Defining Business Development
Though it’s likely true that the CEO of your business bears the most responsibility, headaches, and bottles of Advil, I came across a definition of the term “business development” recently that, taken literally, would give any CEO a run for their money.
According to one website, business development is defined as “the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.”
As a business development professional myself, I am certain that most of my peers would wince at the gravitas of this definition. But, to an extent, it is justified: In today’s business environment, a good business development pro queues up opportunities for the sales organization that, if handled correctly, pump needed lifeblood into the business. According to one study, the average business development rep is expected to make 45 calls a day.
Put the right person in the position, with the right combination of determination, drive, and digital skill, and you’ll reap the rewards. Miss the mark, and you’ll lose ground, in a competitive marketplace where business doesn’t sleep.
So, what should most leaders look for in their business development reps? How can they position them better for success? And, most importantly, how can they determine if the business developer simply isn’t up to the task before you hire them?
I’ve narrowed the criteria down to three top-level buckets:
- Time Management
The best business development reps are whizzes at time management. Rather than looking at just what they need to accomplish today or this week, they are looking ahead – sometimes two to three months out. The best way for these people to manage the myriad opportunities in front of them is to develop a working roadmap, with waypoints to guide where and when activities should take place. This should include an understanding of the level of influencer you are trying to motivate.
- Understanding and Applying Digital Tools and Social Media
Though it’s logical to expect that LinkedIn will be a business development rep’s best friend, their success likely will be assured from a combination of tools, analytics, and allies that they deploy along the way. With a premium on digital data, your business development rep has to be able to sort through data quickly, and quickly prioritize leads based on established criteria for your likely buyers. Finding, deploying, and mastering the right tools for prospecting will allow your business development rep to have more time to focus on revenue-producing activity, like getting face-to-face with prospects. I like to say that you should give your business development pro the guardrails, but don’t give them the speed limit. Arm them with the tools to be successful, but then let them run as fast as they can. Which leads us to our next item.
- A Winning Mindset
Like other roles where a numbers game is involved, a business development rep must have a sense of motivation, drive, and determination to meet the cadence likely expected of them. In order to meet the KPIs and metrics that the company has set forth, the business development rep will likely have to cycle hundreds of prospects through your company’s funnel. They’ll have to dive into spreadsheets, CRM programs, research, and host of other tasks that lack the glamour of more visible sales roles. The best business development managers understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day – and it takes a level of daily focus to withstand the dips and peaks.
So how can a company find the right business development pro for its sales environment? At The Brooks Group, we rely on a measurement of potential called the Brooks Talent Index. It is a multi-faceted benchmark which leverages the value structure concept. The Brooks Talent Index tracks the long-term potential for success of the business development professional by looking at soft skills like resiliency, time management, ability to engage in long-range planning; and an examination of how they deal with the high-stress world of sales.
If we can help introduce you to the Brooks Talent Index, or work with your sales and business development teams to foster greater results, read more about our IMPACT for Business Development Training Program.
For more than 40 years, The Brooks Group has partnered with sales organizations around the globe—helping them to hire, train, coach, and develop salespeople and sales managers to reach maximum performance levels. If we can help you set your team up for consistent sales success, let’s start a conversation.
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