Is There Cheese Down that Tunnel?

Finding the best prospects

Even with a team of rock star sellers, it can be very tricky to figure out the exact recipe for business development that works for your company. The world seems to offer every kind of business development program imaginable – direct mail, SEO, pay-per-click, and so on – as well as to attend networking events or trade shows. So how do you know which ones will get the job done for your company?

Identify what you really want. I worked with a company that routinely invested six figures into several trade shows over the course of a year. We sat down and talked about what they really wanted out of their business development efforts. Their top priority was securing initial meetings with qualified high-level decision makers, but it turned out that virtually none of their target prospects attended these trade shows. Deciding which business development programs to implement doesn’t need to be complicated or confusing. If you approach the process systematically, the decision can be simple and straightforward.

Here are five steps we’ve developed to evaluate any initiative you’re considering:

Step 1. Gather Historical Data. If you’re considering a program that you haven’t used before, find some business leaders who have used it and ask them what their results were.

Step 2. Assess the Probability of Success and Develop a Timeline. If it sounds like you’ll either break even or make money, there is little downside in giving the program a try.

Step 3: Anticipate What Would Prevent Success. You want to outline your worst-case scenarios and then create a plan to hedge against them.

Step 4: Solicit Expert Input. Your next step is to solicit input on the program from subject matter experts. Listen to what they say, and consider their opinions, guidance, and experiences seriously.

Step 5: Compare Your Results to the Projections. When it comes time to pulling the trigger on a new business development initiative, some business leaders will allow fear to get the better of them. They will repeat steps 2 through 4 over and over, delaying the start indefinitely. Never forget that there is also a cost to doing nothing. Once you’ve done your due diligence by going through the five steps, move forward with confidence.

Finding your unique recipe for lasting business development success is not easy. Most business leaders never try enough different things or let the things they do try run long enough to discover it. If you’ve hit on a program with a positive ROI, keep it going!


Happy Hunting!

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