How are you developing business for your company? Are you an engineer who now sells? How about the CEO of one of many of today’s startups? OK, I’ll open this up to sales people as well. It may be news to you that your first order of business is to understand your company’s business model, the way strategic goals are leveraged, and how money walks through your organization.
It’s an easier roadmap for selling if you understand the terrain before you start out on your business development journey. Developing business is critical for revenue creation.
All you thought you had to do was problem-solve or relationship-build. Leave the high level stuff up to the boss. Not in today’s globally competitive economy.
As we move into Q2, I offer these three tips for looking at the relevance and value of your output, no matter whether your role is business development or generation of deliverables.
Tip #1: Look at your business model. Many businesses generate a business plan and a business model when they first start out. Once they are established, they don’t look back; they keep moving forward. They create strategic plans which support the way the business now operates, rather than the way it should look in the future. Most small businesses are so involved with bringing work in-house, that their original business model unravels over time into a series of workarounds and dysfunction. What does your business model look like in the “today” of your business? How does your business model contribute to developing business for your company?
Tip #2: Are you strategic or are you enabling? If you feel that the strategic plans you develop may be doing nothing more than supporting the status quo, perhaps your complacency needs some shaking up. Otherwise you are perpetuating a brick house (your business model) badly in need of tuck-pointing. You can cover up and surround the bad brick with aluminum siding so that, from the street, your shop has the appearance of success. Developing strategic business and meeting long term revenue goals often involve taking an honest, introspective look at what your business model has become and, perhaps, what it needs to become in the future. How can you develop a strategy when the structural underpinning of your business needs serious work? What is the result on developing business and revenue generation?
Tip #3: Are you developing business with the type of customers you want to work with? An analysis of accounts receivable over the past five years should reveal in short order whether your company’s business development efforts have been ready-fire-aim or focused and targeted. This analysis might provide the root-cause insight for why your folks are unable to meet deadlines on deliverables: your system is clogged with busy work generated by customers who are demanding, not loyal, unprofitable, and consider your company to offer commodity services. If you are a start-up, right now is the time to develop a disciplined process and strategy for going after realistic targets for your products, services, and platforms. Is it time to start playing in a different sandbox?
If management is currently breathing down everyone’s neck about failure to make Q1 sales quotas and putting up even stiffer demands for Q2, take a deep breath and take a look at the business development terrain from a higher level instead of taking a myopic, in-the-trenches, perspective.
Root causes have some big contexts. Start developing business. Start collaborating across your organization for better returns on your time during Q2.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. Download her newest White Paper at her Free Resources Page. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools. You can download the first chapter here.