An Introduction to Business Development

Business development is a vital part of building revenue, strengthening customer relationships, and recognizing the customers or enterprises that can benefit most from what you have to offer. But ask a hundred people “what is business development?” and you’re likely to get 99 answers.

Business development is especially crucial to B2B brands, but even large and sophisticated organizations don’t always have a biz dev process per se. Instead, leaders “know it when they see it,” relating it in different degrees to sales, marketing, or account management.

It’s true that business development has relationships with all those things and more, but it can also be greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s take a closer look at the principles that drive successful biz dev divisions and what they really mean for a company.

1: Value Generators

Most of the time, it’s not hard to identify value: It’s reflected in the bottom line. But there are many other types of value that can drive sales, revenue, and profit. They include things like prestige, access to decision-makers, or anything else that drives results. Business development pros should look for ways to generate value for the enterprise, customers, and partners, too.

business development

2: Long-Term Orientation

When generating value, some parts of the business have the option of going for the quick win, even if it’s not their only tool. Business development is different: It is most effective when it creates innovative concepts that expand – literally, “develop” – the core reasons that enterprises or customers partner with you. That usually means big ideas with incremental execution.

3: Relationships

To succeed in business development, a leader needs to be looking for ways to align the business with customers’ needs in a cost-effective way. That means staying connected with decision-makers and being attentive to emerging trends. The best biz dev leaders are so attuned to key relationships that they can anticipate needs before they are fully articulated.

business development strategy

No Matter Your Angle, Business Development is Crucial

Business development is unique: With its cross-disciplinary outlook, it can be an important partner to sales, marketing, product development, and the senior leadership team. Through a hands-on approach, it generates customer and market insights with wide applications and shows – even helps forge – the path to sustainable ROI.

A business development team can start with sales, marketing, or product development experts. The more it’s allowed to grow into its own, however, the more value it will ultimately create. When all is said and done, the best thing that business development does for a company is this: Connecting innovation, existing strengths, and customer needs into a win-win package.