How to find the BD hunters in your organization
- By Bill Scheessele
- Dec 01, 2014
Whether growing revenue through acquisition or internal growth, the challenge of many business units is how to sustain that growth.
Identifying and developing business development personnel is a significant component of that challenge. Many business units rely exclusively on organic growth for a significant portion of their revenue. Experience has taught us that identifying capable individuals to develop new revenue is both an art and a science.
Many organizations include business development as an ancillary responsibility executed in tandem with program and/or capture management. Frequently these individuals have an experience base that makes them good candidates for a BD hunter role.
They possess the necessary competencies of leadership, management skills, technical knowledge, as well as client, program and funding knowledge. They are typically process oriented and understand the value of establishing goals and executing a plan.
Within this pool of individuals, you are looking for specific differentiators that separate potential BD hunters from the rest.
Criteria to consider is a natural curiosity, a comfortableness of engaging with people and a desire to learn and apply behavioral psychology. Another characteristic is an inherent instinct to ask questions and gather intelligence.
In the BD hunter role, the information gatherer is much more valuable than the information provider. There is a significant difference in the thinking and process required when you provide intel by making comments or statements versus gathering intel by being curious and asking questions. This is learned thinking, process and behavior.
Therefore, providing education and professional development along with mentorship and coaching is critical to elevate their thinking. With the right career opportunities, these individuals can be developed into proactive BD hunters.
Whether in a shepherd, farmer or hunter role, everyone in business development who has customer contact should understand the internal and external BD process and philosophy of the organization. This includes learning the thinking, discipline and skills necessary to support BD efforts.
Everyone in contact with the customer is in a BD role whether they understand it or not. They should always be attentive to any information, feedback, concerns or other information critical to increasing revenue within the customer. Everyone can be trained to enhance their active listening skills as well as their intel gathering skills to assist in business development.
From our experience, most successful BD hunters never previously held a BD title. They grew into their position from the rank of program manager, division manager and other positions responsible for ensuring that the customers’ issues and problems are resolved.
Many of these individuals are already within your company and have regular contact with customers. They have a track record of being successful in identifying issues and positioning themselves as influencers. As such, they may already be serving in the unofficial BD hunter role.
These professionals already share your corporate culture and values. They are capable of transitioning smoothly from an operational role to a more defined business development role. They know your business and the client’s business.
By nature they focus on the client and other individuals rather than themselves and their own needs. Some of your best talent may already be within your organization waiting to be identified and developed.
Bill Scheessele is the CEO of MBDi, a global business development services firm providing expertise in business development best practices in the national security, defense, scientific, energy and engineering industries. The firm offers BD consulting, strategy, planning and personnel services in addition to education workshops to help BD professionals identify hidden strengths, barriers to progress and opportunities for improvement. Learn more about MBDi, their revenue growth resources and their workshops at http://www.mbdi.com.