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National and Global, United States

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My 37 "Best Practices" in Business Development

Best practices can be defined as “those practices that have been shown to produce superior results; selected by a systematic process; and judged as exemplary, good, or successfully demonstrated”, these practices are then adapted to fit a particular organization. Benchmarking is usually the systematic process used for identifying and implementing best or better practices. “Best Practice Benchmarking” is the best methodology for identifying best practices and involves comparing the performance levels of organizations for a specific process or activity and capturing, analyzing, and implementing best practices.

The use of best practices, when incorporated within all areas of an organization, including its stakeholder relationships, can lead to an organization attaining world class performance. Often, an organization may use one or more best practices and become renowned for their performance in these areas, but unless best practices are adopted consistently across all the functions of an organization, as encouraged by business excellence models, it is likely that world class levels of performance will remain out of reach.

The ‘Best Practices’ in Business Development top-lines:
1. Have a specific group responsibility for the business development effort. It should be a combination of marketing, sales, legal, and management. All new business goes through this group.
2. Strategically plan for revenue goals, time and expense budgets, and monitor on a monthly basis. Do not segment responsibilities.
3. Require that all bus dev staff contribute some time to organized marketing efforts.
4. Establish regularly reported metrics to assess the caliber / quality/ strategic value of new revenues, and not just their volume.
5. Have an organized, regular program of inviting clients in to talk to your people.
6. Establish research department to keep delivery staff informed on a regular basis as to trends, developments and latest news in each client’s industry (weekly/monthly updates.) Post this information on the intranet for all levels of access.
7. Have one of the busdev staff attend every client or potential industry meeting/seminar/trade show that exists, and have one person write up what they heard, both in formal sessions and at breaks. Talk to clients and potential clients
8. Train all client contact staff in client counseling skills and relationship selling methodology, how to earn trust and how to deal with difficult situations.
9. Develop (constantly updated) workbook of tips and tactics for how to render greater perceived value (give the client a better experience with us) at all stages of an assignment.
10. Top management follow-up with clients on all client feedback that is less than “all top scores.” React to anything that is less than excellent.
11. Use results of systematic client feedback in setting bonuses at all levels. Establish those metrics of accountability with responsibility
12. Ask satisfied existing clients to give endorsements on video (put on website).
13. Have an organized program for all clients to be visited regularly by senior officers. Establish metrics.
14. Create explicit non-billable investment budgets established and planned in advance to invest in individual client relationships by doing something for the client (not selling.) Monitor the execution.
15. Systematic program to offer to attend internal client meetings, critique their internal studies, put on free internal seminars for their staff.
16. Establish a program of seconding your staff to work in the clients’ organization.
17. Organize a regular program of proprietary research, surveying clients and their views and concerns, so you can regularly tell you audience what their peers are thinking about and doing. Use surveys to publish articles, give seminars and speeches with proprietary business (not technical) content. Be the primary source of new information and ideas for your clients.
18. Develop screening form to evaluate new client pursuit opportunities. Turn away junk work.
19. Pursue fewer targets with greater level of effort each.
20. Sales process designed to give value, be generous with ideas and earn trust.
21. Make your website full of content useful to clients and potential clients
22. Develop a strategy for ‘strategic partnership development’. Assign a metric to it
23. Identify vertical market trends and key players
24. Analyze potential client needs
25. Understand share and penetration levels of client products/services
26. Research competitive situations
27. Cross-sell opportunities with partners
28. Target seminars within the busdev effort
29. Target a referral network of former/current senior management within targeted industries. Have them meet quarterly (at your expense).
30. Generate high impact client meetings
31. Differentiate the company from the competition
32. Create client-focused presentations (not generic)
33. Sustain trending analysis within industry segments
34. Measure performance of the busdev team. Management by objectives
35. Create and have a ‘first mover’ advantage. Know things first!
36. Establish a budget and align to the potential opportunities
37. Benchmark everything.

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