For those of you involved in business development for your company, it’s getting difficult to tell whether you’re going to close on a contract. I mean, the client is interested and engaged and then… nothing.
Clue card: I’m talking to all of you within the sales-engineering continuum at your company. Because business development isn’t just the job of the “sales guy or gal” or even the President, whom you think is just playing golf with prospective customers for the heck of it.
OK. Back to task.
Without ever having made a decision to go with another firm? Without ever having made a decision at all…except to stay with their status-quo.
Let’s consider the essential elements of that bus you are getting thrown under. In fact, we can start and stop with the steering wheel and the tires. No wheel, no direction. No tires, no traction, no momentum.
So… how do you provide momentum for your prospects and clients? Do you:
1.Engage them in non-self-serving discussions? Is every customer touchpoint simply another version of a sales call? Or are you sending them relevant information related to the industry they are in or the issues they may be facing from an administrative, regulatory, production, quality, financial or marketing perspective?
2.Provide case studies related to the factors impacting the “state of their industry” or marketplace? Note:these case studies don’t necessarily reinforce why they need to decide upon you as their vendor of choice as much as reinforce how others in their industry may have used your/other solutions to address these key factors.
3.Involve all decision makers in their organization in addressing the importance of moving off their often self-imposed status quo (aka, the cost of doing nothing) vs. the value of bringing incremental change to their organization? Yup, although all of us are going after the big sexy multi-solution sale, that type of broad-sweeping solution can be daunting to small-to-mid-sized organizations with limited budgets and decision makers who wear multiple hats.In other words: do you know who’s driving the bus? And who are the passengers on the bus?
If they are steering, then you are one tire on that bus. And you know, tires are pretty important. Otherwise there is a lot of over-steering to compensate for faulty navigation.
How are you making yourself an important tire on the bus? The tire that the decision making team needs to check in with, based on the importance of that tire in the strategic and tactical directions they choose to take? (Clue card here: re-read points #1-3, above).
Everyone in your organization needs to self-assess to determine their functionality to each, specific“client bus” and “prospect bus.” Yes, and I’m even talking to the folks hiding in cubicles waiting to be told what to do based on the “orders” received and/or contracts won. You aren’t functional if you are non-participatory.
You know, when you think about it, there are no non-functional tires on any bus.
Understanding your role AND understanding how you can become functional and essential to each client and prospect is a critical element of business development.
It’s not just up to the sales guys and gals. Understanding and implementing the inherent value you provide to your clients and your organization only underpins your own value to yourself. And the direction you steer yourself towards in the future.
Think about it.