5 Essential elements of a winning business development plan
The first step to building or expanding a business is creating a concrete business development plan. Entrepreneurs will find plenty of opportunities in the present era including promotion tactics to increase sales, but without developing a business plan, none of it will give substantial results.
The reason for this is that we live in an internet driven world which has revolutionised the way a brand markets itself. Older companies like Coca-Cola relied on print and TV ads to reach out to their audience and had a comprehensive plan with large expenses and revenue. Now, a small brand can make a similar impact without the same resources, simply with a good strategy. Read Airbnb.
The bottom line is that the success or failure of your firm largely depends on how good your business development process is. It functions as a road map for your business and also helps you define measurable objectives. Based on it you can network well, acquire new channels and also invest in assured leads.
So, how exactly can you build a business development strategy that comes with sustainable growth?
Structure of a business development plan
A business development plan (BDP) brings together two crucial elements, sales and marketing, and helps in the implementation of strategy. Every company will have a different plan that suits its objectives but if executed well, it can attract customers, turn leads into conversions and also get new clients on board.
The objective of a business development process is to identify, nurture and acquire new clients and opportunities. Since finding better business possibilities is the core need of a company, there has to be a set model in place for the process.
The three-stage model focuses on attracting prospects, building engagement and finally turning opportunities into clients. The first part involves attracting customers through referrals and different channels while in the second, a business deepens its connection with customers. The final part of the process involves turning prospects into clients with impressive services, support and more. Given the entire model is based on customers, markets and relationships, many companies often interchangeably use marketing and sales strategy with a business development plan.
Elements of business development
Having a business plan is a must for all organisations but creating one that gives promising results is seldom easy. Some crucial elements that you must think about when creating your BDP are:
1. Setting goals
As an organisation, you must have high-level goals that help you generate revenue. They also act as a parameter that helps in deciding if the year was successful or not. These limited, practical and achievable goals should include factors like customer retention, introducing new products or services and expanding your network.
For long-term value creation, it’s vital to provide good services to existing consumers in order to retain them. Good networking is necessary for expansion and continuous new services help the business to stay relevant and rake in more revenue.
2. Defining your approach
Navigating a tough market requires prioritising leads and studying customer persona thoroughly. This is useful in designing new market-ready products that will already have a strong demand. Automation software is of great use in prioritising the leads that are most likely to close.
Knowledge of your target audience assists in developing marketing strategies and creating content that buyers easily connect with. A good example of this is Lego who built a strong community based on content simply by understanding its audience preferences. Lego’s excellent content marketing strategy has created customer loyalty causing consumers to purchase their products over competitors.
3. Using the right marketing channels
Access to innumerable marketing channels sounds great but it can be very confusing. A business has to be selective about choosing the right marketing channel, one which meets their requirements.
While a smaller business can look into paid social media advertising, bigger brands like Oracle and Forbes can increase sales through channel partners. Understand what your business needs, what platform is suited to it and the resources required in the process.
4. Tracking development
With the help of data and by building dashboards, a business can effectively track its progress. All other endeavours would not be of use if the company cannot measure its success, understand low-performing areas and build using high-performance tactics.
5. Identifying financial needs
Financial planning and analysis as well as determining resource usage occupy a central place in any business development plan. Strong financial planning ensures that you optimise available resources which helps operations to progress smoothly. Ideas and initiatives directed towards boosting sales can only take off if the company can invest wisely. Proper resource allocation is also pivotal in business expansion and is the core strength of an organisation.
Those planning to become business development managers or have entrepreneurial ambitions should be well versed in financial planning. It is a valuable asset that will help you make sound decisions and provide stability to your business.
London School of Business and Finance provides a short course on Financial Planning and Analysis that will teach you valuable knowledge about financial processes and their practical application. By gaining knowledge of the financial business environment and strategic operations, you can add to your business development skills and become a key asset to your company. Check out the link to learn more about LSBF Executive Education and its short courses.
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