Confusing to be sure. From our perspective, the distinction is around focus and intent.
If networking is your business development strategy all your focus should be on making the networking more effective and efficient. You will select tactics that are aimed at making networking more powerful or easier. You may try out another marketing technique and drop it if it does not help you implement your networking strategy.
On the other hand, if networking is simply one of many tactics, your decision to use it will depend on whether it supports your larger strategy.
Tactics and techniques can be tested and easily changed. Strategy, on the other hand, is a considered choice and does not change from day to day or week to week. Which business development tactics are most effective? To find out, we recently conducted a study that looked at over professional services firms. These High Growth firms were compared to firms in the same industry that did not grow over the same time period. We then examined which business development tactics were employed by each group and which provided the most impact. The result is a list of the ten most impactful tactics employed by the High Growth firms see Figure 2.
There are a couple of key observations about these growth tactics. First, these techniques can be employed in service of different business development strategies. For example number five on the list, speaking at targeted conferences or events, can easily support a networking or a thought leadership strategy.
The other observation is that the top tactics include a mix of both digital and traditional techniques.
As we will see when we develop your plan, having a healthy mix of digital and traditional techniques tends to increase the impact of your strategy. A Business Development Plan is a document that outlines how you implement your business development strategy.
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It can be a plan for an individual, a practice or the firm as a whole. Its scope covers both the marketing and sales functions, as they are so intertwined in most professional services firms. Who are you trying to attract as new clients? It is most effective to focus on a narrow target audience. The more you know about your target audience the better equipped you will be to attract their attention and communicate how you can help them. What are their key business issues? Is your expertise relevant to those issues? Where do they look for advice and inspiration?
What is the competitive environment like?
- Refine your editions:.
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- Strategy and Structure.
How do you stack up? What makes you different? Why is that better for your target client? Be sure to document this positioning, as you will use it over and over again as you develop your messages and marketing tools. Pick the broad strategy or strategies to reach, engage and convert your prospects. You can start with the list of top strategies provided above. Which strategy fits with the needs and preferences of your target audiences? Which ones best convey your competitive advantage? A great place to start is the list of the most effective tactics we provided above.
Make sure that each technique you select fits your target audience and strategy. Also, you will need to balance your choices in two important ways: First, you will need tactics that address each stage of the business development pipeline shown in Figure 1. Some techniques work great for gaining visibility but do not address longer-term nurturing. You need to cover the full funnel. Second, you need a good balance between digital and traditional techniques Figure 3. Your research should inform this choice. Be careful about assumptions. When, how often, which conferences, what topics?
Now is the time to settle on the details that turn a broad strategy into a specific plan. Many plans include a content or marketing calendar that lays out the specifics, week by week. If that is too much detail for you, at least document what you will be doing and how often. You will need these details to monitor the implementation of your plan.
Often overlooked, these important considerations often spell the difference between success and failure. Keep track of what you do, and when. This will both motivate action and provide a great starting place as you troubleshoot your strategy. Also monitor and record the impacts you see. The most obvious affect will be how much new business you closed. But you should also monitor new leads or new contacts, at the bare minimum.
If you follow these steps you will end up with a documented business development strategy and a concrete plan to implement and optimize it. Hinge, a global leader in professional services branding and marketing, helps firms grow faster and become more profitable. Lee Frederiksen, Ph. Who wears the boots in our office?
That would be Lee, our managing partner, who suits up in a pair of cowboy boots every day and drives strategy and research for our clients. With a Ph. Name required. Email will not be published. Excellent Blog, The topic is very informative. The strategy is a document that describes the strategy you will use to accomplish that goal. Professional Services Marketing Today.
Business networks : strategy and structure / Emanuela Todeva.
Send me all articles: Daily. January 23, Share. Business Development Defined Business development BD is the process that is used to identify, nurture and acquire new clients and business opportunities to drive growth and profitability. Figure 1. Business Development vs. Marketing Marketing is the process of determining which products and services you will offer to which target audiences, at what price. Download the Marketing Planning Guide: Third Edition Historically, business development has been a subset of the marketing function that was focused on acquiring new marketing or distribution relationships and channels.
Sales Sales is the task of converting leads or opportunities into new clients.
Top Business Development Strategies Deciding which strategies to employ to develop new business is actually a high stakes decision. Networking Networking is probably the most universally used business development strategy. Referrals The close relative of networking, referrals are often seen as the mechanism that turns networking and client satisfaction into new business.
Sponsorships and Advertising Can you develop new business directly by sponsoring events and advertising? Outbound Telephone and Mail Professional services firms have been using phone calls and mail to directly target potential clients for decades. Download the Marketing Planning Guide: Third Edition Thought Leadership and Content Marketing Here, the strategy is to make your expertise visible to potential buyers and referral sources.
Combined Strategies It is common to combine different business development strategies. Business Development Strategy Vs. Tactics The line between strategy and tactics is not always clear. Figure 2.
Download the Marketing Planning Guide: Third Edition The other observation is that the top tactics include a mix of both digital and traditional techniques. Here are the key steps to develop and document your plan. Define your target audience Who are you trying to attract as new clients? Research their issues, buying behavior and your competitors The more you know about your target audience the better equipped you will be to attract their attention and communicate how you can help them. Identify your competitive advantage What makes you different?
Choose your overall business development strategy Pick the broad strategy or strategies to reach, engage and convert your prospects. Choose your business development tactics A great place to start is the list of the most effective tactics we provided above. Figure 3. Online and offline marketing techniques When, how often, which conferences, what topics? Specify how you will monitor implementation and impact Often overlooked, these important considerations often spell the difference between success and failure.
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