B2B, Business Development

In this 3 part blog series on Implementing The 7 Elements framework, I’ll introduce ideas for how you can successfully implement a business development process with your organization.  Here is Part 1; parts 2-3 will follow in the near future.

B2B leaders know that sales orders are the lifeblood of their business.  However, when it comes to ‘sales & marketing’, many leaders readily admit they are not 100% comfortable. These functions are often viewed with mystery, confusion or possibly disdain.  And, yet, we must have success at consistently ‘winning business’ if we are to build successful companies.

In my recent whitepaper, The 7 Elements: A Strategic Framework For Winning New Business in B2B, I attempt to de-mystify the ‘sales & marketing’ functions.  This framework views business development through the eyes of the customer in order to design a process for ‘winning business’.  The 7 Elements framework analyzes the B2B ‘sales & marketing’ functions through a process-thinking lens.  Every customer must move through a series of 7 predictable steps in choosing to do business with your company.  By understanding ‘sales & marketing’ not as random, discrete events, but rather as a clearly defined process, B2B companies will have greater success in winning new business.

Taking a few pages from Management 101, here is a common-sense approach for implementing the 7 elements framework:

  1. Design the Process
  2. Establish a Budget
  3. Assign Objectives/Tasks/Deliverables to Specific Individuals
  4. Create a Schedule
  5. Develop Metrics for Measuring Progress
  6. Review Regularly (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)

OK, nothing earth shaking about this, right?  After all, it’s Management 101.  And yet, how many of us actually have a well-defined business development process and plan?  When designing the process, use the 7 elements as the key objectives for each step of the process.  For example, Steps 1, 2 & 3: Build Awareness, Develop Understanding, and Create Interest.  What are you specifically doing to build awareness, develop understanding and create interest in your company with your prospective customers?  Who is responsible for these objectives?  What is the budget for these steps?  How will you measure your success?  How often do you discuss progress, challenges, lessons learned?  This line of thinking can be applied to steps 4-7 as well.

Most everything in life has a beginning, a middle and an end.  Think about it.  Books, a round of golf, baking a cake.  And, yes, even business processes.  I look at Steps 1, 2 & 3 as ‘the beginning’ of the business development process.  Steps 4 & 5, Inspire Belief and Earn Trust are the ‘middle’.  And, Steps 6 & 7, Determine Ability and Gauge Readiness, are the ‘end’.  Thinking about your business development as having a beginning, a middle and an ending may be useful as you think through what you hope to accomplish at each step along the way.

The specific sales & marketing tactics used to accomplish your 7 elements’ objectives will be different for every company.  Specifics will depend on your industry, your target audience, your budget, what your competition is doing, your operating philosophy, etc.  But, hopefully the 7 Elements framework and these tips for implementing a business development process with your organization will help bring clarity and a sense of purpose to your efforts.  And, ultimately, greater success in winning new business and growing your company.

In Part 2, I’ll share with you some principles that may be helpful to think about as you begin to design your business development process.  Stay tuned….