Your BD Plan Isn’t Intelligent

By Richard Higby, PhD

Your business development team are carrying with them all the default thought processes dictated by your professional culture, hierarchy, personality, data, and the haste derived from the events preceding their call. They have lost sight of the discipline, objectivity, and reason of their professional business development training. They are heading toward yet another low yield, poor advance, “sales” call. They need to practice their disciplined training, if you provided it, and understand the key objective, or mission, of their prospect. They need to have their script developed to explore their prospect’s pain with achieving that mission. Some Intelligent Analysis is required.

A recent publication by Jay Grusin, former senior CIA analyst and Steve Lindo, an expert in financial risk, details the thinking and process by which an analyst can derive and indeed, formulate, the Key Intelligence Question (KIQ). The authors state “the relationship between the audience [prospect] and analyst [BD professional] is the start and end point of the analytic process, and trust fuels it.” With the audience as the prospect, your BD team as the analyst, they must have the skills and disciplined thinking in hand developed targeted workshops to establish trust. A significant portion of the text in Intelligent Analysis is committed to development of the Bottom-Line Up Front (BLUF) whose elements resonate with a Socratic line of questioning used by those trained in professional business development. The seven elements of the BLUF are: What? Why now? How does it work? What’s the impact so far? What’s ahead? What are the implications? What can be done to mitigate risk and exploit opportunities? Researching these questions before their business development call and scripting how they might be poised is key to uncovering the prospect’s pain.

Grusin’s and Lindo’s Intelligent Analysis is from the analyst’s perspective but has important lessons directly applicable to the thinking and skills of professional business development. Incorporating the disciplined thinking espoused in their work, the KIQ, BLUF and Key Assumptions Check (KAC), keeps your teams BD approach ‘intelligent.’ The text is well suited to individual and workshop study replete with case studies and exercises. Its applicability to professional business development makes it an excellent inclusion on your BD bookshelf.

Mastering Business Development, LLC achieves an understanding of your business using proprietary methodologies and comprehensive, diagnostic assessments to identify the real BD issues limiting your revenue growth. For over 40 years our clients have come to rely on MBDi’s Mastering Business Development™ workshops with intense dialogue and role-plays, along with our advanced HUMINT® Customer Engagement Process (CEP) implementation program that helps nascent BD professionals perform at a higher level. They learn the thinking, process, discipline, and skills necessary to succeed in the role of professional business development.

About Intelligent Analysis

Jay Grusin and Stephen Lindo, “Intelligent Analysis: How to Defeat Uncertainty in High-Stakes Decisions” 2021, Intelligent Risk Management Publications (Brighton, Michigan). www.intelligentriskmanagement.solutions ISBN: 9781737301905. Also available from Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Read more at www.intelligentriskmanagement.solutions

About the Author

Dr. Richard Higby is the lead instructor and an Executive Member of Mastering Business Development, LLC and is resident in Richmond, Virginia. He has over 30 years of business development experience in service-based organizations where he has held executive leadership roles in marketing and national sales. Richard can be reached directly at richard@mbdi.com.
MBDi LLC promotes an engaged Business Development process following the 7-steps of Mastering Business Development, coaches professionals on establishing successful habits in business development, reviews the behavioral psychology of understanding client behavior and more in its workshop program. If you feel your team’s success is at risk given all that they are dealing with, please let us know how we can help.