I have had numerous conversations over the years with clients, prospective clients and networking contacts about new business development success factors. When we undertake telemarketing or business development strategy work for our clients, we always stress the need for a multi-channel approach (i.e. do a number of complimentary things towards biz dev) and the need for momentum.
Buyers are Busy People
Buyers have lots of priorities. Increasingly, in competitive sectors and undifferentiated products and services, you need to find ways to reach them. You need to gently feed them with knowledge that’s useful to them ahead of the time when they might need your solutions.
Multi-channel targeting is key. That means reaching out using a range of tools. Whilst most companies don’t have unlimited budgets, a variety of tactics is necessary. These may include telemarketing, LinkedIn outreach, email marketing, content development and social media marketing amongst others.
New Business Development is a Process
Think about it. What types of business development activity might there be? There are so many options.
- Advertising (perhaps in trade press or otherwise)
- Pay per Click or Sponsored ads
- Telemarketing – to a targeted vertical sector
- Exhibitions and other events
- Content and demand generation – blogs, videos, podcasts, white papers etc
- Social media marketing – Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and newer channels such as IG, TikTok and so on
- Networking – Visiting formal or informal meetings on a regular basis
- Email marketing
The above list is only a small number of the things that you can do. Not all of these will work for your business. You also have to ensure you monitor progress and the ROI. However, if you establish what you are offering for which audience and you understand how best to reach them, the rest is about evaluating the best approach and ensuring momentum.
Business Development is about Consistency and Momentum
Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to turn. Few smaller to medium-sized businesses have the luxury to employ all of the tools above, plus many more. Increasingly, larger organisations are turning to account-based marketing in order to focus both the investment in marketing and the target audience. This can work for higher-value solutions but it is certainly a longer-term approach and takes discipline and you need to back the right horse both in terms of channel and sector.
Either way, you need to generate momentum through consistent effort. Whether that’s compiling blog content like this, or calling a targeted list of prospects. Or, if it’s through running a series of webinars on a particular topic for a designated audience. You need both consistency and momentum in order to succeed.
The Numbers Game plays a Role
Whilst we don’t simply rely on the weight of investment and amount of activity to answer every business development question, the level of activity does play a role.
With the telemarketing we do for clients, it’s fair to say that despite the fact that we work mostly at senior level, it is still numbers driven. We target decision makers in big companies for our clients. However, despite the fact that we definitely don’t adopt a call centre approach, it is still fair to say that voicemail, wrong numbers, gatekeepers, time pressures, sickness and holidays slow us down. Hence, momentum, consistency and a solid process are crucial. Making sure you keep calling and keep following up is as much a part of new business success as the other factors.
However you run your business with regard to development outreach, make sure you define your target audience carefully, work out the best channels to use, and keep it consistent.