5 steps towards making your business development efforts more effective

It’s the start of the year and no doubt you have asked your business development team to dig out their lists of targets for 2014 and review.  There is a renewed effort to get more meetings and win more business, right?

But how can you check whether you are focusing on the right activities and in the right way?

Here are 5 steps towards making your business development efforts more effective.

1. Remind yourself of your overall corporate strategy.
– Does your business development strategy meet the company’s overall objectives?
– How do the companies on your list of targets meet the overall corporate strategy?

2. Review your management information.
– What does your sales pipeline information tell you about where your revenue is coming from?  If it doesn’t, what do you need to include to understand this?
– How profitable is the business you have won?
– What is your win/loss ratio?

3. Review your sales and pitch processes.
– Where you’ve been successful, what has worked?  Where you’ve been unsuccessful, what feedback did you get?
– If you didn’t ask for feedback or didn’t record it…why?
– Talk to clients that you have pitched to successfully and unsuccessfully for their honest feedback.

4. Understand the behaviours and attitudes of those people in your business who are most successful at winning profitable business and then share this information!
– Start creating a culture of business development across your business
– Solicit opinions more broadly across the business, too.  Sometimes the expert is the person sitting next to you.

5. Identify opportunities to cross-sell and grow a business from existing clients.
– What are your clients’ overall corporate objectives and how can you help them achieve them?  How is this documented and regularly reviewed i.e. in an account plan?
– If you ask open questions and listen to your clients carefully, you may hear a cry for help and you might know another team within the business that can support.

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