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Business development strategy - Everything you need to know

March 6, 2023

A solid business development strategy is essential for any organisation's success in today's competitive world. Finding chances for expansion, establishing connections with new customers or partners, and extending the company's reach are all elements of business development. It necessitates using strategic planning, market research, and relationship-building abilities.

Whether you are an experienced CEO or a startup founder, this article will provide you with the skills and information needed to establish a successful company growth strategy. In this article, we'll look at how to develop a strategy and related plan that would take your business to greater levels of development and profitability.

What Exactly Is Business Development?

Business development is executing plans and chances across your company to encourage expansion and generate revenues. A business growth strategy is a written plan outlining your approach to reach that objective. The scope of business growth varies significantly from organisation to organisation and can be very broad. It entails looking for opportunities to expand your company, finding new clients, and generating additional sales leads. 

Business development and sales go hand in hand; business development teams and agents are frequently a component of the larger sales organisation. Despite the close connection between business development and sales, it is crucial to acknowledge the distinctive features that set them apart.

Business Development vs. Sales

The process of developing and putting into action a business strategy is what results in long-term success and growth. Finding new markets, investigating new collaborations, and introducing new goods are all examples of business development. It is a proactive strategy for expansion that concentrates on generating long-term value for the company.

Contrarily, sales take a more reactive strategy to bring in money. It entails finding new consumers, getting to know their requirements, and convincing them to purchase goods or services. The goals of sales efforts are to close transactions and provide short-term income.

Sales and business development have distinct priorities and objectives, yet both are essential to the success of any corporation. Sales are concentrated on generating short-term revenue, whereas business development is focused on long-term growth and value creation. To accomplish corporate objectives, both roles must collaborate as they are interconnected. Increased sales can result from effective business development, while effective sales strategies can generate new business development prospects)

Business Development vs Marketing

Marketing is choosing which goods and services to sell at what price to which target markets. It also discusses how you'll advertise and market your business in the cutthroat economy. All of this work should increase your company's visibility among your target market, and the flow of prospects and quality leads.

In the past, business development was limited to creating new channels and connections for marketing or distribution, and it was often considered a marketing division. However, over time, the scope of business development has broadened, and it now encompasses a variety of sales and marketing roles that focus on generating new business opportunities, partnerships, and revenue streams. As a result, the term "business development" refers to a wide range of activities that contribute to the growth and success of an organisation.

Examples of business development

Let's take a look at this business development sample to understand better what this profession comprises : 

Sarah is the Director of Business Development for a tech startup that provides cutting-edge virtual event platforms for businesses. Sarah's primary goal is to drive revenue growth and secure new business opportunities for her company. Sarah takes a strategic approach to identify potential target markets and establishing key industry relationships to achieve this. She attends virtual industry events and conferences, leveraging her savvy networking skills to connect with decision-makers and follow up with personalised messages. One such target market that Sarah identifies is the trade show and exhibition industry, which has faced significant challenges during the pandemic. Sarah proactively reaches out to event organisers, showcasing her company's virtual event platform as a solution to traditional in-person events.

Sarah also works closely with the marketing team to craft targeted campaigns and messages that resonate with specific industries. Together, they produce case studies and whitepapers that showcase the platform's successes across various sectors and contexts.

The company secures new clients from diverse industries, including healthcare, education, and beyond, thanks to Sarah's tireless efforts. These new client acquisitions exceed the company's projections, and Sarah establishes long-term relationships with these clients to drive continued growth.

In this example, Sarah embodies the essence of a successful business development professional: she is proactive, strategic, and deeply invested in fostering relationships with key industry players. By identifying and targeting specific markets and crafting tailored messaging, Sarah drives revenue growth and solidifies her company's position as a leader in the virtual events space.

Strategic planning is required for corporate expansion to succeed rather than ad hoc action. Well, let's discuss it. 

What is Strategic Business Development?

Other business development has varying effects. In actuality, many professionals engage in a great deal of strategic and opportunistic behaviour. Particularly with many seller-doers, this is true. They search for something quick and straightforward that will yield outcomes in the brief term since they are juggling the demands of client work with the urgent requirement for new business. This is a moderate approach.

Strategic business development is the synchronisation of business development methods and procedures with the strategic business objectives of your company. Strategic business development aims to attract the right clientele for your most essential services by making brand promises you can keep.

In reality, choosing which goals to pursue and tactics to use to grow a new business involves many risks. A well-implemented sound plan may generate high levels of growth and profitability. A poor plan can impede development and annoy valued talent.

Nonetheless, a lot of businesses stumble at this crucial stage. They rely on tradition, stories, fads, or even worse, on the idea that "this is how we have always done it."

Best Business Development Strategies

Let's look at a few of the most popular business development strategies and see how they compare to today's purchasers.

Conduct a thorough market analysis.

Understanding your market and target personas is critical to developing a successful business. You can only properly apply any other item on this list if you know who you're attempting to sell to and what kind of market they represent.

Research and poll your present clientele to find out who often purchases from you. Examine your rivals to understand how you fit into the bigger picture of your market. And make any additional efforts. You can better understand the "who" behind your lucrative sales; without that knowledge, you'll never be able to control the "how" aspect of your company's growth.


The most widely utilised method of business development is undoubtedly networking. It is based on the idea that interpersonal ties are at the core of decisions to purchase professional services. That networking in person is the best method to forge new connections.

It is unquestionably true that many relationships do progress in that manner. Also, networking with your target market might help you grow your firm. But there are restrictions. Today's buyers are under many time constraints, and networking takes time. It may get quite expensive when you include travel costs and time spent away from the business.

Innovative methods of digital networking can save money and effort. But, even social networking demands a time and attention commitment.


Referrals, a close relative of networking, are frequently considered as the process that converts client happiness and networking into new business. Once you get to know someone, they recommend you for new business. Customers who are happy repeat business.

Recommendations occur, and many businesses rely on them for most or all of their revenue. Yet, referrals are inactive. They count on your customers and connections to recognise qualified leads for your services and provide a reference when appropriate. The issue is that referral sources frequently need to know how you might assist a customer. Too many recommendations need to be matched with your skills. When your referral source can't spot a fantastic prospect when they see one, other well-matched requests go unmade. Lastly, many potential clients dismiss your business before ever speaking with you. The percentage is over 50%, according to recent research.

It's important to note that new digital tactics can speed up referrals. The secret is to make your area of expertise more apparent. As a result, more people will suggest you and you will have a more comprehensive network of reference sources than just your clients and a few business acquaintances.

Partnerships and Advertising

Does advertising and event sponsorship help you grow your business? If it is successful, a lot of issues would be resolved. No more attempting to elicit time from expensive professionals who are entirely booked. Sadly, the outcomes on this front could be more promising. Traditional advertising, according to studies, is linked to slower development. Advertising is only effective when paired with other strategies, like giving a speech at an event.

Well-targeted digital advertising is the most effective advertising tactic. This enables businesses to reach relevant customers more cheaper with their messages and offerings.

Outbound telephones and emails

Professional services companies have been actively contacting potential customers with calls and letters for decades. With the right businesses and jobs as your target audience, you may expect to uncover new chances that can grow into clients.

These techniques face a few significant obstacles. They need to be just right to be effective because they are somewhat pricey. Second, if you don't reach out to the prospect at the proper moment, your offer could not be relevant or appealing, which would have an adverse effect on business growth. The secret is to provide a really alluring offer to a highly qualified and receptive group. Getting this combo just right takes time and effort.

Marketing with Content and Intellectual Leadership 

Beyond just introducing oneself to potential customers, developing your credibility is a crucial company growth stage. To win their confidence, you must demonstrate your knowledge with excellent, sector-specific content. The objective is to show that your company has a thorough expertise of your industry through blogs, webinars, white papers, or videos and establish yourself as a trustworthy resource for your clients.

The growth of digital communication has fundamentally changed the way that traditional company development tactics, which have historically depended on books, articles, and speaking engagements, are conducted. Nowadays, search engines level the playing field so that even unknown people and businesses may get recognition outside of their immediate geographic area.

Webinars have made public speaking more accessible, while blogs and websites provide every company with a constant online presence. The market available to the emerging expert is significantly increased when video and social media are included.

Yet these changes also expose businesses to far more competition. You can find yourself up against experts you were unaware of. The result is that your business growth plan now has higher stakes.

Increasing Awareness and Visibility

The business development activity goes beyond your sales organisation; your marketing division may heavily influence it. If no one knows you, building a foundation of potential clients will be impossible.

Making an efficient website, spending money on paid advertising, using social media, forming co-marketing alliances with colleagues in the sector, and keeping an active blog are all things that may help a business flourish successfully.

Engage in Outreach

One of business growth's most critical conventional components is actively contacting potential customers. If you want to screen prospects and ultimately turn them into qualified leads, you need to get in touch with them.

A thorough investigation into each prospect and proactive but nonaggressive contact with warm and cold leads often accompany this stage. BDRs usually perform this task; for many people, it is the one that the name "business development" most closely resembles.

Top-Notch Leads to Give to Sales

After connecting with prospects, your BDRs must qualify them to assess their viability and decide whether they are worth the sales org's time and effort. This often involves speaking with leads and posing the right qualifying questions to determine whether they fit your product or service.

In some ways, this is the culmination of the business development process and is one of its most crucial points. If this step is carried out successfully, the whole procedure will probably be successful.

Offer Superb Customer Service

Customer service is no exception to the continual business development process that affects almost every aspect of your company. For positive word-of-mouth to spread and improve your business's reputation, your service organisation has to keep present customers satisfied. This type of work gives you the importance and can lead to recommendations, making business development more straightforward and successful.

Use Success Stories to Create Sales Material

Converting consumer happiness into targeted, product-specific information that can be utilised to create sales is another aspect of company growth. Sales content is intended to appeal to potential customers who are explicitly researching your organisation, as opposed to marketing material used for thought leadership and generating general interest.

Case studies and testimonials are two formats that strongly draw on your current client base and may be used as sales content. Your company development activities effectively complete a circle when you use clients' experiences to spark interest in your enterprise.

Integrating Techniques 

Combining several business growth tactics is rather frequent. For instance, networking and recommendations are commonly connected. Also, a combined approach makes excellent sense on one level. One strategy's strength can counteract another's flaw. Nevertheless, there is a secret peril. A plan must be implemented entirely to perform at its best. If you adopt too many distinct tactics, none will be successful.

No matter how lofty, good intentions have little genuine company growth value. Effective business development is doomed by insufficient investment, a lack of commitment, and inconsistent effort.

Implementing a basic plan is significantly more beneficial than experimenting with a complex one. Better outcomes are produced by using fewer, expertly executed parts.

Business Development Strategy vs Tactics 

The distinction between tactics and strategy is only sometimes obvious.

 For instance, networking is a component of a comprehensive company growth plan or a tool to increase the effect of a thought leadership approach. This needs to be clarified!

The difference revolves around focus and intent. Making networking more successful and efficient should be your only emphasis if it is part of your business growth plan. You'll pick strategies meant to make networking more effective or simpler. If one marketing plan does not assist you in putting your networking strategy into action, you could attempt another and discard it.

On the other hand, if networking is only one of several strategies, whether you choose to employ it will rely on how well it fits into your overall plan. Techniques and tactics may be evaluated and modified with ease. Contrarily, strategy is a deliberate decision that doesn't vary daily or weekly. 

Business Development Skills

It is essential to think about the business development skills your team will require after we have determined the necessary business development strategies and techniques. Some technical talents matter more than others when it comes to business development.

1. Project management 

Strong project management abilities are the number one business development talent that high-growth companies value. And this makes sense to seasoned company development professionals. 

Building and keeping solid business partnerships requires organisation, properly documenting business development efforts, and managing accounts. Tasks like proposal development require the business development team's resources to work and swiftly construct a compelling proposal with the appropriate stakeholders while maintaining high standards.

2. Simplifying complex concepts

The ability to clarify complicated ideas is the second most crucial talent. Team members must effectively communicate your company's service offerings and skills in business development talks. Those who can describe a complex scope of work in a way that a potential customer may comprehend. 

Communicating in technical terms or using too complex charts will quickly make a business lead uncooperative. It should thus come as no surprise that the professional services companies with the most significant growth are better at explaining complex information to customers.

3. Face-to-face networking

Face-to-face networking is third on the list of essential abilities for company success. Strong networking abilities remain a top ability valued by high-growth organisations, notwithstanding the cessation of many in-person gatherings. 

Good interpersonal communication abilities are a combination of art and science. While some people may possess more charm than others, everyone can equip their teams with the tools and strategy they need to succeed in a networking setting.

Creating a strategy for organising your business growth plan, researching the competitive environment and market trends, and mastering social media are all crucial components of business development. Your business development team's first objective should be to build these talents.

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