Many modern business owners understand the importance of developing a solid business-to-business (B2B) development strategy. After all, a track record of successful B2B relationships can lead to increased revenue, exposure to new markets, and improved efficiency.
But what does it take to develop a truly effective B2B business development strategy?
Throughout our ultimate guide to B2B business development, we will cover:
By the end of this guide, you should have a much better understanding of how to go about developing an effective B2B business development strategy for your company. So without further ado, let's get started!
Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organisation from customers, markets, and relationships. Organisations achieve this by generating revenue from new customers (acquisition) and/or expanding revenue with existing customers (expansion). They can do this organically with a great business development plan or through inorganic means such as strategic alliances, mergers, or acquisitions.
For B2B companies, the main objectives of business development often centre around building longer-term relationships and driving sales sustainably. Business development sales reps are responsible for creating and growing a pipeline of new business opportunities that will eventually turn into revenue-generating deals.
B2B business development is often misinterpreted as simply new sales or business growth. While acquiring new customers is certainly a key part of developing a business, it is only one piece of the puzzle. A more holistic view of business development would include other important functions such as market intelligence, product development, channel management, and customer experience.
There are several reasons why your business might need to focus on B2B business development. Strategic business development can help your company in a number of ways, including:
B2B business development can open up new revenue streams for your company by expanding your customer base and selling new products or services to existing customers. By diversifying your revenue streams, you can reduce your reliance on any one customer or product, which can make your business more resilient to economic downturns.
When it comes to professional services, buying decisions are often made by specific individuals or boards. This means that it's important to develop relationships with multiple decision-makers within an organisation, and also to qualify who is ultimately responsible for signing off on the deal.
A dedicated business development team can help you cultivate these relationships and position your company as a trusted partner that is able to provide real value.
A good business development team will have their finger on the pulse of the latest B2B sales industry statistics and data and be able to identify new market opportunities before your competitors do. They can also help you assess the viability of these opportunities and develop a go-to-market strategy.
In a world where businesses are constantly trying to one-up each other, it's important to have a few competitive advantages up your sleeve. A business development team can help you identify these advantages and develop strategies to make the most of them.
Some of the most common competitive advantages that B2B companies focus on include:
By its very nature, business development is all about identifying new ways to do things and making process improvements. As such, a good business development team can help your company become more efficient and reduce costs by streamlining processes and introducing new technologies.
By implementing these efficiencies, you'll not only be able to save money, but you'll also free up time and resources that can be reinvested back into your business.
If your company is stuck in a rut and struggling to come up with new ideas, a business development team can help jumpstart the innovation process. By working with you to assess customer needs and market trends, they can help you develop new products or services that are perfectly positioned to succeed.
By outsourcing sales functions and business development to a team of experienced professionals, you can focus on what you do best and leave the heavy lifting to them.
There are a number of factors that can interfere with business development, which is why it's so important to have a dedicated team in place. Some of the most common problems that can arise include:
When businesses try to handle business development in-house, it's often an ad-hoc process with no clear strategy or direction. This can lead to a lot of time and sales efforts being wasted on activities that don't generate any results.
Many businesses also simply don't have the resources required to effectively pursue business development opportunities. This includes everything from human resources to financial capital. Ensuring you have the right resources in place is essential to success.
Your business development efforts can be wasted if your sales team doesn't have the skills or training to properly execute them. Experienced business development professionals know how to identify and target the right prospects, build relationships, and close deals.
If your sales and marketing efforts are misaligned, it can be difficult to generate the results you're looking for. From your positioning in search engines to video and social media content, to lead nurturing and conversion, everything needs to be working together to attract and convert the right prospects.
If you're not using technology to your advantage, you're missing out on a whole host of business development opportunities. This could involve setting up a customer relationship management (CRM) system to capture leads and track customer interactions, using marketing automation to nurture prospects, or leveraging social media to connect with potential customers.
If you're not measuring your business development results, you won't be able to tell what's working and what isn't. This makes it difficult to make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources. Without data, you're essentially operating in the dark.
Some of the most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track include the number of new leads generated, the number of sales qualified leads, the conversion rate, and the revenue generated. Measuring your ROI will also be critical in understanding whether or not your business development activities are generating a positive return.
Our revenue acceleration system, Permission To Operate, outlines three key stages in the business development journey: Campaign Strategy, Campaign Implementation and Campaign Execution. Below we will take a look at each stage, and outline some key steps you can take to develop your B2B journey.
The first step in any business development journey is to formulate a targeted business plan or campaign strategy. This should include your objectives, target market, value proposition, and go-to-market strategy. It's important to be as specific as possible so you can effectively measure your progress.
To create a B2B business development plan, you'll need to answer the following questions:
Once you have your plan in place, the next step is to conduct market research. This will help you understand your target market, what they're looking for, and how to reach them. It's important to use both primary and secondary sources of data in your research.
Primary data is data that you collect yourself through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and so on. This can be very valuable in understanding your target market's needs and pain points.
Secondary data is data that already exists and has been collected by someone else. This could be data from industry reports, research papers, or government statistics. While it can be helpful in getting an overview of the vastly expanded marketplace, it's important to supplement this with primary data to get a more accurate picture.
Once you have a good understanding of your target market, it's time to start generating leads. There are a number of ways to do this, including telemarketing and B2B Lead Generation Services, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing strategies.
It's important to have a system in place to capture leads so you can follow up with them and continue to nurture them until they're ready to buy. You should aim to create a list of potential leads that you can contact on a regular basis once they have been qualified.
Telemarketing can be a great way to directly target potential clients, but it's important to make sure you're following best practices. This includes ensuring that your list is up to date, only calling during appropriate hours, having a script prepared, and being polite and professional.
Once you've generated a list of leads, the next step is to qualify them. In fact, one of the most important business development processes is ensuring qualified leads. Sales strategies won't generate leads if the leads aren't qualified, so a few business contacts that are likely to buy your product or service are much more valuable than a large list of contacts that aren't interested.
To qualify a lead, you'll need to assess their need for your product or service, their budget, and their timeline. You can do this through a series of questions known as the BANT framework:
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you have a qualified lead.
Once you've qualified your leads, the next step is to nurture them. This involves building relationships and trust so that they eventually do business with you. The best way to do this is through lead nurturing campaigns. These are typically email marketing, direct sales or content-based campaigns that provide value to the prospect and keep them informed about your product or service.
Lead nurturing campaigns can be very effective in moving qualified prospects through the sales funnel and should be a key part of your business development strategy.
Once you've nurtured your leads and built relationships with them, it's time to start closing deals. This is where the rubber meets the road and you start making sales. When you're looking to close a deal, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Closing deals is an important step in the business development process, but it's also important to keep in mind that not every lead will turn into a sale. That's why it's so important to have a qualified list of leads to begin with.
The final step in the business development process is to follow up with your customers after the sale. This is known as customer retention and it's just as important as acquiring new customers. There are a number of things you can do to retain your customers, including providing excellent customer service, staying in touch after the sale, and offering discounts or loyalty programmes.
Customer retention is an important part of any business development strategy and should not be overlooked. The business development process is a cycle that begins with generating leads and ends with customer retention. By following these steps, you can ensure that your sales strategy is effective and that you're able to close deals and retain customers.
A B2B business development strategy is a plan for how you will generate new leads and convert them into customers.
There are a number of different business development and growth strategies you can use, but the best way to find one that works for you is to experiment and see what works best for your business. Here are some business development strategies we recommend including in your sales efforts.
The first step in any business development strategy is generating leads. There are a number of different ways to generate leads, but the most important thing is to be creative and experiment with different methods. Some common inbound marketing strategies for creating leads include:
Business strategies can also be used to generate leads. Outbound sales involve reaching out to potential customers proactively, usually through cold calls or emails. Direct, outbound sales target qualified leads that are more likely to convert into customers.
While this method can be extremely effective, it's important to keep in mind that it can also be very time-consuming to do in-house. It's often more effective to hire a sales outsourcing company to handle your outbound sales for you. This way, you can focus on other aspects of your business while still generating new leads.
Inbound sales are similar to outbound sales, but the primary difference is that inbound sales representatives target customers that have already shown an interest in your product or service. This can be done through lead nurturing, which involves building relationships with potential customers and providing them with helpful information until they're ready to buy.
Like outbound sales, inbound sales can be very effective but they can also be time-consuming. That's why many businesses choose to outsource their inbound sales to a company that specialises in this type of selling.
Once you've generated leads, it's important to have a system in place to manage them effectively. Inbound lead management is a process for tracking and nurturing your leads until they're ready to buy.
There are a number of different software programmes that can help you with this, but the most important thing is to make sure that your leads are being contacted regularly and that you're providing them with helpful information.
There are a number of steps you can take to improve your business development. Here are our top tips:
By following these tips, you can improve your business development and generate more leads and sales for your company. However, if you don't have the time or resources to do this yourself, consider hiring a business development agency like Pace.
At Pace, we specialise in helping B2B businesses develop their sales. Our B2B Business Development Services can help you develop a customised business development strategy that's tailored to your specific needs and goals, setting you and your sales team up for success.
By working together, you can get full access to our revenue acceleration system, Permission To Operate, which covers all aspects of your business development with expert industry insight.