An organization’s growth and success are dependent upon its business development strategy. However, if one were to ask different people what business development is, one would likely receive a bunch of differing answers. In part, this is because the role of a business development executive usually evolves with an organization, and the role played varies according to organizational size, maturity, and priorities.
Simply put, business development is the process by which a company grows and becomes more valuable. In business development, relationships are built, markets are expanded, and brand awareness campaigns are conducted.
Businesses develop their growth prospects by assessing their performance and finding ways to improve it. Regarding business development, salespeople focus primarily on closing deals with specific customers, while business development takes a big-picture approach to positioning the organization for long-term success.
Why is business development significant?
Business development is critical in a business’s growth, linking all departments and functions together and increasing sales, revenue, product offerings, talent, customer service, and brand awareness. Business development professionals can contribute to growth across departments in several key areas. The importance of business development can be summed up for four reasons.
It nurtures relationships: Relationship-building is a fundamental part of business development, cultivating new talent, establishing partnerships, or courting customers. The most important relationships to a business developer are the ones that require the most attention.
Identifying new business opportunities, generating leads, and making critical hires can all be accomplished by connecting with clients, colleagues, and other members of one’s network. Moreover, enhancing existing relationships will increase repeat business and provide a chance to develop talent internally. This is a crucial strategy for increasing revenue.
Boosts revenue and lowers costs: In business development, growth is the ultimate goal, and bottom-line metrics are a common way to measure growth. Developing strategies that will assist an organization in bringing in more money while reducing its expenditures is key to business development.
Investing in business development can help an organization identify which products and markets are most profitable and which business deals they should prioritize and pursue. In addition to keeping costs down, business development also involves identifying growth opportunities and obtaining funding to facilitate those expansions.
Builds brand image: Business growth relies heavily on marketing efforts, and business developers are responsible for building its brand image. Business developers are expected to work hand-in-hand with marketing teams to develop campaigns that will likely attract the organization’s target audience and extend its reach to new markets.
One of the most significant aspects of business development involves understanding the internal workings of an organization as well as its products, services, and customers. Using the insights gathered, business development executives can develop innovative marketing campaigns to attract potential leads to products and services that are likely to use.
Enables expansion into uncharted markets: By entering these new markets and identifying new areas of opportunity, organizations can increase their revenue and stay on top of trends that take them to the next level.
Analysis of demographics and other essential consumer data enables business developers to find innovative and intelligent ways to enter the markets and gain access to new customer segments.
Importance of business development for organizations at different stages
Business development strategies for start-ups consisting of only five people are likely to be very different compared to a business development plan for a large organization with a workforce of over 1,000 individuals. This is primarily because business development occurs at various stages, and some specific functions rely upon the organization’s maturity and size. Therefore, companies varying in size require different approaches to business development.
Start-ups: For an organization to survive and grow, it is essential to lay a strong foundation during inception. Start-ups, on the one hand, require business development strategies focused on building the necessary foundation through developing enterprise-grade products and services.
Business developers must also organize a launch event for the product or service and provide a stage for the team and their customers to celebrate what they have brought to life. They also need to understand if the organization has a role in the market, find investors and source funds, and bring together a reliable team.
Mid-sized organizations: Once an organization has found its footing, business development tends to take on a more prominent role. In the start-up phase, it is common for the business development activities to be completed by founding team members. While the organization is at this stage, it is in a position to further its growth.
At the mid-size level, however, it is best if a dedicated business developer is hired to take up this role. Businesses that are part of this stage can further grow by developing new products, venturing into new markets, and through investment in other existing growth opportunities.
A dedicated business developer can take up these tasks, thus freeing up executives and enabling them to spend their time working on other tasks.
Large organizations: Larger organizations that have matured are typically able to gain revenue from the resources and customer base they have built. However, they still need to expand further and increase their overall growth.
At this stage, business development primarily focuses on spreading and forming better business relationships and identifying ways to efficiently and effectively conduct business and business operations.
Business developers working at organizations in this category usually focus on developing innovative ideas. They spend their time scouting, incubating, and putting their ideas into effect, internally within the organization and externally.
Involving team members and customers to extend their hand and buy into these ideas is vital for success. This has resulted in new partnerships and improved relationships with existing and potential customers.
The value of a business development plan
Organizations across the globe rely heavily on business development, and the success of their business development plan depends on the strategies it adopts. Devising a carefully planned business development strategy may help your organization identify its primary goals and generate a bucket list of tasks that you hope your team can accomplish to drive growth.
You can start by conducting a SWOT analysis to help identify your organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and likely threats. You should consider what tasks your business excels at and analyze its limitations and competition.
Then, you can choose a metric to measure your organization’s success within a time frame. Besides keeping track of revenue generated, you can also gauge growth based on the number of leads generated, organizational workforce, geographical footprint, and so much more.
Lastly, hire a dedicated business development executive. Ensure the candidate is growth-focused with networking, relationship building, sales, and negotiating skills.
Most successful organizations have, at some point, prioritized business development, as creating a business development plan may put your organization in a position where it can thrive.