Making a Case for Business Development in the Sales Strategy

Oct 16, 2023 | Blog, Business Development, Marketing, Revenue Generation

Lead generation is an important part of the sales process and critical for many start-ups and small businesses trying to scale and grow. However, with the expanding use of AI, the traditional cold call is being replaced by automated emails, texts and direct messages in LinkedIn that lack accepted rules of engagement.

These modern-day versions of the cold call are impersonal and way more invasive. They are sent with a variety of subject lines and informal greetings implying that we know one another, sometimes the same message sent by multiple contacts within the same company. There is no way to hide – they find you via email, LinkedIn, even text.

My biggest pet peeves?

  • The emails I receive from the same company but from different contacts
  • Pitching me services similar to the ones I offer
  • Text messages with just my name and a question mark
  • Emails indicating we’ve met before when we have not
  • Follow up emails accusing me of dropping the ball

Have sales teams gotten so lazy they can’t even take the time to do some basic internal organization or preliminary lead qualifying research?

I understand the pressure to meet revenue goals and to scale for a big investment or acquisition.

I understand the lure of AI-powered software that can save time from manual research and calls, but too often the software is not set up and implemented correctly, and produces minimal results, so not only are companies spending exorbitant amounts of money on technology, they aren’t seeing any significant growth in revenue.

I am not opposed to sales. I am not advocating for eliminating the sales team or even sales software – I love a creative, well-structured drip campaign!

What I am suggesting and advocating for is the adoption of business development. When companies look to scale rapidly and acquire large number of customers quickly, the goal is volume, not quality relationships.  While you may secure a deal 1 out of 100 emails or LinkedIn messages (I may be generous in my estimated ROI), it likely will not result in a long-term relationship and repeat business.

Why? Because the odds are this same company that is seeking to rapidly increase sales, is also doing very little with regards to customer service. How many times have you enrolled in a new product or service, and never hear from the company until it’s time to renew?

What do you think is more successful?

  1. Spamming hundreds or thousands of unknown contacts with random, underwhelming and irrelevant content and requests for meetings
  2. Connecting with people in a shared space or through introduction of a mutual friend/colleague, opening the door to a future meeting or additional introductions, providing an opportunity to develop qualified leads among those willing and interested in buying

One most definitely requires more investment of time and resources, but it is also the one that produces a greater return, for two reasons.

  • Brand awareness – business development allows for people to organically learn about your company, and as your BD team is out and about representing you, people become more familiar with your brand, which can improve its positioning among target audiences regardless if they’ve ever purchased your product/service
  • Brand trust – there is no amount of information shared digitally that can replicate the value of personal relationships. As humans we are more likely to trust a brand because a friend or colleague recommended it. When your BD team is at an event or invites prospects to attend an event you are hosting, they are more likely to have the opportunity to speak with that person than they would with a random email or call

Sales tactics alone are not successful no matter how nice the person is on the other line. And though technology is important to data management and continuous communication, it is not a magic solution. While business owners certainly should always look for ways to reduce expenses and increase revenue, as well as technology tools to improve the sales process, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

I’ve experienced great customer service through bots but what makes companies truly great is when I know if needed, I can connect to a human who will do what they can to help me.

You can’t overlook good business strategy and long-term, sustainable growth.

Alone, sales and business development don’t result in much success, but together, through an integrated, well-planned strategy in partnership with the marketing and communications team, there can be significant return on investment to position your business for long-term growth and brand affinity.

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