Business development is a process of identifying, planning and implementing strategies aimed at the growth of a company. The main objective of business development focuses on increasing sales. It also focuses on innovating the way a company finds new customers and retains existing ones.
Although mostly focused on increasing sales, business development can reach any department of an organization on the way to achieving this goal. The strategies that are implemented for this development are varied and dynamic.
- For the business development of an organization to be successful, its objectives must be real and achievable.
- Likewise, an action plan must be established in which defined strategies are planned and the company’s corporate culture is clearly perceived. In this way, individual and corporate objectives will be in line with each other.
- It is also important to be realistic about the economic resources available to the company in order to avoid possible losses or shortcomings in the business development process.
What you should know about business development
Business development is the process of increasing the growth of a company. That is to say, to make a company grow, to raise it to the highest level of competence in terms of its activity and to expand its customer base. To this end, a set of strategies, means and tools are used to achieve the proposed objectives (1).
What is a business development and what are its characteristics?
Business development refers to all the activities that make up the process that a company undergoes during its evolution. The purpose of these activities or ideas is the growth and improvement of the company.
During this process, the company’s personnel creates new skills and strengthens the existing ones. In this way, productivity is favoured, both individually and as a group, achieving efficient and effective management of the organization’s resources.
It is important, at this point, to identify some characteristics of business development in order to better understand what it is all about. Among the main ones, we can point out the following:
- It is closely related to the constant training of human resources in order to promote the company’s productivity.
- It is important that the corporate culture is well defined. This will be the link between all the elements of the organization.
- Leadership, in turn, is paramount. The leader is the one who ensures that the interests of the organization are in line with individual interests.
- Finally, innovation is essential, since human capital must always be in continuous evolution to achieve competitive growth, especially in today’s globalized markets (2).
What are the stages of business development?
Another important point to keep in mind is the different stages of business development. Knowing them in detail allows everyone in the company to work together to achieve the same objectives in the end.
|PREVENTION AND PLANNING||This is the starting point. Above all, a plan is made of the lines to be followed to finally reach the business objectives.|
|ORGANIZATION||Once the lines to be followed have been established, the goals and the chronogram that structures the proposed times for each action or activity must be set.|
|MANAGEMENT||To carry out the project, an individual must be chosen whose profile fits that of a leader and who is capable of efficiently directing the organization.|
|INTEGRATION OF RESOURCES||It consists of defining and coordinating the resources that the company will have. This includes material resources as well as human, financial and technological resources.|
|EXECUTION||This is the stage in which the actions are carried out. Previously, the what, how, when, where and with whom have been defined.|
|TRAINING||Training and constant updating of the members of an organization is the key to achieving optimal results in the future.|
What is the difference between marketing and business development?
Marketing refers to the process of creating, conveying and delivering valuable offerings to a company’s customers or strategic partners. The key is to identify as much opportunity for growth as is available.
While a company’s human resources will look for different ways to attract target customers, the marketing team will adapt its skills and marketing budget to create certain advertising material. This will allow the company’s offerings to appeal to potential customers and build long-term relationships.
The marketing study is essential for the launching of a new product or service in a company.
How to boost business development?
Business development goes beyond merely selling a product or service. It also involves creating intentional processes to increase the company’s customer base, reach new potential customers and create a nurturing work environment of innovation and fluid communication (3).
Here are some ways to drive successful business development:
Integrate the company into the digital world
If you want to take your company to the highest levels, then you must integrate it into the digital industry. Since, most of the transactions, communications and other operations, are done through the Internet.
Incorporate innovative IT systems
IT systems act as a hub for coordinating and connecting with the rest of the programs and processes. They encourage and execute customer-facing agreements for successful internal business management. Automated and effective processes significantly reduce business management times.
Define tasks and responsibilities
Every leader must be able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and thus delegate responsibilities that fit the individual’s profile.
Properly defined tasks and responsibilities will prevent a single person from being overloaded with activities and will make the work more equitable.
Hiring the right leader
Often, hiring a staff member who is dedicated exclusively to business development can help focus company goals and resources on potential growth.
Effective communication between different departments
Misinformation from some departments is one of the most common mistakes made in business management. Company data is the company’s most important asset. And, if communication between departments fails, the company can stop operations and generate economic losses, or even collapse.
Conduct staff training sessions
Taking care of the workers of an organization will increase individual productivity and if they are constantly trained and provided with the necessary tools and taught how to use them correctly for their management, they will be even more effective.
Use appropriate development methods
Once the strategy has been defined, human resources will have to determine how they are going to implement the development objectives. On the one hand, if the business plan is focused on increasing sales, email or digital marketing, cold calling or various social media postings could be used to reach consumers.
On the other hand, and referring to internally focused strategies, look at ways in which staff members can contribute and use their skills to drive the business development approach.
The development method chosen should reach all departments of the organization.
Testing new strategies
Using new approaches when there is a perceived stagnation in business development is the best strategy. Innovation is a key element for business growth, which sets the current market trends. Be decisive in refining the process while evaluating new ideas (4).
In other words, the marketing world is constantly evolving. Therefore, it is important for those working in a company to learn from mistakes while finding new strategies that work best for their brand and industry.
Offer a variety of options to connect with customers
Reaching new customers is a constantly evolving process that is critical to a company’s development. Effectively engaging customers to learn about your product is essential.
To this end, you can use different options to connect with customers, such as product demonstrations, digital content and other incentives. In this way, you will increase your audience and thus positively impact sales.
Establish an appropriate budget
It is also important to determine the scope of an organization’s business development plans, including the expected cost of each initiative. In this way, if the financial impact of these plans is greater than the expected benefits, the corresponding department will know before overspending and eventually slowing down the company’s growth.
Tips for successful business development
Clearly define objectives
First, it is important to define each achievable business objective in order to establish an effective business strategy. Well-defined objectives allow staff to make progress on specific points and are an excellent source of motivation. Often, when an employee achieves the previously proposed objectives, he or she receives recognition or a bonus.
However, if the company’s objectives are too ambitious, you know that even if you redouble your efforts, they will be impossible to achieve. In such a case, instead of being stimulated, the employee becomes demotivated and perhaps even doubts his or her ability to perform a certain task.
Knowing the target customer in detail
The first thing a company must take into account is the particularities of its potential customers, their expectations and demands, but also their limitations or problems.
Knowing its target customer well, and making a correct study of the market and the offers of its competitors, allows a company to define an efficient marketing strategy. Likewise, to find the right positioning that will make it a reference in its activity.
To know your potential customer, you must take into account the following characteristics:
- Average age
- Your social status
- What profession you are in
- What leisure activities do you prefer
- Your family/civil status
- His/her preoccupations
- What things represent a problem for him/her
- What are his/her values or convictions
Make current market analysis to optimize sales
Knowing the current market is a strategy that allows an organization to acquire or update its knowledge. Likewise, defining business development, which is important to it, involves conducting analysis and study of the current market (5). This will allow it to:
- Incorporate new ideas and, thus, improve your offering
- Understanding and knowing where the demand is heading
- To notice the weaknesses of the competitors in your area
- Position yourself better in relation to the competition
- Generate interest by offering products or services that stand out from the rest
Establish the action plan to be carried out
An action plan concentrates all the data necessary to achieve a company’s objectives. The following is also recommended:
- Concentrate on the target itself without distractions. Focusing on the objective allows the human resource, in turn, to stay focused on its main mission.
- Act effectively, defining, for example, all the tasks to be performed, prioritizing them and the order in which they should be carried out.
- Understand and know the means to be implemented to accomplish your objective.
Anticipate any difficulties that may stand in the way of the proposed goal.
As we have already mentioned, business development is the set of strategies and actions implemented for an organization to grow. In other words, it is the essence of business success. This is what allows a company to develop, grow and achieve its objectives.
It takes time to build a solid business foundation, but once established, the opportunities for growth are endless. Depending on the objectives and the resources the company has to achieve them, growth will happen faster or slower. But ultimately, it will happen.
1. Pozos, Delfín Lucila, Acosta Márquez, María Pilar. Importance and analysis of business development. Pensamiento & gestión; 2016.
2. CABRA, HÉCTOR HORACIO MURCIA. Creativity and innovation for business development. Ediciones de la U; 2015.
3. DÍAZ, Jaime González. Aproximaciones conceptuales al desarrollo empresarial. Aglala; 2014.
4. RUEDA GALVIS, Javier Francisco. Innovation as the axis of business development. Gestión y Sociedad; 2013.
5. VILLANUEVA, Jorge Eduardo Gómez; CRIADO, Josep Rialp. ANDREU, Joan Llonch. Influence of market orientation on the entrepreneurial function: its impact on the innovativeness and performance of Spanish SMEs. International Review of Small and Medium Enterprise, International Review of Small and Medium Enterprise; 2008.