Leaders in the business development world are not likely to share the exact same opinions when it comes to the definition of business development. While all leaders in the field are familiar with the task, specific roles and experiences can easily set a precedent for what exactly business development is to them. One of the more commonly recognized definitions of business development can be described as the process of using existing relationships, markets, and consumers for the purposes of long-term organizational value formation, or in more basic terms, the creation of long-term value for a business.
Why Business Development Strategy Planning Is Valuable
The building blocks of a strong business development strategy can be utilized as a set of guidelines that can lead your team forward when looking to generate valuable prospects that will support the long-term goals of the business. If your business lacks a business development strategy, a significant amount of time and resources can be unnecessarily spent on prospects that lack the value your business is looking for.
The number one goal of a new business development strategy planning is to grow your company. Promoting growth within your business is not always an easy task, but what you can gain from doing so can be very valuable. Below are a few of the many reasons why business development strategy planning is so valuable.
- Strategic business development planning can build relationships.
- Strategic business development planning can increase your business’s revenue and lower its costs.
- Strategic business development planning can enhance and promote your brand’s voice and image.
- Strategic business development planning can introduce your company to new and untapped markets.
Creating A Unique Business Development Strategy Plan
Below are the most important steps a business can take when looking to create a well-founded new business development strategy.
1. Defining Your Business’s Goals
When there is not a strategic business development plan in place, there is a much higher chance for key business objectives to slip through the cracks and not be achieved.
Though well-defined goals are vital, these goals can cover a wide array of objectives. For example, business development goals can be related to the sales process or marketing process, internal, external, or many other things.
A great method to utilize when defining goals for your business is the SMART method. The SMART method is a great method for defining development goals that are actually achievable rather than being idealistic. SMART goals consist of goals that are:
When you have a fully realized understanding of the goals that you are aiming to achieve accompanied by realistic plans on how to achieve these goals, the probability of success can dramatically increase. Rather than focusing on the number of goals a business is trying to achieve, spend time focusing on the quality of these goals. It is more valuable for a company to work towards 5 important goals rather than 500 inessential goals.
2. Identifying The Target Audience Of Your Business
The first stage in creating the optimal business development strategy is a clear understanding of the business’s target market/target audience. Remember that if you as a business are trying to market to everyone, you’re not reaching anyone closely. An important thing to remember is that while a company does not need a large audience, they do need a high-quality audience. It is considerably easier for businesses to develop a successful marketing plan and new business strategy after these categories have been clearly defined.
Business development is not typically a process that happens quickly. This is why understanding how the developed relationships your business makes can lead to future sales. This is why fostering relationships with prospects that are a part of your target audience can be so valuable.
Those in the world of business understand that customers react better to personalized and informed business development strategies rather than ones that feel disconnected and impersonal. This is why in so many cases buyers tend to make their purchases from the company that they feel better aligns with them. Whether it be B2B or B2C, buyers want to know that what they are being sold aligns with their interests.
3. Performing Quality Market Research
After your target audience is well defined, understanding their needs as much as possible can be very helpful. Before establishing a relationship with your target audience, these essential questions should be answerable:
- What significant issues do they face?
- What particular services could benefit them?
- How are they currently going about problem-solving?
- How does your offering aid their problem-solving?
Once there is an answer to these vital questions, understanding both your competitors and potential clients becomes more manageable. It is crucial to easily identify what sets your business apart from the competition. This is a competitive advantage, and clearly communicating your business’s competitive advantage to potential customers is key.
4. Determining The Best Marketing Channels To Utilize
The following stage in the business development strategy is to set your overall revenue targets for the year and then understand which channels will best assist you in meeting those goals.
Common marketing channels such as networking, advertising, and referrals are often the most frequently used in terms of business development strategy.
Anyone in the business world understands how important networking is. Networking can be described as exchanging knowledge, ideas, and information with other individuals, typically in an informal or social setting. While face-to-face networking is still prevalent among some, the transition to networking through social media sites has made connection-making more accessible than ever. Thanks to platforms like LinkedIn, you can connect with people start a dialogue without an in-person meeting. This solid business development tactic comes with pros and cons; while it is less time-consuming and less expensive, relationships can sometimes be harder to establish and maintain.
While traditional paid advertising has its advantages, digital advertising is slowly but surely becoming the clear front-runner in terms of successful business development tactics. Digital advertising can be tricky, but what is so nice about these steps for creating a unique business development strategy is that by the time your business is ready for updates in advertising, your target audience will have already been clearly defined. Knowing your target audience is vital in the world of advertising. If your targeted demographic is more active on social media services, that’s where the advertising budget should point towards.
Referrals are always welcome, and they can be a great channel to use when implementing a business development strategy. An existing relationship with a customer that is positive has the possibility to create a multitude of potential clients. But it is vital to remember positive relationships with existing customers do not guarantee referrals. Referrals are great but not always the most consistent channel to utilize.
There is a wide variety of marketing channels that businesses can utilize when implementing a reliable business development strategy plan, and sometimes choosing which ones to focus on can become overwhelming. Essential factors to consider when choosing which marketing channels to focus on include (but are not limited to) budget, time commitment, and available resources. While not all of these factors can make or break a business development strategy plan, the more informed you are, the better equipped you become when it comes to tough decision-making.
In order to be best prepared for all circumstances, there is value in reevaluating the plans your business has for marketing on a consistent basis.
5. Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Key performance indicators (often referred to as KPIs) are a successful business development strategy tool as you can easily use them to quantify performance. The number one thing to remember with key performance indicators is that they need to be practical and attainable for them to work accurately. Once these KPIs are established, you can find many different software programs that will aid you in the tracking and measuring process.
Summarizing The Components of A Business Development Strategy Plan
When understanding the differences between a business plan and a business development plan, remember that a business plan is more broad and foundational. In contrast, a business development plan should act as a more detailed blueprint for the success of business growth.
The 5 steps for creating unique business development processes are:
- Defining Your Business’s Goals
- Identifying The Target Audience Of Your Business
- Performing Quality Market Research
- Determining The Best Channels To Utilize
- Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
A Great Business Development Strategy Plan Takes Time
The creation of a unique business development strategy can easily take your business to the next level. While the process can be seen as time-consuming for some, the benefits that can come from it are often unparalleled. Remember that you get what you give and that the more effort you put into developing a truly unique business development strategy plan, the higher the likelihood for success becomes.