How are you managing your business development process?
Many professional services firms have the managing principal or a senior practitioner managing business development. And service delivery. And client management. And recruiting. And finance.
You get the point - for many firms, business development is just one of many responsibilities for a managing principal or practice leader. In many cases, there's not sufficient budget or need to hire a full-time business development manager.
This is where a business development consultant can help SMB professional service firms drive revenue.
Consultants can be hired on an on-demand basis - you pay for them when you need them and you don't when you don't need them. And you don't need to pay 35-50% of their salary in fringe benefit costs like medical, retirement and unemployment benefits. Which is why your customers hire you, right?
Here are 3 ways a business development consultant can help you drive revenue and add value to your business development process.
1. By helping you create a business development plan
If you don't have a strategic business development plan that is shared and understood throughout your firm, it's difficult to achieve your goals.
When developing a business development plan, it's valuable to bring an outside perspective into the process. Many business development plans are based on what's worked in the past. With rapidly changing buyer behavior, what worked in the past probably won't work in the future.
An experienced business development consultant can help you create a plan that melds what worked in the past with current buyer behaviors to maximize the effectiveness of your business development process.
And a good business development plan will define your resource needs so that you're using limited resources in the most effective manner.
2. By aligning technology and processes to maximize effectiveness
As the price of business development technology goes down, the utility is at an all-time high.
Companies like HubSpot offer free CRM, Marketing and Sales software with surprising capabilities. And you can upgrade to paid versions that really let you use technology to automate much of your business development process.
But you need to have processes before you can manage them. A good business development consultant can help you:
Identify your demand generation channels
Create consistent sales processes for each channel
Set up your growth technology stack to automate many elements of your processes
Set up SMART goals and dashboards to evaluate progress against your goals and make adjustments to your plan that reflect market realities.
By aligning well-designed processes with technology to automate them, you will use your limited business development resources effectively.
3. By helping you narrow your focus
One of the most common recommendations we make to our customers is to narrow their business development focus.
We learned this early in the life of our business. Like most new businesses, we chased after any opportunity that came our way. Even those where we had no domain expertise or experience.
As we grew our business, we found that most of our customers came from two industries - professional services and technology companies. When we would ask our customers why they chose to do business with us, the answer was usually some variation of "because you understand our business."
The light bulb went off and we chose to pursue those two markets. More importantly, we developed the discipline not to go after opportunities that weren't in those markets.
For most businesses, you are better off dropping a target market than chasing a new one. Here's what a good business development will help you do:
- Identify 1-3 target markets that you should pursue. For most of us, it's a Pareto Principle effect: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.
- Develop Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas to help you identify your best opportunities and understand their pain points.
- Develop strategies and channels to exploit your target markets.
- Develop SMART goals and dashboards to measure progress.
Market focus is becoming increasingly important as buyers are increasingly looking for specialists rather than generalists.
If you're developing or implementing your business plan, or if you simply want to optimize your existing plan, consider these 3 ways a business development consultant can help you. A fresh perspective and some specialized experience can be what turns a good year into a great year.