The competitive part of me didn’t want to write this blog post. Too many secrets being shared! But one of my hybrid account-creative guys, Mark Petch, suggested it, and my better tendencies have prevailed.
Business development is more an art than a science. It could be called “The Art of Attracting Business.” What are some basic principles?
Relationships matter. No matter how busy you are servicing clients or project managing, spend time and energy cultivating relationships with high value people.
Biz dev is everyone’s business. You don’t have to be the leader of the company to do biz dev, or have a special title. Everyone in the business can be on the lookout for opportunities, contribute ideas, and cultivate valuable relationships.
Inspire, don’t just incentivize. Of course you should have incentives for those who help bring in business. That’s a given. You also want them to know why in the larger sense they’re doing this. Your company should have a sense of purpose that is clearly communicated. This will add fuel to the engines of everyone involved.
Create a little engine that can. Make sure you develop an internal process for identifying, vetting and responding effectively to business development opportunities. Identify who does what, what the exact process and tools are, and get yourself some templates to make life easier. Then review opportunities on a regular basis.
Keep the plates spinning. While developing a strong internal biz dev process, also discuss and develop clear ways to continue servicing the business you have while also bringing in the accounts you want. You may decide that certain people keep the plates spinning a bit more while others are more involved in adding plates to the mix.
Quality is the best business plan. An old boss of mine said this to me once, and I’ll never forget it. Running around trying to grab headlines and PR by itself is not going to get you the business you want. Ensuring that everything you do, even the smallest projects, demonstrate the highest quality of thinking and execution, speaks volumes about you – and will be talked about. Then, once your great work is out in market, PR the crap out of it!
No one does the above perfectly, certainly not myself, but it’s good to remember these basic principles on a regular basis.