One of the most common issues raised by business owners during the New Financial Year period often pertains to how to build a continuous ‘pipeline’ of leads and potential clients, which can be converted into increased revenue and business growth over time.
In our June blog, we concentrated on the one-page Business Planning which leaders should undertake at various times throughout the year (again important to read at this time), highlighting the importance of building a cohesive plan to act as a road-map in long-term growth.
When looking to build a client attraction plan, it is important to complement your existing business plan with a detailed business development strategy.
Your BD planning should consider the techniques and internal/external market analysis, providing a clear picture to help gain insights into your customer-base and how best to illustrate your product or service offering.
We outline the items to consider when creating a Business Development Strategy and how these can provide clarification & assistance in executing new client growth.
Define Your Target Clients & Audience
Before you consider which business development tactics/activities will help in attracting potential leads, as a business owner it is important to first understand your target clients and how they operate.
In understanding the characteristics of your ideal client, there is an increased probability of ‘cutting through the noise’ – getting your message, product or service in front of the right people at the right time.
A full target client/audience analysis can include segmenting potential customers based on geographic, sociographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral elements. To do this, you may need assistance from an outside agency or market research company, which can be an expensive endeavour to undertake.
Therefore, for business owners looking to gain an initial understanding of these attributes, the best place to start is your own client-base. By reviewing and defining your existing clients into level-categories (i.e. A-Grade, B-Grade, C-Grade, etc), you’ll build an understanding of the solutions which attract each level of clientele.
Similarly, you’ll potentially gain an understanding of the similar problems faced by similar prospects, and better prepare your message to the wider market.
Selecting Your Best Marketing Channels
In getting your product or service to the wider customer-base, consider which marketing channels will hold the greatest weight and resonate strongly with your target client. There are a number of marketing channels available to businesses & business owners, including:
- Social Media
- Print Marketing
- Email marketing
- Digital platforms (Website, SEO, Pay-Per-Click Advertising)
- Referral Programs
- Word-of-Mouth Strategy
Selecting the appropriate channels for your business will depend on your business model (Business-to-Business “B2B” or Business-to-Consumer “B2C”) and your budget. Likewise, you’ll need to consider the channels you’re currently using – assessing their benefit and overall return-on-investment. It’s important to note that certain channels may work better for ‘B2B’ organisations, compared to ‘B2C’.
Furthermore, consider channels you wish to add and which you may want to replace in favour of new strategy.
Recent research indicates that for B2B organisations, attention should be given to optimising websites to feature more value-add content, strengthening email & video marketing strategy and ensuring responsive social media engagement in 2022.
For B2C businesses, channels built on short-form video content, influence marketing, and immersive experience marketing potentially hold strong return throughout this year.
Allocate Who is Responsible for Business Development Activities within the Business
Once you’ve identified your target clients and the appropriate marketing channels, it is important to define and allocate who is responsible for business development activities within the organisation.
In doing so, consider who can articulately convey your value proposition, competitive differentiation, and who can build strategic partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders. In deciding, examine their overall responsibilities and whether the necessary tools (such as CRM platforms, product demonstration materials, etc) and training are available.
For many businesses, this person is often the business owner – given their extensive product/service knowledge and the fact they hold an understanding of the issues potential leads may face. However, those responsible for conducting business development can also include members of the senior leadership team, those on an internal pathway to directorship, or a dedicated salesperson.
Note, employees on an internal pathway within the organisation may not have extensive prior experience with business development activities. Therefore investing and having the appropriate training platforms available is essential – especially where future engagement with prospective clients is a common occurrence.
Similarly, it may also be appropriate to consider whether one person should be responsible for these activities or whether investment in a team of people is required, combining marketing and business development specialties.
Finally, those responsible for business development activities may require assistance from other departments, therefore ensure there is appropriate capacity levels within the organisation, offering support as needed.
For More Information
Overall, business development is a crucial component of any successful organisation, however immediate results may not always occur. As with overall business planning, it is important to take a long-term view with your business development plan and continually revise year-to-year, ensuring it reflects the most up-to-date strategies and targets.
For more information on business development plan or building your business development plan, contact the adviser team at Archer Gowland Redshaw on (07) 3002 2699 | firstname.lastname@example.org.