Have you embraced the new model of BD?
- By Robert Davis
- Jan 23, 2014
How is Your Digital Business Development Working?
When I discuss the work of business development with my contacts everyone agrees that BD is changing.
Then the discussion quickly becomes murky. How is it changing? What is different now? Why does the job seem so hard?
One major reason is the emerging phenomenon of ‘Digital BD’.
Hinge Research Institute’s (HRI) e-book, Online Marketing for Professional Service identifies a quantum shift underway affecting a fundamental tenet of our industry. The model for selling professional services is predicated on establishing and maintaining relationships. Successful BD people are pros when it comes to establishing relationships with potential customers. They know what to say, when to say it and what resources are necessary to secure a potential customer’s trust.
The traditional BD model, according to HRI, looks like this:
Meet -->Relationship -->Expertise -->Trust-->Client.
BD meets the client, develops a relationship, demonstrates the firm’s expertise, builds trust and then wins the client’s business after successfully navigating the procurement process.
This tried and true formula has been a foundation of our industry for decades.
Now a new BD model is emerging. The world of Digital BD looks like this:
Issue -->Education -->Expert-->Trust -->Client.
Let me explain. When a potential government customer has an daunting technical or management issue or unexpected problem that must be addressed, they go online to find information that defines the problem, explains the problem and offers alternatives for problem resolution.
In other words they wish to become educated about the issue.
Customers will seek subject matter experts who are able to discuss their issue and present options or tools that may be applied to address the customer’s problem. Customers may read white papers, blogs, technical presentations, research findings or e-books during their search for knowledge.
Once they find information i.e. knowledge they understand, they will note the expert’s name i.e. the source who provided the subject matter understanding to them, and they will note the company’s name too.
If they trust this source, they may invite the company to meet with their team during the market research phase of their procurement process.
There is further market research from Hinge Marketing, Reston, Va., that explains how buyers of professional services are increasingly going online to find trustworthy sources of the services they need. These buyers are finding new business partners online more than attending conferences or reading industry press, as examples.
Folks this is called disintermediation! The Internet has disintermediated the music and publishing industries, and is forcing change into the health care industry. Our industry is not immune to this technological and societal force.
A successful digital BD model requires having an integrated BD function across BD, operations’ management, the company’s subject matter experts and a strong thought leadership paradigm through the company’s web site.
Lead generation, customer contact management, business qualification, capture management and organic growth are no longer the strict purview of BD.
These activities and more require an integrated business model across the enterprise led by marketing and BD. BD people must drive the creation of the company’s Digital BD paradigm; we have no choice.
Robert Davis is a 35-year veteran of the government IT marketing and has held positions large and small firms in areas such as marketing and sales, program management, business development and market development. He is an expert in business development, marketing, and management.