I’ve been called many things in my 13-year career including Technical Sales Engineer, Business Development Executive and Marketing Manager. I suppose there are worse things to be called. Each role felt the same at times, the same purpose dressed up in a buzzword job title. Now that I run my own marketing consultancy, I get to work with talented business development professionals and it is clear to me that business development and marketing are different but must work together to achieve business goals. How can these roles work together and achieve business growth for their organisation or client?

When some people think about marketing, they imagine brochures, logos, matching colour schemes and perhaps promotional goods and beautiful websites. This is all important for supporting a business. However, marketing goes much further than that. I’ll come to how in a moment.

Business Development and Marketing in Sync

Let’s first examine the role of business development (BD). BD is about working on the front line of client relationships. The main aim of the role is to cultivate relationships for the long-term, creating sustainable business growth.

That’s how I see it. Coming back to the essence of marketing, I’d argue that that’s my aim too – to help businesses grow. But I do it differently from my business development colleagues. I push out well-crafted messages through relevant channels. They ensure that the fruits of that effort are nurtured and nourished for the long-term. I cannot live without their follow-through and they cannot live without my seed planting.

Business Development and Marketing Enrich Your Buyers’ Journey

My favourite way to break down the stages of the Marketing-BD collaboration is using the funnel approach. We have Awareness (top of the funnel), Consideration (middle of the funnel) and Decision (bottom of the funnel). Here’s an infographic to summarise the customer’s journey through the funnel:

business development and marketing YO! Marketing buyer's stages infographic

This approach is used by companies like HubSpot and is commonly referred to as inbound marketing.

Let’s look at how BD and Marketing work together throughout the funnel.

Funnel Stage Marketing Business Development
Awareness Define ideal customer profiles

 

Develop the value proposition for each customer group

Create a list of potential customers based on the profile

 

 

Make an initial introduction to customers that fit the profile

Consideration Publish content on industry best practices

 

Perform competitor analysis to understand potential customers’ options

 

Create lead magnets as part of an email marketing strategy

Deepen relationships with new contacts via networking

 

Ensure relevant compliance requirements are in place

 

Create a customer engagement strategy and a process for maintaining existing relationships

Decision Schedule demos

 

Set up webinars and free trials

 

Create and share case studies

 

Develop a program of regular interaction with the customer via relevant content and customer events

Set customer’s expectations

 

Ask questions about product and services and next steps

 

Handover to the sales team to close the deal

 

Identify future opportunities for upselling

 

Benefits of Business Development and Marketing Working Together

Considering that 67% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to a salesperson, it is more important than ever that sales, marketing and business development work closely behind the scenes to facilitate this journey. The advantages of working through the process together are that you:

  • Know who your customer is (hint: it is NOT “everybody”)
  • Go from a general description of your customer (macro-view) to a list of specific companies (micro-view) that you want to engage with
  • Add value to potential customers before they even ask for information (or realise they need you
  • Ensure you have what it takes to do business with your potential customer before you go in for the deal
  • Have a clear strategy for interacting with and informing your target customers of what you do
  • Meet your potential customers face-to-face, not just online thanks to strategically selected events and networking opportunities
  • Build trust by ensuring that all teams are aligned with your messaging and what the customer can expect from your business
  • Have the best people from each role guiding your potential customer from start to finish

It is a pleasure when I see this collaboration across teams, it allows the business work smarter (and not harder) to achieve business growth. I call it nothing short of amazing!

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This blog was originally published on the Sarah Downs Ltd blog on 28 February 2018

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