By crafting a strong business development strategy firms are able to solve a number of business needs. Anything from raising revenue, to controlling expenses, to expanding your brand can be accomplished with sound business development. Here we run through the high-level steps that go into developing a business development strategy. It’s a long process but it’s one that can deliver extraordinary results. Check out our business development primer for a more in-depth look at the process.
Determine what do you want from your business development strategy
To craft a solid strategy, you need to know your firm’s goals. These obviously boil down to increase profit, either through higher revenue or lower expenses. Go a step farther and figure out the general strategies your firm is implementing to achieve these base goals. Are you boosting revenue by breaking into new markets? By developing new products? By implementing an aggressive marketing campaign?
Once you understand these level 2 goals, then you’ll know where to focus your business development efforts.
Define what a successful business development strategy looks like
This is probably the most skipped over step in the process. You need to know where the goal posts are if you ever want to reach them. Be detailed in your definition. An example would be something like the following:
A successful business development strategy will let us break into market X with 10 new partnerships in the first 12 months and generate $750k in additional revenue.
Use the S.M.A.R.T method for setting these goals. This method improves the chances that you’ll reach these goals.
Research your environment
In order to craft a successful business development strategy, you need to understand how the environment and its participants operate. Boutique market research firms like Promethean Research are well suited for this kind of work. They’re able to quickly turn around detailed reports on your specific industry.
Define your resources
Here you’ll be listing your available strengths and resources. This will help later in the strategy process. You’ll want to stick to high level resources so you don’t get bogged down with too many details. Specifically look for unique resources that aren’t available to other market participants. These will be what you focus on to drive interest in your business development deals.
Craft and test your business development strategy
Start with the major trends you identified in your market research. Find a few that match up well with your available resources. Then schedule a few prospecting interviews with decision makers at your target companies. Don’t come right out and try to sell the partnership. Instead, try to dig into what their pain points are and identify them. If you’ve done your research correctly, some will line up with the overarching market trends you identified earlier. Match the strongest trends with the most common pain points with your strongest resources and build your strategy around those.
You can now further refine your strategy by digging deeper into the operations of your new targets. Find out how they acquire customers, how they deliver their goods/service, their financial position, etc. The more concrete knowledge you can gain here, the easier it will be to put together an effective business development strategy.
Implement the strategy
Now is the time to begin selling the partnership idea. You should have a wealth of contacts from both prior operations and from your new outreach. This cycle typically takes much longer to execute than a standard sales cycle. A partnership puts their brand and reputation on the line much more so than a simple sale. Because of this most firms will need to trust you and your organization before engaging in any type of deal. Expect these to take anywhere from 3-12 months depending on the length of time you’ve known them and the complexity and size of the deal.