The Process: Crack the Code on Business Development

In Best Practices by Marita Peterson

In the last blog we did, we talked about the importance of programming your business development and how process and collaboration between teams is key. If you don’t want to read the entire blog again, here’s a quick recap.

A Review of the Past

We’re going into this with our basic premise being that when we’re coding our business development program, there are three basic parts that make it run.

Part One: Operations

Operations makes up the base code of this program. Our base code tells the program what to do and when to do it. It provides the basic tools needed for peak performance.

Part Two: Marketing

Marketing is the user interface of this program. It’s what people see. The marketing materials, social media, email marketing, branding, and aesthetics, all of that is handled by our marketing team.

Part Three: Sales

Sales is the final product. It’s the combination of base code and user interface – of operations and marketing – and it’s the most effective when all parts are working together.

Sales has the tools they need from marketing and the information they need from operations on the best targets and makes things happen.

What Can the Program Do?

That is where this blog post comes in – the next logical step is to explore in depth what happens when you have a properly working business development program.

We’ll look at details of the types of processes that have been key to our success and the success of our clients and the ways the different parts can work together to produce results.

If you finish the blog and find yourself hungry for more, wanting to know the specifics of each process that has been integral to growth, we have a Cracking the Code Webinar coming up on March 16th at 2:00 PM CST. We’ll be discussing similar content to the past few blogs but going into a lot more detail and giving away templates of some of our key processes that you can bring to your business and implement.

Now, on to the rest!

Process Logging

Whenever our teams work together to accomplish something and develop a new process or procedure that generates success, we make sure to log that process and make the information available to all teams.

The transparency we build into our process logging is what encourages trust and makes for easier collaboration, and this is key to having seamless teamwork.

Log the specific steps your company takes to run email campaigns. Which email marketing tool is used, what type of analytics to look at, what templates are used and what order things are done in – writing down every step and putting that information in an easily accessible place (like a learning management system or company drive) is necessary for a strong team.

It’s the same thing for sales outreach. Where do your business development reps find their leads? Where do they store the information, log their activity, and how do they track the outreach they make and the results of that outreach? Outline specifically how to take notes, which notes to take, where to put them, and in what order things are done.

For operations, we can talk about data management. Who maintains the data storage system or CRM? How is the system set up? What custom fields are there, if any, and what else does the company want tracked? What statistics are most important to understand, where can they be found, and how is reporting set up?

Put this information somewhere everyone can access.

If the sales team understands where the reporting comes from and the steps that go into maintaining the CRM, they will better understand the importance of logging their activity. If the sales team is properly logging activity and outreach, the marketing team can see which prospects they should add to marketing campaigns or what sort of tools should be created.

It’s a system and it’s important to maintain it.

Collaboration

When everybody understands their role, what their team does, and what the other teams do, collaboration is more effective and efficient. Nobody has to ask “what can you contribute” because everybody knows what is possible.

Not only do they know what is possible, but they see all the steps that go into it and can trust their needs are being met by the process. They can trust the other teams to perform and support them.

Workflow Development

For every project that is taken on by the entire team, it’s easy to develop a workflow and fit all the puzzle pieces together. There are built-in fail safes to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, people trust each other and know what their responsibilities are.

There’s no confusion. There’s no “well I thought sales did that” type of excuses. More trust, more knowledge, less stress, more efficiency, and better results.

Consistent Outreach

The ability to openly collaborate and develop effective workflows leads to consistent outreach. It virtually eliminates opportunities falling through the cracks.

The marketing team sends an email blast out to prospects, sales follows up on opens and clicks and logs their results, operations supports sales by double checking data and reviewing pipelines.

Outreach cadence is easily understood and kept to. With strong collaboration and a clear workflow, each team knows exactly when to make their outreach. There is no more worry of whether or not you’re calling or emailing somebody that was just contacted the other day, because data is logged, timelines are kept to, and workflow is executed as designed.

Time Optimization

Having a clear workflow and collaboration also leads to time optimization.

An example that comes to mind is when new email templates need to be created in our CRM for outreach. All the teams know how to use the CRM and know how to create email templates.

So how do we know who should create them and how do we avoid wasting time by recreating work that’s already been done?

Our transparency in collaboration and workflow development means we know who has the most experience and knows the inner workings of the email marketing system. An example workflow for this can be illustrated below.

Conception

A salesperson needs an email campaign created for outreach for a specific initiative.

They contact marketing and let the marketing team know they need a new email campaign, using the ticketing system that has been set up.

Design

The ticketing system has a built-in template for email campaign requests so the salesperson doesn’t have to remember off-hand all the information marketing might need to create the template.

This means marketing gets all the information they need up front and don’t have to chase the sales team for more information.

Marketing takes the information they’ve been given, creates the email campaign, and sends the messaging for approval using the already established approval process.

Deployment

For us, marketing is closely connected to operations, so the next step for BDPros would be that the marketing team creates the template, double checks the recipients in the CRM, sets up scoring, and schedules the campaign.

For other companies where marketing is more of a stand-alone entity, the next step might be to send the content to operations who would handle the set-up and deployment.

Results

Either way, everybody works together and knows their roles and responsibilities. Sales doesn’t waste time creating an email campaign that might not match branding, marketing doesn’t waste time validating CRM data when operations can do it much more efficiently, and operations doesn’t waste time trying to figure out the audience the email is being deployed to.

We all know the best resources for the project we want accomplished, so we optimize our time and not only get more done but are more effective as a result.

Strategize

A team knowing their roles and feeling confident in what part they play in the company naturally leads into the ability to go one step further and strategize.

We identify needs and come together to find a solution.

Aligning Marketing

Something we’ve noticed along the years is that the goals of the marketing and sales teams in other companies aren’t necessarily aligned. Marketing isn’t always aware of the specific needs of the sales team when it comes to content creation or messaging, and the sales team doesn’t always know what tools they have available to them.

There have been multiple times we’ve worked with a client and identified that their sales team needed collateral to address a specific need, and when we probed the marketing team we learned that the requested marketing material already existed.

Aligning marketing is getting both teams in the same room to discuss their needs and what they have available to them.

Marketing alignment is also making sure the sales team knows what products and services are being pushed by the marketing team, so they have greater leverage when talking to prospects. They can reference current social media or email campaigns or any advertisement running, or can refer their prospects to specific landing pages, depending on what initiatives the marketing team is working on.

If marketing is running ads on LinkedIn, targeting finance executives, the sales team can work with that information to make LinkedIn outreach to people that are more likely to have seen those ads.

Operational Support

In addition to marketing alignment, strategy consists of analytics and tool development. If the LinkedIn marketing campaign is going well and the sales team has a lot of opportunities to follow up on, everybody can collaborate on a strategy to smoothly get the prospect from Point A – seeing the marketing advertisement – to Point B – the sales outreach – to Point C – data entry into the CRM of the prospect’s information and opportunity information.

Operations can use analytics to see what type of outreach is most successful. If the LinkedIn marketing campaign isn’t going that well, then operations is there with the evidence to say, “Hey, maybe we should try something else,” before more time and money is spent on a fruitless endeavor.

Our operations team also works on finding or developing tools for sales and marketing. Need an easy way to book meetings? Operations can set up a calendar booking system that prospects can use.

Operations also sets up automation tools. Enrolling a contact into an email sequence, automated task creation, CRM workflows to update specific field information,  there are a lot of options.

Our teams know what is possible, work together, anticipate areas of need, and solve problems before they arise.

Forecasting

All of this leads to something business leaders need – accurate forecasting and trend analysis.

Dashboards and analytics can be set up to automatically show specific data or make calculations and you can be confident that the calculations are correct, because the team is working together and blind spots are eliminated.

CRM and Data Management

The operations team sets up the analytics within the CRM or whatever system is being used and verifies that the necessary data exists and is correct. There are workflows in place for sales and marketing to get the information into the CRM, and regular data audits so it never has to be a huge project to make sure everything is correct. There’s a process that’s being followed, and each part of the company knows what they’re responsible for and gets it done.

Pipeline Management

Part of the data audit we mentioned above relates to pipeline management. Something we do at BDPros is what we call a “pipeline checkdown.”

Every Monday, the operations team sits down with the sales team and goes through their pipelines, one by one, to verify and update very specific information. Some of the things we check are:

  1. Is the close date accurate?
  2. Is the likeliness to close percentage accurate?
  3. What is the next step for follow-up?
  4. When does that follow up need to be made?
  5. Has this opportunity been followed up on properly?
  6. Is the opportunity amount correct?
  7. Is the opportunity stage correct?

All of it leads to proper follow-up, accurate pipelines, and better forecasting.

Analytics and Effective Outreach

Our operations team will set up dashboards and track specific analytics based on the needs of the company that are viewable by everybody.

Seeing the specific initiatives we have a lot of success in can help the company align its outreach properly and stop wasting energy on initiatives that don’t bear fruit.

We can also identify clogs in the pipeline and process before they get too big.

Whether it’s additional training, new tools, or other accommodations, the analytics allow us to stop potential problems in their tracks, making for a more effective and healthier team.

The Code, Cracked

There is a lot that goes into business development and we’ve developed these processes over the course of 12+ years through trial and error. We’re proud of what we’ve learned and what we’ve created, and we’re more successful than ever, and we want to share that.

Our entire business model is built on developing partnerships and while we know we might not be the best partner for every single business model, the basic principles of business development are the same across the board.

Your team needs to work together, needs to be consistent, and needs to be transparent.

These are just a few ways we stay transparent with each other. For a more in-depth look at specific processes key to success and actual step-by-step instructions, sign up for our free webinar on March 16th at 2:00 PM CST.

We will go over multiple processes and provide attendees with actual templates and documentation after the webinar so they can start implementing the processes and practices in their own company.

Don’t want to wait?

Request a consultation now, send an email, or check out our LinkedIn.

The rest of our website has a lot of great information too.