The backbone of all our clients’ business growth is their ability to continually have the right conversations with the right people about the right opportunities at the right price point.

Having invested significant time in understanding our B2B clients – including who they are, how they structure their businesses and how their businesses have grown – this is the key strategy that stands out. Of course, these companies must be able to deliver on what they’ve proposed to their customers and they’re all capable of that. They’ve, in fact, specifically structured their businesses to be able to make good on what they’ve promised. If a business can’t deliver, this will get out to the market and things will fall apart no matter how many conversations it has!

These critical conversations are usually driven by a small group within the company, generally the founders or directors, or longer-term employees. If an organisation has a good culture of winning business, it may have engaged someone internally to help with this specific task or people within the company who skilfully manage a portfolio of clients may be successful in winning more opportunities. This is Sales 101. 

While this may not seem overly complicated, with the plethora of options now available to communicate with potential customers, businesses can be forgiven for overlooking this straightforward strategy. Indeed, some marketing specialists often suggest if a business positions itself correctly, gets good lead generation and gets its marketing right, everything else will take care of itself. This ignores all the pieces of the puzzle, though. For our B2B clients, those critical business development conversations are what typically allows them to find work and make money. They still need the other parts but simply can’t skip this crucial step.

When a business wants to retain current clients, grow opportunities with existing customers, move into a new market segment or bring something different to market, its business development process comes sharply into focus. Much of the time, when we look at this, it becomes clear our successful clients are inadequately prepared for the business development side of things. This is because work typically simply arrives at their door because they’re good at what they do, creating some understandable lethargy in this space.

As market conditions turn, or if an organisation wants to shift in a new direction, there’s a need for its business development function to become much more sophisticated. Doing this is firstly about recognising that having these “right” business development conversations is a sale strategy and a process within the business. By understanding this is a process and formally mapping it out, a business can then manage, measure, refine and improve upon it as many times as needed. 

The most important thing, however, is to identify who is managing a company’s business development function, so this person can track it and build on it for greater success. This needs to be carefully considered as a significant level of know-how is required to have those right conversations with the right people (clients or potential customers) about the right opportunities and to negotiate them at the right price point. This is truly a skillset and it directly relates to a business’ bottom line. 

Going through the vital steps to formalise this business development process will also reveal if the pathway a company has committed to is not its most profitable pathway. If it’s not, money is being left on the table in the marketplace – and that’s a significant problem. 

This process is more complex – and more crucial – than most businesses imagine. There are more moving parts than organisations expect (we’ll explore these during this blog series) and important areas where significant improvements can be gained. Companies need to be ready for a “rethink” and review this business development function with a “process improvement” mind. They also need to be ready to appoint someone to ongoingly manage the process once it’s been mapped out and identify what key team members need to be looking out for in order to have more of these “right” conversations.

Businesses who do all of this and do it well stand to be able to profitably grow – that’s how critical this approach is to your ongoing success.

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