Within the Government Services marketplace it is a common practice to hire somebody with a contact database of prospects to perform Business Development. In theory, this makes it easier to get in the door to see decision makers, assists in “Bonding and Positioning” and thus makes it easier to obtain the intelligence required to make informed decisions about a potential opportunity.
THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF TIME
This strategy has been very successful within a large number of companies. However there is one significant drawback to this model. It involves the passing of time. The fresher the list, the better the strategy works! Given time, people switch companies or positions change, and the list grows to be stale and useless. By this stage, you’ve invested a significant amount of resources into a Business Development individual. During this time, if they have not learned a process that allows them to procure new business with new contacts, they soon become ineffective in the BD role. You’re left with a highly compensated, “personality-driven” resource, and your projected revenue flies out the window.
If you had to evaluate your Business Development team today and make the determination as to each individual’s ability to generate revenue without a pre-existing network, which individuals on your team would you pick as your “hunters”?
Your best bet is to pick individuals with the following attributes:
- Someone who has learned BD thinking;
- Someone proficient in gathering and analyzing human intelligence;
- Someone able to engage clients on any level and obtain needed intelligence;
- Someone who utilizes the information obtained within an Opportunity Identification & Qualification (OI&Q)i process to make intelligent decisions concerning business prospects; and,
- Someone with a vision who serves at the catalyst to change the way business is conducted within your organization.
DOOR OPENERS VS. BD PROFESSIONALS
A networking list is only useful in opening doors and getting appointments. If your Business Development people secure the meeting but don’t know why they’re there, what problems you solve, know how to encourage the client to talk about their issues, and possess the ability to develop a long term business relationship, then you are simply using them as very expensive “Door Openers.” The end result of this scenario looks a lot like trying to net butterflies. Or, to use another analogy, like chasing fly balls out in left field with a catcher’s mitt. Your resources might be better invested in hiring a true Business Development Professional … a hunter with the experience, thinking and skills to go to bat for you, drive in revenue and help make the numbers.
If you believe you need a “Door Opener,” engage a consultant to provide the introductions you require. If you want consistent, long term revenue growth, then hire Business Development Professionals who understand how to build relationships, possess the ability to advise customers concerning their needs, and can consistently win business. These professionals are not apprehensive about engaging with any prospect. In the process, they are able to meet both their personal financial goals as well as your organization’s revenue growth objectives.
The butterfly chasers rarely leave their office. They spend the vast majority of their time scanning the wires, waiting for the right keywords to “pop-up” a potential opportunity, so they can snag it in their net.
The prize is then displayed in a wonderfully written proposal that more often than not doesn’t win the business. This trophy lacks the key ingredients of customer contact, customer input and customer-driven Intel.