Initiatives left to chance do not work out successfully. To be successful, you must adequately prepare, plan, and implement. You check at the plan every now and then and ask how everything is going on. But how to create the best business development plan suited to your business? This article shows the essentials of creating the best business development plan for your business.
You’re likely to lose a match if you don’t have a plan and a way to track how you’re progressing. Similarly, running a business is a game, with full of challenges, ups and downs and success as a goal.
The previous post on sales cycle management led you through the process of developing your offer. When your offer is ready, you may begin developing your business development plan. This post helps you in focusing on the factors most important to business success. So that you can create a strategy tailored to your business, beginning with your current situation and ending on where you intend to be the next year. It is a short-term strategy since it focuses tangible actions above long-term objectives.
Having a high-level business development plan in place allows you to evaluate your performance, measure progress toward goals, and determine what works and what doesn’t. Your strategy will centre on managing business development. In practice, you employ specific strategies to achieve your objectives and decide what works best for you.
Focusing on creating Business Development Success
The goal of business development plan is achieving your business goals often known as objectives or whatever you call them. It is therefore the process of gaining growth by getting profitable new customers while expanding business opportunities with the existing customers.
Business development plan is primarily future focused. Prioritise tasks that provide long-term rewards while dealing with today’s priorities, even the crises of the moment. In order for your business to flourish, you must plan well, set clear goals, and work hard every day to attain them.
On-the-fly business development is ineffective.
You must find a way to prioritise business development while also making time for the tasks that must be addressed every day, systematically. Your business development efforts must be integrated into your regular operations. You must begin measuring in order to sustain forward movement.
If you say ‘now what?’ means you have no control or focus on the issues. You must adjust your focus from ‘now what?’ to ‘what will bring me to my goal?’
Remember to include the following aspects into your business development plan.
If you have all of these components, you build your business by design, not by chance.
Your strategy enables you to understand what to accomplish next, prioritise what’s important, minimise unimportant work, exclude things that don’t contribute to your goals, and identify which approaches are effective.
Understanding your goal
Without knowing where you’re going is a worst scenario. You know you need to be somewhere, but you’re not sure where. That is why you must include short-term objectives in your strategy. It’s about the kinds of goals that can be measured and used to get outcomes rapidly.
Maintain verifiable, ideally measurable goals. It means that it can be quantified in terms of numbers such as revenue, workforce, customers, and sales funnel size, so that when you analyse your performance, you know whether or not you met a specific target. Avoid qualitative objectives such as ‘enhance the methodology.’ Instead, provide quantitative targets such as “by such and such date, all staff members must be trained on the new methodology.”
Do not mix goals, such as where you want to be in the future by a certain date, with metrics, such as statistics that tell you if your company is growing. One strategy is to see if you can break your goals down into milestones, such as, ‘If I reach so and so revenue by the end of June, I’ll be on target.’
Having a winning Plan
Use a total revenue goal while creating your business development plan. Of course, you can substitute your own goals. Your goals need not have to be numerical. They can also be various types of goals, such as ‘develop a successful partnership with ABC Co.’. When converting from goal to metric, identify the verifiable parts of your goal, such as “3 joint presentations this year with ABC Co,” and then define monthly or quarterly targets.
When coming to revenue, break it into year wise monthly revenue milestones. If you accomplish each milestone, you will reach your goal. Make your goals reasonable but with a bit of flexibility, just a little more than you think you can do. After all, if the money side works, the business will as well. Also keep track of your profit, both gross and net.
Create a plan to help you track revenue from new clients as well as from the existing ones separately. Also, search for ways to improve performance in both. This planning exercise will help assess your progress. Factors will undoubtedly influence your planning if you have a big number of repeat consumers. In this instance, your strategy will almost certainly differ from that of someone with fewer, shorter-term customers. Simply modify your strategy as needed.
Where and how to Begin Planning
On the most fundamental level, you must review your most recent 12 months of performance. Set a monthly goal for the next 12 months based on your previous year’s results, elevating the monthly targets slightly above the previously reached outcomes.
Examine your past few years’ revenue records and analyse your revenue ups and downs in terms of percentage. If you notice say you have a 10 percent growth rate, you may like to put a target to achieve 15 percent growth rate. Have a minimum of 12 months of forecasted revenue. Consider those monthly predictions to be milestones along the route to your goals.
Next, determine where all of that money will come from. Will it come from existing customers and your existing buying pipeline, or from new customers? Take each of these revenue streams one at a time.
List your present contracts. Then evaluate each customer to see if they are likely to generate additional work. When you’re confident that you now have a deal, serious new possibilities of potential deals, forecast revenue across the months from existing clients as much as possible. Likewise, do not however forget to include any previous customers with whom you may not be working at the moment but also have possibilities of new opportunities from them. Keep the customer management team in charge of the goal by tracking client opportunities with your scheduled business. These prospects, along with potential new clients, should most likely be included in your daily pipeline management for sales tracking.
The pipeline is the list of prospects that are considering your products/services and are in the Propose/Proposals or even contract stages of the sales cycle discussed in earlier post. Bring this into your sales funnel pipeline. If you already have a method for tracking your pipeline, such as a sales management system like Salesforce, you can use the data from those sources.
Pipelines typically indicate the total projected estimate, but not necessarily month wise as it is only an estimate till the work is expected to be completed. So, in addition to estimating total sales for each prospect along with the month wise completion, and forecast revenue for those months (s). Your ability to forecast future revenue grows more accurate over time. You can see the big picture with goals, milestones, customer projections, and prospect projections. Consider it your dashboard, and keep a close eye on it.
You should look for month-to-month growth in addition to year-to-year growth. Build those peaks and slacks into your planned numbers if your business is seasonal, that is, if you have predictable trends as to when you are busy and when you have some slack year round. Make an informed guess about the length of your sales cycle.
Metrics are actual numbers that provide information about your company’s growth. You should set them as values, distinct from goals, which you expect to reach. Metrics are usually calculated in terms of percentage or a ratio. If you can divide a number into separate milestones, it’s most likely a goal rather than a metric. For example, increasing your sales by 5% this year is a goal, whereas sales increased by 3% is a metric used to measure growth over time. Goals change from year to year, but metrics do not.
Here are some usual metrics to track as examples for your grasping.
You can use many more. Choose which ones work best for you and reveal them. Have everyone commit to work for achieving the targets in terms of metrics.
Creating your plan blueprint
While your business is going on, you may not be assessing where you are now and what you need to be. Making metrics and assessing them diligently is indeed the most efficient method for your company’s future and growth. It gives direction to everyone else’s actions in your business. But because you are eager to get right away, here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a simple 3-6 month plan. You could indeed create a longer-term strategy once your short-term strategy is in place.
First step is to review customers
First and foremost, understand how and where your customers originated. Examine your customer database from the previous few years to see where your customers came from. This can help you determine whether they came from your own contacts, referrals from customers or employees, or other stakeholders. Perhaps you met the customers at an event. You may have also gained customers online, through your website, cold calls, or emailing or mailing.
Don’t stress if you don’t have prospect data. Simply begin gathering that information in the future. For the time being, understand where your successes or losses came from and, in the short term, focus your efforts on the most fruitful sources.
The sources that have worked for you in the past may no longer be effective in the long run. In the short term, say this year, concentrate on your top sources while experimenting with other channels.
Customers from identified sources
Second, how much of your revenue comes from the sources you’ve identified? This percentage must be calculated based on the number of customers who come from each source. Count the amount of money earned out of each origin. Plan your future investment in those sources.
For example, if referrals accounts for say 50% of your business, you should court those contacts and add new ones in a systematic manner in the short term. Thank them for their assistance with lunch or in any other way you see fit. Always send them a gift or whatever you can afford or think of whenever they refer you. Inform them about the types of leads you seek.
Or you can offer certain incentive say 5% of the value of the order to your referrals let them be your employees, stakeholders, customers and so on. You can think of varying the incentive as you choose to attract more business. Selling to a new customer is rather not easy compared to selling to the existing customer. Similarly selling to a referral is easier than selling to a cold lead. Spend time deciding where to concentrate, and then stick to your decision. If you haven’t seen a deal for time being, don’t make rash decisions.
Get creative and experiment with ideas. Don’t dismiss sources that provide a good number of leads. If you decide to experiment with a new source or strategy, treat it as a test and closely monitor its effectiveness, to see if it increases the number of opportunities. As you progress, you can devise a strategy to eliminate or reduce non-productive resources, improve low-productive resources, maximise high-productive resources, and introduce new resources, all while monitoring.
The numbers tell you as if your business’ performance is satisfactory. If you have some system of tracking, such as a CRM, it enables to know the performance quickly. Tracking the effectiveness of a specific strategy allows you to know whether or not you’re on track, allowing you to go across each tactic and see the specifics that go beyond the numbers. You can evaluate the efficacy of your marketing and sales strategy.
Without tracking, there is less transparency, employees are less motivated to participate in their initiatives, and outcomes fall or even vanish. Your workforce wastes the time. Consider including a goal-attainment incentive. The combination of metric and incentive is powerful, so use both. Think of paying for results as well. Humans have the ability to lie about their activities, but if you track them properly, they will become alert.
Decide what and how to monitor based on your strategies. Take into account revenue tracking, as well as cold calls. Here analyse the numbers of calls, discussions, and converters to prospects from leads. Also analyse sales pipeline – the number of opportunities, average size of deals, and closed deals. Have a visible dashboard, either a physical board or online, to know a clear picture of how things are progressing.