TOOLS FOR SUCCESS — LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
9) Systematic attendance at worthwhile (business development) conferences that focus on what customers want and need, and how technologies are being used to create value for customers and bottom-line performance. Business development leadership can be a lonely path. There’s not much of a line of folks wanting the position, and even fewer candidates who are qualified. Inspiration, collaboration and edification can make a marked difference in the quality of direction such a person brings to his/her organization. (We conduct two each year.)
10) Conduct a review of “target account performance changes” at least quarterly. Few organizations closely review their customers’ performances from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year. Sample issues deserving critical review and senior management discussion include (but are not limited to): (a) changes in account revenues, (b) changes in products and services requested, (c) changes in account margins, (d) changes in requests for quotes and quote-hit-ratio performance, (e) changes in key personnel, (f) follow-up from previous periodic business reviews, (g) account attendance at company-sponsored functions, such as education sessions or an open house, and (h) reasons for lost accounts.
11) Quarterly review of written business development plans for target accounts. Most organizations conduct an annual budget planning session in which expected revenues from target accounts are estimated. Too often, that’s where the process stops. Seldom is there a written plan by which to accomplish those performance numbers—for each target account—that’s reviewed every quarter. Without a written plan, accountability for each account’s development is generally lacking.
12) A periodic business review (PBR) schedule. Periodic business reviews, properly executed, should include the servicing sales rep, CSR and at least one member of senior management. Clients who are committed to PBRs for target accounts tend to improve their revenues and margins. Buying organizations prefer suppliers who require them.
We increasingly experience major requests for proposals that require them. What is learned in these should be shared organizationally to improve the overall company’s performance for customers.