Fit or Failure in Business Development

This topic wasn’t on the list for discussion in this blog but it’s come up 3 times in the past 2 days and every time it makes me laugh.  Why do you insist of cramming a square peg into a round hole?  I’m not suggesting your hiring an engineer to do business development but I am suggesting that the person you’ve hired has a clear indication of failure and you just haven’t seen it yet.

It’s about fit.  You have a firm that in order for someone to become a client needs to develop trust, show expertise, and create a relationship before someone commits yet you hire someone in business development that has always focused on transactions.  Transactions usually equate to cold calling and cold calling is NOT how you get clients, its how you scare people away.  You are referred in, are top of mind when the need arises, hold speaking engagements to showcase knowledge and value to generate recognition and interest; people don’t come to you because you called them out of the blue and knocked their socks off in an unsolicited call.  Transaction sales people go after a quick turn around, they bring it in and leave it alone – not the right fit if you are looking to build relationships for your clientele.  This is a longer sales cycle, it’s about developing trust and an understanding of right fit, value and need.

I’ve also seen a couple hires lately of business development people who can’t seem to keep jobs or have a personality that reminds me of old carpet.  Nice people but insanely boring.  Your business development staff shouldn’t put people to sleep, they should be able to generate some excitement – you don’t necessarily want the life of the party as they tend to be more self focused but you need someone with energy.  Let’s think about the basics of business development –

  • they need to feel comfortable in a room of strangers
  • be able to communicate easily and build trust
  • they need a high enough energy level to portray interest and excitement all throughout the day
  • they need to be able to execute
  • and for a services business they need to understand and be able to manage the process of developing a relationship with someone they just met

Industry specific – your business development person needs to know enough about your industry to be dangerous, and its tough to know how much they actually know versus what they’ve read or been told.  Your interviews should be asking about how your would strategically grow my business – what areas would you take me, who should be my partners, what would you do that we aren’t already doing.  If they can’t grasp your field and what makes your business thrive they aren’t the right fit.

As we start to see hiring in business development increase make sure you are choosing the right candidates.  Just because its a fun interview doesn’t mean its going to work.  I love to see hiring in the space, it means people are pulling their head out of the sand and getting back to business but don’t waste time and money on the wrong hire.  In BD it will cost you more than lost wages.

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.

FAQ’s What’s your SECRET SAUCE?

Answering more of your questions – if you have one email me at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

 

What’s your SECRET SAUCE?

I always laugh at this guestion.  What’s the Secret Sauce on a Big Mac, it’s Thousand Island dressing – there’s no secret and they know you won’t do it on your own at home, it’s too much work.  For us, there is no secret sauce, we simply talk to people.  I hate to make it sound so simple but that’s really all it is.  We aren’t growing your business, dealing with employee challenges, handing client fulfillment and service, meeting with the bookkeeper, etc.  You don’t have the time and typically you don’t have the desire to identify, find, and develop relationships with decision makers that lead to opportunities.  It’s not easy, it requires a tremendous amount of dedication, time and focus that you simply don’t have right now and its all we do.

Our consultants understand their base so well; they understand what they need, where they are going, what they need to get there, who’s a good fit culturally, what won’t work, how we need to communicate with them, etc.  So a strong baseline understanding of the prospect is critical and then we simply talk with them.

I think the biggest thing is there’s no bullshit.  There’s no tactics to convince someone to work with you, there’s no manipulation or bait and switch; it’s simply a conversation about need and fit.  This is the reason our prospects continue to work with us – we’re respectful of their time, their needs, their budgets, their focus, and we make sure they get what they need so they can shine.  That doesn’t mean they are always correct in their thinking so we present options to help them see what’s available.  What we find is as we move forward in our relationships with these decision makers they recognize that we only bring unique, game changing capabilities to the table for them.

Prospect Rant #5 – They said they had connections

Rant #5 – They TOLD ME they had great connections

It’s now 6 months later and we have no meetings scheduled.  I have to admit I love this one because it can happen across the board.  It can be your $225k hire, the retired military leader, the retired Agency head, the “commercial expert” or the newbie, etc.  You’re paying for action not cards in a rolodex.  How many former executives do you know that actually handled the sales process?  Not too many – so why would you expect them to do it for you?  You hired them for one reason and one reason only – to make introductions for you and now in order to see your investment flourish you need to pair them with someone who can communicate the opportunity and move the opportunity forward.

It can also happen with your in-house Business Development person, anyone can say they know people and how many CRM’s are filled with names and numbers that represent a person they met once at an event 5 years ago?  Again Business Development is about connections, strategy and execution.  You’re looking for someone who can figure out the puzzle, methodically go about meeting and meeting with your desired prospects, communicate in the most effective way the value that prospect would receive in working with you and moving that prospect along the pipeline IF they are the right fit.  The last thing you want is someone trying to cram a square peg into a round hole.  You want right fit clients and you need the person who is willing to walk away from a deal if in the short or long run they know it’s not going to work.  The frustration and potential damage to your reputation just isn’t worth a few months of revenue.

Let’s be honest, sales is a crap shoot.  There really is no way to tell if someone you interview really has strong connections or not (unless of course you’ve seen this person in action over a long period of time).  There’s also no way you can identify their strategic capabilities or their desire to execute.  What does work is communication and accountability.  This in no way implies you should be a micro-manager however there does need to be a standard for how information is delivered to you and vice versa.

The Role of Marketing in Business Development: The Benefits of Outsourced Lead Generation Services

The most effective salespeople are those salesmen and saleswomen who efficiently manage their time. And the most effective businesses are the ones with the most effective salespeople. And no, that is not a coincidence. So what are you doing to help maximize the effectiveness of your sales team? One ultra-useful sales tool is outsourced lead generation.

By outsourcing lead generation needs to a professional business development firm you allow your sales people to focus on selling while the firm’s sales experts generate qualified leads and set up sales appointments. Other benefits of outsourcing lead generation services include:

•      Effective targeting and better prescreening methods

•      Ensures qualified leads

•      Your team can devote even more time to actually selling

•      Increases sales volume

•      Increases closing ratio

•      Makes you more money!

•      Lower cost per sale than traditional sales methods

•      Allows a sales team to focus on selling, not marketing

•      No need for additional employees or training

•      Professional firms have access to resources and databases that you may not

As you can see, there are many advantages to outsourced lead generation services.

Appointment setting and lead generation are highly specialized forms of direct marketing that is usually best outsourced to the specialists. That is why you should outsource your business development needs to a professional sales firm, like Springboard!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. It’s simple, while you focus on you core business activities, we bring our sales expertise and connections to focus on your business development challenges.

Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the concerns of sales team turn-over, lack of sales expertise and payroll.

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

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Sources:

Benefits of Outsourced Lead Generation Services

Lead Generation Outsourcing: streamlining your marketing resources