Is Your Business Development Failing?

Some people may be upset by what they are about to see.  Keep in mind the you that I’m talking about is your business so please don’t take this personally…unless you see yourself here, if you can honestly see what’s not working you are more equipped to fix it and create a structure by which your business development soars.

Top 10 Reasons your business development is failing

  1. You hired the wrong person
  2. You didn’t train them properly
  3. You didn’t lay out expectations
  4. No one is managing them
  5. You have a Ready, Fire, Aim approach to marketing
  6. You don’t have the tools to manage business development
  7. Your marketing stinks (technical term)
  8. You don’t know why people really buy you
  9. There is no follow up
  10. It’s all about you and not the prospect – square peg round hole, anything to close the sale
  11. Bonus – your expectations are impossible to meet
  12. Bonus #2 your compensation is flawed

Chances are if your business development isn’t as successful as you’d like it’s probably because of one of these reasons but did you notice the common denominator?

A person who shouldn’t be doing business development in the first place gets put in a job with no tools, no training, no understanding of expectations has nothing else to do but fail – but you feel guilty right, because you like them and you want it to work.  Of course you do.  The people who interview for this role love to talk to people but it doesn’t mean they are good at developing business.  You had an amazing interview, the conversation just flowed and you had fun learning about them and telling them about all the amazing things you’ve done with your company – again it was just a conversation.

Good conversation doesn’t equate to a good interview – it’s important absolutely but what’s most important in business development is developing and moving a pipeline forward and results and that is tough to determine in one interview.  If over time results have not improved and you have failed to address it, there still is time.  Not all is lost, it’s possible this person could improve if given the proper motivation, direction, tools, etc. but how do you know?

This isn’t something we advertise but we can certainly help, with a short assessment and better understanding of how you handle business development we can see the gaps and can give you easy and quick solutions to addressing those gaps in most cases.  In other cases, it’s simply the wrong person and you have a decision to make.  After 20+ years of business development we’ve pretty much seen everything and here are some of my all-time favorites:

  • Firing your top salesperson because your SVP of Sales feels threatened
  • Keeping your worst sales person because he’s puckered up (you get the image, right?)
  • Expecting your business development team to be able to sell a product that can’t lawfully be sold in the state
  • Trying to force a square peg into a round hole then being upset when the client fires you a few months later
  • Your BD person selling whatever they can then leaving it up to your customer service team to figure out how to deliver the services when they don’t currently offer some of the services
  • Purchasing an extremely expensive CRM that no one uses
  • Trying to be all things to all people
  • Failing to close a slam dunk deal because you never followed up

Now I’m going to assume you don’t do these things but if you did, it would be obvious that help is needed.  What we typically see is the company saying I am struggling to get business development right but I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  This happens in all size companies – sadly some of the situations above came from publicly traded, national companies who should know, right?  It’s just that business development is changing, it’s not about cold calling, it’s about being viewed as a resource, being the go-to for everything, creating that relationship – then you are viewed as a partner and not a vendor.

We’ve been asked to help with these types of scenarios many times and we welcome your call if you have concerns whether you have a business development team in place or looking to create one.  You don’t need to be local, as long as we can gain access to the documents, systems, people we need the analysis can be done.  For us this work is second nature so it typically isn’t too cumbersome.  Our typical fee ranges from $2000-5000 depending on the size of the business and how many BD/management staff we need to address.  Small changes can mean a drastic increase in revenue to an organization.   Email Karin at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com if you have questions.

FAQ’s Do you do SALES TRAINING?

Answering your Questions, have one – email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

Are you a Sales Training Organization?

No, we don’t do training.  In fact, I may piss off a few people by saying this but I believe for the most part the tactics taught in sales training organizations don’t work today.  I do believe they have a purpose – mostly for commodity or high volume sales organizations.  I can see a value there.  However when you are selling a service based on building and maintaining strong relationships tactics are the fastest way to lose business.  We’ve all been through these programs and we can spot the strategies from a mile away.  Do you know how bad I screw with someone who is “mirroring” me?  I spend the entire time focused on my next move and I don’t even hear what they are saying.

Your sales cycle is a fallacy.  You need to know where your buyer is in the process and ensure they have the right information necessary to move forward but you can’t make them move forward you can only encourage.  If you’re looking for a “trainer” I know a number who are excellent at what they do, they get results and they focus on the buyer, your internal processes, your people and not tactics.  I’d be happy to make an intro.

Where have you been?

I’ve been AWOL, definitely MIA from this blog – a huge No-No.  I know this and yet the business required so much of my time these past few months that I neglected the one thing I know people look for – information.  Yes I was busy, new and existing clients, a pipeline to die for, and most importantly recreating our structure.  2012 taught me a few things – like having policies in my head was probably not a good idea, sure I communicated them (or so I thought) but how was anyone to really know what I expected if it wasn’t on paper?  So it’s now on paper.

We changed how we “on-board” a client.  We found that most clients had a ready, fire, aim approach to new business development and for many the idea of target markets was anyone that breathes.  We revamped our Client Acceptance Protocol and it made sense to create one for each new client so our consultants could more easily stay on task.  Our government contractors say,” it’s easy we just focus on this agency and that agency” and yet each of these agencies has multiple silos with separate decision makers so how do you know where to go in each agency?  We’ve found that a more in-depth market review and analysis in the beginning leading to a Client Acceptance Protocol for each new client prior to pipeline development led to a stronger understanding of the client’s unique capabilities, an easier transition for the consultant to communicate most effectively with prospects and it gave the client a better understanding of our strategy.

We did a billing and invoicing policy for our clients so there are no longer any questions regarding pay structures, how it’s handled and more importantly for me who handles it (and guess what …it’s no longer me)(side question – what are the things taking up your  valuable time that could easily and cost effectively be outsourced?).   We updated our Client Acceptance Protocol and it’s in the hands of everyone in the office so we all stay on task when it comes to marketing and new client engagement.  No longer can we choose to bring on a client if they don’t fit the mold (we call this rescuing puppies).  If they don’t fit, they don’t fit and we’ll be glad to introduce them to someone else who may be able to help.  In fact over the past several months I’ve given 5 opportunities to my competition – they were just a better fit.

Rescuing Puppies is the phrase my husband chose one night about 4 years ago as we were talking about a client that just wasn’t the right fit but I knew we could help them if they would just let us do our work and stop the self -sabotage.  Of course all of our pets are rescues and there is definitely something in my core about helping and taking care of others, but sometimes, in business, I want to help them more then they want to really help themselves.  As it turns out this particular client really wasn’t ready or willing to make the changes necessary for them to thrive.  This is something we see every day with smaller companies.  Almost 5 years into the business we can now spot a “puppy” a mile away and while we may have a personal relationship with the owner and we may want to see them thrive, we know the total costs will outweigh the benefits.  How often do you take on a client that isn’t the right fit?  What have you done to ensure your clients truly fit within your target?  Where are your policies?  If you’re like me you communicated, or at least thought you had communicated the policies and yet for some reason the same issues kept popping up.  Many thanks to Susan Katz, the Growth Coach for helping me to realize that it was easier to get the policies out of my head and on paper then it was to expect everyone to be mind-readers.

So while I’ve been missing, it was time well spent.  Look for our next blog on Prospect Rants.

Building a United Sales Team

If your business is built around sales, you have undoubtedly had to address the following question; is it better to build a sales team that works together or one that is in constant competition? Yes, competition can be a good thing, but a sales force that acts like a team can be far more productive than one with inherent competition.

The trick, however, is to promote both teamwork and competition. How is that possible? You must motivate your sales team with a group goal – perhaps an end of the year trip or a cash bonus. Whatever you do, you must make it about the team and not about individual accolades. If your sales team spends all its energy fighting against each other, they won’t have much energy or time left to fight for your customers.

It is okay to encourage competition; however, you can never let it compromise what you stand for as individuals and as a company. Competition is healthy when the team is bound with mutual respect and a common goal. If you accomplish this, you will have built a sales team focused on sales and profitability and not on direct competition with one another.

It is also important, however, to treat each sales person individually. The truth is that most professional sales people have big egos. That is just the way it is. Salespeople want to hear that they are performing well. But you cannot ignore the “weak link,” either. You need to encourage weaker sales staff and show them support. After all, your sales team is only as strong as its weakest link. And since your entire team is working towards one goal, they should also be more receptive to helping out one another. So, as you can see, a unified team is a strong team.

It’s a simple formula on paper, but can be very challenging to carry out.

At the end of the day, the success of your sales team comes down to how THEY measure success. Happy customers? Profit? Gross sales? Annuity revenue? Loyalty? Entrepreneurialism? Work ethic? Passion? Or individual accolades?

So be sure your sales team is working towards the right goal(s) – profit, customer satisfaction, business growth, etc.

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

At Springboard we offer outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. It’s simple, while you focus on delivery, we bring our sales expertise and connections to focus on your business development challenges.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Sources:

Sales Manager Tips :How To Manage Sales People ManagingSalesPeople.com

Should I Encourage Competition Among My Sales Team? SmartCompany.com

Why Outsourcing Works

Outsourcing works for one reason and one reason only; it saves companies money. But how does outsourcing help save companies money? Well, there is no one answer. There are, in fact, many answers to that one questions. They include:

Outsourcing costs less than dedicated, in-house employees: This is the #1 reason outsourcing works. It allows companies to cut back spending without cutting back on productivity. And in today’s down economy, this is a huge plus for companies struggling to get by.

Outsourcing allows you to have experts or specialists at your disposal: Instead of hiring, training, and housing an employee at your office, you can outsource your needs to an entire company of experts for less than the cost of employing a single worker in-house.

Outsourcing allows you to lower infrastructure investments: Cutting edge IT systems, state-of-the-art customer service call centers and technical helpdesks require huge investments by companies. By outsourcing these functions to external vendors, companies can keep their investments in these areas very low.

Outsourcing allows you to work around the clock: Do you want to make money while you sleep? No, you are not dreaming; outsourcing services often operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So even when your company is closed for the day, the weekend, or a holiday, your business will still be reachable.

Outsourcing allows you to manage your business better: Without having to worry about every little detail of your business, you are free to focus on your core business activities. So while you outsource your IT needs to a specialist, you can work on growing your company instead of worrying about system backups, database crashes, etc.

Outsourcing is an inexpensive but nevertheless effective method of improving your business. And trust us, outsourcing is not a fad; it is here to stay!

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

At Springboard we offer outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. It’s simple, while you focus on delivery, we bring our sales expertise and connections to focus on your business development challenges.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Sources:

Why Outsourcing Works VirtualPersonalAssistant.com

Why Outsource Work? Outsource2India.com