Enhance the Value of Business Development Research by Focusing on These 4 Critical Areas in the Sales Pipeline

22 February 2021 11:11

Business Development Research

Does business development face challenges because of a global pandemic? Yes, it does. As The Recorder notes, “There is no playbook, no instruction manual, no treatise to guide us through these uncharted waters”. We may not know when we’ll return to business as usual—or even what ‘usual’ will look like when we get there—but one thing is certain: Organizations will rely even more on insight-driving business development research to find promising opportunities for growth in an unprecedented time. How can you optimize your research process to do just that? We recently teamed up with Jinfo to create a hands-on Discovery Workbook that looks at where you can deliver measurable value by leveraging data and technology for business development. Read on for a quick preview.

Align business development research to your sales funnel

The silo mindset has been a business staple (and challenge) over the decades. But business development research needs to be a cross-functional undertaking. Analyzing your organization’s sales funnel puts you in a better position for identifying the types and sources of information needed. Where should you start?

If your company has a documented sales cycle, you can start there. If not, consider interviewing members of the business development team and any other stakeholders to document it yourself. Our workbook breaks the sales cycle down into four stages, including the questions that need to be answered at each stage:

  1. Landscape: What does our universe look like and how can we understand it, interact with it, and draw the attention of those who could be doing (more) business with us?
  2. Qualification: How do we narrow the field so that we can focus on the best possible prospects, customers, and relationships to achieve our sales goals?
  3. Propose: With a given customer, how do we design the right solution, maximizing the value of what we can offer?
  4. Close: Overcome any final objections, negotiate, and ultimately conduct a win/loss analysis to learn from history.

Clearly, the information needs at each stage will vary. That’s where deeper analysis comes in. Look at each stage critically and determine what specific data points are needed to make informed decisions. For example, successful work in the Landscape stage requires marketplace and competitive awareness, whereas the Proposal stage requires competitive analysis and in-depth company and executive information. When you can provide the right information at the right stage, you can truly quantify the value of your contributions in driving insights along the entire process.

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Consider how information should be delivered for maximum usefulness

The workbook also delves into an important aspect of sharing your business development research. Are you sharing in ways that provide the most value to the users?

While an in-depth report may show off the full scope of your research, it can also produce information overload. By analyzing the process and collaborating with the recipients of your research, you can provide precisely the information needed, whether that’s a detailed presentation, a visualization that provides at-a-glance insights, timely email alerts or data delivered directly into a CRM.

We’ve just scratched the surface of what is included in the workbook. Download your copy for more tips and fill-in-the-blank exercises that you can use to analyze your organization’s business development research needs and boost the value of the information you provide.

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