In #BusinessDevelopment, make sure you know how to separate the Shapers, Fakers and Order-Takers.
Few positions have the success of an organization weighing on them like Business Development positions. An extensive investment is often required to onboard a new Business Development hire. Once a hiring decision is made, an even more substantial time and financial investment is required to allow the individual to develop relationships and begin qualifying and shaping opportunities. This investment may continue for many years. It’s no wonder why hiring teams often feel like they are looking for a diamond in the rough.
Understanding how a Business Development candidate will perform in the role is critical and often hard to determine. Business Development personnel will fit into one of the three categories below, whether or not they (or you) realize it. Understanding where your potential new hire fits into these categories is imperative to their success in their Business Development role, and consequently, your ROI.
Early shapers are revenue makers. Shapers proactively engage with clients and ethically work to craft requirements in their organizations’ best interest. Shaping is not a new concept and has been the focus of great Business Development people for years. However, very few individuals have taken the time to learn how to shape the opportunity during the early Opportunity Identification and Qualification (OI&Q)i Phase. Shapers are proactive in gathering intelligence early and working with the prospect to shape opportunities.
Beware of the fakers. These individuals have great looking resumes complete with glowing accolades. But, begin asking them tough questions and you will quickly find that they show a lot of activity, but never close the deal. Fakers are often hard to detect until an organization has already invested considerable revenue and time in pursuing opportunities. They know everything about the opportunity, but they’ve had limited substantive interfacing with any prospects. At that point, it becomes increasingly hard to cut the loss. These individuals are good at finding the next “great” opportunity, they “drink their own bathwater,” spin the data, and really believe what they have is valid. What you discover is that they seldom develop any high value human Intel that allows for making unbiased, critical pursue/no-pursue decisions.
Depending on their role, order-takers can either be a great asset or a tremendous liability. In a primary Business Development role they are a disaster, preferring to stay in the office waiting for the customer to call and often busying themselves with administrative tasks to avoid engaging clients. Good order-takers are great when they proactively expand the current projects by harvesting additional revenue. These types of individuals pay the overhead, but in a changing business environment, they struggle to achieve continued revenue growth.
As you recruit your next Business Development Professional, make sure you know how to separate the shapers, fakers and order-takers.