What Business Development Really Means

Author:

Lucia Piseddu
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Episode

103

What Business Development Really Means

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Lucia Piseddu

Founder at The BD School

The differences between sales development and business development seem to be as varied as the people who hold the roles.

It’s time to get to the bottom of what a BDR does best and the four traits that make one most successful.

Recently on B2B Revenue Acceleration, we spoke with Lucia Piseddu, Founder at The BD School, about the differences between sales development and business development.

The BD School, launched in February 2019, is the first educational platform entirely dedicated to business development. “We provide all the tools for business developers and startup founders to learn business development in a structured way, and become more effective at this job,” Lucia said.

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When we think about business development, there isn’t just one definition that everybody agrees on. But one thing is for sure, business development involves a lot more than just sales.

Lucia Piseddu – Founder at The BD School

SDRs vs. BDRs in B2B Tech

In this B2B tech world, there seems to be completely different terminology and definitions for BDRs and SDRs, LDR or MDRs… Everyone is trying to segregate the different functions of this individual. There isn’t right or wrong with the definition, as long as the company is aligned on what it stands for and what the responsibilities are. 

Lucia’s goal, as Founder of the BD School  is to be an ambassador for her company in explaining why business development is much bigger than what people may think.

She also separates sales development from business development: “When we think about business development, there isn’t just one definition that everybody agrees on. But one thing is for sure, business development involves a lot more than just sales.”

Lucia says: ”When sales just renamed itself to business development with the exact same goals of closing deals, the negative perception of sales started to rub off of business development, too.

This is how Lucia  perceives the difference between them, especially in a Start-up environment:

Sales Development

  • Focused on closing the deals
  • Has a precise customer profile
  • Contacts many prospects at scale

Business Development

  • Focused on finding opportunities
  • Has a loose ideal customer profile
  • Invested in company’s sustainable growth

“As a business developer, what you’re doing is actually to find new ways to grow the company,” Lucia said.

Her research and strategy showed that the first challenge was to define that business development is just not about calling the client but it’s about creating new processes and tasks that are meant to grow the company with long-term value.

Once business development has an ideal customer profile, it asks what else can be done to grow the company besides just gaining clients.

“That’s really the mindset shift that makes all the difference,” Lucia said.

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As a business developer, what you’re doing is actually to find new ways to grow the company.

Lucia Piseddu – Founder at The BD School

More than emails

One big surprise that Lucia discovered with a survey of BDRs was how involved they get in assessing product-market fit. There are some types of business developers that only speak to prospective customers to understand if there would be a fit for their product in the market. They then feed that back to the product development team that can work on further developing their solution

And there are some business developers that only work on opening up new markets.

And there are some that are very sales-focused. It’s such a complex field.

“My idea is that most of the time, we’re actually wasting talent,” Lucia said. BDRs could have the job of just setting meetings for AEs… or they could come up with new ways to find opportunities.

Lucia sees the ideal position of BDR as residing between the sales team and the growth team. For example, she campaigned to launch a webinar in 2017 as a way to sell software — and it worked.

“Let me use my creativity,” she said. “This new stuff comes from observing what’s happening around you, which is a big part of the job of the business developer.”

BDRs are so much more than sending emails and making calls, and we need to recognize the potential of these members of our team.

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Creativity, learning agility, adaptability, and persistence. So if you have CLAP in you, then you can make it.

Lucia Piseddu – Founder at The BD School

What makes a great business development professional?

After gathering data from over 1,000 business developers, as well as her own experience in the BDR role, Lucia found four essential traits that make the acronym CLAP:

1. C – Creativity

Good business developers are very creative in order to come up with new growth opportunities. Most managers want proactive business developers who excel at thinking outside of the box.

2. L – Learning Ability

As a business developer, you need to love learning. A big part of the job is to be attentive, curious, and investigative.

3. A – Adaptability

Without adaptability, we don’t move forward. But especially in business development, you need to be able to bring value to all the different people you reach, both internal and external.

4. P – Persistence

Persistence is key. Whenever you’re starting something new, you’re never going to convince anyone in just one email, one call, or one handshake. You need to build up trust over time with persistence by simply contacting people as long as it’s needed.

“This one’s creativity, learning agility, adaptability, and persistence. So if you have CLAP in you, then you can make it,” Lucia said.

Get in touch with Lucia on LinkedIn or at theBDSchool.com.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

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At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

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Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

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The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

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Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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