Many organizations we come across tend to focus their efforts either on business development or marketing, depending on the nature of their business. Their goal is to either go out and bring in the business, or to throw out the word and wait for customers to come in. Both are valid approaches to generate business, but what could happen if both were integrated and combined?
By combining marketing and business development into one integrated and ongoing activity, a brand will enjoy several benefits. Here are some to name a few.
When a brand maintains effective marketing activities, business development becomes easier and less time consuming. The business developer will – because leads and prospects are exposed to the brand – enjoy higher brand recognition, and with that more credibility.
Because the lead now knows the brand and is familiar with its values, the business developer can focus more on the benefits of products and services rather than establishing credentials. This can effectively reduce the sales cycle drastically as the question now is not whether if this company can actually do what it is promising, but rather whether if this is the service or product that we need.
Business developers – especially hunters – are always on the lookout for new customers. Once those are acquired and moved on to another team in the form of signed project, he/she will be out again looking for a new prospect. But what happens to customers that have been served in the past and are no longer active?
Sadly enough, they often fall between the cracks and are sooner or later snatched up by a competitor who in turn is on the lookout for new prospects. With an effective marketing machine in place, inactive customers are periodically reminded of the brand they’ve already done business with. This plays an important role when those customers are in need for the same product/ service, or something similar that’s also offered by the same brand.
What’s of essence to always keep in mind that it is much easier to close a sales with a previous or current customer than a new one. As such, a brand’s focus should be more on customer retention than recruitment, and which is where ongoing marketing plays a critical role.
Reviving lost Opportunities
Business development comes with lots of losses; you try and try and then the lead drops the project altogether or ends up working with a competitor. This is just how the game is played.
But it doesn’t mean that each lost opportunity is really lost. The interest may not be there at the time the proposal was submitted, or that competitor who got the contract may have performed a poor job. In any case, what’s lost today can always be regained in the future.
That’s of course provided the leads keeps seeing your brand periodically so he/she knows whom to get back to in the future. This is where marketing becomes critical. If lost opportunities aren’t placed into the marketing machine, there’s no reason to believe the lead will revert back to you in the future once the need is there again.
People like to refer good products or services to friends and peers. It makes them feel good and knowledgable, and it gives them a sense of having been helpful.
But since lots of brands compete on referrals, people will most likely refer brands that come to their mind first. Again, effective marketing is the key to accomplish that. If they keep getting reminded of your brand, it’ll be easy for them to remember what you offer, your values, and as such make a recommendation.
There are of course plenty more reasons why any brand needs to always integrate business development/ sales within marketing. Technically speaking, both are an essential function of marketing to begin with, so be sure to focus on all aspects equally to complete your integrated marketing cycle for the highest impacts and best results.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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