How to Hire the Right Business Development Professional
In terms of sophistication in lead generation and closing on new clients, professional services firms run the gamut from no formal processes to large teams and thoughtful budget allocation. What sets the most effective apart from the haphazard is choosing the right person to organize and lead the effort.
Not always a marketer. To really drive lead generation, it’s important for a firm’s business development (BD) function to be sales oriented. That means going beyond knowledge of tactics and activities to a true understanding of the business at hand. While some people are both good marketers and strong salespeople, they are a rare find.
But they know how to align with marketing. Those who succeed also work with the marketers to make sure materials speak to client needs. Because they are talking with clients and participating in pitches, the BD leader can evaluate whether the website is telling the story in a compelling way.
Training is a process, not a one-off event. Strong professionals see BD training as ongoing and organize it as such. They tailor materials to levels and years of experience, and design follow up aimed at accountability. Most important, they solicit feedback and adapt accordingly.
But training alone does not generate business. Nobody wakes up in the morning excited about going to training. To be effective, it must be tied to a specific firm goal such as entering a new market or growing revenues per partners. Having a monetary target tied to BD efforts is a motivator for sustainable action.
Many firms are recruiting former practitioners who have successfully made the transition to a mature sales environment. These successful professionals serve as coach and strategist, helping firms go holistically to market with a unified message.
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Doug Johnson has 25 years of experience developing and executing strategic growth plans within a wide range of professional service firms. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-995-1131.