What is Business Development?

What is Business Development?

What is business development? Business development is building relationships and opening doors for companies and people to create opportunities and generate revenue. Business development involves structuring, negotiating and closing channel partnerships, strategic alliances and other agreements to create breadth, depth and value. Once agreements are in place, business development involves managing and nurturing relationships for long-term success. Below are five ideas to enhance your business development thinking and efforts.

1 – Business development is both art and science. Art is arranging to bump into someone on purpose. Science is having quarterly account planning sessions. Art often drives science.

2 – Business development means creating “surround sound.” Are the partner’s engineering, sales and support organizations all talking about you? Do they all know what you do? Do they all know when to contact you?

3 – Business development means not being too rhythmic. It is not about meeting every week just to meet or doing lunch every time you get together. It means building a genuine relationship with someone where both parties benefit.

4 – Business development means reciprocating without just “taking.” The more insight and opportunities you give to a partner, the more leads they will give to you. You are on the right track when you get leads without asking for them.

5 – Business development means taking a genuine interest in the other person. If you have appointments before and after your business development meeting, you will not be fully engaged.  People are not transactions.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Stop Waiting for Partners

Stop Waiting for Partners

Seller: “Company is not ready to meet with us.”
Sales Manager: “Did you hear that from the customer or partner?”
Seller: “The partner.”

Companies often form partnerships to accelerate revenue, grow share and scale business. In the software industry, these partnerships often occur between a manufacturer like Microsoft and a system integrator (SI) like Accenture. The manufacturer wants to increase product sales and the SI wants to increase services sales. As an example, the manufacturer has a meeting with the customer and sees potential to leverage the SI in a software upgrade. The SI is introduced to the customer by the manufacturer and helps them close the software upgrade project.

These types of engagements are effective when the manufacturer and SI both work together to deliver value to the customer. An issue occurs  when the manufacturer shares a lead with the SI, but will not introduce them directly to the customer “until the time is right.” The SI knows that they can help solve the customer’s problem, but are put in a waiting position. The SI often feels obligated not to go around the manufacturer because it is “their account” and “they are bringing us in.” However, unless there is a very specific reason to wait, waiting is a victim’s game.

Because the SI is in the waiting position, they are putting their fate in the hands of the manufacturer. They are not taking accountability for creating their own success. Again, waiting is a victim’s game. Stop waiting for things to happen and make them happen. Winners take action. You always want to be in control of creating the outcomes that you want. By taking action, the SI may be able to move a project forward that was supposedly “on hold.” Never put yourself in a position where you are continually asking the manufacturer for updates. Be the giver of updates.

Should you go around the manufacturer to get to the customer? NO! Again, do not put yourself in that position. Be up-front with the manufacturer and require direct engagement with the customer from the beginning. You want to work with the manufacturer, not through the manufacturer, on an opportunity. Communicate your success with other customers in the practice area, as well as the ways you have expanded relationships and grown revenue. Communicate your commitment to reciprocate with them by sharing information and making new introductions.

Is there a time when waiting for the manufacturer can make sense? Potentially. These situations often occur when a project decision is pending in the short-term and the manufacturer has deep, embedded relationships with the customer. They know the decision-makers and understand the political dynamics of the organization. Use your best judgment. Remember, most manufacturers need to scale through partners. They will appreciate that you can make things happen without them, but are willing to keep them in the loop. Stop waiting and start doing.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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