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Effective 5-Step Business Development Process for your Firm

You know that feeling when you put in a lot of work and it doesn’t appear to make an impact? Well, maybe your business development process needs some tweaking. There are various cures for our problem: crafting proposals, putting time into sales calls – but the most effective tool is often just having a plan at all!

Business development is an important process that every firm needs to have in order to stay competitive. It isn’t just the responsibility of your marketing team or partners, but everyone can play a role in this key step for growth and revenue increases. However, with so many things to juggle as we try to build our careers while balancing other responsibilities like family time or hobbies – it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all that goes into business development!

Without a clear plan on how you’re going about growing your company – whether through partnership agreements, new product launches, etc. There will be no way forward if at some point momentum stalls out due to a lack of internal resources invested towards real planning processes such as running sales reports from past clients.

Although every firm’s exact process for landing new clients will look different, the following five steps are the best strategy to start.

Step 1: Discovery

Business Development Process

When your firm’s marketing efforts generate interest in your services, this creates a lead, and you should schedule a call with the potential client as soon as possible. This is known as a discovery call.

The discovery call serves four purposes:

  • You can ask the client some initial questions about what they need.
  • You seek to understand their pain points. Why do they need your service? Why do they want to change firms?
  • You gain an understanding of their decision-making process. Who will ultimately make the decision to work with your firm? What factors into that decision (price, value, trust, etc.)?
  • You identify the person or people in your team best suited to meet the potential client’s needs.

Step 2: Deep Dive

This is a great opportunity to talk with the person in charge of making decisions about hiring your firm. You can go into detail and get more information on their problems so that you’re able to give them advice tailored for what they need.

One of the most important parts in any project is creating a game plan and partnering with your team. After you have had a deep dive call, it’s time to chat about what we learned from our client and brainstorm ideas for their next steps together. This process can be done over one phone call or through multiple meetings as needed depending on how complex they are.

Step 3: Decision Making

Business Development Process

In the decision-making process, your prospect has all of the information they need and it is time for them to decide whether or not to engage with you. Your prospect may compare packages and pricing because there are so many firms out there vying for their attention. Make sure that when you follow up on their decisions, you set a date instead of asking if they’ve made one yet—that will show confidence in both yourself as well as how much potential business this client could bring into your company.

The next step in the process is to follow up with your prospect and answer any additional questions that might arise.

Step 4: Awaiting Signature

Once the prospect decides to engage your firm, you need them to sign a contract or engagement letter. This agreement document covers all of the details and expectations for both parties during this working relationship, including meeting deadlines as well as other benefits such as reimbursement detail among others. You might need to follow up with clients if they don’t respond in a timely manner so that everyone is on track.

Step 5: Close

Business Development Process

At the end of this process, you’ve either won a new client and can move on to onboarding them or lost out to another firm. Be sure you communicate that decision with all appropriate parties after closing down your prospect file.

Your business development quarterback needs to be on top of their game in order for your company’s sales pipeline to remain efficient. Without constant oversight, one missed step can cause the whole process to fall apart and lead you back down that dreaded rabbit hole from whence no man has returned.

Working through your business development process helps ensure that you have a good understanding of your goals and strategy for winning new clients. When developing the right processes, make sure to define who will be quarterbacking prospects throughout their journey with you so everyone on the team is working towards achieving success.

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    Christine Lee

    Christine is a former HR manager from Fortune 500 tech companies and has managed hiring, compensation and benefits, and payroll responsibilities for multiple companies.

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