However, if you ask ten people what they think business development is, you probably get ten different answers.
In her book Business Development, Anna Kennedy defines business development as the discipline required to achieve growth through the acquisition of profitable new customers and the expansion of existing customers.
In fact, just about anything and everything to do with customers and prospects comes under the heading of business development, including pricing. It’s all about finding, keeping and growing profitable customers. It was ever thus, but the question is how best to go about it?
Firstly, as Ian Cooper says in his book The Financial Times Guide to Business Development, get the right employees and they will get the right results. It’s well worth investing in good people and training them thoroughly.
Secondly, think about employing or training full time lead generation specialists. As Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler say in their book Predictable Revenue, F2F salespeople are often better employed closing business rather than prospecting. Leave the prospecting to lead generation specialists, but pay them just as well as the closers.
Thirdly, take action to increase the conversion rate of your current leads or enquiries into profitable customers. As Ian Cooper asks – what’s the point of spending time, money, creative energy and manpower on generating new leads if you don’t convert as many as possible into profitable customers?
Fourthly, never forget to continuously target your existing customers for possible new business & growth. Also penetrate other business units within your existing customers. Consider using full time farmers for this role. After all, if your competitors think it’s worth investing in targeting your customers, shouldn’t you?
Finally, try to increase prices where possible now we’re coming out of the recession. You may have some customers who are less profitable than others. Can they be made more profitable by a price increase or is it time to let them go?
What’s your definition of business development?