Category Archives: Business Development

These blogs focus on business development services we offer and what we’d recommend for you.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, ask for client referrals

(Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash )

Strong relationships with existing clients are crucial to your business. However, relying solely on repeat business can expose you to unforeseen fluctuations.  Economic downturns, changes in client needs, or even personnel shifts within customer organisations can suddenly disrupt your income. Extending your client base is essential for long-term success, and one of the best ways of achieving that is through client referrals.

A steady stream of referrals builds trust and positions your company as a leader within your industry. Potential clients are more likely to engage with a business visibly endorsed by the businesses already using them. Referred clients arrive with an assumed level of trust established by the positive experiences of their colleagues or associates. This translates to shorter sales cycles and less time spent convincing them of your value proposition. People trust the recommendations of those they know and respect. A glowing referral carries far more weight than any marketing message your company can create, fostering a stronger connection even before the initial interaction.

While referrals are highly valuable, there is a right and wrong way to solicit them:

Service Delivery: Start with making sure you are worthy of a referral. Exceptional client experiences are the cornerstone of this. Consistently exceed expectations, resolve issues promptly, and maintain clear, consistent communication.

Strategic Timing: Identify opportune moments to request referrals, such as after successful project completions or when clients express their satisfaction with your work. 

Streamlined Request Process: Simplify your referral process. Develop a clear, concise script for your request. Briefly outline the benefits of referrals for both your business and theirs. Offer readily accessible referral materials, such as flyers and links.

Selective Incentives: While offering a small token of appreciation can be a thoughtful gesture, building a referral program solely on incentives isn’t sustainable. The genuine satisfaction of helping a trusted partner should be the primary motivator.

Tracking and Follow-Up: Keep a record of referral requests and follow-up with thank you notes, regardless of the outcome.

Beyond that, cultivating referrals by building relationships with complementary businesses who you can mutually refer potential clients with. Network actively with industry professionals and join relevant business events to broaden your professional circle. Being an active referrer is one of the best ways of being referred yourself. Many of the major business networks build their ethos around the assumption that mutual support is better than asking without giving back.

Don’t wait for referrals to happen organically. Actively cultivate them as a core component of your business development strategy. By consistently delivering excellent service, strategically requesting referrals, and nurturing strong client relationships, you’ll establish a steady stream of qualified leads, ensuring your company’s long-term growth and sustainability. Remember, satisfied clients are your most valuable marketing asset. By leveraging their trust and positive experiences, you’ll cultivate a thriving referral program and secure a steady flow of new business.

At YBDT we work with SMEs across a wide range of industries. Our sales enablement support starts from the assumption that buying choices are made based on strong relationships. Working with many clients over the last fifteen years we have learnt that real value lies in improving sales conversion. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the conversation that transforms your sales.

Why specific is terrific

Have you ever played darts? As a beginner you can find yourself throwing darts randomly, and if you’re lucky you might hit the board eventually. You will however waste a lot of energy getting to the target. In business, this equates to marketing to everyone and hoping for sales. But there’s a better way: defining your target market.

A target market is the specific group of people most likely to benefit from your product or service. They share similar characteristics, needs, and desires. By understanding your target market, you can create closely targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty. Unlike B2C marketing, where you might target a broad demographic, B2B involves specific companies with unique needs and decision-making processes. Understanding these nuances is crucial.

Targeting the right audience is vital for several reasons:

  • Focused Marketing Efforts: By knowing exactly who you’re talking to, you can tailor your messaging and channels to resonate with their specific challenges and goals.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Limited marketing budgets demand strategic use of resources. Targeting the right companies ensures you’re not wasting time and money on unqualified leads.
  • Stronger Customer Relationships: When you understand your target market’s pain points, you can develop solutions that truly address their needs, fostering deeper and more profitable client relationships.

Before diving into the work of defining your market, you need to understand your own business. Consider your business’s core purpose. What problems are you solving for your potential clients? What value are you offering to their business? This foundation will guide you towards the people who need your solutions the most.

Here are some key factors to consider when defining your ideal customer:

  • Industry: Which industries are most likely to benefit from your product or service?
  • Company size: Are you targeting small startups, large enterprises, or somewhere in between?
  • Budget: What is the typical budget range for your solution within your target companies?
  • Decision-makers: Who has the authority to purchase your product or service? Understanding their role and priorities is crucial.
  • Needs and challenges: What specific pain points does your solution address for your target market?
  • Buying preferences: Businesses in every sector have their own specific ways that they prefer to buy. You need to know what that is for your chosen markets.
  • Growth stage: Are you targeting established businesses or those in a high-growth phase with specific needs?

Don’t make assumptions about your target market. You will most likely have some of the valuable resources to inform your target market definition already to hand in your business.

  • Customer Analytics: Analyse your current customer base to identify commonalities. Segment them based on industry, size, and buying behaviour.
  • Market Research Reports: Industry reports can provide valuable insights into industry trends, the active participant, and potential customer demographics.
  • Competitor Analysis: Who are your competitors and who are they targeting? Studying their marketing strategies can offer valuable clues.

As you gather data, your buyer persona will evolve. Be prepared to refine it as you gain deeper insights. The more you understand your target market, the more effective your B2B marketing efforts will be. Remember, defining your target market is an ongoing process. As your business grows and the market shifts, revisit and refine your buyer persona to stay on target for success.

At YBDT we work with SMEs across a wide range of industries. Our sales enablement support provides starts from the assumption that buying choices are made based on strong relationships and a clear understanding of your target market. A clear sales and marketing strategy is an essential step towards achieving growth in your business. YBDT will help you craft the overarching plan, without which activity will lack focus and outcomes will be harder to measure.

Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the conversation that transforms your sales.

Aligning Your Buying and Sales Processes for Success

Traditionally, sales processes have been structured around internal goals, with stages focused on qualifying leads, pitching products, and closing deals. However, this approach can be difficult for the customer. If a salesperson offers a complex solution to a prospect who is still unclear about their specific needs there can be a disconnect between buyer and seller that leads to a lost sale, and a negative experience of seller’s business.

Aligning your buying and sales processes reverses the viewpoint. By focusing on understanding the customer’s journey, you can tailor your sales approach to provide value at every step. This builds trust and increases the chances of a successful sale.

The first step to mapping your buyer’s journey is to forget the traditional “push” mindset of sales and embracing a “pull” approach that works seamlessly with the buyer’s decision-making process. There are three recognisable steps in the buying journey, and you need to align your sales process with each of these.

  • Awareness Stage: Here, your focus should be on educating and informing potential buyers. Offer valuable content like blog posts, case studies, or webinars that address their pain points.
  • Consideration Stage: At this point you need to engage with potential buyers, listen actively to their needs, and provide tailored solutions which demonstrate how your product or service directly addresses their problems.
  • Decision Stage: Address any remaining objections or questions and offer clear calls to action. Streamline the buying process, provide clear pricing structures, and readily available customer support.

Training your sales team to prioritise the customer’s needs at every stage of the interaction will help them understand the need to take a different approach to the one they may have spent years developing. Technology can be a key tool in uncovering buyer behaviours. Use buyer intent data to understand a prospect’s interest in specific products or services. By analysing data collected from online activity, businesses can predict likely buying patterns. Matched with information from your own CRM tracking buyer interactions will enable you to personalise communications.

Developing high-quality content that addresses buyer pain points such as blogs, case studies, and email newsletters positions your brand as a trusted resource. It is vital to maintain clear and consistent communication throughout the buying process and actively look for feedback on how your message is being received, both internally and from potential customers.

At YBDT we work with SMEs across a wide range of industries. Our sales enablement support assumes that buying choices are made based on strong relationships. Working with many clients over the last fifteen years we have learnt that real value lies in improving sales conversion. Aligning buying processes with structured lead nurturing yields sales. Our three-step process for sales enablement, gap analysis, creating a tailored sales process, and targeted sales training has been proven to work effectively to generate sustainable growth. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the conversation that transforms your sales.

Why a staged approach to business development benefits your business

One of the big truisms of business is the need to have a strong marketing and sales strategy. But for many SMEs, the resources and expertise required to develop and execute such a strategy can be out of reach, at least at early stages of their growth.

This is where a staged approach to business development can be helpful. This involves breaking down your marketing and sales efforts into smaller, more manageable steps, and sourcing appropriate support at each stage of your business journey. This allows you to start with the basics and gradually add more complexity as you grow your ability and resources. Here are the key advantage of this approach:

Flexibility and Scalability:

A staged approach to business development allows you to choose support that aligns with your current needs and budget. In the early days of a business knowledge about the basic how, where, and what of sales and marketing may be lacking. So, help with creating sales collateral (case studies, brochures, or email templates), and support with building a clear sales and marketing strategy will give you the jumping off point you need. As the business evolves, your support can adapt to address new challenges and opportunities. This ensures you’re always getting the most relevant assistance. Content Marketing campaigns, LinkedIn, and telemarketing are natural second steps. With growth comes the need to outsource lead generation and nurturing, freeing up your expert team to close deals and support existing clients.

Cost-Effectiveness:

By applying the limited resources that you will inevitably have in the early days of a business, to the specific services you need at that time you avoid the upfront, and ongoing, costs of hiring specialist staff who may not be fully utilised. By focusing on your specific needs and goals, staged support can deliver a better return on your investment. By having a well-developed strategy from the start, one which anticipates the stages of growth you will go through, you can allocate resources to activities that are most likely to generate leads and conversions.

Expertise and Guidance:

At each stage of your business development, you can benefit from the expertise of experienced sales and marketing professionals who will fit into the niches that work for you at that time. Most importantly you can benefit from guidance on developing effective sales and marketing strategies aligned with your business goals from people who have done it before and know where the pitfalls are.

Efficiency and Focus:

You started your business because you have a passion for it. Using the right support for each step of the journey means you can focus on the aspects of your business that fill your passion, while the sales and marketing is cared for by others whose passion is business development. With a well-defined plan, the right people in place working on targeted campaigns, you can achieve better results with less effort.

At YBDT we work with SMEs of all sizes across a wide range of industries. All of them benefit from our business development support. One of our key aims is to be able to support businesses in the ways they need and want. Which is we developed our staged approach to business development support. This method has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

What makes a business development plan strategic?

We have applied the teachings of military theorists to business since the time of Sun Tzu. When thinking about our business development plans one of the most useful quotes comes from Heinrich von Bülow, ‘Strategy is the science of military movements outside the enemy’s range of view, tactics within it’.

So, in business,

  • Tactics are how we carry out our business development.  for example, Emails, telemarketing, content, or social media.
  • Strategy is what supports these activities internally, away from the client’s view.  For example, preparing to communicate effectively with target audiences and making sure the business is ready to take on new customers.

There are some key elements that makes a business development plan strategic:

Clear Vision and Goals

A strategic business development plan begins with a clear understanding of the company’s overall vision. What does the organisation aspire to achieve? These overarching goals serve as the compass, guiding the company’s strategic direction and decision-making.

Comprehensive Market Analysis

A strategic plan must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the industry, market trends, and the competition. This involves conducting market research, analysing competitor strategies, evaluating consumer behaviour, and identifying emerging opportunities. By understanding the external environment, businesses can proactively position themselves for success.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Strategic business development is not about guesswork. A strategic business development plan should incorporate data analytics to inform decision-making. This includes tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), analysing market trends, and understanding customer behaviour. By understanding the data, businesses can optimise strategies, identify areas for improvement, and allocate resources effectively.

Resource Allocation

Sustainable growth requires effective resource allocation. The plan should clearly define the resources required, financial, human, and technology, and outline how these resources will be allocated efficiently. This assessment will help you identify areas where you may need to invest or partner with others to support your growth initiatives.

Implementation Plan

A well-crafted implementation plan outlines the steps involved in executing your strategies, assigning responsibilities, and allocating resources. It should include timelines, milestones, and success metrics to track progress. It is essential to identify and mitigate potential risks that could upset your plans. Contingency planning, expecting the unexpected, is vital to ensure the successful execution of your business development strategy.

Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation

Business development is a continuous process. You will need to consider how you will monitor progress, evaluate the effectiveness of strategies, and make the necessary adjustments. This ensures that the organisation remains on track towards achieving its goals.

One important point that we only briefly touched on its collaboration and partnership. You may well not have all the resources and skills with the business to carry out your strategy. By working with YBDT’s proven sales enablement process you firstly have our support to create a finely tuned business development strategy. We will guide you towards the overarching plan that touches each part of your customers’ journey.

You then also have the option of using our team of experienced professionals to support the implementation of that plan will ensure that you have the best opportunity to convert prospects to loyal long-term clients.

YBDT’s business development process has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

Your planning needs support to be truly effective

Recently I have been supporting a small business who sent me a lovely testimonial about our time together.

“You gave us a safe space to take a step back and reflect on our business, the customers we have and identifying who our ideal customers are. As a small business which has seen rapid growth, we’ve never reflected on this in any structured or facilitated way before.”

As well as a great endorsement of our services, it highlighted a crucial point about how you create your plans for business development. An outside perspective is invaluable, it provides the “safe space” to step away from the routine and examine your goals and vision with someone who can help you be objective about them, and has the expertise to set strategic goals, identify key risks and opportunities, and forecast finances. No matter how well you know your business, an external voice in the process will ask “but have you thought about…” in a way that you simply won’t from your position up close and person with the day to day running of the business.

Other reasons for turning to an external consultant for support with planning your strategy for growth include the ability to access to data, research, and planning tools that you may not be able to find on your own. This allows for more sophisticated and fact-based planning. Having a professional advisor involved in the planning process helps to keep you focused and accountable. Consultants keep things on schedule and follow up on progress.

Developing a business plan can be a time-consuming process, and devoting the time that is needed while also running a busy company can be challenging. As the client we quoted at the start of this piece told us, it is the ability to step back and reflect that is one of the most important reasons to introduce an external voice into your planning. That outside perspective brings fresh insights, challenge assumptions, identifies gaps, and offers an alternative view of the business strategy and plan. When it comes to bringing your plans to life, an external consultant will also be likely to either have or be able to connect you with the people and resources to make implementation of your plans easier.

Working with YBDT’s proven sales enablement process gives you our support to create a finely tuned sales strategy. We will give you the overarching plan that touches each part of your customers’ journey. You then also have the option of using our team of experienced professionals to support the implementation of that plan to ensure that you have the best opportunity to convert prospects to loyal long-term clients.

YBDT’s business development process has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

Is your buyer looking for choice or value?

At YBDT we are increasingly taking notice of our clients’ buying process ensuring that it fits with our sales process. The main reason for doing this is that it has a great effect on how successful we are at converting the sale and also on how frustrating the journey can become if the two are not aligned.

In our previous Blog, we talked about the fact that the buying journey is not linear and can be affected by many factors which make it twist and turn. Today, I wanted to cover buying styles and how they should affect your sales approach. The inspiration to this blog came from an excellent book called, How Customers Buy and Why They Don’t by Martyn R Lewis who I strongly recommend.

In the book, Lewis refers to two axes which shape buying styles, solution V product and choice V value. In this blog, I will discuss the difference between choice and value.

  1. Choice buying style: Buyers defined by this style believe they know what solution they are looking for either because they have bought it before or because they have gone through an extensive research and consideration process before going to market. Either way, these buyers believe that as they know what they are looking for, they will only engage with suppliers who offer the product they are in the market for, allowing them to sort and select the best offer.
  2. Value buying style: Buyers defined by this style are looking for added value to help them define the product they are looking to buy.  This is because they are buying a new product which they are not familiar with or they are looking for some innovation to help them solve an issue they can’t solve internally.

Many companies who have educated their sales team on consultative selling may well discount the choice buying style all together. The truth of the matter is that, if your key target markets are dominated by the choice buying style, you need to learn to work with it or you will be out of business.

That said, you always have a choice as to which companies you work with. You will need to make sure you have the right business development strategy allowing you to generate enough of the right leads to ensure you can close enough sales though. More about this another day.

So, what can you do to make sure your sales process fits with the right buying style? Here are some key things to consider:

  1. Make sure you are clear on the buying styles that dominate your market as well as the individual sale you are working on.
  2. Make it easy to buy from you, so if they are looking for choice, ensure you have clear proposal documents that can be sent on request.
  3. Equally if companies are looking for value, make sure you spend the time with them to understand what they are looking for and create tailored propositions.
  4. Shifting companies from one buying style to another is possible too, you will need to understand their motives and get to know the people involved well. You will also need to be patient.

You might think that this stuff is fairly standard, and like a lot of sales theory, it is.  Still, it’s very easy to get too involved in your own sales messages, forgetting that if they are not buying, you are not selling. Keeping to the status quo is one of the biggest reasons for unsuccessful selling and taking some time understanding your buyer could just be the edge you need to improve this. It’s all a numbers game in the end.

If you have found this useful you are welcome to contact us to book a discovery meeting to discuss your specific sales process.

The buying journey can be a twisty road

When planning our marketing strategy, we should always stop and look at the process from the potential customer’s point of view. The way customers experience the buying journey has evolved significantly away from being simply a linear progress to decision making. It has become a dynamic process covering different touchpoints and channels. Understanding and catering to this journey is crucial for businesses looking to thrive in a competitive marketplace and needs to be a key consideration when planning your sales and marketing strategy.

The traditional stages of the buying journey are still very relevant, but each has a couple of new bends in the road.

Awareness

The buying journey starts when the customer becomes aware of a problem or need within their business. This often occurs through various triggers which can include personal experience, but increasingly awareness is prompted by marketing messages. So, at this point it is essential for businesses to create brand visibility and provide valuable content to capture the prospect’s attention. Content marketing, such as blog posts, social media content, and informative emails play a vital role in helping potential customers discover your brand and establish the business as a trusted source of information.

Consideration

Once the prospect is aware of their problem or need, they enter the consideration stage. They are gathering information, comparing products or services, and collecting insights from various sources. Businesses can influence customers during this stage by providing detailed product information, offering educational content, and showcasing the unique value their solutions provide. Testimonials, case studies, and comparison guides can be powerful tools in guiding customers toward your offerings.

Intent

As customers gather information and evaluate their options, they develop a clear intent to make a purchase. At this stage, they might be seeking specific details, such as pricing, warranty, or delivery options. They are ready to decide but usually need something that provides them with comfort that they have made the right choice. Providing transparent pricing, clear calls-to-action, and responsive customer support are good ways to encourage the buying decision.

Purchase

This is where the customer commits to the product or service, and you convert them to a sale. However, the journey doesn’t end here; it transforms into an opportunity for businesses to build on the one-time purchase and create a long-term client. The most important aspect of this stage is providing a seamless, positive buying experience for your customer.

Loyalty and Advocacy Stage

Customers who have had a positive experience with your brand can become loyal customers and advocates. They not only continue to buy from you but also recommend your products or services to others. Cultivating this loyalty is an ongoing process that involves maintaining high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and personalised communication.

Understanding the customer’s buying journey is essential for any business looking to build long-term business relationships. It’s no longer enough to focus solely on the purchase stage; you need to engage with customers at every step of their journey, from awareness to purchase and beyond. Working with YBDT to create a clear sales and marketing strategy will give you the overarching plan that touches each part of the customer journey. Using our team of experienced professionals to support your implementation of that plan will ensure that you have the best opportunity to convert prospects to loyal long-term clients. YBDT’s business development process has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

Getting started with business development activity

In our last blog we talked about getting the temperature of your business development right, so that your activity is appropriate to the stage of evolution your business is at now. Whether you’re a startup, or a seasoned entrepreneur, mastering the art of business development is a critical part of achieving your goals. But where to start?  

Before diving into methods, we need a clear understanding of what business development actually is. Business development involves identifying growth opportunities, building strategic relationships, and creating paths for income generation. It’s about creating connections, nurturing partnerships, and aligning your business goals with your market. The foundation of successful business development lies in thorough research and analysis. Identifying your target market, and understanding their pain points, the drivers for buying decisions.  By studying the customer base and identifying your key competitors you will gather valuable insights and can tailor your approach to address specific needs and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Creating a comprehensive business development strategy that outlines your goals, target markets, and key tactics is the single most important step. This plan should include a timeline, measurable objectives, and a clear roadmap for execution. You should regularly review and adjust your strategy to adapt to changing market dynamics. As part of this you should be looking at your value proposition. This communicates why your product or service is unique and valuable, what problems you solve for your client base. A well-defined value proposition serves as the cornerstone of your business development efforts.

With your target markets defined as part of the overall strategy, the next step will be to research and identify the key decision makers in companies who fit into your target sectors. Sourcing static data lists can be a minefield unless you clearly understand the process of selecting the correct parameters. 

Creating a suite of material to support your business development is vital. Case studies, and brochures need to be professional and able to encapsulate the value proposition you have set out. But there is more to your sales collateral. You need to consider, email templates for follow ups, telemarketing scripts, and how you will appear on LinkedIn and social media. All these items are part of the crucial first impression that you give a prospect so taking short cuts is not an option.

With business development activity planned how will you and your team handle the expected enquiries? How will you communicate with your potential clients? Do you have the telephone, and sales skills to capitalise on each enquiry.

If the to do list for business development sounds daunting, then YBDT can help. The first tier of our staged sales support package is all about helping you get started. YBDT support the creation of sales collateral and help develop the data that will drive your engagement, as well as working with you on the all-important strategy. We can provide skills development workshops and through our mentoring sessions help you stay accountable for the success of your business objectives. Get in touch to book a discovery call, that is the first step to your business growth.

Take your business development temperature

We’ve asked the question, “what sort of lead generation do you need” around different market sectors and targets, but how do you get started on your business development journey at an early stage of your business?  The temperature you apply to your lead generation is related to the budget and resources you have available, as well as where you are in your business’s life story. You can turn the heat up or down depending on seasonal factors, your growth plans or market conditions.

Gas mark 1 – Getting the basics right.

Smaller businesses or ones that are at an early stage of their development need to build the strategy, collateral (case studies, brochures, email sequences), and data that will help you progress. The most important part of any business development campaign is creating a viable strategy. Defining your target markets, looking for opportunities for growth within them, and agreeing campaign goals will help you build a firm platform for success. Once you start seeing tangible results from your lead generation effort you will be able to progress to the next stage of your growth. If you put the basic building blocks for sales success in place early on, they will last you for the lifetime of the business.

Gas Mark 3 – The first step into external support.

You may find that your growth expectations quickly outstrip your ability to create new customers internally. At this point outsourcing lead generation activity will enable you to allocate your own resources to where they will be most valuable, nurturing and closing new clients. Identifying and connect with potential prospects through LinkedIn, and creating content that raises brand awareness and strengthens relationships can be outsourced, often more cheaply than they can be carried out internally. Taking the first steps into proactive marketing, such as direct email campaigns are often better taken with support from an expert.

Gas Mark 6 – Outsourced Business Development

Once your lead generation activities are bearing fruit you will need to consider how you will maintain a pipeline of new prospects to maintain existing revenue levels and continue to grow in line with your objectives for the business. At this point your own sales team will be best employed solidifying relationships with existing clients, and nurturing prospects who are close to a buying decision. Pouring new leads into your lead generation process, and then cultivating until they are ready to be passed on to your specialist sales team to close.

YBDT’s staged support mirrors these steps, enabling you to warm your business development up as the business grows. Our 15 years’ experience of supporting business in many sectors means that we have seen and solved most of the issues that business will face. The first tier of our staged support package includes extensive mentoring and support along with skills development workshops that will put your team on track. The second tier of support introduces the content and data driven components of the YBDT service, paving the way for you be ready to turn the heat up to the full YBDT business development process that has supported sustainable growth for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and take the temperature on your lead generation campaign.