Do you believe that you can simply review and refresh your existing plans? With the sudden and dramatic changes, we’ve all experienced, that’s unlikely to be the case. Are you thinking that updating your Business Development plan is time you can’t afford right now? The obvious counter to this is that it is probably time you must find. However, the good news is with the right structure and clear objectives, it doesn’t need to be a difficult process.
Even in good times it pays for all businesses, large or small, to revisit their plans. Within these plans, successful businesses have a clear strategy around what their target market is, how they will communicate with that market, and what value they offer their intended clients. In short, it pays to invest in your Business Development strategy at any time, but particularly in the post COVID landscape.
Below are five simple things you can consider doing to help you create your Business Development Strategy post COVID-19.
Understand what winning means for you
If you haven’t read “Playing to Win” by A.G. Laflely and Roger L. Martin, I’d recommend adding it to your reading list. If reading’s not your thing then watch Roger Martin explain it in this video. Growing by 10% may be an aspiration, but it isn’t a winning strategy. It is more about how your product or service can be recognised as the leader in the market that you choose to operate in. If you are a budget product, are you the best in that price bracket for your target market? If not, how can you make changes to your product or service so that you are? It is worth investing your time here as this enables you to communicate with your market with confidence.
Understand the value of your existing client base
There is comfort in working with your existing and loyal customers. They know you and you know them. However, look at it realistically, if you aspire to galactic growth, how much more can they spend with you? You can look at a matrix and see the gaps in products or services that they don’t currently buy from you.
You may find that there’s not much more you can squeeze from your existing base. It may also be hard to convert them across to your other offerings, they may not have the need for these. Or your problem may be due to a lack of trust across your organisation which is preventing your cross-selling efforts. You certainly should try to maximise and provide real value to your loyal customers, but it will help you to be aware of how far your customer base can take you.
Look to leave some customers behind
If some customers are taking up too much time, or if your offering/new offering has simply outgrown them, now is the time to look at setting them free. Where possible, assuming they still need a similar product or service to yours, find them an alternative so you can pass them on with good wishes and in a way that maintains your reputation. After all, it is likely that you will meet the people from these unwanted clients in another capacity at some point
Target new clients
One of the best ways to grow is to seek out new clients. In many cases this can be a very quick process as you can build business relationships with new people from a clean slate. As long as you strive to offer value to them in every interaction, a great relationship can be built very quickly. Invest time in thinking about who your realistic targets are for the year ahead. If you’re ambitious or have a longer sales cycle, have targets for the next 3-5 years.
You should find the figures and potential possibilities for growth in this new client base exciting. You may even find it scary in terms of the growth possibilities. This should give you confidence to invest in your business development time, knowing that if you do the right things, it will pay off in the short to mid-term.
Update or create your new Value Proposition
If you have a new target client and a new winning strategy, only one thing is left. You will need to be able to articulate your value proposition in line with that strategy, in a way that appeals to your new target clients. This means you will need to be able to articulate a tangible benefit that those clients will get from employing your services, or buying your product. This will help you to communicate your value with your market, at the appropriate time. Of course, this is after you’ve got to know your client well, understand them, and they have asked how you can help them.
If you follow the five steps above, it will help you pivot your Business Development strategy so that you can approach the market with a renewed vigour and purpose. Those businesses that have energy and a clear purpose or mission, will be the ones that come out of this recession the strongest.
Ben Paul is the director and founder of The BD Ladder, a business development and marketing consultancy focused on provided B2B service providers with practical advice that delivers results. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.