Better BD: How to create a winning business development strategy

Welcome to the first in our ‘Better BD’ series, where industry experts share their experience, tips and tricks to help you get the right strategy, tools and techniques in place to drive the future growth of your agency.

In this edition, Rose Bentley, Propeller Group’s Director of Clients and Strategy, discusses what makes a good business development strategy, and what to avoid.

Rose focuses on ensuring clients are happy, as well as helping to ensure that their comms strategy is as focused as it can possibly be, to get the best results.

Before you start your business development strategy

As most people in business will advise, having aims and objectives are essential to creating a good strategy that will reach these targets, but the preparation goes further than this: 

Consider the following two questions:

  1. Who is your client, what do they need, and why should they choose you?
  2. Who is your client’s competitive set?

Bear in mind that while the strategy you are creating is a key focus for you, your client may well have several other priorities, so establishing their needs, and what you can offer, simplifies the process for them. Developing an awareness of their competition before developing your strategy makes it easier to tailor it accordingly, as opposed to establishing competitors as you go.

You can download Propeller’s aims and objectives template here.

Rose’s top three tips

Develop your understanding of the client’s needs – put yourself in their shoes! Keeping their needs at the forefront of your strategy makes the strategy more likely to be accurate, relevant, and successful. So do plenty of research, and show your expertise in the field.

Establish where you have met similar needs before. Creating a bank of case studies to show to potential clients is a great way of demonstrating your services, and why they should choose you over a competitor. However, be careful to keep case studies concise and to the point. Don’t use 1,000 words when 100 will do, or give a lengthy presentation that could be covered in a single document. 

Use your connections! Consider who you know in your client’s industry or area that may have insights or knowledge that could give your strategy an edge. Be it colleagues, friends, industry players that you have a personal link to – anyone can be a source of information, and you lose nothing by reaching out to them.

Download Propeller’s top tips for creating a winning BD strategy here.

What to avoid

Nobody likes a generic approach. Everyone, including your existing and potential clients, wants to feel that you have taken the trouble to understand their market and their potential challenges;  Don’t use a scattergun approach. Instead, focus on clients that hit your sweet spot, and reflect the industry experience you have. 

Final advice from Rose

The best people in business development are problem solvers, first and foremost. Your  aim is to demonstrate how you can be be useful for your client, to help them achieve their aims. 

Make sure to check out our next ‘Better BD’, where we’ll dive into getting your campaign targeting right.

If you’re looking at developing an award winning BD strategy, book a meeting with Propeller here.