However, there are areas where external business development services can be utilised to more effectively drive revenues.
If you consider the business development process to include three key stages, finding, winning and retaining accounts, the areas where business development services work best are in the “finding” stage of the process.
Before we explore how a business development services firm can help, let’s quickly look at why you should consider using one:
1. Capabilities – be honest, how many management consultants like cold calling? Presenting to clients, yes, but actually cold calling – no way. The art of the rainmaker may sit well with senior partners who have a large black book, but for many smaller firms business development starts from a cold contact. This is one area where a business development services company will bring additional capabilities.
2. Positioning – for many smaller management consultancies, employing an external company to provide business development services can help with positioning with a prospect client. After all, if the senior partner is cold calling a prospect and dealing with their PA, what does that say? Isn’t it better to get your business development services firm to set up the meeting?
3. Efficiency – finally, for many management consultancies, using an external business development services firm is both more efficient and cost effective. Utilization and maximizing billing is the manta of many a successful consultancy. If it’s possible to get someone to do the work for you better and at less cost than your own billable time, doesn’t it make more sense?
So, if you are starting to think that business development services could be a good way to build your firm, the next question is what services should you be using?
There are three main areas where a business development services firm can be effective. These are:
1. Building your wish-list
These are all time-consuming activities that require specialist capabilities but limited expertise of your particular management consultancy discipline.
Building your wish list
Unlike referrals, which is traditionally what most management consultancies rely on, business development services firms are both outbound and targeted by nature. The good news is that you get to pick the accounts you want to work with. Your business development services company will work with you to build your wish list, identifying the correct contacts within the buying circle. This is a critical part of the business development process. It takes time, as perfect lists are seldom available to buy for many management consultancies.
As well as generating a target list, business development services firm will undertake research into both accounts and markets. The research includes monitoring relevant news, combing for trigger events and intelligence that can be leveraged to open doors within a targeted account. Again, this is an area, which is costly to perform in-house, and can be effectively outsourced to a business development services firm.
Finally, the task of getting that all-important “creeds meeting”; inevitably, it requires someone to pick up that phone. Even if you’re using a softer business development approach, such as running an event or researching for a “white paper” interview, the telephone is still the most effective method of contact and one where a business development services firm can add the most value. And let’s be honest, it the bit you really hate doing anyway, isn’t it?
So, if you are a management consultancy seeking to drive revenues, utilizing the expertise of a business development services company can be an effective approach to growing your firm.