Using Key Leadership Behaviours to Drive Business Development
We can draw upon the key leadership behaviours discussed in earlier articles to support our customers through the crisis and lead our teams to drive business development.
- Model the way with a human touch - Be person centred when communicating with customers and clients.
- Create a shared vision - Talk with your customers
and agree new expectations.
- Focus on solutions - Problem solve with your customers. Use your knowledge and skills to help their businesses survive and thrive.
Enable others to act virtually - Enabling the sales cycle and the delivery of services through utilising technology.
- Understanding customers’ mindsets - Try to understand what your customers are going through and what their challenges are to enable you to support them.
The disruption of the last few months has reshaped the landscape for sales, it has forced the use of new sales processes as we respond to the immediate challenges while putting a fresh new perspective on enduring sales trends.
Enduring Sales Trends
A McKinsey survey 2 into how sales have changed during COVID-19, provides insightful detail into how sales cycles are changing and how as a result we need to take a much longer-term view of sales performance in particular.
- 44% of sellers now expect their pipelines
to decrease in some way.
- 14% of those predict a significant decrease in
their customer pipelines or their client pipelines.
- 60% of sellers report that it now takes longer
to close deals.
- 55% of sellers expect to close fewer deals as
a result of the crisis.
- 60% of business to business customers in Europe had already cut their budgets as a result of the pandemic.
On a positive note;
- 90% of customers said that they would be willing to engage earlier if the challenge that they are facing was new, risky, or complex.
To stay ahead and continue to drive business development despite decreases in opportunities, budget cuts
and longer sales cycles we have to focus on longer
term measures including;
Communicating and demonstrating the true added value that we can deliver to our customers.
- Strengthening our customer relationships.
Using social media to drive a higher response rate
Gone are the days where we simply pick up the phone to make initial contact with a new prospect, now it is standard procedure to conduct research prior to making first contact with a potential customer. The use of social media and social networking platforms can assist us to step-up our research and reach out to a customer to begin building a relationship long before we pick up the phone.
- Research the relevant sectors and businesses and how COVID has impacted customers within those industries.
- Keep up-to-date with current affairs, the recent government announcements and how they might impact certain sectors of your market.
Using recommendations and reviews to attract opportunities
One third of customers in the UK 4 state that they are more likely to select a vendor when a seller is recommended by someone in their network. The fastest and easiest way to drive an increase in recommendations and reviews is to simply ask for them. The best time to request a recommendation or a review
is straight after delivering a value added service.
The same is true for Google reviews, LinkedIn recommendations and evaluations that collect
evidential data on the quality of your service.
How can data drive new approaches to planning?
Data is particularly relevant with so many uncertainties, unknowns and rapid changes happening around us,
one thing we can be sure of is accurate data.
With thorough planning and defined data capture processes, we can aggregate, govern and leverage data to provide valuable insights into past sales, performances and efforts as well as future forecasts.
The regular capturing and analysing of data ensure that we are always reviewing what is and what is not working in terms of customer interactions.
Competitor analysis can
highlight potential opportunities
Regular competitive analysis - identifying the strengths and the weaknesses of our competition, can help to identify trends, successful tactics, potential gaps and new opportunities in the market that might be underserved or not served at all.
Your competitor analysis should begin with finding out which key players have left the market, who is closed and who is open for business. Also research how your competitors service offerings or approaches may have changed and adapted in response to the pandemic.
- Check their websites. What are they promoting? Are they writing blog posts or thought leadership articles?
- Talk directly to your customers, who are they being called by and what are they being offered?
- Ignore your own biases. Let the data and the information gathered inform your decisions.
Data without action is useless. Make a strategic plan around your findings and execute that plan.
- Periodically revisit data and reconduct analysis.
As this last article in our Leadership in a Changed World series draws to a close, now is the time to move forwards, working as a collective and embracing your role as a leader in creating high performance environments and driving business development.
Communicate and engage through a shared vision.
- Understand what shared personal and professional challenges your team members are facing.
- Discuss those openly with a strong focus
on active coaching.
- Share key insights and innovations that can enhance the whole team’s conversations with their customers.
- Communicate and share your successes.