Business development can be overwhelming for a lot of companies. How do you find customers looking for your services? How often do you reach out to them? How do you remember to follow up consistently? What do you offer them to keep the conversation going when they’re not a good fit for you?
Marketing is about drawing the right awareness to your company. Business development is the same. The more people you connect with regularly, the more your company will be top-of-mind when your target audience is ready for your products or services.
The first step to creating a strategic business development plan that will elevate you to the next level is to make sure that you and your development team are all aware of who your target audience is and how to reach them. Create a target list of industries your company can support with the products or services you offer. Sign up to attend conferences, trade shows, seminars, activations and any other events where your target audience would be in attendance. Connecting with your target audience face-to-face is the best way to build relationships and gain trust.
Outside of events, look through business journals and start gathering trade publications from the industries you’re interested in targeting. These tools will help you keep your finger on the pulse of up-and-coming companies and companies that recently received VC backing or have seen growth. Another very valuable tool to consider is setting up referral programs with your already existing network so that your company is top-of-mind should they ever meet someone looking for your services.
Get organized with your follow-ups. I have found that the best way to do this is to be honest and transparent with people. I always ask them if they are ready to move forward with the services we offer and if their answer is “not at this time,” I ask when would be a good time for me to follow up. Then I set a reminder in PipelineDeals where we track all of our leads to follow up in accordance with their timeline.
If I don’t get an answer from a potential client, then I set a reminder to follow up in a few months just in case something has changed. I recommend always finding ways to set follow-up reminders, so if a software program like PipelineDeals isn’t available to you, simply setting a reminder in your Google Calendar or creating an Excel sheet with the company name, your contact person’s information and a follow-up timeline will also help you stay organized.
Business development is a long game, and the best way to stay top-of-mind is to create consistent, relevant content that your target audience can connect with. Although these tools may not bring instant results, they are all valuable in building your email lists so that you can market back to anyone who expressed even the slightest bit of interest.
Sharing free content and important articles, as well as inviting potential clients to be guests on your podcast, can help future clients see the value of your services. Building partnership agreements and incorporating them into your newsletters, email blasts and PR pieces will keep your company name top-of-mind while also promoting their business and yours.
Interested in building a referral partnership with Elevate My Brand? Or just want to share with us a business development best practice? We love to chat. Contact us today and let’s schmooze.
Biana Lerman, Account Executive
Elevate My Brand