A few days ago, I came across a posting for a Business Development Manager at a company I admire. It tripped a circuit in my head and I started thinking on what they would be looking for.
First: The definition of business development has changed in a significant way over the last 10 or so years. It used to be that the business development professional was working within the company to identify company strengths and capabilities and try to imagine or create paths to new products that could be offered to new markets.
Second: Some companies viewed the position as a pure relationship builder and customer relationship tracker. Imagine the individual cold calling, trying to line up golf, dinners etc. with the hopes of getting names that could be entered into CRM as contacts.
Third: Other firms just threw multiple hats (that others did not want to wear) at the position, and hoped for the best.
You can only improve what you can measure – Much of what falls into the bucket of business development is qualitative in nature. You can put numbers to the results, but they are lacking in a very important dimension which is CONTEXT.
Its not good enough to just state how many contacts have been made and where or what products need enhancing or development, the main qualification should be WHY!
Modern Digital Business Development
We are now part of an era where we can track, quantify and record almost anything. Large data databases can record and store enormous amounts of information, the trick is making sense of that repository of valuable data. Enter analytics!
Yes, even business development can thrive by understanding the power of crunching analytics. I am a proponent of recording business development data in modern analytic centric products. What I mean by that is viewing qualitative data as a set of parameters / columns in a spreadsheet. A customer engagement should now be viewed in a different way:
Instead of recording several paragraphs of nice descriptions of the event with the customer and the hopeful outcome, the event should be dissected into database parameters:
Customer account priority, contact position grade, level of social interaction, perception of interest, chance of re-engagement, type of entertainment (golf = 1, dinner =2 etc), daytime or nighttime………..etc. By parsing engagements in this manner, you can run analytics to research best path to effective customer relationships (very qualitative).
Let me explain:
Would you be interested in knowing that strategic level, purchasing managers are 80% converted by golf on weekday early mornings that were pre-justified and had been followed up in 2 weeks instead of 2 days later? would you be amazed at graphs that show a conversion “sweet spot”? would you like to have a predictable game plan that has been shaped by dependable data at the most efficient COS figures?
Any event in human nature can be parsed, sliced up into descriptors that can be given a value. Is this perfect…..NO! is it better than paragraphs in a customer visit report?…..YES!!!!!
Create a database, define important parameters, capture the data, parse the data in ways that generate quality analytic reports that drive future strategy and ……….WIN!