The long and short of it is that all businesses need business development. Long gone are the days of employing a salesperson, calling in on a company and taking an order. In my opinion the title of “salesperson” no longer does the role justice. Nowadays companies are too busy; most won’t even see anybody without an appointment, so we’ve got to be smart…
Business development is distinctly different than sales therefore the role of a BDM will be more involved than that of a salesperson. Top business development professionals become a trusted advisor to clients. This is the key to a long-term and strategic relationship that adds more value than sales alone.
A BDM will need to do a fair amount of research before engaging with a potential client, they’ll need to understand the market, understand the drivers that cause clients to make certain decisions and figure out what keeps the client up at night. Having gathered all this intelligence, it will need to be wrapped up and articulated into a “hook email” that will prompt the client to want to respond and accept a meeting. Hard part done, the BDM will then send an agenda over outlining key points to discuss during the meeting hoping to conclude with an order or a follow-up meeting to clarify requirements or worst-case scenario handling any objections before concluding with an order.
According to the EU’s definition of an SME there are three categories of business within the SME umbrella:
- A medium-sized business has fewer than 250 employees and either a turnover of up to €50 million or a balance sheet total of up to €43 million
- A small business has fewer than 50 employees and either a turnover of up to €10 million or a balance sheet total of up to €10 million
- A micro-business has fewer than ten employees and either a turnover of up to €2 million or a balance sheet total of up to €2 million
If we were to look at the above in reverse order, the role of the BDM becomes even more prominent. The BDM is often the first contact a potential client will have with a business when they are seeking information on the products and services the company provides. The BDM can also respond to request for proposals, tenders, and develops sales in new sales territories.
A BDM will need to be confident, possess good communication and interpersonal skills in order to interact, present, assert and speak to all the different stakeholders which are involved, they must also be able to cold call prospects with confidence in order to be a highly successful business developer. It’s essential that a BDM has business Intelligence so that they know all about their business services and products as well as knowing everything about their competition which will provide them with the leverage they need to surpass them. Any respectful BDM will conduct the necessary market analysis needed to identify the company´s current position.
Having concluded that SMEs do need a Business Development Manager, the next question they need to ask themselves is should they hire one full-time or outsource that role to a third party.
The beauty of outsourcing is that you can engage the services on a flexible and affordable basis as and when you need them without the long-term financial commitment of a full-time BDM. Outsourcing is a popular way for businesses to lower operational costs and streamline operations while still handling important functions.
… but that’s another story.
This article is written by Mr Stephen Lerman, a Freelance Business Development Manager helping small businesses.
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