by Bill Hamilton, SJ&A
Many of our clients are resolved to conquering new territory this calendar year—expanding their customer footprint. We recommend using a small team of experienced people to manage business development efforts where your company does not currently have business. We call this Exploratory Teams.
This team “owns” the prospective client and manages all business development efforts in that agency. It is established when a company identifies a target agency or organization to explore. The team is not large, usually between four to eight people, and is led by an agency-experienced person who is a line manager or a professional business developer.
Operationally, the Exploratory Team’s first task is to develop and implement a “New Organization” Business Plan. This plan is a living document that structures collection and evaluation of information in order to determine the agency’s mission, goals and objectives and identify key decision makers and their priorities. The strength of the Exploratory Team lies in the members’ close working relationship with key players of the potential customer, enabling the team to identify problems quickly and to muster resources to solve those problems. Team members use those relationships to build or enhance their “business friendships.” As team members get to know their counterparts better, they learn more about the agency, its problems and its dreams.
The Exploratory Team meets frequently to discuss events and situations they have observed in the target market. They meet often with potential customers to enhance the customers’ knowledge of the company and to refine their own knowledge of the agency. Like the Customer Service Team, their close working relationship and concentration on the target agency enable them to develop a sound knowledge of the agency. It can take a year or more to get a team up to full operation; however, Exploratory Teams get better with age.
The team draws upon other people in the company to assist them. They bring in technologists to assist in analysis and prepare white papers or briefings. Business developers facilitate contacts and meetings and support the exploratory efforts. Most important, the team manages and coordinates all client-related business development operations so that there are no surprises or duplicate efforts.
Using Exploratory Teams to grow new and often strategic business can dramatically enhance the success of your overall business development efforts in 2016. Want to discuss business development teams and ways they could help you grow more rapidly? Contact me at (703) 642-5153 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.