Business Development Strategies

There are a variety of different strategies one can use when developing business. It is important to understand the strategies a business development manager has used in the past before you bring them into your firm. Their approach may differ from what your company expects from its business developers. I’m going to cover of few of the most common approaches, but each business developer may have his/her own unique approach that incorporates portions of the following strategies:

The Expert/Inbound Strategy

This business development strategy is used more by doer-sellers and may not be appropriate for a full-time business development manager

The Expert/Inbound Strategy tries to set the business development manager as an expert in the company or client’s field. One example might be the engineer who creates the perception that he/she is in expert in energy savings for office buildings. This business development manager ‘s company designs energy retrofits for office buildings. Therefore, he/she is targeting real estate developers who may want to increase their building’s energy efficiency.

The business development manager writes articles and books, blogs, speaks at conferences, and participates in relevant industry associations with the hope that people will perceive him/her as the expert in the field.

As mentioned, this is an inbound strategy because the business development manager’s approach is passive. They put themselves out there and wait for people to reach out to them.

While, at first, it may seem like a dumb business development strategy. It’s been historically very effective, particularly when conducted by doer-sellers. Many businesses start out and have grown successful using this strategy.

The Client List Strategy

Another business development strategy centers around client lists. For example, let’s say you are targeting large general construction contractors in Tennessee. You can research, create, or even buy that list. From there, you can cold call or network your way to the decision makers within the organization. You can even use email marketing as a way to track clicks and uncover who might be receptive to talking with you. Assuming you have the right list, this can be a very effective strategy.

The Network Strategy

The networking strategy is not nearly as targeted. Business development managers using this approach often attend many industry events, lunches, etc. Their goal is to use their network to identify and connect with potential clients. Many business development managers use this approach because it’s less stressful than the Client List Strategy.

It has its advantages and disadvantages. Its advantage is you may identify a potential client that wouldn’t have appeared on a client list. The disadvantage is this strategy can take a long time, is not as targeted, and relies on the quality of the business developer’s network (and his/her ability to leverage that network).

The Old Client