Business Development Illusions If BD Falls On A Few

Business Development Illusions The Lone StarIllusions are amazing in a magic act, but can be devastating in business development. Do your BD meetings go on for hours, but ultimately just sound like a Facebook feed of this week’s golf outings and nice dinners? Is there an agonizingly long Excel spreadsheet that, at first glance, appears to catalogue extensive work, and yet you somehow get the creeping feeling that people are just entering mindless drive? Is there typically one star rainmaker in your group, along with a few lucky partners who stumble into opportunities, and the rest of your meeting room listens in simply mystified and “along for the ride”?

If you rely on a select few to carry the weight of new work for your company, you may notice some of these warning signs:

  • You only have one star performer who brings in the new work.
  • You receive effusive attention (lunches, parties, networking events) and therefore assume everyone likes you, yet you never end up with a contract.
  • There is no effective and documented method of transferring knowledge.
  • There is an imbalance between operation and execution.
  • Goals are not clearly expressed and effectively executed between the various internal teams: senior leadership, sales, marketing and operations.

The problem with business development falling on a few key people is that you:

  • Develop a false sense of connection.  Just because someone takes you to lunch and seems popular, does not mean that you have a solid business relationship that will result in a contract.
  • Lack documentation.  If there was a crisis such as the star BD person leaves, who else on your team could pick up the ball and be able to complete the mission?
  • May track the wrong things.  What is your measuring stick for BD progress?  Just because you have a flurry of activity, does not mean you are producing results or capturing the right information.

If any of this sounds familiar, you may be living an illusion that your business development is headed in the right direction.

So here’s the bottom line:

  • Centralize your collaborative space.  Is your sales/business development dashboard in a central location so all levels of management can view progress and respond with connections they have in their network?
  • Set & communicate goals.  Goals need to be effectively communicated and executed between senior leadership, the sales and marketing team, and operations team.
  • Balance the talent on the team.  While you need star performers on your business development team, you also need to surround that star performer with a few competent people who can support them and the strategic approach as well as draw in new connections.
  • Track progress strategically with key indicators.  Make sure you have the appropriate measuring tools in place on your dashboard. They need to be practical indicators that show progress toward closing business. For example: Do you have a clear understand of your client’s needs? Can you fill the need? Do you have multiple connections to the people who own the problem? Do your offerings solve these problems?

If we used the upcoming football season as an example, can you think of a top NFL team who would rely on one star performer to carry them through a winning season? An illusion literally means a “false idea.” It’s an illusion to think your company will win with just one star. Train, collaborate and empower your company to make more stars and create a collaborative team who work together toward shared goals by tracking the relevant business development indicators

Links to the rest of this game changing series “Top 7 Signs That Your Company Needs to Change” 

“Employee Retention: Why Good Employees Leave”

“Increasing Profitability: You Have Plenty of Work, But Profit is Low”

“Dealing With Resistance To Change:  What To Do When You Frequently Hear “But We’ve Always Done It That Way”

“You Find Yourself Very Alone:  Growing Your Business Partner Network for Impact and Value”

“Compete on Value, Quality and Impact, Not On Price

Coming, Part 7 in the game changing series, “Top 7 Signs That Your Company Needs to Change:”  Anxiety level on the management team is high. Do you find yourself staring at the potential client list or project board daily worrying over how you will get the next client or next job in a “productive paranoid” manner? Do you lose sleep wondering how to solve the issues of your firm or industry?  Click here: “Reduce Business Stress If Management Anxiety Is High”


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