Business development sounds like some fancy lingo you’d throw around when you want to talk shop.

It’s just one of those phrases that feels relatable and essential to have.

True to form, it’s special.

So much so that we’ll be looking to explore the nitty-gritty of business development. By the time we’re done, you should have a good understanding of the concept, the best practices, and guiding principles.

What is business development?

Business development refers to the ideas, initiatives, and engagements that are intended to advance a business forward.

In essence, it involves different aspects like revenue generation, business expansion, and enhanced profitability.

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For this to happen, you need to lay solid strategic partnerships and make tactical business decisions. When done right, business development can help you add more value to your organizations at large.

The enduring value of business development

Value is something that’s often mentioned in many business circles. Ideally, it refers to resources that are essential to ensure that your business keeps growing.

Depending on the nature of your business, this may be cash, prestige, or the right kind of connections needed to forge ahead.

While there a host of get-rich-quick schemes flooding the market, business development is all about playing the long-game.

Instead of being a zero-sum game, more emphasis is put on creating opportunities that add value over lengthy spells.

Once you internalize this idea, you can then proceed to develop winning strategies that stick long in the minds of customers.

With time, you’re bound to notice that your business operations are streamlined across different departments.

Here’s a quick review of the scope of business development.

1 – Sales

Your sales personnel can make good use of business development to expand their reach in the market. If you’re thinking of exploring new markets, you can use existing sales data in your regions of operations to make projections on how to grow.

Once you have the numbers, you can then organize how your sales reps can focus on a particular target audience.

2 – Marketing

Marketing involves advertising with the intent of registering enhanced sales numbers to customers. Since this is crucial in meeting targets, the department pairs fantastically with business development.

As highlighted earlier, you want to be focused on future endeavors when planning out the way forward. Using business development, you can conceive an estimated marketing budget.

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Having such numbers will inform you better about how to implement strategies like cold calling, roadshows, one-on-one meetings, and free sample distribution.

Without planning, there’s high probability you’ll implement passive marketing strategies because of a lower budget.

3 – Strategic partnerships

When you want to explore new markets, you need to carefully evaluate whether it’s a venture you can take on solo.

With business development as part of the mix, you can make an informed decision on the feasibility of such a move. In some instances, a strategic partnership with someone adept in the region may make more sense.

Business Development Planning

For absolute certainty, you can elect to involve your legal and financial teams in the decision-making process. The ideas they chip in will provide you with counsel on the best approach.

4 – Project management

When expanding your reach, you need to ascertain whether you need to have a new facility in the new area of operation.

It’s also essential to know beforehand whether manufacturing will be done locally or you will have to outsource.

Since such a massive undertaking requires plenty of insights, you can have the business development team chip in with ideas what’s best for the company.

Once everything is dandy, the project management team can then step into the picture and start working towards the attainment of specific objectives.

5 – Product management

Regulatory standards are every changing from one geo-location to the next.

A good example of this is the medical and pharmaceutical industry. What’s acceptable in one country or state may actually be outlawed in another.

As a manufacturer, you need to tailor your products to suit particular target markets. This means that you have to make certain tweaks to ensure that you’re offering what the market expects to have.

Having a business development plan ensures that you have factored in all the cost implications and legal hurdles. In the end, it becomes easier to market your wares to new markets.

6 – Vendor management

Business growth usually involves the introduction of new parties into the fray. However, in some situations, you may realize that you have reps who are competent enough to complete the transactions.

Can your staff offer courier services or do you need to hire a new team to do that? How about partnerships? Do you need to have a closer partnership with a local business to connect with your audience or can you simply ship your wares?

These questions can be comprehensively answered provided you have a business development team working behind the scenes.

7 – Cost savings

While it’s true that business development heavily involves enhancing sales numbers, value addition and boosting market reach, most people tend to forget that it also involves adjustments to augment the bottom line.

Some cost-cutting measures like decreasing travel expenses and outsourcing where necessary can actually make all the difference.

In the long run, you’ll be able to realize that you have sufficient funds to continually drive your business forward.

Business development ideas

There’s an abundance of business development ideas out there. At times, you may realize that you stumble upon a business idea from an existing situation or you just have a lightbulb moment out of the blue. Whatever your circumstance, when you get the notion, you should also think about how to deploy it to make a commercial profit.

If you’re passionate about your area of interest, try to think up anything, be it big or small. Who knows? You may just discover a new frontier worth exploring.

1. Personnel recruitment

During recruitment, you shouldn’t focus on getting employees with the lowest prices. Instead, seek to diversify the things you look at. Special attention to be paid to the engineering and quality of the job seekers.

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By doing due diligence, you’ll have the right kind of people who don’t negatively impact the company’s reputation.

To find the right people, you need to categorize interviewees into three stages:

  • Scouting: This is the initial stage of a company. During this phase, you’re required to identify different leverage points and your in-house team will perform the market analysis. Through collaboration, you’ll realize that you’ll be able to isolate the best candidates.
  • Testing: using analytical skills, you can test out assumptions made during the preliminary stages of the recruitment process.
  • Scaling:  once the data is gathered, you can map out how you want to achieve your goals. From then on, you can count on business development to close the deals.

2. Seek opportunities

Since you’re going to be handling multiple people in your operations, it’s pertinent that you cross-check your contacts.

Doing so puts you at an advantage since you’re unlikely going to waste time. Scanning the market for the right kind of prospects also helps minimize chances of burn out when handling clients. This means that you have more energy to pursue other interests.

3. Don’t overelaborate

Having a gift of the gab is swell right until you start meandering and over-explaining more than necessary. As a salesperson, you don’t have to reveal too much in an instant. Your goal is to comprehend and probe your clients’ take on different issues and the problems that afflict them.

It wouldn’t hurt if you took a recliner every once in a while and decided to listen in to what they really have to say. You may just discover that there are some problem issues that you would have missed. Lending your clients an ear also shows real concern and you may win over their trust while at it.

4. Pay attention to what your clients want

You should have your clients’ needs first. When you do this, you’ll remain objective and be able to answer the queries they may have.

As alluded already, listening skills are vital when it comes to comprehension of preferences. The better you understand their needs, the easier it will be to frame your responses to something palatable in their eyes.

If you’re able to offer just what they’re looking for, then there’s more likelihood for repeat business. If you don’t they may seek out your competition to sort out their pain points.

5. Visibility

Being an active member of the organization will help boost your profile in the eyes of prospects. As you mingle with top business honchos there’s high chance you’ll gain acceptance to their inner circle.

To maximize visibility, you can volunteer to mingle with industry leaders and enhance the odds of capturing high-value targets.

As you work your way towards the pinnacle of the corporate ladder, you’ll discover that the prestige of that top tier level introduces you to influential people. Since humans naturally love dealing with people they regard to be their equals, you’ll find it easier to deal with the key decision-makers in your industry.

6. Client satisfaction

As always, the “client is king” phrase rings true.

If you fail to meet their demands and offer lackluster solutions, they may choose to openly express their frustrations. Since this is the last thing you want happening, you need to pull all the stops to ensure that your relationships remain unaffected.

This means that whenever they raise objections about an issue, you need to act fast and sort it out. By doing this, you can actually enhance your brand image since they’ll that you’re concerned about their welfare.

As a rule of thumb, always practice empathy with every interaction. Once you’re able to understand where they’re coming from, you’ll be able to articulate the issues better and offer working solutions.

7. Exceptional service delivery

After-sale services aren’t a preserve of particular niches. They actually apply in virtually every industry out there.

Once you’ve on-boarded clients to your business, your efforts shouldn’t stop there. You need to keep them happy by offering impeccable service delivery. This may entail always meeting deadlines and providing insights all through.

Happy customers are likely going to refer your business to close associates and become repeat buyers.

8. Quality vs. Quantity

Sure, providing exceptional products and services is what every enterprise strives to achieve. However, this should not be the only trick up your sleeve.

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This is because overly focusing on the qualitative aspect of things may leave you exposed. Very few people are actually willing to splurge the money on premium services.

It’s actually better to play the numbers game since you have better odds of success. To ensure you lure in more clients, it’s advisable to come up with competitively low prices that will keep you in the black.

9. Time management

Prioritizing tasks is an important skill as you go about your business. This is because it enables you to complete urgent, important tasks timely and then find time to deal with less pressing matters at a different time.

If you’re running a startup, time management is crucially important since it something that can make or break you. Striking a balance between operational tasks and business development is an art form that needs mastery.

Having a calendar that dictates your timeline is a great way to stick to ensure you’re always objective.

10. Innovate

Explore new ideas and concepts, let your imagination run wild.

While at it, you may come up with something revolutionary that captures the attention of your audience.

Naturally, people love sampling new products and services that offer something different from the norm. As such, you need to encourage innovation at the workplace and offer incentives for brilliant ideas brought forward.

This approach will pay dividends in the long run since you’ll be able to branch out into new markets and establish your brand.


Implementing the highlighted business development ideas requires you to have an open mind and a determination to overcome shortcomings.

If you consider yourself as part of this special class, then you should prepare to brainstorm every once in a while and see whether you can unlock new frontiers of exploration.

Having reviewed some brilliant ideas already, we’re eager to hear what you think. Do you think business development is something you’d be willing to pursue? If so, how do you think it will impact your business?

Let us know in the comments!


Jack is known for leading the charge in sales innovation. He has a proven track record of working with top organizations to help them integrate social into their traditional sales process.

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