Alex Moyle | Creating Business Development Culture
We were joined in the studio by Alex Moyle, author of ‘Business Development Culture’
The chances are that unless you’re the only person that does what you do in your industry, you’re finding you’re getting more and more competition. Now the issue with that is the things that clients used to pay a grand for last year might only be willing to pay £900 for today. You’ve got competitors that are coming in that are charging less. You’ve got companies that are insourcing companies using technology to automate some of the things that you used to do, that clients used to pay you a lot of money for.
The long and the short of commoditization is that businesses need absolutely to have a robust plan to bring new clients into their organizations and retain them. The challenge is the traditional approach to sales culture doesn’t really work as well as it used to and what we’re going to talk about is how do we get the whole organization involved in sales.
So the traditional approach to doing sales is you get yourself a sales target and then you knock on the door of the sales team and say go and sell. And they run out and they make rain happen. But Behind the scenes here you got customer service operations, IT and everyone just sitting there hoping the sales team sells so the business can survive the problem with that is that nowadays business-to-business buyers are actually becoming much more consumer orientated.
For those of you that have read Google Zero Moment of Trust. People nowadays by the time they actually get to the point of buying are probably 50 to 60 percent of the way through the buying process and Huthwaite research shows that that’s actually happening in business to business sales as well. And so your sales team will be redundant if, by the time your clients call, they already know you they know your competitors and they know what you’re charging.
So what we need to do is create an environment which is when we get a target, of course, we need to call the sales team. But we also need to engage the marketing team. We also need to engage in customer service. We also need to involve operations, these might be the individuals that are out on your client’s site every day. It may be even that there are other departments as well such as IT or finance that are involved in the business development process.
So this sounds okay when you’re involving everyone in business development, but now you’ve got a sales team that involves loads of people that didn’t set out on a career to be involved in sales and telling them to generate leads or to chase leads isn’t going to wash because business development for non business development people it is a discretionary activity. And so you need to build a culture where people are excited about actually wanting to be involved in business development.
So how do you do that? Well, the heart of it is that you need to build a culture where people believe in actually what you’re trying to do. I often say if you and your company had a cure for a serious disease. Would you think twice about calling someone up saying I can cure you probably not the challenge is that many people sit at their desks every day and all they think is their companies all they care about is profit. So what we need to do is if we’re creating a business development culture is, sure the business needs to create profit because that’s what shareholders are there for, but that needs to be balanced with care for the customer and care for the employee.
So if you want people to believe in your organization and the solutions that you’re selling they need to believe them and their colleagues are actually looked after and cared for they need to believe you are committed to looking after your customers and giving them what they want at the same time of you actually getting what you want, which is money as an organization.
So let’s look at how you can actually apply this to the process of Business Development. So when we look at the sales process, normally it’s just about can we pick up the phone? Let’s call every 30 days. Let’s visit them let’s the send them mailshots let’s keep peppering them so they don’t forget about us. But what many organizations are doing nowadays, it’s actually remapping their business development process not around what they want the sales process to be but actually how customers buy and so when customers buy most of them are sitting there and they’re in a business as usual phase.
What that means is they don’t have a need and they’re not actually interested in buying your product and service. And so this requires a certain approach the only thing that moves them out of business as usual, is when there’s some sort of catalyst that breaks them out of that. It could be an employee leaving. It could be a big new piece of work. It could be their system finally doesn’t work. And once they’ve done that and I’m going to pick up the phone and go speak to 10 people and say we’re thinking of this with thinking of this with thinking of this what they’re actually going to do is go through a decision-making process where they’re going to assess what is the problem? What are the different solutions that are open to us? That could be technology solutions. It could be consulting solutions, or it could be a whole range of things and they’re going to think about it and only at that point once they’ve got that they’re going to decide do we do nothing. Do we find an internal solution? Or do we go externally? And they’re going to decide. If they decide to go external the chances are they’ve made a conscious choice to use you and probably one or two other people. They probably know more about your service and what you charge the new probably do and so what we’ve got to do is think where this is how customers Buy. What we’ve got to think about is how does our business development process match this and who can be involved in it.
So let’s go right back to the start business as usual. Well customer service teams will liaise with customers but they’re not looking to make another decision-making process, but they have a massive impact on whether you stay front of mind. Marketing teams have an important role to play in keeping in touch with people and staying front of mind but from a lead generation perspective your operations teams, the individuals that are on client sites every day and meeting and speaking to your clients your account managers your auditors your business partners. They have the opportunity to find things and problems that clients are actually experiencing.
At that point they can engage the sales team and the sales team might be here, but they might also involve a technical expert what you’re starting to see is that as an organization we’re building our sales process to map and match what client actually want from a buying process and we’re involving people in the process that match their skills and the role that they have. That way Business Development will probably be unique to each individual in the organization dependent upon their role their enthusiasm and their capability to do business development.
Once we get to the stage when clients are doing nothing, well, if a client’s doing nothing, even though they’ve got a catalyst for change marketing probably has a stronger role to play than sales. They’re looking for an internal solution again marketing and a blend of sales and if they’re going external sales is involved, but they’re probably involving operations in the bid and a tender process to give themselves the maximum chance of winning.
The most important thing to think about when you’re actually thinking about how do you create a business development culture and engage non-sales people in the sales process is to think about what they can do what they’re excited about and the difference their involvement will make for their customer.
So go away see what you can do to engage your team and your customers in helping you grow sales and profits.