Sales and marketing is an Entirely Different “Animal” From Traditional Sales Management. Over the past few years, traditional sales executives have had to make major changes in their strategies to achieve significant revenue growth. No longer is it sufficient to recruit, hire, train and motivate salespeople. In order to successfully compete and achieve company goals, today’s more aptly named Business Development Manager must know more about its company’s clients and prospects; its competition and defenses; and its plans and motivations.
There are ten key components or concentration areas that must be taken into consideration for any Business Development Manager to thrive and grow business. Each component is a link that, when joined together, completes itself, creating an unbreakable and unstoppable motivational force for any sales department. A manager who keeps these factors in mind will have the tools to grow existing business, keep a competitive sales force and expand its company’s presence.
1. COMPANY KNOWLEDGE-Managers should be sure to know their company’s products, its strengths/weaknesses, its competitive position and its unique sales proposition (USP) in the market. It is also important to know who the competition is, what their strengths/weaknesses are, and their products/services.
2. COMMUNICATIONS- Today pros must know how things “really” work in their company. They must know who they need to work with in and out of their company to get problems resolved. They must have answers to questions like, “Who do a business development professional’s customers need to talk to when you’re not there?” They must have contact information available for key vendors and distributors. And, they should have “standard” e-mail responses to often asked questions, thank you notes and follow-ups e-mails/faxes readily available to help avoid writing an “original” each time an e- mail/letter/fax goes out.
3. MOTIVATION- Development managers need to keep themselves motivated and “up” as they roll out their business development activities to the sales staff. Managers need to help salespeople to set reasonable (non blue sky) goals and help them understand the realities of what it takes to succeed in today’s highly competitive world.
4. ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES- Business Development Managers need to help sales professionals to organize their territory/account list, prioritizing what they do and when they do it. The key here is to help them avoid counterproductive, nonbusiness development responsibilities which take them away from their core responsibility of selling.
5. MARKETING- Although most people don’t see themselves as needing to be “marketers, ” the reality is that they need to be savvy about this important business element. Successful companies today expect their managers pros to be their “eyes and ears” on the street-providing competitive information about companies and products that are being sold into their market. In competitive situations, management needs to know who is “winning” deals away from their dealership/distributor and why.
6. PROSPECTING- Learn how to make sure that the sales funnel is always filled and why this process can never stop. Managers must understand where to look for business, how to contact people, pre-call planning, cold calling skills, and getting through the “gatekeeper” and onto the decision maker.
7. SALESMANSHIP- Managers must learn how to set expectations and create agendas for each meeting with a prospective customer. Knowing what goes in the briefcase (and what needs to be kept on file in a car kit just in case) is vital to providing the best service for a customer. Managers must be able to show salespeople how to create a pitch book and presentations, how to structure the selling process, and how to interpret real and false objections.
8. NETWORKING- Understanding the benefits of networking and developing a 30-second intro that will actually get appointments is vital. Identifying, scheduling and following up on networking events will help to produce maximum results. Attracting affiliates is also an important job for managers. Knowing how to identify potential affiliates, how to approach and negotiate contracts, develop commission systems, and motivate affiliates will produce a results-oriented plan of action.
9. TECHNOLOGY- Understanding the technology including Contact Management Programs (e.g. Outlook, Goldmine and ACT), MS Office Suite including how to use PowerPoint, PDA technology – learning tricks and short cuts, etc.
10. CREATING GOOD WORK HABITS- Finally, a good Business Development Manager must understand how all the above works together to help build a successful business. To achieve success, a good manager must know how to set goals, build a sales plan, recognize and eliminate distractions, and be accountable to the customer, the company and themselves.
If professionals receive the above from their Business Development Manager, the chances for their success are maximized. Imagine yourself in the field without having this knowledge? That’s a recipe for real problems. Yet few companies provide the training and practical knowledge that’s really needed to ensure that salespeople have all the tools they need to succeed. Think about it and consider adding a Business Development Manager to your team using techniques that are proven by large corporations and multi- nationals.