6 Top Tips on working with a Business Development Specialist
Ever since I started up My Special PA in 2009, I have found that the service we get the most enquires for is business development.
We also know that many SME company founders and directors feel that they are really best placed to do their own business development for their products and services. Like parents, they have conceived and nurtured them into so feeling they understand the market they are intended for better than anyone.
but is there really time? Whilst in many ways the above is actually true, it’s also inevitable that even if the company directors enjoy doing their own business development, they are also required to deal with the demands of internal management, product development and current project delivery. So – you finish your current project, but what’s next? There’s nothing solid in the pipeline as you weren’t able to invest enough time to look ahead, speak to potential customers and take action.
A solution? – Outsource it – bring a Business Development Specialist in to help you.
MSPA’s 6 TOP TIPS – how to make the most out of working with a Business Development Specialist and what the role entails – (If they’re truly worth their salt!)
1) Clarify your goals from the outset. Your Business Development Specialist needs to clearly understand CEO/ Director level stakeholders expectations.
2) Invest some of your own time – Your Business Development Specialist will require a research phase – this is crucial. We recommend you work closely with them at this early stage. It may only require a day or two, but you will enable them to work much more efficiently, effectively and autonomously moving forward.
3) Prepare and provide as much internal company information and documentation upfront as possible – enabling them:
- to understand the true culture of your brand
- to understand all details of the clients products, services, business model, cost structure and targets
- to review all existing brand communications and collateral, social media channels, marketing activity – digital and print based, PR opportunities and award opportunities
- to understand both existing client and new target client relationships
- to identify potential new business referrals from existing clients
- to identify potential improvements to existing products and services
- to identify new business opportunities with existing clients
4) Contact Insight – provide a contact list of your warm and / or ‘lapsed’ leads, document the relationship history, note any opportunities you didn’t have a chance to follow-up on yourself and provide any useful tips on the specific contact angle that will secure a meeting. If on average 80% of business comes from 20% of our customers, leveraging known contacts is business development critical.
5) Contact Relation Management system (CRM) – set this up (or ask your business development specialist to) and import all your existing contacts and leads. We work with and highly recommend Highrise HQ because it’s super user friendly!
This system will enable your business development specialist to log everything and ensure opportunities are followed up at the appropriate time. Another benefit is total transparency: the company owners can also login, to track activity and understand what the time being billed is being used for.
Remember: Time spent creating big reports, is time that could be spent speaking to prospective clients or working on a pitch.
6) Allow access to your diary to enable them to arrange face 2 face meetings with prospective clients for you, set helpful reminders for tasks and contact that only you can do.
your business development specialist should also be able to:
- Attend meetings if company directors are not available due to existing project demands
- Identify and respond to RFP’s (Request for Proposal) and create or collaborate on proposals and pitch presentations
- Write creative copy for case studies and internal communications collateral
- liberate you from the time demands of admin and all pesky tasks related to new business activity!
Remember: There’s so much more to business development than just finding new business leads…
So how can MSPA help…?
Meet Sara Levy – MSPA’s business development specialist.
Sara is a very recent My Special PA acquisition – she joined us last autumn.
a bit of background: Sara has created and run her very own women’s wear and home wear brands and headed up the sales, marketing and distribution of 2 Australian based children’s wear brands across Europe. She has 13 years first hand experience of the full cycle of branding, design, supply chain, marketing, events, sales, delivery and customer care and above all customer satisfaction.
Sara’s approach: Sara is sensitive to nurturing a business, analysing primary objectives, supporting healthy growth and the fulfilment of the people within. She is an enthusiastic and methodical person who centres on hopes, dreams, desires and fears. Sara considers motivation and rejuvenation as key growth strategies to ensuring a happy and successful business. She is also enterprising in attitude and pragmatic in her approach to acquiring new customers and exceeding the expectations of existing customers.
Professional training: Sara also brings the benefits of an up to date Digital Marketing diploma from the leading industry accredited body – DMI (Digital Marketing Institute) to her business development skill set.
I asked her to outline her key understandings of Digital Marketing for us:
“Digital Marketing has drastically changed the way we communicate. Expectations are higher, the pace is faster.
Who has power? – Power to the consumer – transparency through digital media increases the accountability of a business shifting increased power to the consumer. Consumers expect faster responses and can ‘expose’ the negative as well as positives of a business. Power to the brand – knowledge about their customers both current or potential has grown to the extent of mass individualism enabling more effective, efficient and iterative campaigns and communications.
Digital Marketing is a core driver of an organisation’s marketing strategy. Through a combined use of the relevant channels a clear plan of action can be outlined and effectively measured. These include:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Web Analytics
- Pay per click Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Display Advertising
- Mobile Marketing
Any business MUST take time to know their customer – listen – respond – be iterative. Sara Levy