Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Business Development: The Bridge Between Marketing & Sales

How do you define Business Development?

Whenever I talk or write about Business Development with small (or even medium sized) business owners and representatives, they frequently ask: what is business development? It's amazing to me how many business folks, from owners to managers to sales & marketing representatives, have varying opinions on what it is and what it means.

The term has been explored by the always insightful marketing guru, Seth Godin, and even Forbes over the last few years, but even they refer to it as business puzzle yet to be fully realized. Perhaps it's because Business Development is a relatively newer term. Or maybe it's that there are few books or college courses that even address what it can mean to any business in any given market or industry. What is certain is that Business Development has moved beyond just being the latest buzz term. It has planted itself firmly in Marketing efforts, Sales Cycles and, ultimately, Business Plans regardless of the unsolved mystery of what it really means.

In it it's simplest form, Business Development is the bridge between Marketing & Sales. Most of this transition has been made easier with our online communications and especially CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resources. With CRMs - even the free options - Sales representatives can record their activities as leads migrate from traceable Marketing & Advertising efforts.

It's not enough just to record your Marketing & Sales efforts. Businesses, large and small, have to monitor their Business Development activities, analyze the data, and provide reports with meaningful information for Continuous Improvement (another fashionable buzz term.) Continuous Improvement is the underlying link between creating improved customer relations, employee satisfaction and work habits, and Business & Marketing Plan development. Or in simpler terms, Business Development on the front end and continuous improvement on the back end.

Implementing Business Development strategies is a key to maintaining an effective revenue. It is the gateway transitional element carried forward from your initial Marketing & Advertising efforts to give purpose, meaning, and structure to the Sales Cycle. It is because of Business Development that successful businesses are able to move and think beyond the Business Plan for purposeful Continuous Improvement.

What Business Development strategies have worked best for you?