Business development, as a whole, is very much about exploring the unknown. It’s about knowing your vision for the partnership, understanding your partners’ vision, and being adaptable enough to use any vehicle to get to that vision. Creativity is crucial to this role. Business development is important at smaller companies as you’re thinking of building those aspects of your business. It’s a great way to try things out without necessarily investing too much time and building your own version.
Business development is an investment in systematically mapping and networking your ecosystem to drive transformational opportunities. Although the CEO will be heavily involved at times, it’s not primarily the CEO’s role. Nor should business development be confused with Sales. Although very complementary to Sales, it’s also very different in that it doesn’t follow a quarterly cadence. It’s focused on a very few high-impact events a year rather than a large volume of quarterly transactions, so it should have separate goals and incentives from those of Sales. Business development should be low headcount and of high impact.
Business Development Is All About Relationships:
Business development is also important as it helps you to be to communicate the value of your product to each, in order to truly tap into their customer base.
All of this relationship and partnership building is all focused on getting the company in front of the right customers in the most creative and useful way possible.
Qualify Your Growth Opportunities Accurately:
With business development, it’s your job not just to help the business grow, but grow sustainably. But perhaps the most important thing is to work with companies and people that you can build long term relationships with so you can work with them again and again. Partnering with too many companies with customers isn’t similar enough so you could have a dramatic negative impact on your conversion rates. Conversely, too many “good” partnerships too fast could lead to growth the company’s not prepared for.
Before Developing Your Business, Find Product/Market Fit:
We throw more money at ads, try to drive more traffic through social media, and generally try to force our product at the market, and hope they buy from us.
But from the business development standpoint, without product/market fit, it looks like a hard sell for most of the partnerships you try to forge. When customer experience & market validation is there, you have a great foundation for business development and if you have to pivot, doing that smartly can be a very big boost for a business.
However, business development is to be thought of as a marketing tactic. The objectives include branding, expansion in markets, new user acquisition, and awareness. The main function of business development is to utilize partners in selling to the right customers. Creating opportunities for value to be ongoing in the long-term is very important. To be successful in business development the partnership must be built on strong relationships.