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How To Create An Effective Business Development Strategy

The Business Development Strategy is used to underpin your main Business Plan and essentially it sets out a standard approach for developing new opportunities, either from within existing accounts or by proactively targeting brand new potential accounts and then working to close them.

This document highlights the key issues you should consider prior to compiling your own plan and will hopefully guide you logically through a proven framework.
The key word is 'Strategy', because you are creating a workable and achievable set of objectives in order to exceed your annual target.

Your Starting Point:

The key words are Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why? How?

Who - are you going to target?
What - do you want to sell them?
Where - are they located?
When - will you approach them?
Which - are the appropriate target personnel?
Why - would they want to meet with you?
How - will you reach them?

Ideal Customer Profiling:
Pro-active business development demands that we create an ideal target at the front end - i.e. an "Ideal Customer Profile." The essential characteristics you will need to consider are:
- Industrial Sector
- Geographical Location (Demographics)
- Size of organizations (Turnover, number of employees etc)
- Financial Trends
- Psychographics - i.e. Philosophical compatibility

Many strategic sales professionals merely profile their best existing clients and try to replicate them - there's nothing wrong with doing this but we should always remember that we are seeking an IDEAL and we can always improve on what we already have.

'New' Opportunities From Within 'Old' Accounts:
Because it costs approximately ten times as much, to first locate and then sell to a new customer as it does an existing one (although these costs are rarely reflected in the cost of sales), it is essential that we fully develop our existing accounts working upwards, downwards and sideways, thus making the most of the (hopefully) excellent reputation we have developed already.

Most corporate accounts have several divisions, departments, sites, even country offices and you must satisfy yourself that you have exhausted every possible avenue. Don't be afraid to ask the question "Who else should I be talking to in your organization"?


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