Business development plays a crucial role in the success of an organization as it’s what keeps the sales pipeline growing and if managed correctly, leads to accelerated and predictable revenue. However, sales development is a tough job. With a 34% turnover rate , it is clear that a business development role isn’t for everyone.
The job can be both physically and emotionally draining and people tend to burn out after some time in the game. However, salespeople are naturally engineered to be determined and hungry, making them much more likely to overcome a burnout if a set of good habits are formed from the start, and of course if there are compelling incentives arranged for them.
Here you will find three business development techniques that will help set you up for long-term success and more importantly, help you start closing more deals, sooner.
1. Know Your Numbers
The first thing you need to do in order to effectively hit your business development goals is calculate the numbers behind your efforts. In doing so, you will be able to set a benchmark for the activities that need to be completed throughout your workday. Reaching these small daily benchmarks will ultimately be what leads to closing more sales.
Here are a few examples of what types of activities to track:
- How many dials does it take before you get a decision-maker on the phone?
- How many of those conversations turn into a discovery call or demo?
- How many of those demos develop into proposals or agreements?
- How many of those agreements generate into revenue?
Let’s say you crunch these numbers and find that after ten phone calls, about two decision-makers will answer the phone. You can now calculate that you will need to make 50 phone calls per day to speak with ten qualified prospects. You then find that out of those ten phone conversations, only half turn into demos. Of those five demos, only about three become agreements. Finally, you find that of those three agreements, one will close and generate revenue.
So, how does knowing these numbers help you in the long-haul? Leading us up to our next tip, understanding these numbers allows you to manage your time and prioritize your efforts.
2. Manage Your Time Efficiently
As mentioned, business development is a numbers game, so it’s important that you not only understand those numbers but manage your time efficiently to ensure your goals are met. To keep you on track, here are some tips to help you manage your time as efficiently as possible:
- Time Blocking- Referencing the example used above, if you need to make 50 cold calls per day to engage ten qualified conversations, I’d recommend blocking off time on your calendar for a few hours of completely undisturbed cold calling. Blocking off time on your calendar is helpful for managing any of your high-priority tasks. Giving yourself a start and finish time for these duties will help you manage your time throughout the entire day, allowing you to accomplish more.
- Don’t Multitask– This is a difficult one today, especially in a business development role. You might even think you are a fantastic multitasker, but the truth is only about 2% of people are actually effective juggling more than one job at a time. Jumping from task to task wears you out both mentally and physically, leaving you far less productive and much more stressed. Prioritize your most important tasks and focus on one thing at a time to maximize your success.
- Avoid Distractions– While reading a non-work-related article or checking your personal messages might not be much of a time-suck in the moment, those distractions can add up to a significant amount of time that pulls you away from hitting your quota. One way to help avoid this is by giving yourself a game plan for the day. Whether you plan your days out the evening before or the morning of, be sure to set your priorities for the day so you know where your focus should be. I’d recommend using a project management tool such as Asana or Monday so you can have all of your “to do” items lined up for the day, week or even month.
- Take Breaks– Some days you might find yourself so buried under work that you can’t even take a lunch break- we’ve all been there. But taking a break is important as it can improve your focus and increase your productivity. If you feel your eyes getting heavy, step away from your desk for five or ten minutes. This will allow you to come back to the task a bit more refreshed.
As a business development professional, managing your time efficiently will allow you to work smarter, not harder. Give yourself some structure by blocking off time for your tasks and make sure you are giving those duties the undivided attention they deserve. Not every day will go according to plan, but having the right focus will help you get closer to achieving your sales goals one day at a time.
3. Keep a Positive Attitude
In business development, it can be a challenge to keep an upbeat and happy attitude after someone hangs up on you or doesn’t give you the time of day. In fact, it’s likely that most of your prospective responses will be negative, but keeping a positive attitude is crucial to your overall success because even though your prospects may not physically see you, they can definitely sense your energy.
It’s believed that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice and 7% is the actual words being spoken. Your energy is contagious and your emotions are transferable, so when you are giving a prospect a negative attitude, you are only enticing rejection. With that being said, before you pick up the phone to make another cold call, get refocused and put a smile on your face- they will be able to hear the confidence in your voice and will be more likely to have a successful and positive conversation.
Here are some pointers for staying positive in a business development role:
Rejection vs. Nurture: Know the Difference– According to Hubspot, 44% of salespeople give up after one rejected pitch. Other studies show that 80% of sales are made after five follow-up interactions and 20% of prospects will request information about a company and wait over a year before making a purchase. Don’t assume because someone has an opposition that they are rejecting you, it is likely that they just need more information and the only way they will get it is if you follow up with them. Keep your head up and don’t lose your persistence. If you can’t get them back on the phone, put them into an email cadence where you can nurture them and feed them valuable content until they decide to reach out again.
Think Long-Term– It’s easy to get caught up in the short-term goals in business development as it can be quite an emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re on top of the world after closing a huge account and the next you are sulking because someone told you to stop blowing up their email. You can’t let the “here and now” affect you too much as it doesn’t indicate your overall performance. Think big picture- you might not be on track to hit goal this month, but you might have a solid pipeline that will help you exceed your quota for the quarter!
Don’t Take Anything Personally– Whether it is rejection or someone just being rude, you’re going to have to face it one way or another in a business development role. It is important to develop a tough skin and remember- this is business, it’s not personal. Maybe the prospect is a bad fit, or they are having a bad day, Either way, think of it as a positive; you don’t want to bring on a “bad fitting” client or an account that is difficult to work with.
Surround Yourself With Positive People– There will always be someone at work who isn’t happy to be there- avoid that person to the best of your ability. Again, energy is contagious. Instead, surround yourself with the people who not only enjoy being at work but shape the environment in such a way that others enjoy being there as well. They will help you to keep your spirits up on those emotional roller coaster days and ultimately help you become a stronger sales professional.
In a business development role, there will always be situations outside of your control, but only you have the complete power to track your efforts, manage your time, and control your emotions. Once you’ve gotten a grasp on those three areas, you will have successfully built a streamlined process that allows you to close more deals and more importantly, consistently impact the bottom line.