Increasing competition throughout the global business means more sales, more marketing, and more business development. Now, corporations are formalizing this process through Business Development units, which in turn are showing them how to make the first move
STEP ONE: MARKET RESEARCH
Business Development is becoming more and more important as market competition becomes more and more fierce. Now, sales departments focus on results. Business Development, on the other hand, focuses on potential contract. Market research is the first to determine where companies sit both in existing as well as potential markets. With that in mind, market research needs to follow a few rules. First and foremost, the business in question needs to identify where they are, both in the sector as well as geographically. This can be done in a number of ways. You can seek out the support of small media firms. However, know that while this won’t come cheap, it will be wisest decision you could ever make if you wish to venture into new territory. Once you are confident that you have collected enough data, then you’ll get a sense of just how much of a hold your business as on the market, and go from there by:
- Increasing your share in your current market
- Identifying and setting your eyes on a new market
- Entering a new sector
- Charting new territory where you believe new potential lies
Once you have wrapped up the research side of things, then it’s time to pinpoint potential new tenders and business partners. You do this by following other organizations, forms, and blogs. Some sectors even explicitly publish that they are looking to work with businesses like yours. You also can access information about a business’s products and services via its own website. This will save you time! You have to make the best use of this data that you can. It may even put you and your business in the right place at the right time.
Market research is the first to determine where companies sit both in existing as well as potential markets
KNOWING YOUR COMPETITORS WILL SAVE YOUR BACK
After you compare and contrast what your business has to offer with what the market expects of you, then you can research who it is you are competing against. This will increase your chances of getting into the market. Not only will it show you where you are today, it will also give you insight into where you’ll want to be tomorrow. All you have to do is follow a few steps:
- Identify who your opponents are. You should identify at least 4 to 6 major competitors.
- Set benchmarks: Identify your and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses
- Learn all about what your competition offers and where, and what they’re doing to grab their customers’ attention. Take note of what it is they’re pitching, including prices, quality, service, and guarantees, etc.
- Look at, compare, and contrast what your competition has in the past in terms of projects.
CURRENT CUSTOMERS ARE NEW ONES IN DISGUISE
Maintaining and enhancing relations with existing customers is a major issue of focus in Business Development. Every current customer actually equals new business. Companies grow with their customers.
Maintaining and enhancing relations with existing customers is a major issue of focus in business development
A simple SWOT analysis will show you just how good (or bad) your business’s customer relations are. Your customers know everything about you. Where they position you reveals your strengths and weaknesses. Your customers will directly tell you what you should capitalize on, and what you should steer clear of. That way, you’ll get a clear idea of what you are doing right versus wrong. You need to keep in good touch with your customers. You also should also keep them up to date about what your business is doing in terms of research and development, as well as about any new products. Make sure to updating your customers via corporate magazines, social media, and e-mail, and meeting with them over the phone or in person. Face-to-face meetings will also serve as the perfect opportunity for you to share your marketing collateral.
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK OUT NEW CUSTOMERS
Managing new customers starts with you identifying which businesses you want to target. Once you have accomplished that, then should arrange to talk with each and every one over the phone or, better still, meet with them in person. Your aim is to pinpoint suppliers and tell them why you want to work with them. You should also try and establish what sort of challenges you might face upon working with them, and then come up with a solution. You should tell them how teaming up will benefit the both of you. After your meeting, don’t forget to drop them a message providing them with detailed information about your business, and to keep in active engagement with them. The follow-up stage is vital! If you are positive that your customer has read your message, then you can proceed to take additional steps. If they haven’t, you can give them to quick call to see whether they’ve read the message or not. Just remember not to overwhelm them! There is a right time for everything.
STAYING ON TOP OF THE ACTION
Engaging in sectorial activities either as a member or a manager of a business development unit should be part of your business. You should spend as much time engaging in different activities as you spend in the office (e.g. sector meet-ups, conferences, seminars, fairs, etc.) Those you encounter at such events will either be potential customers, or will push your business in different directions. With that in mind, don’t forget at you are the one representing your business. The impression you leave your customer with will reflect on your business. Therefore, make sure to represent your business well–especially at fairs. If, for example, your stand looks sloppy, potential customers will not hesitate to question the standards of your business. In the same breath, you should also collect feedback from them, and get/keep in touch with them after the event. Remember: follow, follow, follow…. Your business depends on it!
Engaging in sectorial activities either as a member or a manager of a business development unit should be part of your business
Business Development Executive Haluk Alişan