First off, there seems to be a disconnect these days about what exactly business development is. So let’s set the record straight. A business development consultant is someone who looks at your business from the outside in and is able to pinpoint areas to be maximized or others to be changed.
You see lots of businesses issuing the title of “Director of Sales & Business Development” to one person. The problem is though, business development is not sales, and sales are not business development.
The two need to work in collaboration with one another. Yet they also need separate operators and most of the best people in business development aren’t necessarily the top salespeople.
Business development to me is all about relationships and proximity. It’s long term and the objectives are to push the business forward through relationships and associations. Sales are however very transactional and a lot of the time about timing. As well as very focused on shorter-term objectives for the business.
If you contact a prospect at the wrong time of the year, they’re dealing with an internal problem, their aunt passed away, etc. the timing just wasn’t there and you suffer. This is the nature of sales.
But instead, if you approached the same situation as a business development leader should approach that situation. Their objective is to build that relationship and solidify a partnership vs pushing a product on that person to buy. That relationship over time with that person could turn into 10, 20 or a hundred sales totaling multiple 7 or 8 figures for the lifetime of your business.
Think about what that partnership could do for your business if you look at it as a partnership vs just a sale?
Don’t get me wrong I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Instead, I want to share with you some things I’ve started to see take effect in the business world; then allow you to make the right decision for your business.
What is a Business Development Consultant?
A business development consultant is someone that comes into your business and looks at it from the outside in. They take notice of what’s working, not working, take stock of your current assets, and assess things that may have been overlooked before or that need a little tweaking to maximize growth in your business.
With the rise of the gig economy in recent years and continuing into the future, I predict business development consultants will be common in growing companies.
After all, we know it’s important to have outside contractors come into our businesses and help us grow them. It brings a different viewpoint to what we have created as the owner or founder of the business.
This is crucial because at times we can be biased and don’t see problems within our business because it’s our baby. We are too emotionally attached to our business.
Every big and successful business I can think of has consultants and contractors that come and help the company on a task or project-specific engagement because they know its a recipe for success.
What To Look For In A Good Consultant For Your Business
In my opinion, no matter what type of role you are trying to fill in your business whether its a contractor or an employee, the experience should be priority number one. I say this because if you as a business, for example, want to develop a new revenue stream for your business by introducing a new online program or course. You should then be hiring or contracting someone who has done this before.
Not someone who has just learned how to do it. Someone that has physically done it before with real clients. This is crucial. To me, experience in an area you are looking to fill is extremely important.
I’ve occupied various roles in sales, marketing, business development, and partnerships across various technology and high-growth companies over the last 10 years. I not only bring a degree of experience negotiating deals with Fortune 100 brands or top influencers and brands, but I have created relationships and friendships with some of the top business people around the world.
This has allowed me to bring a different dimension to clients when I work with them. I call this the network effect.
Having the ability to use your network and influence to push through barriers or areas of resistance that so many others before you had trouble navigating.
I thrive in these situations and it’s crucial that you hire someone similar. Where they can use their contacts and network to really push your business further faster.
What else is important? Someone that is a creative problem solver. They need to see things that the manager, executive or founding team doesn’t see.
They need to have an idea of how they can solve these problems or opportunities that they see. This is a trait that separates the good consultants from the great ones.
Clinton Senkow is the Co-founder & COO of Influencive where he manages and oversee’s all business development and partnership activities for Influencive. He’s also the CEO of Senkow Ventures which is a digital consultancy for high-growth startups and SMB’s, a member of the invite-only Forbes Business Development Council, and was named a “Top 20 Speaker by Forbes”. He’s also a three-time Top G20 YEA Entrepreneur representing Canada.