back. Being a CEO or managing partner in a business can often cause you to look at your business in a way that’s much different from how others may see it. By removing personal biases and ideas from the equation, you can gain some real insight into important areas of your business.
Often, CEOs are so close to their companies that even when they try to do this, they are not able to. If that’s the case, get another set of eyeballs. Either bring in a trusted colleague to help you with this, or consider hiring a professional business consultant with a strong track record of success.
Plan it out. CEOs, executives, and leaders throughout organizations sometimes have a tendency to discount the importance of the strategic planning process, which is a big mistake. Smart companies take the time to plan their business development strategies very thoroughly, including areas like sales and marketing, human resources, and general corporate growth. When planning is conducted properly, it always proves to be time very well-spent.
A SWOT analysis is a good way to do this (SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats in case you’re not familiar). Have a look at an example SWOT analysis here.
Use all available human capital. Human beings never cease to amaze me. We really are incredible creatures, particularly when we’re in an environment that allows us to perform near our potential. You might be surprised to find that if you build a team of good people around you and then incentivize them to do what you want them to do, they will do a splendid job – often better than you could do yourself.
The two keys here are to 1) properly incentivize (Note: incentives don’t always need to be monetary – a lot of employees feel very strongly about things like fun, learning new things, and feeling as though they’re part of a larger goal) and 2) communicate clearly what you want them to do (leaders have a strong tendency to assume that the other person knows exactly what they’re talking about even though they used a minimal amount of explanation to get the point across – don’t make this mistake. Communicate clearly and then confirm that the other person has an understanding by saying, “Okay, let’s go over the goals” and then being quiet and inviting them to do the talking.)
Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals.
If you need a business development strategy consultant and you’re in the Greater Baltimore Washington area, JACOBY may be able to help you personally. Our CEO-experienced Partners have decades of combined experience and a success rate of over 90%. Contact us by filling out this form to learn more.
If you are outside the Maryland, DC, Virginia area and want our assistance with your strategic planning efforts, JACOBY can help you remotely with phone and/or skype conference calls. There are a variety of other useful posts on our blog, along with some business analysis tools we have developed, and our famous 2-minute business lessons that can help you. If you would like strategic planning help specific to your business, call us at 410-744-3900 and we can set-up a time for a free consultation.
Until next time,
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