June 2013

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Supercharge Profitability Through Business Development

Every company needs marketing to grow awareness and enable proper business development.

Manny MandrusiakManny Mandrusiak
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

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It is not new news to anyone in business right now that there is a major recession hitting most continents on the globe. Many companies have been forced to close or lay off staff just to stay afloat. While there are signs that things are getting better in many verticals, there is still an urge to continue to operate with restricted budgets.  Now when I hear the words “restrictive budget” the first area to generally get hit is marketing. 

This is generally due to the fact that often management does not always understand what marketers do.  Their actions become “dark arts” as all management is generally worried about are profits, losses, and reducing expenses. The problem with this mentality is that every company needs marketing to grow awareness and enable proper business development.

Some will argue the above point by making statements like “We’re an awesome company that provides awesome services. People will come to us.”  Another favorite of mine is “I have a huge database of clients and they will refer new business for me.”

It is mentality like that continually hinders corporate growth especially in a challenging economic climate.  In times like these more emphasis should be placed on marketing and business development. While marketing and sales departments have always had a history of having a “love\hate relationship, I have found that marketers and business development pros have more of a synergy.

Business Development professionals often have a background in finance, project management, marketing and sales. That is what separates them from the pack in a sales organization.  They use past skills to see the corporate “big picture” as it relates to a business plan and implements strategies and campaigns based on one principle “How do we make money.”

Now making money is a strategy that every business is interested in.  It is the bottom line of every business.  It is the reason that companies are in business.  It does not matter if it is a company making RTUs, industrial cable, or a push cart vendor selling hot dogs, the goal is the same-to be profitable at the end of the day.

This article will look at some Business Development tactics that can work for any business and help them be profitable in a down economy.

Tips to Leverage Business Development to improve profitability

  1. Partner up with marketing – Any good plan to grow business needs one thing – support.  That support comes from the marketing department. Marketers are always looking for new challenges and new opportunities to test new campaigns. Involving marketing in a plan to increase business will result in some fantastic ideas coming out of a meeting, and will provide a partner to support business development plans.  Marketers have all the tools in the toolbox to increase traffic and awareness. Leverage them to make your plan to increase profits happen.
  1. Look at your business with fresh eyes – One of my favorite quotes is “If you do what you have always done, then you will get what you have always gotten”. Even companies like Apple and Microsoft are constantly evolving their sales process and delivery based on new market trends.  As the popularity of the internet and handheld devices grows the method to supply these platforms changes. Microsoft now offers a subscription based service model for its famous Microsoft Office suite.  Office 365 lends itself to a mobile device market with low set up fees.  Two things that the market was demanding. Step outside your current business and look at how you have been selling your products and services.  As your target market adopts new technology are the methods that you have been using to sell still effective?
  1. Embrace Social Media and leverage it – According to Edison Research just under 40% of smartphone owners engage in content snaking or social media grazing several times a day. That down time on the train, or between meetings where all of us smartphone users crack open Facebook and Twitter to graze on the latest tweets and posts. Work with marketing to leverage the power of your follower’s entire circle of friends. Everyone enjoys joining in on content shared by other users, so encourage sharing and easily digestible calls-to-action. The beauty of this approach is that even if your direct followers don’t read your content, their followers probably will.
  1. [an error occurred while processing this directive]Create partnerships – This is my favorite area of business development. Nothing is more challenging, or more rewarding. Find companies in your industry that compliment your products and services and form alliances.  If your company conducts end-user training for Oracle products, partner up with a company that conducts Oracle certification.  The relationship will be mutually beneficial as services are now being marketed and sold to new client bases.  The principle works well when working with contract bids.  Working with different partners whose products and services compliment your company will enable the production of a stronger bid, and less competition for the bid. The bid gets won, the work gets done, and everyone gets a piece of the pie. Better a nice slice of pie than none.  Partnerships work, but they take work, vision, and the desire to work for the betterment of all parties. In a down market, partnerships can strengthen a business’s bottom line through a steady stream of reoccurring income.
  1. Expand into a new market – As a company that produces I/O Devices like flow meters or lighting interface modules you may have a great market in your geographical location, but what happens if you expand your market.  For many small to medium businesses this may sound like a huge financial risk, but a good business development pro can make a new market profitable very quickly. Expanding the market of I/O devices from Seattle to include Portland may be a huge cash influx with minimal investment. Especially in the digital world that we live in today. Management should never fear expansion into a new geographical area.  It should be embraced and explored robustly.  The key again is to have a good relationship with the marketing department. As a BD pro works hard to open new channels and partnerships in a new area they will need supporting case studies, success stories, and website presence to make the plan effective.

A down economy does not mean that a company has to stop investing in its own success.  What is does mean is that the investments need to be made in the right areas – business development and marketing. I would also urge that no matter how things begin, always keep the end goal in mind. How do we make money to remain profitable?


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