When facing high competitive pressure and ongoing economical uncertainties, resources must be optimized. Industrializing sales approaches and guaranteeing return on investments of marketing operations is absolutely essential to successful business development.
To do this, you need to be precise: engaging marketing resources improperly can result in poor and counterproductive results. Brownian motion inside sales teams has also proven to be ineffective in terms of revenue generation and value creation.
In order to achieve regular growth of your offering (products and services), you must create a solid foundation on which you can build successful teams and successful business development.
The seven keys to successful business development presented here may serve as guidelines that will help you reduce the complexity of your business development, including the complexity of offerings and markets, complexity of potential means, and the complexity inherent to international communications.
All of these keys follow the same operational approach aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing needless expenses. Your market will award you for a message that is adaptable at all levels and delivered regularly and permanently.
1. Truly Know Your Ecosystem.
All too often, companies invest enormous amounts of resources in developing the most innovative technology possible without necessarily paying attention to the final product or service that will offered on the market, nor do they take into consideration the environment in which it should be launched and evolve.
As with any ecosystem, a market is defined by its players: these may be potential customers or solution providers, competitors or partners. Do you know who they are? Can you answer the following questions?
- Who are your potential low-hanging customers?
- What is their business function?
- What is the organization and structure to which they belong?
- Who will benefit most from your solution?
- Who will buy it?
- What are the needs that your product addresses, and which solutions already exist to meet them?
- Is this environment organized?
- Do you have direct competitors and/or potential partners? Do you know what their value propositions are?
To make a difference, you need to be familiar with the existing players, and, more specifically, the competitors who operate in your market. In a difficult climate, we must go back to the basics: providing a simple and straightforward vision of your solution’s benefits in contrast to what is already available on the market is a way of increasing the visibility of your offering among your prospects.
We often hear that a market without competitors does not exist. In other words, it remains to be created.
Marketing can “create a need;” however, this can be very costly! Do you have the financial means, manpower and time to do this? Educating the market requires extensive resources in terms of reliable communication, as well as a very costly resource: time. Before launching ambitious operations, determine how long you are willing to wait for results, and take stock of the resources that you will need to wait them out. Identifying a market is the most important condition for implementing a sales approach, and it will require time to fine-tune it so that you may achieve significant business development.
2. Understand The Use Cases of Your Solutions.
Understanding the various use cases of your offering is essential, and this is from a customer perspective rather than a technological one.
- Why will customers buy your product?
- In other words, what will it be used for?
- What are your buyers’ needs?
- More specifically, for which customer issues will your product offer a solution?
- What cost do these issues represent for them?
- What sort of return on investment can they expect from your solution?
Qualifying and quantifying your customers’ issues precisely is a way of measuring the return on investment they can expect from your solution. Economical aspects will be valuable arguments for your sales team as well as for your prospects to justify the implementation.
The ability to analyze your existing customers and their specific purchasing contexts will help you understand your priority objectives and identify those which are the most effective in order to industrialize your business development processes.
3. Select a Focus.
Each use case represents a scenario that presents more or less interest for being developed in terms of both sales and marketing. You need to choose from which one(s) from all the possible options has/have the most potential, and focus your business development efforts here.
By selecting a specific focus that corresponds to one strategic direction, you can effectively initiate action plans, secure the means to test them, and then deploy adapted resources and achieve results.
Of course, competitive situation is an essential element in this choice:
Analyzing the various use cases corresponding to existing customers and prospects in the context of their market environment will allow you to identify your sales and marketing priorities.
Most of the time, analyzing existing customer cases will provide the most relevant information on the best use case in which you should invest and for which you should organize your action plans and enlist your resources.
4. Define Your Messages and Value Proposition.
You will be able to describe the value proposition of your solution after compiling list of specific use cases. In other words, you will tell a story that speaks to your prospects, illustrates the benefits they can expect from your solutions, and emphasizes the uniqueness of your approach compared to your competitors.
By focusing your story on the competitive advantages of your offering, you can highlight what sets you apart and help your prospects increase their ability to understand a complex market.
Once again, your existing customers will often provide you with the information on the value you are looking for: the value perceived by the customer can differ from the initial value you envisioned at the beginning of your business development. By focusing on these elements, you will be able to be as simple and concise as you are relevant.
5. Get in Touch With Your Potential Customers.
Once you know your value proposition and your target audience, and then have a story to tell, you will need to make it visible. In B2B environments, mass communication is rarely the solution: the qualification of your target should allow you to precisely define your market segmentation, and then identify your means of business development and marketing action.
To do this, you must answer a variety of questions:
- What is the size of your target? You will obviously not speak to a population of thousands of developers and a group of executives from a dedicated sector in the same way.
- What are the characteristics of your target?
- What are their communication habits?
- Where are they looking for information?
In the era of the Web 2.0 and globalization, the number of potential channels by which you may speak to your target has greatly increased, yet the principles remain the same. It is always a matter of precise marketing targeting: identifying the places and sources of potential contacts for your offering will help you prepare the actions necessary for making contact with your target audience using the most appropriate means – physically or not, directly or through partners- to achieve successful business development.
6. Generate Interest.
To implement successful marketing operations and generate qualified sales leads to support your business development goals, you need to first adopt the perspective of a customer to understand their business challenges and needs.
When competitive pressure is high, differentiation is key. By bringing value to your target and respecting individual interests, you will be able to create trust relationships and establish successful sales operations over time.
To generate interest, both content (useful information as opposed to noise and wasted time) and form (simple, concise and direct messages; no pointless chatter) are important. The ability to personalize messages and adapt as precisely as possible to your target’s concerns is an important element in the performance of your sales and marketing operations – resulting in positive business development.
Several tools are available to precisely assess the impact of your campaigns, and evaluate new approaches before they are rolled out. They should be implemented in order to guarantee results in light of the numerous available resources and identify the best actions to take prior to roll-out.
7. Transform The Interest Into Revenue.
The “right time” makes a big difference in sales. Putting pressure on a prospect too early in the game does not produce any results other than negative feedback, and acting too late is obviously a problem as well.
To get the right return on your marketing operations, you have to precisely define the way your leads are managed and qualified, and how they are transferred from marketing to sales.
Implementing sales best practices with a structured lead management process are important ways how you can industrialize your sales approach and secure the results of your teams – and the business development that you expect.