Top Trends for Business Development in 2020

Make the most of technology to advance prospects

05 Jun 2020
Trends for Business Development in 2020

The High Stakes World of Business Development

This year hasn’t been kind to sales professionals and even less benevolent to business development. So, if on a nice sunny, prosperous day in pre-pandemic 2019, selling was hard; you can only imagine the level of difficulty of the present scenario.

Current times favor the buyer – in any field – and that means that consumers have a multitude of options to select from. Competition is steep and choices are often made on the basis of detail. In addition to this landscape, information is readily available and so consumers can now make educated buying or investment decisions without the help of a salesperson – which is now often seen as being way too biased.

Sales and business development professionals need to go above and beyond the expectations, and make sure that they master the channels where their target audience is discussing, searching, and deciding.

Going forward, teams must get back to the roots of the game. So, to help you gain that competitive edge, we have rounded up the most effective business development trends to keep in mind.

Development Trends in a Reshaped Economy

1. Get Familiar With the Tools

The sudden change to the global economy’s landscape has surely tipped the scale in favor of the investor and consumer at large. But, this surely isn’t the only group to benefit from this evolution. Digital software tools are now seen as a natural extension of a sales & business development team. Such tools help to scale up production and expand the business.

  • Customer relationship manager – CRM tools: to organize contacts, keep records, interactions, and an all-round neat database.
  • Automation tools: auto-dialers, call recording, email marketing, and scheduling software are all used to save time, increase contacts, and communication.
  • Prospect outreach: tools such as LinkedIn’s sales navigator and others that facilitate and increase the outreach to leads.

While technology can tremendously boost productivity, it can also be a waste of money, time, and resources. Technology for the sake of technology is meaningless. To benefit from the inclusion of tools in internal processes, proper software training must be provided to the team, processes should be mapped out and tried beforehand, and most importantly, the technology chosen must match the needs of the sales team. As such, it is always a good idea to first identify gaps and then make smart choices accordingly.

2. Develop… Evolve

It is becoming more difficult to stay on top of the latest technology and the new sales strategies that emerge as a result of the added value that these tools offer.  So, it is vital that the team does not feel overwhelmed by the software, but instead is empowered to control the tools and data. The idea is to develop your team’s skills so that your business is capable of evolving as a whole. Development, at an internal level, means:

  • Skills training and education in:
  • Setting challenging quotas and measuring progress
  • Identifying the gaps in the internal process
  • Choosing the right tools – not just the most popular one of the moment
  • Enabling your business to survive in intense circumstances – invest in software and hardware that allow business continuity and working remotely

3. The Human Aspect: Personalize All Communications

Any communication with prospects should be tailored to their business, their needs, and who they are as a person. Personalize your outreach – it is worth the effort of putting some thought into it. Talking to a lead about a feature that is irrelevant to them, might make them feel there is no common business understanding. Balancing the human aspect with a well-prepared sales message is where you want to be at all times.

  1. Personalization can boost business. Being personal will advance your relationship with a client and create better chances of leaving a positive impact.
  2. Higher expectations. Prospects expect a tailored experience. So, utilize all the data at hand to go beyond standard customer service and offer a customer-centric journey.
  3. Relationship intelligence automation (RIA). RIA automatically keeps track of all client and prospect communications, giving you the insight you need to create high-caliber personalized communications for maximum return on your investment. Keep tabs on important things like how often you reach out to your most-billed client, and activities such as pending orders, support inquiries, etc. The tool will even notify your business development team with all the relevant information right before a scheduled meeting – be prepared and on top of things at all times.

4. Outbound & Marketing: Coordinated Efforts

The biggest opportunity for business development overall is outbound. A strong coordinated effort between the marketing and sales team will deliver the most integrated strategy. Aligning these two departments will bring forth:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Credibility and thought leadership

Moving to a more unified strategy creates consistency in the buyer’s mind. Marketing and outbound sales have to be combined with a unified outreach approach that shows potential customers the value of becoming an actual customer. It is all about positioning your company and sending the right message. Your marketing efforts should tell that story, and your outbound business development reps should narrate that story too.

5. Sales Techniques and Flair

The sales landscape is always changing and this is especially true for outbound sales. Today’s business development trends maybe tomorrow’s irrelevant practices. It is also very subjective to your internal landscape. Something that doesn’t work for one company could become another company’s best asset. The only way to know for sure is to measure your team’s performance. Access to information doesn’t only benefit the consumer — today’s software tools measure many key performance indicators (KPIs). These include:

  • Number of calls per day
  • Number of sales pipelines generated
  • The average length of a successful call
  • Number of emails sent
  • Cold calls per connection with a prospect
  • Number of connections per meeting set
  • Number of meetings set per new customer

Take the data and assess, optimize, train, and start over. Until you reach a smooth, working model, that works best in your company. Follow these steps regularly:

  • Identify a problem
  • Do some research
  • Create a hypothesis
  • Test the hypothesis
  • Measure the results
  • Draw conclusions

Today’s sales software tools make it possible to measure the effects of any changes you make. Once you know which metric you need to improve, you are more likely to identify the issues that are hindering results and so you are in a better position to fix them. The outbound sales landscape changes fast, and regular strategy audits help you stay on top of business development trends.

6. Profit From Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) directs resources to engage a specific set of leads.

  • Increased target account engagement
  • Better sales and marketing alignment
  • More qualified prospects
  • Improved understanding of program performance
  • More pipeline opportunities

But if your ability to track and measure client communications is limited, this is one trend you won’t be able to take advantage of. That’s where investing in the right technology comes into play.

In Conclusion: Use Technology to Build Strong Relationships

It’s not a surprise that relationships are at the core of business development trends year after year. This year, the challenge will be to make the most of technology to advance prospects, but also to adapt to a new reality where remote business takes over. Make technology your ally, utilize it to instill trust with leads, and nurture the rapport with existing clients. It is also helpful to use relationship mapping to identify opportunities for networking and referrals, which if acquired, have a higher retention rate. In short, remember these key points:

  1. Equip your team with the tools and technology that they need
  2. Train your team and create a seamless internal process
  3. Balance a sales pitch with a strong human dimension
  4. Align your outbound marketing with your outbound sales
  5. Make sure you are ready for uncertainty: implement business continuity tactics

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