Successful professional services business development professionals often view themselves as hunters. Much like the cavemen or nomads, this group of professionals is responsible for learning how to navigate the dangers of the world to bring food back to the pack. This overly simplified analogy challenges us to view business development tools and efforts on a visceral level.
However, today’s competitive business environment requires business developers to be both hunters and farmers. Technology has drastically changed the way that relationships are cultivated. Our world is now more connected than ever before, therefore the ‘entry for admission’ to being a known entity is significantly higher than it has ever been before.
So what are the most essential hunter-farmer business development tools? Let’s take a look!
The Business Development Tools for Success
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) | CRM tools make it possible for everyone in your organization to work together to meet your clients’ needs by putting your clients at the center of your business. Real-time, holistic, competitive intelligence can provide you with everything needed to gain the competitive edge, win more business and increase customer satisfaction.
- Mobile Technology | For years BD professionals went out in to the field, gathered information, and brought the newly found information back to their firm. In today’s competitive business market we cannot afford the lag-time from collecting business intelligence, to acting upon it. Mobile technology has bridged this gap and allows professionals the full functionality of working from the office via a remote or mobile device.
- Social Collaboration Platform | Businesses that have more collaborative and engaged employees experience a higher rate of success. Social collaboration spaces are the virtual equivalent of an open office environment for your organization. Connect your out-of-office and internal staff through a platform that encourages employees to stay connected and share ideas more freely. Simplify file sharing, keep the entire project team informed and engage staff.
- Engagement Through Feedback | We are all familiar with the saying ‘it doesn’t hurt to ask.’ This concept is often overlooked in the business world. Don’t be afraid to ask clients if the processes you are using works for them. Utilize feedback to validate successes and identify areas of improvement. Foster long and meaningful relationships by asking, listening and responding to feedback.
Operate Like the Company You Desire to Be
As mentioned earlier, these business development tools are really the basics for being competitive in today’s market. Ultimately what differentiates your firm in the eyes of the client is how you utilize these technologies. Perception is often reality -- Clarissa the Client doesn’t know the intimate details about your firm, but she is aware of the image your firm presents. Firms that effectively deploy and manage the above tools are able to establish a brand within their market as top tier business partner.