The Road to Sales Is Paved with Good Business Development Intentions
“Send me the agreement to sign.” This is the email we all hope to get.
Especially if it’s one of the first deals in a new industry or market you aim to penetrate.
In most cases it is a long journey and not supposed to lean on the sales process alone.
Multiple tasks and much work must be done to take a sale to fruition.
In the technology industry, a long relationship must be built with customers.
This is one of the reasons why deals often take from six months, to a year, to even 18 months.
However, to finalize the deals and create a strong pipeline to a technology company you need much more than just a relationship or a sales process. It's about the prospects' confidence in the product and the solution which needs to be created by the company’s BDM (Business Development Manager-Director) to support the sales team cycle - What’s called the “Deal Environment.”
And NO, BDM and sales are not the same role in a company.
For most C- and Director-level executives, BDM is only a title and often just a nicer name for Sales Manager or Sales people.
However, the role of the BDM is to develop the market, build the Environment and create an Atmosphere for the deals in the company. It should also define and structure the sales cycle in the new industry the company hopes to penetrate.
As for the sales team, they should execute the connection and work directly with the final customer and replicate the business process which was created by the BDM to attract and engage more customers in the same industry/market.
To create the Deal Environment and an atmosphere conducive to deals you must to create a flow of awareness messages during the time the “Deal Environment” is built.
You must also “Connect the dots” between the new industry/market customers’ needs (the “Field”), and with the company strategy and solution. Those are the most important aspects in establishing the “Deal Environment” in the new industry/market.
The BDM Director must have knowledge in vertical areas and the ability to fine tune departmental tasks:
The BDM must align the IT department with industry needs, determine how to market the right messages, integrate with industry trends, know where and whom to market to, understand any legal matters that may arise in the course of the process, craft the sales cycle with the complementary set of documents, understand the financial needs of new industry/market prospects, and coordinate all of these areas into cohesive action plans to build the “Deal Environment” for the business as a whole.
Establishing the “Deal Environment'” requires very diligent work and can take considerable time, especially because this is the first footprint of the company in the new industry and/or market. The “Deal Environment” will be built on it and will create confidence from the prospect customers, which will lead to the initial deals.
This, in turn, will establish the sales cycle which the Sales Manager and marketing team can use and replicate to drive repeat business and scalable growth in the new industry.
If you hire a Sales Manager, don't expect him to be a Business Development Manager.
They are not the same thing. If you need to grow and can’t hire a Business Development Manager because of capital, time management or know-how issues, use an outsourced service.
But don’t ask your Sales Manager to be the Business Development Manager.
As a C-Level manager you should consider this:
The function of a Sales Manager or sales person is to sell. The function of a Business Development Manager is to create an environment that leads to sales.
It's the same reasoning behind why your QA team handles Quality Assurance, while your R&D conducts research and develops new products.
An important note for the startup readers among you:
This process is not only for companies with millions of dollars in budgets. A small startup and a growing company can also build a business development operation that will lead to rapid growth despite a small budget. However, it’s important not to use your Sales Managers as your Business Development Managers or vice versa.