What is Business Development?
Business development includes all ideas, activities, and prospects to help make the business improve. In addition, it incorporates the success indicators for a company like increasing sales, growth, expansion across borders, and crucial business decisions.
Business development can also be defined as a process where you find, develop and build new client relations, look for opportunities, and find flanks for growth.
Usually, a business development strategy is a document that describes in-depth the steps and decisions you will take to accomplish specific objectives and goals.
The Difference Between Business Development, Sales, and Marketing
While business development, sales, and marketing are separate domains today, there’s still an inevitable overlap in their functions.
The critical difference is that marketing pertains to product and service design, price, distribution, and the associated promotional activities for a particular product, service, and business.
These efforts bring in leads and opportunities to expand your markets.
Since business development has been part of marketing historically, it is often hard to look at the two in isolation. Unfortunately, many businesses still consider the same role for marketing and sales as business development.
However, all these functions should ideally work separately but in line with each.
Role of Business Development
Business development covers all marketing, sales, product and project management, and vendor assessment areas. It also includes cost savings, partnerships, and networking efforts. Let’s look at each of these domains in the light of business development.
Sales primarily focus on a certain number of clients or a market where they concentrate efforts to achieve a specific revenue goal. Business development plays a major role in assessing the markets, setting this goal, and estimating the sales potential for the market.
Marketing complements sales. With business development, you can set targets and budgets and decide on the marketing efforts for a particular project.
That way, you can decide whether to go all-in with an aggressive marketing strategy or passive efforts to induce sales.
Business development also enables you to assess whether it's better to take along all your manufacturing, development, and other facilities for a new project or geographical region or form a partnership with a local business setup.
This includes partnering with other local firms for assembling, distribution networks, or other parts of the manufacturing or distribution networks. They will take on all the workload and effort to weigh the decision. Then you can decide how to proceed, based on the solid facts and figures they present about their market.
Important business decisions like setting up an assembly line, production factory, or other facilities in a new region too are looked into by business development firms. They evaluate the costs, time, and other aspects and then help guide you to make the right decision without wasting valuable resources.
We know that the laws and regulations vary by country. So if you are particularly interested in expanding your projects across the borders, there's a lot of homework to be done.
The business development looks at all the legal red tape, regulatory compliance, cost, and budgetary constraints and helps devise a sound plan for your business. Hence with a minimal margin for errors, you are quite cushioned against losses, or business fails.
When expanding, you might find it feasible to outsource a few departments. Like courier services, sales, and even vendors for raw materials may be better if outsourced.
With business development, you can find out whether it will also be cost-effective. Then, after a thorough analysis, you can also work on your retail planning and distribution network.
Negotiations and Networking
When new to business or a new culture, you often face many barriers to connecting with the locals. That includes not only the customers but also the vendors, partners, and regulatory authorities.
Hence it is ideal to have a setup to take care of all such negotiations and who may have a strong network with the town folks. That is where the business development agencies come in. They are trained and well versed with the cultures, so you can quickly adapt your practices and be welcomed there.
Key Domains of a Business Development Strategy
We base our most important strategic decisions on business development assessments. Hence, the business development agencies must know and use these tools to help the business make these critical decisions.
Long-term Planning for the Business
You make long-term plans for the business via a business development strategy. Since ample research is involved and not just limited to a specific area, you can make five or ten-year plans and then expand your business or bring in new product lines, etc.
The SWOT analysis can tell you also about the business and market you operate in. We widely use this tool in business development to assess the current business position and opportunities for growth.
Business development also helps assess the competitors and the market overall. For example, is there any flank or opportunity for your business? Is it possible to enter the market given the current competitors?
What should be the pricing for the products and services? All these decisions can be made based on the findings of business development.
Who are your customers? What are the primary sources your sales come from?
Here they also gauge whether you operate as B2B or B2C. Knowing and creating customer profiles is also helpful in forecasting sales and developing and marketing products.
Finding New Markets
There may be a lot of potential markets worth exploring for your products. Since more businesses are leaping and expanding geographically, it is wise to move to other regions and find the market that suits your product based on demand.
Business Development Strategy
A business development strategy involves bridging the gaps between your business goals and the business development process. The key role of business development here is to help you connect with the right clients and markets without waste of resources.
Since developing a business plan to expand or launch new products and services is a significant decision. You need a solid strategy to drive growth opportunities and hence achieve the bottom line.
So you need a well-thought-out strategy here, not a shabbily drafted one lacking research and insight. So make sure the development team takes the time to gauge and assess the situation for your business.
A good business development strategy includes:
- Networking strategy and referrals
- Targeting potential clients via phone calls and emails
- Advertising and promotional efforts
- Content promotion
Things to Consider When Choosing a Firm for Business Development
Now there are many things you must keep in mind before taking on board an agency or firm to help you with business development.
The deciding factor here is what is most important for your line of business. So first, think about and list all those attributes you’d want a firm to have, including the skills, expertise, and tools. That’ll set the grounds for hiring the right agency.
Furthermore, here are some notable factors worth considering.
Price should always be a secondary concern; you should primarily worry about quality service. However, at the same time, ensure not to get entrapped by services that overcharge. Instead, check the market rates, do a little competitive analysis of the available services and then negotiate the pricing.
Also, be wary of any hidden or undisclosed charges. There may be firms robbing their clients with these hidden services charges. Be open and discuss the pricing and underlying clauses, if any.
There has been a surge in sales and marketing tools in the last decade. Make sure whichever firm you hire is adept in using such tools and knows how to incorporate these to help you assess demand, sort out the target segments and make future decisions.
Also, ensure that the team is well versed with the usage of the software and tools to make these assessments.
Ability to Meet Deadlines
Since meeting your targets and timelines is important, make sure to go for an experienced firm that has worked on similar projects as yours. That way, they will be better able to analyze and meet the deadlines.
In case of any issues, they would also be better able to troubleshoot the situation and provide you with feasible solutions or options. You can also give them a test task to analyze their skills and way of working on a project.
Always do a little background search on the firm you are thinking of hiring. Check their credibility scores, the number of clients they have on board, and the number of completed projects.
If they fall within your criteria, entrust them with the project or work.
How well does the firm fit in your culture? This is a very important thing to consider before you take them on board.
First, check out their objectives and goals. They should be in line with yours, and most importantly, their core cultural values should be the same as yours.
Communication is the key to success. There should be no barriers to communication. Ensure you are always clear with the instructions and ensure frequent meetings, written briefs, and note their points and observations.
All these will help improve the communication process between you and your agency.
Mistakes to Avoid
Working with the wrong firm, or in other words, a firm or agency that doesn’t gel in with your business values, can be a downright recipe for disaster. But unfortunately, many businesses still make quick decisions when hiring an agency and fall right off the growth ladder.
So here are a few major mistakes to avoid when considering a firm for hiring.
Whenever you hire an agency, make a detailed plan. What do you expect from them? What objectives do you wish to achieve?
Timelines and everything related to the project should be detailed beforehand. Going in without a plan can lead to a waste of time and a lot of resources. So make sure to create a plan or brief and then discuss it with the prospective agency before hiring them.
Giving Direct Customer Access
While business development means expanding your bases, which often entails giving the agency direct access to your clients, stay vigilant. Make sure to keep your loyal and major customers with you.
When an agency deals with the customers directly, there’s a conflict of interest. That can get you some distraught or misinformed customers. So keep your old clients with yourself and let them expand your grounds by finding new customers.
It may sound easy to delegate and focus on the other aspects of your business; it really isn't. You can't completely trust and let the agency work on its own. Make sure to supervise.
An excellent way to do that is to set achievable goals and gauge their performance based on those. Make sure to discuss the project in-depth so there’s clarity between you. Then supervise and guide along the way.
Going for the Lowest Prices
One known most common mistake is getting entrapped by the lowest offer. Budgetary constraints often lead us to base our decisions on cost. However, that is not a wise option at all.
The lowest price can often mean low-quality work, missed deadlines, or unmet targets. Remember, the most important thing is goal achievement. Set a reasonable budget and look for a firm with competitive market prices for the services.
Find the Top Firms for Business Development Through Xpeer
Business development brings growth opportunities, generates job opportunities, and is important for overall economic development.
Hence you need business development agencies with the right vision, passion, and eager approach to achieve your goals.
Xpeer helps you grow by connecting you with the right agency with the right tools, expertise, and time to help you achieve your business goals. So connect with Xpeer today and find a credible, experienced, and knowledgeable business development agency for all your business needs.