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6 May 2011

Business Development for pro’s

I wanted to write this blog post as I like to think I’m a bit of a hybrid. By that I mean I can handle different areas as a business owner. I think sales has been tarnished as a dirty word. I’m not one to dwell in single mindiness as I believe all of your out there who are reading this blog despite what job you do have skills in different areas. For example if you’re a business development executive or manager what does that mean? Well what it means is you’re probably the most important cog in the wheel. Think about it you realise that unless you pick up the phone and make 20-40 calls per day (maybe more but we’re assuming for the purposes of this blog post that you get through to the right people) then what is that business doing in the day that you would of made that 20-40 calls to move the business forward. I got this tip from a friend who runs a very successful telemarketing company who said “when richard branson was starting out he cold called everyone from a phone box, if its good enough for him its good enough for me!” brilliant! Here’s 5 tips to get you started:

Don’t prospect then call

You might be thinking I’ve come up with a great prospect lets give them a call and thats great. What I mean by don’t prospect then call is you need to do what I call data mining first and find the company name and telephone number in an alloted time period so that you can bang out the calls when needed. I would say to maximise your success rate. think about it if you have 2 hours alloted to call companies then the last thing you want to be doing is doing google or directory searches to find who you want to speak to.

Partner with people like you

If your business specialises in one area like mine does as a SEO Agency UK then why not speak to other guys or gals who are trying to get on in life and reach their quota. I recently spoke with a guy who was head of business development for an email marketing company. I asked him a few frank and straight up questions such as “do you recommend other companys for services you don’t offer” he said yes we recently recommended a large highstreet retailer to a Pay per click agency a big doh was going through my head but now I realise that he should be kept up to date with what I’m up to via linked in!

Do your partners a favor first before asking for one!

I had one partner that turned out to be amazing and networking and putting people in touch with each other, however as the nature of the business game is doing business with people you trust I hadn’t been able to garner her attention until I did her a favor! She runs a very successful Ecommerce design and development company and her linked in is flooding with good recommendations and connnections, clearly a lady in demand! I emailed her saying that I had a client that was looking at an ecommerce website redesign after the existing company rolled their once unique design out to several other websites. We discussed conversion rates and how when you roll over a picture it covered the “buy it now” button, hardly rocket science but something she could help with! In turned out that she has now reffered me to 2 clients that we do business with.

Keep in contact

Its important leading on from the last point to make sure you keep in contact with your partners regularly. Think about it like your friends, we all have a friend who only calls us when they want something. This is what I call taking value. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate that everyone has their own agenda however if you want to cultivate longer term relationships that are mutually beneficial you really need to think about the other person and how you can help them achieve their goals and align them with yours. Its also important touching on the later point to make sure that in a business context asking yourself once a day and every week are these contacts adding value to achieving my goals or are they sucking value? I have a partner I work with who literally calls linked in contacts that haven’t been in contact and asks them “are you likely to help me bring new business in or alternatively I may need to delete you from my network”. Some people may argue this is very cold or harsh, I would argue that the same person who is deleted from linked in needs to google “how to become better at linked in”

4 Responses to “Business Development for pro’s”

  1. Adam 24 June 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    I’d suggest that to make your business development more efficient one should invest in a good CRM platform (I’d recommend Highrise) and subscribe to a good database. So, for example, if you’re targeting companies with a large marketing budget, subscribe to ALF – sure, it will cost you c. £10k per year, but it means that rather than prospecting for two hours and then calling for two hours, you can call for four hours and get double the results.

  2. Mark Cann 24 June 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi Adam, Good point about the CRM. I think with some of the web based crm’s cropping up its definitely not an issue of cost as these new startups such as the one we use pipejump are great. What’s your recommendations for database subscription or is that a trade secret 🙂

  3. Jim 24 June 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Great post. I think that business development is the heart and soul of a business. You can’t get anywhere without it. You can enhance it by having a tremendous product, or even a product which is somehow viral in nature, but yes – it is crucial. Cold calling also has a bad stigma attached to it. And it shouldn’t. Its the sales warrior art form. And for those who can make it work, it’s worth a lot of money!

  4. Mark Cann 24 June 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Great reply Jim, I remember my first job cold calling in the telecoms market everyone had heard the same thing so we started to test different ways of tailoring our pitch until we got something that worked. Having data is key as so many people sit there and spend most of their time finding companies to call and wonder why they can’t get in front of clients when they haven’t made enough calls for the day! I think maybe its a culture thing too, as you’re in the states right now and when I was there the attitude was “give me your pitch, and get to the point”, here people pass a business card at an event and then don’t want you to call them. Lets just all be more honest as a british culture and get more business done 🙂

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