Business development is a word that’s getting thrown around a lot lately.

You often hear it in conjunction with words like ‘sales’, ‘expansion’, and ‘partnerships’, normally as an answer to the question ‘What is business development?’.

You rarely, however, get a straight answer.

So before approaching my business development tips, I’ll give you a brief, easy to follow explanation of what it is.

What exactly is business development?

Forbes has a particularly clear description of the term:

Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships…At its heart…[it] is all about figuring out how the interactions of those forces combine together to create opportunities for growth.  (Source: Forbes)

However, if you really want to get to the bottom of business development, it’s probably more useful to ask the question…

What do those in ‘business development’ do?

Many people think of business development as ‘sales’.

But the difference between sales and business development is this…

Sales functions are in place to sell the products/services of a business to customers/clients, in exchange for money.

The function of business development does overlap with that but sales is not its only function. The aim of business development is to pursue a number of strategic opportunities, in order to facilitate growth for their business.

Which is why it has become such a coveted term as of late. But, not all firms have the capacity or resources for an entire business development team, if that’s your firm, keep reading for my 5 do-it-yourself business development tips.

Each week, we send marketing and business development tips to a network of over 1,000 IT, legal, management consultancy and financial services firms. Join those growing their business by signing up.

My top 5 tips for business development from a marketing perspective:


1. Figure out where your prospects go for information…

And make a plan to be visible and valuable, wherever that is.

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses stubbornly refuse to do anything but send emails when their target audience is on LinkedIn looking for the services they offer.

2. Assess your market segments.

With the market position and resources you currently have, are some sectors going to be more difficult to break into than others? Are your markets likely to grow or shrink? Are there any new regulations coming into effect that might impact how you do business?*

It’s vital that you have an on the ground view of what’s going on in each of the markets you are targeting so you can make informed decisions about where your efforts will be most valuable.

*GDPR comes into effect on May 25th. Are you ready? Read our blog—The Impact Of GDPR on B2B Marketing In The UK and Worldwide—to find out.

3. Don’t jam your message down your prospects’ throats

Traditional marketing methods are becoming less and less effective. In fact, the world seems to be becoming advertising-allergic.

Nowadays, if you want to attract your target market, you need to prove that you are an expert in your industry without forcing your own agenda.

That’s where content marketing comes in.

Content marketing is a tool that business developers use to demonstrate their firm’s expertise (in a way that people care about).

For example, by creating content that addresses long-term issues/trends/opportunities, you will give your firm a voice and opinion on issues that your target market are interested in. This will, in turn, create business development opportunities for your firm.

4. Know the ROI of all of your marketing methods and market sectors

Knowing the return on investment (ROI) of your efforts will, again, allow you to allocate your resources profitably.

For example, if you know the ROI of one of your services is low then you’d choose to use a cheaper method of communication (e.g. emails) to quickly reach a large audience at a low cost per prospect.

But, if you know the ROI of a service is high then you’d be able to justify a high cost per prospect (e.g., personally calling them, or organising an event to invite them to).

[This month, we’ll be writing an email on how to calculate the ROI of your marketing efforts. Sign up to receive our newsletter to get the calculation straight to your inbox].


5. Figure out what you can do yourself, and what you can’t

The truth of the matter is that sometimes the best person for the job isn’t you.

I recommend assessing the resources, skills, and knowledge needed for all of your business development ventures, and making a list of what could realistically (and profitably) be done in-house, and what should be outsourced.

If you decide that business development is something better outsourced to a team of specialists, our account manager, Kelly can get you set up with a no-obligation consultation to discuss how Propero can help. Email: to get started.

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