Business Development and the “New Normal”

Reduction of Full Time Business Development Staff (Government Contractors)

So many highly experienced and successful business developers have hit the street this past year – cut from long time employers over money, a perception that Business Development is overhead.  Yes Business Development can become overhead if not managed correctly.  Ultimately BD even in a tough market should be about lead generation, target research, needs analysis, moving the prospect through the pipeline to pre-close and ultimately proposal and closing.  Yes things are taking longer and yes, some government agencies have no money to spend right now but is cutting BD an effective tool right now?  The answer is…it depends.

Do you have a unique solution or a solution that we know is needed right now and can we go after year end money or upcoming projects?  Do you solve a pressing issue; do you eliminate butts in seats?  Are you a sub or a prime?  A number of questions need to be answered to know for sure what the correct answer is but in the end there’s really only one question to answer and for that you’ll need to read the entire blog!

Each agency is different as you well know; they have different budgets and different needs.  Efficiency is king right now so if you’re selling bodies business development can definitely be tough however it’s not impossible.  Being a sub is a challenge right now as large primes are removing subs from contracts to keep the seats for their own people.  Here’s what we know right now – the cuts are real, we have no agreed upon budget and haven’t for years and quite frankly no one really knows what’s going to happen.  Budget constraints are here to stay so I hate to put it like this but you simply need to get over it.  We’ve seen some amazing talent let go this past year and eventually, typically after 6 months of searching they find a new position at a lower salary, one that more accurately reflects today’s environment of lowest cost technically acceptable.  Be proactive – talk with your employees about the situation at hand – it’s not a surprise to anyone.  There is a choice – allow top talent to leave or work to restructure compensation so it fits the new normal.

Full time business development leaving companies is definitely an opportunity for us at Springboard however we feel that if business development isn’t taken seriously it’s not really an opportunity for anyone.  Some companies need full time BD at a high level while others can grow dramatically with outsourced support – it just depends on what fits.  While we tend to be 1/3-1/2 the cost of full time BD help we aren’t always the right fit, sometimes full time is needed – especially with very large firms.

Springboard Prospect Rant #2 – I Can’t Keep a Sales Person

Continuation of the Bob London of London, Ink “Customer Rant” posts, see previous posts for more information and the slide share of the presentation.

Springboard Prospect Rant #2– I can’t keep a SALES Person

Typically when a prospect finds us it’s because they’ve tried the traditional route and it just isn’t working for them.  They’ve hired 2-3 sales people over the last couple of years and they have either left or failed.  The issue may be the hire, or it may be in the process, the management of the sales person or in management altogether.   Here’s what we typically see:

 

  • They hire the person based off how they interview and their resume, not qualifications or references – interviews and resumes aren’t always 100% accurate
  • They hire the person who has spent their entire career doing something other than sales and yet expects them to be closing deals in 2 months – this is a person who requires training and mentoring
  • They hire family or friends where the challenge becomes accountability, how do you tell your child, your friend that they aren’t living up to expectations?  This can be an excellent idea but it can also have damaging consequences.
  • They hire without plans for tools, expenses or process of accountability.  Tools – tracking, Customer Relationship Management, communication.  Expenses:  mileage, phone, lunches, events, memberships, etc.  Accountability – who, what, when, how?
  • They want the professional who comes with a rolodex, who is on a first name basis with decision makers, who can shorten the time it takes to get in the door, who can frame them as experts in their field, who has a process for management and follow up and who can ask and have answered some challenging questions.   This can be an excellent hire and it can also backfire.   Former executive levels at times can fall into the trap of schmoozing with little follow up and execution – if you think about it, it makes perfect sense; they always had someone else to do it for them.  This would be a great person to partner with an in house program manager or business development manager.

 

Essentially what we end up seeing is the person who should be producing but isn’t getting a very long leash costing the company far more than it should or the newer professional who needs in depth training, mentoring and time expected to perform like a pro immediately.  Sometimes it’s the hire, sometimes it’s the training, sometimes it’s the expectations.

 

Vision: What is the Ultimate Purpose of your Business?

John Paul DeJoria is not your typical billionaire. He grew up with nothing. He was a member of a gang. He joined the navy. He bounced around from job to job. And he even lived in a car for some time.

“Rejection is part of being successful,” said DeJoria. “Successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do, like staying enthusiastic when you keep getting rejected.”

Through enthusiastic perseverance and through his experience in the hair industry (he was fired from 3 different jobs), DeJoria formed his own shampoo company after teaming up with Paul Mitchell. The two men didn’t have much money. In fact, they had just $700 to their names. What DeJoria and Mitchell did have was drive and a revolutionary product.

“Our shampoo you only had to use once instead of twice,” said DeJoria. “So for a hair dresser, it saves time and money.”

DeJoria and Mitchell made millions, becoming the largest, privately-held beauty company in the world. But that wasn’t enough. DeJoria went on to found Patron, which became even more successful than his line of Paul Mitchell products, making DeJoria a billionaire.

20/20 Billionaire Secrets Barbara Walters: John Paul DeJoria

“What do you think is the best part about being a billionaire?” asked Barbara Walters.

“I can make some major changes that affect the entire world – for economy, for ecology, and for humanity,” answered DeJoria. “I like to live well and I feel good about it because I know how much we give back. There is plenty for my family, now let’s take care of the rest.”

John Paul DeJoria Business Vision: Success unshared is failure!

What is your business vision? What is the ultimate purpose of your business? As we told you a few weeks ago, “people do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Springboard’s Business Vision: To alter the perception of sales people so businesses can thrive, salespeople can be happier and their prospects can live in peace.

Maybe it is time to start thinking about why you do what you do!

If you have any questions about Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!

The WHY of Success: WHY do some Business Succeed when others Fail?

Why are some organizations more successful than others, despite being no more qualified than the competition?

Why are some leaders able to inspire when others are not, despite having no “special” attributes?

Why!?

Simon Sinek seeks to explain the WHY in his lecture, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.


“The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations, regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out,” said Sinek. He further explained this theory using what he calls his Golden Circle.

 

What: Every organization and every leader knows what they do.

How: Some organizations and leaders know how they do what they do is better than the competition. For example: our computer is user friendly, our car gets great gas mileage, etc.

Why: Very few organizations and leaders know WHY they do what they do.

And no, profit is not a why. It is a result. The why is a purpose, a cause, or a belief. The why has to do with why your organization exists? You do not exist to turn a profit. If you do, your business might not be around very long.

Pursuing a result is a recipe for failure; it is what drives businesses into the ground. Pursuing a belief is what drives businesses to succeed, despite the odds. It is what drives prospects to you.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” said Sinek. “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have; the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

The WHY of Sales

The why, the belief, is the reason a prospect buys your product or service. And everyone’s why is different. Because of this, there is no one size fits all sales solution. The key to sales success is to understand your prospects why and respect that belief throughout the entire buying process. This is how you foster long, happy client relationships.

“They know you ‘get’ them,” said Springboard CEO Karin Schwartz. “They trust you; they believe in you.”

If you have any questions about Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!

The Biggest Business Development Mistakes

 

If your business relies heavily on sales, then you know just how important it is to have a strong business development strategy. Still, even the best businesses fall victim to the same old mistakes!

  1. Assuming you know EVERYTHING there is to Know: Becoming proficient in the business development arena takes practice. Not just anyone can be successful…it takes serious work!
  2. Selling to the Wrong Person: Make sure you are talking to a decision maker. Don’t waste your time selling to someone who can’t even make the decision to buy your product or service!
  3. Failing to Make Multiple Contacts: What happens if you spend a ton of time developing a business relationship with a prospect only to have that prospect fired? Well, if you failed to make multiple contacts, you are screwed!
  4. Not Enough Prospects: Prospects are your lifeline. Without a healthy number of prospects in your sales funnel, your business has no chance of thriving!
  5. Waiting for Referrals: Referrals are great and a lot of the time, they drive your business. But you cannot rely on your clients to just hand over referrals. Get you’re a$$ out there and find business. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from happy clients. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no.
  6. Not Bringing More to the Table: What do you have to offer your prospects? If you are having trouble answering this question, then you are probably in the wrong business! And we are not just talking about your product or service. The prospect already knows about that. But what’s something you can do to help your prospect in their business? What can you offer the prospect that no one else can?
  7. Assuming you know what the Client Needs: You don’t know what the client needs. Only the client knows what he/she needs. So stop talking and start listening.
  8. Fear of Closing: Don’t let a prospect pull you in every direction. You are in the business of making money. So make the sale or cut your losses. You cannot waste your valuable time on a lost cause. That is just a poor business strategy.
  9. Trying to do everything In House: With salary ranges of $120-175k plus benefits, taxes, and expense reimbursements, companies are wisely moving away from in-house business developers and beginning to turn to outsourced business development firms, like Springboard, to ask, “How can we do this at less cost while hitting all the key areas?”
  10. Trusting Someone other than Springboard! If we didn’t think we were the best and if we didn’t know we could help you grow your business, we wouldn’t be doing what we do! So start putting your trust in Springboard Business Development!

If you have any questions about Springboard Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!