Separating Business Development from Sales

Leadership, Lead Generation Tactics

What is Business Development? Is it the same as Sales? If they are different, what makes them different? The ultimate success of your business may depend on you knowing the answer and implementing an effective strategy.

There is a general misconception about business development. These misconceptions include it can be solicitation, and/or that business development is part of the sales rep’s job. While there is an aspect of business development involved with sales, people do not understand that business development is a dedicated role all in itself. Also, in regard to solicitation, which can be defined as “the act of asking for or trying to obtain something from someone”, yes, that can be the case.

But business development is so much more!

Business Development is an Art

Reaching out to a cold prospect is an art. It is difficult to try and find the right person, get them on the phone then try to have a meaningful conversation with them. Frankly, in the overall sales process, the front-end prospecting is the hardest. There is research involved, calling, leaving voicemails, sending emails, etc., with lots and lots of rejection. On the other hand, when selling, you are engaged in a conversation and have a basic relationship started.

Our experienced team has found that if businesses rely on a rep to go cradle to grave, including prospecting, they will simply not dedicate time to it. They have other visibly pressing responsibilities (one big one is selling!) so they do not spend the needed time to keep in front of prospects.

Do you really believe that is what you pay your reps for? We hear this all the time, but if the goal is to have them sell, why not pay them to sell? Some may conclude that having another person on payroll just to prospect is only going to cost the company more money. However, if one person can prospect for your entire sales team (or a few reps), along with build market intelligence and brand awareness, you start to see they can pay for themselves quite quickly.

Several Options for Business Development

Business development does not just have to be done in-house either. Allowing a partner to come in and manage this aspect of the business can be game-changing, allowing your sales team to focus more on selling and getting in front of more prospects. Also, a partner can be more efficient and effective.

If you are having heart issues do you go to a family doctor, or a cardiologist? You want to go with someone that specializes in that subject! Business development is no different.

Prospecting vs Sales

The approach to prospecting is different. The goal is to find the right contact, talk to them and fill them in on not only what you offer, but confirm what they have in order to qualify the company. You may have multiple conversations over weeks and months. The goal is to stay in front of the contact so that when the need arises, you are first on the list to be considered.

Sales can be much different. The name of the game is selling. Reps want to get in, quote, win business, then keep selling to that customer. Frankly, this is the reason why most sales reps are not effective at prospecting. Training may help with breaking the ice in conversations, or giving tips on how to find the right contact and start that engagement, but even then, having two different mindsets and switching between them can be difficult.

I have personally focused on business development. I have also sold. And the one thing I find hardest to do is have the patience and dedication to keep in front of contacts in order to find a need, then once the need is there, to be able to switch over to the selling mindset and walk them through that process.

What we offer here at Momentum is a different way of thinking. The market is open to business development and it is well received. Separating the roles allows for a dedicated discipline and focus.

I encourage anyone that is not dealing with an internal business development team or external partner to at least have an open mind to hear more and learn what kind of processes there are. This might change the landscape of the sales team and change overall how you sell to the market. Reach out to us to have the conversation. Your business may thank you for it.