Management Tips – What it Takes to Create an Effective Business Development Strategy

If you are a manager at the same time an owner of a business or an organization then, one of the challenges you are faced with is the challenge of developing and taking advantage of business opportunities that are provided to you and your company. Moreover, as a manager you always have to strive for growth and development. To achieve that aim, you have to have an effective business development strategy? Now, how are you going to do that? What does it requires creating an effective business development strategy? Read on and learn from the following tips.

1. Brace yourself up with sufficient knowledge as well as excellent management practices and strategies. As a manager who aims for growth of his or her business or organization, you have to have sufficient knowledge and excellent management practices and strategies. Well, these will all boils down to whether you will be revolutionary or evolutionary in coming up with ideas and strategies for development. The idea or strategy you will come up with will be the basis for your company to either revolutionize or evolve.

2. It takes a multi-disciplinary approach. An effective business development strategy entails a multi-disciplinary approach which includes financial, advertising and legal skills from you as the development manager. This means that you need to come up with creative ways that are flexible to be applied with just about any circumstances that may hit your business. of course, these ways should contribute to the prosperity of your business and not its failure.

3. Create a strategic marketing plan. There are various aspects in your business wherein business development strategies can help your business to grow and prosper. Strategic marketing plan, as such, will deal with the changing customer base and market dynamics. It will also aid in understanding horizontal and vertical target market opportunities and help you learn how to pick out and develop products, services or solutions to address the needs of your target market.

4. Decide on what kind of approach in planning. Take note that a plan shouldn’t be on its own to work nor will you solely manage it to work. A plan can take the form of either a ‘bottom up’ approach or a ‘top down’ approach. A plan in a bottom up approach involves employees to come up with ideas and suggestions. After which, the best one are passed on to the management. On the other hand, a plan in a top down approach involves higher position personnel such as the managers to establish the business development strategies and then, imposed them down to their subordinates. Additionally, there is the use of collaborative process where managers and employees work together as one in performing this task.

5. Evaluation. Now, after the business development strategy has been decided on, it will be your task as a manager to make sure that this strategy will work out. To do so, you will need to conduct evaluation of its weak points, strengths, the risk involve and its growth potentials. You may want to hire a strategy consultant for this matter as there are indeed, various factors that must be taken into serious consideration. However, it will be dependent on the complexities that come with its implementation. Some of these factors involve assigning of responsibilities, hiring sufficient human resources and establishing a chain of command. It will also involve a specific timeline to determine whether or not the preferred goals are being accomplished or not.

Evidently, there is no single type of business development strategy that will be enough for any business. So as a manager, you have to brace yourself up with more and more knowledge to know what works for you and your business and determine the corresponding advantages of sticking to it.

Skills to Focus on in Business Development Coaching Sessions

When you’re a coach who assists businesspeople with developing their company, you’ll help them face challenges, fears and opportunities head on. Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry, you’ll discover that when you aim to help clients build specific skills, they’ll receive lasting benefits.

Flexibility

A flexible attitude can help members of the corporate world handle tough economic conditions, unsatisfied customers and discouraged employees. However, it’s often a difficult characteristic to cultivate, particularly in entrepreneurs.

Sometimes, a client might feel that if they really want to achieve all they set out to do, they must decide on one way of doing things, and stick to it. Through business development coaching, you can show clients that although dedication is valuable, it must be paired with a willingness to adapt to circumstances.

You’ll also need to strengthen this quality in yourself. Client meetings don’t always go as planned. Often, this is exciting, but it requires inner resilience, too. It’s helpful to have an outline for certain things that you want to accomplish with a client. However, when you go off course, view it as an opportunity. By keeping the conversation flowing, you might uncover new things that a client hadn’t revealed before.

Besides, when a business development coaching client feels that their session isn’t overly structured, they’ll be more open about discussing things that might not always relate to the topic at hand.

Self-Reflection

People must be willing to evaluate themselves. This is something that’s true in all industries, and particularly for people who are involved in leadership roles.

Help your clients see that when they’re willing to engage in self-reflection, they’ll simultaneously become more confident. A fear of failure is an emotion that you’ll likely encounter frequently during business development coaching sessions. However, taking chances is necessary to help a company thrive.

By encouraging clients to practice self-reflection regularly, you’ll assist them in becoming more comfortable with potential setbacks. Offer them a safe environment in which to talk about the positive factors, as well as things that they wish they’d done differently in the course of running their business.

Make sure you practice self-reflection, as well. Get into a routine where you look back on client sessions at least once per day.

Soon, you’ll find that it’s easier to become a more valuable contributor to the world of business development coaching. Clients will depend on you to help them improve themselves. However, you’ll get the best results by suggesting strategies that are very similar to things that you should practice to enrich your own skills.

Business Development 101

In my 25 years of being in and around sales, marketing and advertising, it surprises me how many small business owners don’t have someone working on business development. Many owners and managers I’ve met should be the “biz dev” person but just don’t have the desire or truly understand what to do. I think this comes back to a few things, fear of sales, pride, and/or social interaction. In other words they look at themselves as the President of their small business and are unwilling to go out and pound the pavement for a few hours every week. Some even use the excuse of being tooo busy, but constantly whine about how bad business is.

Many a sales person I come across is caught up in chasing after the next sale, wasting so much time during the day instead of constantly developing and cultivating a large pipeline of prospects. I see them reading the paper, surfing the internet or standing around yackin’ about the weather and recession. These actions show laziness, lack of focus, and desire or unwillingness to venture out. In other words they aren’t hungry enough. If you work around people like this, I would recommend that you step away from the pack and make a positive change.

Whether your business is online or offline, business development should be an integral part of your sales and marketing plans.

What can you do to enhance your business development skills? Consider implementing these 6 steps:

  1. Learn the art of cultivating relationships. Read books, listen to MP3’s and then take what you learn to polish your people skills. Develop and use personal relationship marketing to better your relationships.
  2. Get involved in the industry, not just the companies you are looking to engage with. If you are tuned in, the opportunities might come your way. If you’re tuned out, then they’ll pass you by.
  3. When an opportunity comes your way, take action immediately. Communicate. Pick up the phone, send an email, and get the process moving in a positive direction.
  4. Learn and engage in different kinds of online social media. It’s great for networking, market research and keeping a pulse on what’s happening in your industry. But make sure to test what you do and don’t get too caught up in socializing.
  5. Plan the work and work the business development plan on a weekly basis. This way you stay consistent and persistent all year long. To many people give up or don’t stay at it long enough to get traction.
  6. Find a mentor to guide and counsel you. This last step is crucial and I believe will truly make a difference if you’ll find someone who is willing to help you in your endeavors. It might take a month or even up to a year to find the right person and/or persons.

The bottom line with business development is that it starts with you. So start where you are, make a plan, take action, and stay focused on a daily and weekly basis.

Ad Agency New Business Development Secret – Mystery Shopping

For decades advertising agencies and communications firms have competed for new business in a high stakes race to show prospective clients how they can help them improve their business. The process usually involves review of credentials as well as demonstration of initial business ideas and thinking. Sounds exciting? Not really.

So, how does an ad agency get up to speed on a prospective client’s business enough to show them smart and relevant thinking?

Well, the internet has had a huge hand in helping agency management find information on a specific company as well as their industry – and often their key competitors. And many, if not all advertising agencies are using that approach in varying degrees. But that still leaves the burning question: “what are the decision makers and influencers experiencing throughout the sales process AND how can we control that in our favor?”

Traditionally, that is where agency quantitative (statistically sound surveying through the mail, phone or internet) as well as qualitative (more intimate, one-to-one communications usually through methods like focus groups) research is used to provide the foundation for strategic recommendations that will hopefully knock the socks off of their prospect and win the account.

Innovative advertising agencies are finding alternative ways to access this important insight which they previously obtained from those costly, time-consuming research approaches. These innovative ad agencies are developing their ideas and recommendations for the “review” or “pitch” by using an old mainstay from the restaurant industry – Mystery Shopping.

Mystery Shopping: An Innovative Business Development Tool

Mystery shopping has been used extensively in the hospitality sector to manage and improve customer service performance – as a way of more effectively managing the customer engagement from the first call to the check. This helps companies identify areas needing sales process improvement. Used in a slightly different context, it becomes a cost and time-effective goldmine of insight to perfect a business development pitch.

Mystery Shopping Process:

– Mystery shoppers, who represent the targeted customer profile, visit a specific site, experience all aspects of the sales process and fill out a customized online survey which is compiled with other shopper’s data from the company’s geography.

– The mystery shoppers are also trained to obtain any collateral or relevant materials, as well as take photos, and mail it back to the ad agency, giving the agency the ability to see, touch and feel tangible aspects of the experience and potentially use this information in their pitch.

– Using this approach has other advantages, too. Mystery shopping firms have large pools of trained researchers who can rapidly deliver on fast turn-around projects over broad geographic areas, including global reach.

– These surveys are tracked and trended against each location, for regional differences, and even against national averages. The data can then be used to direct recommendations, or support new ideas.

– In some cases mystery shoppers are only shopping competitive locations to provide information that will translate to opportunities for improvement and differentiation.

Instead of leaving behind somewhat dry research, advertising agencies are now immediately able to add interest and dimension to their pitch that sticks. Eliminating the problems inherent in focus group research such as one individual dominating a group’s input. What are some of the additional nuggets of information that ad agencies glean from their mystery shopping results?

1. Identifying Strategic Opportunities

2. Testing Brand Positioning

3. Discovering Triggers for Promotional Planning

4. Uncovering Valuable Competitive Intelligence

Savvy advertising agencies are even using mystery shopping as a form of insurance for promotional program executions. Mystery shopping is put in place when a promotion is rolled out to monitor and manage the operational aspects; ensuring that from signage placement to sales conversations everything is supporting the promotional message.

Mystery shopping is also helping both advertising agencies and their clients manage the multiple “Touchpoints” necessary to ensure a successful sales process improvement and customer relationship building. For the business it translates to sales and profit – reducing the expense to both acquire a new customer and to keep a customer engaged and loyal.

For ad agencies it provides the critical data on a prospective client that they need to show them relevant recommendations, sell themselves to, build a relationship and create loyalty. And, it provides it in a way that lends color and interest to the pitch – it excites, it is valued, and it sticks. The opportunity for strong, relevant insight exists in this simple, tried and true research process: mystery shopping. No wonder more ad agencies are using it!