Do you think Business Development is Sales?
The biggest challenge today’s burgeoning companies face is understanding the difference between sales and Business Development (BD). Many companies think they are the same, and as a result they struggle with embracing the BD mindset.
In fact, corporate executive titles such as VP of Sales and Business Development clearly demonstrate that some companies do not know the difference, as they have salespeople attempting to manage their BD effort. They treat it no differently than a sales effort and build their operations and incentives as though BD was a sales function. That is why their efforts always have failed results. These are key items:
1. In a BD Deal, Everything is Different
The biggest difference between sales and BD is in the dynamics that exist around selling (which is focused for revenue growth today) versus BD (which is focused around growing your revenue through strategic relationships for tomorrow). Since BD is not sales, your interaction with your potential sumo partner is not governed by a sales transaction—you are not fighting for a signature on an invoice because there is no exchange of goods for money.
2. Clarity in a BD Deal Can be Your Biggest Downfall
Ambiguity, holds everyone’s attention. By holding back information, rather than disclosing your coveted BD plan, you keep them engaged.
3. Reel in the Big Fish
Think of the BD process in fishing terms. When reeling in a big fish, you want to attract its attention with some bait—something very attractive. Once the fish decides to take a nibble, your goal is to get it on the line without breaking the line. If the line breaks, you have a “no.”