THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND SALES

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND SALES
The objectives of business development have not changed: building relationships, attracting new customers, opening new markets, and business growth.

But the strategies, execution, areas of knowledge, and skills
required include new approaches to content, programs, and tools.
Specifically a business development leader has the following responsibilities:
- Defining the business you are in and how to position it in your market
- Identifying customer pains and needs
- Articulating your value proposition against those pains and needs
- Understanding what your customer wants to know at each decision stage during their buying process
- Prioritizing how to use customer intelligence to connect with your markets and generate more business
- Evaluating and reporting on performance
Along with management and pitching skills.
The objectives of business development have not changed: building relationships, attracting new customers, opening new markets, and business growth. But the strategies, execution, areas of knowledge, and skills required include new approaches to content, programs, and tools. Specifically a business development leader has the following responsibilities:
- Defining the business you are in and how to position it in your market
- Identifying customer pains and needs
- Articulating your value proposition against those pains and needs
- Understanding what your customer wants to know at each decision stage during their buying process
- Prioritizing how to use customer intelligence to connect with your markets and generate more business
- Evaluating and reporting on performance
Along with management and pitching skills.

When you think about the function of business development, it should be thought of as a marketing function. Yes, there are some soft sales skills (qualification, negotiation, etc.) that are necessary to become a good business development professional, but at the end of the day, it’s a marketing function.

Simply stated, the function of sales is to sell directly to the end customer. The function of business development is to work through partners to sell to the end customer, in a scalable way.

Scalability is the differentiator. It allows a company to use pre-existing sales teams or communities that a partner has developed to reach new audiences. Sales is very much an equation of capacity, which is why sales teams tend to grow so large. Business development teams, on the other hand, are typically very small, maintaining their small size by working through existing partner infrastructures. The art of business development comes in identifying partners that fit that description, while finding a way to provide value to the partner’s end customer and business.

Sales = Transactions. Sales is responsible for selling a specific product or service, with a clear price and value to an identifiable customer.
Business Development: Identifies and executes NEW areas of business (e.g. new markets, new distribution channels, new products) typically through the use partnerships between another company and an internal department.

The focus is both on the new (atypical) and interaction/collaboration with external partners who are not customers (potential customers, maybe, but not sales prospects). Once it is no longer new and becomes a repeatable kind of business, then it transitions to another part of the company (sales, marketing, product dev, engineering).

For Business Development, the goal is not a sales transaction: Business Development is not (formally) empowered to sell a product directly to a customer or customers (otherwise they would be competing with the Sales team).

Business Development should never be dealing with the sale of existing products to existing (identifiable) customers, no matter how large the revenue opportunity – sales does that. Nor should business development be setting up distribution channels – this is a marketing function.

For instance, when Amazon decided to add online movies to it’s product offerings: Initially this was a business development role because of a brand new area of business – with a new business model, new distribution, etc. that required an external partner(s) working with internal Amazon departments. Bizdev would be coordinating the internal/external activity until all had the licensing terms fleshed out, pricing, marketing strategy, created a new area of the site with new kinds of distribution … once that all happens it is standard business, and then out of the hands of bizdev and then- driven by marketing, sales, product etc.

A Sales Executive (probably not a role that should formally exist in a pure online / ecommerce company) would either focus on ’big ticket’ sales that have requires the longest 1-1/face to face selling cycle, and/or manage other sales personnel.

For instance, at a car dealership: The Sales Executive might manage the floor sales personnel (deciding commissions policy etc) while also being the person to negotiate a deal with a large business to buy 50 vehicles for use as company cars.

Be wary of folks who take the stance of defining these (or any) terms loosely, as they please. Sure it’s perfectly acceptable and common for companies to combine the roles – but a Business Development professional from one company doesn’t want to find himself in discussions with another ”Bizdev Exec” only to find out that it is really a sales-call.

In the traditional sense, sales is a function where the end result is cash. In business development, the end result is a new channel for sales to occur in. So, a salesperson gets a check, and a business development person opens pathways and partnerships that salespeople will take advantage of to get more sales.

Sales is Transactional – Business Development is Relational: Sales is about push-push , meeting quotas, dealing with the sales funnel and using CRM systems etc with the primary goal of getting a deal. The focus is very much on what the seller is selling, preferably sold on an ”as is” basis. In contrast, business development is more about creating value for the customer. The Seller ( or Business Development Executive- if you prefer) is trying to really understand the customer’s problem and see if the seller’s product might be a good solution.

Business Development is Solution Selling: Business Development really puts the customer first. The focus is on understanding customer needs and adapting the product or service to meet those needs, i.e. provide a solution. The solution gets better better over time as the seller’s organization gets better at understanding the needs and goals of the buyer organization. And the buyer organization better understands the seller’s capabilities.

Business Development builds trust, commitment=loyalty: Not that you can sell if the buyer does not trust you. But since the business development orientation is all about a focus on the customer’s needs and problems , a business development approach helps the buyer organization trust you. Upon dealing with your organization for a while there is commitment that builds up on both sides. Mutual loyalty results in ongoing business,new projects and happy referrals.

Business Development is longer sales cycles: In sales there is a mantra to identify customers that goes something like: ”Need,Now and have Budget.” In other words, focus on immediate prospects for whatever you are selling. Business Development takes a longer term view starting with need that is at least latent and building the relationship from there on.

Business Development CRM is different from a sales call list: Today’s technology i.e. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions take the longer sales cycle Business Development approach. So after a first meeting, you enter details in the system so that you can follow up in a timely fashion, particularly when multiple people from the sales organization are talking with multiple people in the buyer organization.

Tokunbo Akeredolu-Ale is a Masters holder in Information Technology and Project Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and Project Management College (UK) respectively. A Chartered Loan & Business Risk Consultant, Full Member Of The Chartered Institute Of Loan & Risk Management Of Nigeria, Chartered Member (C.ITP) of the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria and currently CEO at Omnibus Accenture Company Limited RC: 950816.

An Enterprise Development Consultant that combines personal business experience, & capabilities across varying sectors, collaborating with clients to help them become more efficient people, businesses and institutions.

Over the years, He has been able to show small business owners, managers and the self-employed persons in Nigeria how to use efficient business & management solutions to grow their business. I have also shown a number of business owners how to free up their time and radically shift their Entrepreneurial thinking. He combines successful enterprise solutions, business strategies, sustainable performance management, and Integrated Marketing techniques with powerful developments in Advanced Thinking to show any business owner how to sharpen their mind and strengthen their business.

Tokunbo Akeredolu-Ale
Bsc MIT MPM C.ITP CILRM
CEO Omnibus Accenture Co.

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