Home | Columns and Articles | Do You Major or Minor in Business Development?

Do You Major or Minor in Business Development?

 In Columns and Articles


It stands to reason that if you are in the business of selling technical services then all of your technical professionals must – at a minimum – aspire to be proficient in their respective technical areas. A consultant, who has worked in government and commercial energy and environmental areas, remembers a mentor saying, “We do three things: perform technical work, manage people, and develop business. Pick any two of the three, do them well, and you will do very well.”


Our consultant found this to be interesting advice. However, he wondered, “Do I have to pick two? Can’t I be successful if I just do one?” The answer: Of course you can, it is just harder.


For example, it is not enough to merely become a “competent” project manager, program manager, or technical professional. After all, competent employees are a dime a dozen. Competency is the bare minimum that is expected, so just being able to perform your work is not going to give you competitive advantage over any other professional.


To get a competitive advantage for your company and to distinguish yourself, you have to become a true expert. But that is by no means an easy task. Experts take action on the leading edge of their fields. They publish papers on new processes or make presentations at conferences. Professionals who are at the top of their game give expert testimony and write books. Along the way, a few awards and advanced certifications contribute to their prestige.


The other problem is that it’s not easy to stay a technical expert. If it’s a hot issue, your competitors will catch on quickly. As the consultant mentioned above shared, “There was a time when I knew as much as anyone about environmental remediation and cleaning up chemicals in groundwater. But, that soon changed as others gained experience doing those kinds of cleanups. Today, oil spill experts are in demand, but nobody much cared about them until the problem in the Gulf of Mexico.


Let’s say you want to simply concentrate on being a good manager. Theoretically, you could progress from managing small projects, to bigger projects or programs, and then to a senior leadership position that includes an office. This progression happens, I’m sure, but you really have to be an exceptional manager to make it work. And if you’re not a professional expert in a technical field, you will not have the respect of the technical personnel you manage. It just doesn’t work, because a leader cannot ask someone to do something he or she is unable to do. Exceptional managers lead from the front.


What about business development? Can you just be in sales and not manage or perform technical work? We think you can – obviously there are technical professionals who work for “business-centered practices” that do nothing but sell technical services. However, there is tremendous pressure to hit revenue growth targets, so it is not all that easy.


The larger issue is that a business developer’s success seldom lasts if they do not continue to engage with their customers and remain up-to-date on the products and services they provide. When a business developer goes “stale”, it becomes much harder for them to earn the trust of potential clients, who expect you to know about the services and products you sell.


Our advice is to pick any two of the three and do them well. Or, another way to say it is, “major in one and minor in another.” We think you will discover that one “track” supports the other. The good news is that, early in your career, you don’t have to pick. You can try this and that and see what you like. But this approach can produce significant dividends later in your career.


*Article based on expert opinion by Senior MBDi Consultant, Bob Glassen.


© 2015 MBDi. All rights reserved.

 

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Sign up to receive Articles!


Contact Us

Thank you for your interest in MBDi. Please fill out the contact form below and one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly.

0
Is Your Company in a Graveyard Spiral?
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • The different psychological profiles of BD Majors verses BD Minors
  • Criteria to evaluate personnel for a BD role
  • Why behavioral psychology is a critical knowledge competency for success in Business Development
  • The four distinctive BD roles and how to understand, assess and coach those individuals critical to revenue growth
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • The eight-element approach to turning around revenue growth
  • Critical components for a high performing BD organization
  • Is it possible to change the culture of a BD organization?
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • What a new BD culture incorporates
  • Why BD culture change produces a greater return on investment than strategy
  • How external catalysts are critical to changing BD culture
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Why trust is important in developing business
  • Why a client engagement process mapped to a qualification/disqualification phase is necessary
  • The three early shaping environments impacting your revenue results
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • What the true ROI is for training and development investments
  • How installing a purpose-driven client engagement process impacts pipeline quality
  • Why to fund education, coaching and professional development for effective customer engagement thinking and skills
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • The missing link in most Business Development processes
  • What is HUMINT® and why it's a critical component in intelligence gathering
  • How credibility in BD is determined by the level and type of questions asked
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Hiring retired senior military personnel for Business Development positions is a common practice in the Government Contracting industry. No matter how rational the custom of having retired military personnel call on their former subordinates now running government agencies or departments may seem, this scenario actually produces three troubling contradictions, one each from the individual, the corporation and the marketplace.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Key Indicators of Revenue Growth Stagnation or Contraction
  • Stovepipe to Strategic: Restructuring the Business Development Model
  • Steps for Implementation
  • Assess the Present State of a Business Development Organization
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Indications of Business Development model problems
  • Business Development Strategy, Planning and Capabilities
  • Opportunity Identification & Qualification vs. The Crystal Ball.
  • Business Development Professionals vs. Door-Openers and Butterfly Catchers
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Few positions have the success of an organization weighing upon them like those in Business Development.
  • Once the hiring decision is made, a substantial and long-term investment of time and finance is required to launch the individual to the point where they are building relationships, qualifying and shaping opportunities and building a pipeline.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Do You Need a Special Ops Team of Super Hunters for Your Organization?
  • Should You Stand Up a BD Strike Team?
  • Characteristics of a BD Strike Team Leader
  • Stand Up and Deliver: The Strategic Advantage
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • A proven Intel Gathering Strategy to fortify decision-making and drive revenue results
  • The difference between companies that make good “Pursuit/No Pursuit” decisions and those that don't.
  • The five stages of the Intelligence Cycle
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Lifting a page from the small company Business Development playbook can be a game-changing strategy in this transformed environment.
  • Game-Changing Structure Strategy
  • The Case for Professional Development
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Want to get inside your customer’s head and discover the real issues? Then go to the source and just ask!
  • Are you gathering Data or Source HUMINT ®
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Determining Barriers & Overcoming Obstacles to Growing Revenue in a Recessionary Economy
  • Moving the Needle in Tough Times
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Guidelines for leveraging products and services to international military/defense markets in Government Contracting.
  • Top Ten List for International Business Development Success in Government Contracting
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.