15 Business Development Tips To Impact Company Growth

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published February 22, 2021

Developing a business takes strategic planning from professionals in any industry. Implementing practices and innovative ideas that increase sales and revenue are the keys to successful business development. From business owners to staff members, business development is an important consideration that can lead to company growth and new opportunities. In this article, we explain why business development is important for any industry and give you ideas to help you develop your business.

What is business development?

Business development is a process that involves identifying, planning and implementing strategies for company growth. Business development practices focus on increasing sales and innovating the ways a company finds and retains customers. Although it is usually focused on sales, business development can involve any department of a company in the goal of gaining customers and boosting sales. Development strategies can vary from human resource initiatives to new product offerings.

Related: What's the Difference Between Business Development and Sales?

Why is business development important?

Companies that focus on business development are more likely to see business growth through sales, lead generation and employee satisfaction. Development strategies can prevent a business from becoming stagnant and losing market share. Businesses that pursue growth also create an internal culture of innovation that can encourage employees to retain their positions instead of seeking work elsewhere.

15 business development tips

Business development is more than just making sales. It involves creating intentional processes for increasing your customer base, reaching interested leads and creating a workplace environment that thrives on innovation and communication.

Here are 15 ways you can pursue business development success:

1. Develop a strategy

Before you begin developing your business, create a strategy with measurable goals and action steps. Identify the areas where you want to see business growth whether that means breaking into new markets, retaining customers or increasing your marketing efforts. Consider what processes you'll need to put into place as you seek to follow your plan.

2. Use the right business development methods

Once you decide on a strategy, you'll need to determine how you will implement those development goals. If your plan is based on increasing sales, consider if you will use email or digital marketing, cold calling or ads on social media to reach consumers. For internally-focused strategies, think about the ways staff members can give input and use their skills to further your business development approach.

3. Understand your sales audience

Get to know the metrics of your market including the demographics of your current and prospective customers. Identify a target audience and focus your sales strategy around consumers who fit those traits.

Determine how your key demographic uses your product or service. Find out where these customers look for information about what to buy and how they spend money. It may also help to analyze competing products or services to understand how they reach their target audience.

4. Use business development skills as a focus for professional development

Another way you can begin developing your business is by focusing on internal growth. Start by training team members in crucial business development skills like these:

  • Curiosity: Effective business developers ask thoughtful questions and seek to discover the answers. They use a natural curiosity to pursue solutions to complex tasks or problems.

  • Brand awareness: Business development relies on a strong understanding of a brand and how a company both creates and promotes that persona to the public.

  • Pragmaticism: Business professionals who become leaders in developing new strategies for the brand need a sensible approach to goals. For a business development plan to work, professionals should set manageable expectations for results and be able to evaluate progress truthfully.

  • Product knowledge: Business professionals need a deep knowledge of what they offer to consumers before they can make a clear plan for developing a business model.

  • Interpersonal communication: Business development involves connecting with inside staff, vendors and customers. Networking with other professionals both internally and externally can help you accomplish your goals. This involves active listening, giving effective feedback and clearly communicating ideas.

  • Organization: Business development leaders organize their thoughts, strategies and business practices to drive growth.

Related: How To Build Business Development Skills

5. Try a new strategy

Don't be afraid to use a new approach to develop your business. Learn from mistakes as you find the strategies that work best for your brand and industry. Innovation is a key proponent of business growth that sets market trends. Be critical and decisive in refining your process as you assess new ideas.

6. Research market trends and industry leaders

One of the keys to business development is to keep learning. The most successful business developers gain insight from thought leaders and experienced professionals who share their knowledge. They learn what makes businesses in their industry rise and fall. Professional organizations and industry publications are one way to keep up with changing practices. Blogs, podcasts and online course content are more ways to discover emerging trends.

7. Prioritize networking

Connect to other business professionals to broaden your pool of expertise. Finding a mentor outside of your company who has gone through stages of developing a business can help you and your organization through your own journey. Trade shows and events with professional organizations are a good way to get to know others in your industry.

8. Offer creative opportunities to connect with customers

Reaching potential clients is a continually evolving process that is central to business development. Attracting customers to get to know your product is essential for developing a business. Consider using product demonstrations, digital content and other incentives to increase your audience and impact sales.

9. Focus on lead generation

Finding potential customers interested in your service or product is an important part of inside sales. Leads generate more customers to grow your business. You can collect leads through a range of sources like social media ads and website call-to-action buttons. A focus on lead generation makes selling easier because you already have a prospective client who's considered your product. The practice of nurturing leads is also an important way to stay connected to your prospective customer base.

10. Facilitate collaboration between marketing and sales teams

Developing sales goals often involves marketing initiatives. When both teams work together to increase revenue, increasing communication between these departments is an essential part of successfully reaching sales goals. Marketing professionals help drive sales through creative advertising and lead generation. Joint team meetings and idea sessions can fuel business development plans and help create initiatives that lead to long-term growth.

11. Keep expectations realistic

Successful business development often comes from years of purposeful initiatives and growth plans. It's important for leaders to set realistic projections for sales revenues, lead volume and other initiatives planned for business expansion. Developing a business is an ongoing pursuit with setbacks and changes that often change the initial direction of your strategies. Reflecting often on what works and what is not helpful keeps positive momentum that helps drive effective business development.

12. Set a budget for development

It's important to determine the scope of your business development plans by including the projected cost of your initiatives. If the financial impact of your development plans is greater than your projected returns, you'll know before you overspend and actually slow business growth.

13. Create a first response initiative

Many companies do business with the first business to reach out. Business development plans should include how you will contact new leads and how you plan to follow up on contacts made through networking. As you prepare to respond, consider the timing of your response as the most important factor.

14. Leverage your digital platforms

Developing your online presence can be an effective part of your business growth strategy. Build trust and brand awareness through your social media networks, website and digital content. There are lots of tools businesses can use to analyze website traffic and social media user demographics. You can use this to get a better idea of your target audience for advertising and product development.

15. Hire the right business development leader

Often, organizations intend to keep up with development goals and initiatives until leaders become busy with the daily pace of the business. Hiring a staff member dedicated to business development can help focus your objectives and resources on potential growth.

Find the right candidate by seeking a professional with deep industry knowledge and proven business development expertise. Sales and marketing experience along with key skills in communication and organization are what makes a good business development manager.

How to get a job as a business development manager

Companies hire professionals to lead business development at multiple levels. Some business development managers work first as a business development representative and work up to a position as a business development executive.

Consider these steps as you pursue a career as a business development manager:

1. Earn a degree

While there aren't specific degree requirements for this position, most companies look for a candidate with a bachelor's degree in disciplines like these:

  • Finance

  • Business administration

  • Marketing

  • Business management

  • Accounting

  • Communications

2. Gain experience in sales and marketing

By working in a sales or marketing position, you'll gain the necessary skills and experience in the biggest areas for business development. Development managers need to understand lead generation, market analysis and sales principles. Moving from sales or marketing to a business development position is a logical career move once you've gained expertise in these areas.

Related: 34 Business Development Manager Interview Questions and Answers To Help You Prepare

3. Consider earning an advanced degree (MBA or master's)

An MBA or Master's in Business Administration or a similar focus can make it easier for you to advance to a management position more quickly than if you only hold a bachelor's degree. Since business development managers oversee operations, people and processes to enhance company success, an advanced degree can prepare you with the skills you need to handle both responsibilities.

4. Practice project management

Business development managers often use project management skills to delegate tasks to departments and various staff members. Although information technology professionals were the first to use digital project management tools like Scrum or Agile for delegating software builds, the business world has even embraced their methods for simplifying the process of implementing goals. Gaining a basic understanding of these techniques can help you apply project management skills that further business development.

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