I was having a catchup with one of my clients at a Dee Why Beach Cafe.
We were reviewing their last Online Marketing Campaign, What we learnt from it. - What we could do better & did it reach their desired Outcome they wanted to achieve.
What are the next steps to Automate and scale this bad boy?
So as we’re chatting away. My client, let’s call him Peter, ask me a slightly off topic Question.
I believe this a good question, with relevance to your business.
Does my Business Need to get a BDM?
So Peter goes "Does my Business Need to get a BDM?" “I feel like I’m missing out on Getting more business. So I’m wondering. If I should consider getting a BDM Business Development Manager to help me grow my business”
He starts explaining “I've noticed a lot of my competitors have now gotten a BDM & I don’t want to miss out.”
So he asks me “So Rowan from your experience when you worked as a BDM, What would you look for? Do you think a BDM would be able to add any value or help me grow my business?”
I replied “it’s been a while since I worked as a BDM in the Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing space. If I had to guess I’d say it’s been at least 10 years since I was a BDM.”
I spent 9 years developing new business, generating new sales leads & growing sales, & revenues as an Architectural Metalwork, Laser Cutting & Signage BDM.
The Reason I stopped being a BDM because I set up Cashflow Copywriting & Marketing which morphed into Getting More Customers.
So I told Peter “I’m a bit rusty on what’s involved in being Business Development Manager nowadays, but I’m happy to share my approach, which landed plenty of major accounts.
So you could say I had some runs on the board.
Just to make sure we're talking about the same thing, I thought it would be a good idea to explain what BDM Does.
What Are the Main Responsibilities for a BDM?
So you want to be a BDM?
Robert Water Recruitment UK
But you’ll more than likely be looking to identify new markets, new partnerships, new ways to reach existing markets, or new product or service offerings to better meet the needs of existing markets. And then you’ll be expected to use these opportunities to bring in more revenue.
Most business development managers will be expected to:
- Generate leads and cold calling prospective customers...
- Develop opportunities in target markets with the support of marketing...
- Nurturing and developing relationships with key customer accounts...
- Attending face-to-face meetings with clients...
- Providing specialist advice on the products and/or services you’re selling...
Now we know what a BDM does, it's time to see if there's any demand for BDM's or is my client just jumping at shadows.
I did a search on Job sites, to see if there was a demand for BDM’s
Look how many businesses are Looking for BDM's
Seek had 29,402 BDM Roles in Australia
Indeed 1,147 BDM, Account managers in Sydney
Jora has 37,009 BDM Jobs in Sydney in last 30 days
Clearly, businesses believe they need BDM’s but are they relevant & do they provide value Today?
So to get back to the question.
Does my Business Need to get a BDM?
To answer my clients burning question, I need to do this in 2 parts.
So in the first part, I need to share my experience as a Business Development Manager.
Then we need to look how the BDM role has changed & whether they still add value to the sale.
But why was I successful? What did I do that was different than most other BDM's?
Now I admit, I approached being a BMD, from a marketers point a view.
In those 9 years, I saw a lot of BDM & Sale Executives come & go. A large number burning out & giving up because it got too hard.
Looking back at my time as BDM, I can say I enjoyed being a BDM. I worked with Engineers, Architects, Project Managers, Contract Managers & other Stakeholders showing them how services could save them time & money & get them a better result.
My BDM’s skills & the processes I created were transferable across a wide range of Companies in the Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing Industries.
I had 3 big advantages as a BDM
- My insatiable curiosity,
- Finding patterns in data & leveraging it
- I knew how to Creating Marketing systems.
I was a great believer in the Quote by Peter Drucker the father of business consulting.
The Purpose of Business
" Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation. "
So most BDM’s & Sale Executives would hit the phones & pound the pavements, trying to get in front of a prospect.
In the early days I can remember having to fulfil my activity Report, Where they tracked How many phone calls did I make?, How many appointments did I get? Etc. It was a numbers game make 100 phone Calls get 5 appointments if you were good.
I seem to recall some so-called wise Sales manager saying they could train a monkey to do this. Just pick the phone & ring.
Just put this way I could not think of anything more painful, boring & less effort than just cold calling business on the off chance they might want to talk to you.
It’s no wonder so many BDM’s fall by the wayside.
So I had to put my nose to grindstone & keep picking up that damn phone until I could find a better way.
So it’s been close to 19 years since a chance meeting changed the way I approached being a Business Development Manager.
The funny thing is I can’t even remember his name, but the sample he gave me, which he was selling, changed everything.
Ok Just in case you’re thinking Oh No! Not another Jack in the Beanstalk Magic Beans Tale. Fear not.
There was no special magic having these samples because any business could try them for free. The real magic was working out how to leverage these samples.
Did everything change overnight? Of course not. But it made think of ways I could use it.
So what was this product which revolutionised the way marketed & developed new business?
This sales rep gave a couple of back issues of Cordell Weekly Construction Report. These reports were printed and posted every week.
I couldn't find any images of Cordell Weekly Construction Report, on the Web. But did manage to find an explanation of the report from the Wayback Web Archive in 2001
Weekly Construction Reports
Weekly Construction Report
Robert Water Recruitment UK
Medium sized businesses mostly require information relevant to a wider range of business needs which can be used by a number of people in the firm. The management and control features of the Cordell Weekly Construction Report make it the ideal solution.”
“The "bread and butter" of Cordell’s range of products, there are 110 different weekly construction reports available throughout the country. They cover the primary categories of Commercial, Community, Industrial, Civil Engineering, Flats and Units and Mining. In some states, these categories can be combined and the focus then placed on purchasing specific regions or stages - the stages, of course, being Planning, Tenders and Construction. These reports begin with an index of projects covered and are easily managed because of the high quality perforated paper used. Projects researched are usually from $100,000 and up.”
So here’s the rub I’ll going share how I used these reports & the lessons you can take away & apply to grow your business.
So every Thursday I’ll get 30 to 50 Page Construction Report with somewhere from 200 - 350 Projects.
You could say this was my favourite day of the week.
I take the report & go through it a highlight pen.of every project which I believed we had the potential to work with.
Then I would type the project info, as well contact details of all the players' Architects, Developer, Engineer, Builder, add them to Database I first started loading the data into Act, Goldmine, Then Salesforce. Today this is much easy & less time consuming because now you get access online database, so now you can import the digital projects & the stakeholders straight in your CRM.
In the early days, I’d spit out Expression of Interest for Architectural Metalwork & Signage by fax to everybody on the project. It was such a buzz when I worked out to email these out.
Everytime a project got updated I was building more actionable data which I could act on.
I allocated a scoring system for each project, so when Reached level it moved into the next follow up system & I schedule an appointment to drop off stainless steel Sample so they could touch & feel it in their own hands...
The reason I got the business because I was reaching all the people involved at an early stage, usually before they even realised they needed our products & services for their construction projects. I after meeting these people and educating them on how we could add value to projects, you’d be surprised how many asked to write the specification for their Tender Documents.
Here’s the tip if your product or service gets specified in a tender, it gives you a massive advantage over your competition.
Let me give you an example of how this works.
A lot of these engineers & Architects would ask for cut out Aluminium shapes for their projects. They really wanted the look of Stainless Steel but did not think they could afford Stainless Steel so they’d settle for Aluminium.
We had a Amada Laser Cutter for Stainless Steel
So one of the companies I was a BDM for manufactured Architectural metalwork & Signage. Our big advantage we had one of the first Armada Nitrogen Assist Gas Lasers rather than usual using oxygen Model. So because nitrogen is an inert gas when the laser cut the stainless steel instead of the edge getting carbonised it polishes the steel our laser when we were cutting up to 10mm thick Stainless Steel. In fact, we could cut Stainless Stell cheaper than we could cut aluminium. & here’s the real kicker they really wanted Stainless stell so we showed them how they could get it while paying less than Aluminium.
That’s what I call a slam dunk because I understood their pains, frustration & desires & help them to get their desired outcome.
So why may be asking why this worked so well.
Most of the heavy lifting was done by the marketing before I showed up as a BDM. They were already sold on using Stainless Steel I just had to show them, how they
My marketing was tapping into the conversation going on in their head, stirring up emotional feelings.
Status - The Architects & Engineers knew they would look better in their client's eyes if they could deliver Stainless steel rather aluminium Architectural metal work
Sleek Stainless steel Pipes & Vats - Source - crystal-kwok-487022-unsplash
Within a couple of months, I had this system up and cranking out qualified Leads who were convinced they wanted to use Stainless Steel & could fit it into their budget. So I stopped cold calling because I only spoke qualified buyers.
Sure it took a bit of time going through WEEKLY CONSTRUCTION REPORTS, yet this was time well spent. I started seeing patterns. Architects, Builders, Engineers & Project Managers don't work in isolation. Their running multiple projects & have their favourite preferred people they like working with.
So I was no longer stuck trying to churn out a 100 phone calls a day hoping I'ld find somebody even slightly interested in our products.
My goal was to have 7 conversations a day Because I took the time to understand their projects & the interactions between all the players.
I would rather build a relationship than just pounding the pavement, hoping I find someone may be interested in my products or services.
So will this still work for Todays BDM's?
To a degree, most of my methods I used as a BDM still work, except now these conversations are taking place on the internet.
Check out or latest Guide "So Why Don't They Buy From You?"
So this is where Part 2 of my answer, comes into play.
"Has the BDM role changed & do they still add value to the sale?"
When I was a BDM, we had the knowledge which potential customers needed to make an informed purchasing decision. Our job was to educate & persuade why they should buy our products or services. BDM's & Salespeople had the power and consumers relied on us to gain the knowledge of the right product.
It's fair to say Some BDM's & salespeople used some shonky, dear I say Shady tactics to manipulate into buying their crappy product.
These sneaky unethical, hoodwinking tactics left a bad taste and a dirty cloud of suspicion. So instead of relying on BDM or Salesperson to guide them, they take responsibility & do their own research on the internet.
The Harvard Business Review summed it best:
The Harvard Business Review summed it best:
Harvard Business Review
Customers don't need you
" The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to... "
Check out what these other Business Authorities Say...
Just so you don't think this some random fad, check what these other business Authorities had to say on this matter.
Let's face it. Buyers are more educated, so much smarter & empowered today, with access to the internet. The web provides them with instant information overload.
Within a couple of flicks of their thumbs, they can get detailed specs, pricing, and reviews of your products or services on their mobile 24/7.
90% of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews... Source - Ciceron
If they're looking for products & services which has any savvy marketers, then going to get bombarded with relevant ads on social media.
So let's assume they find your website from a Google search. Because you provided relevant useful, educating information to your web visitors. Or you just pay to bring them to your site.
So what happens if they manage to get to your site?
Do they leave disappointed, without taking any action like up to 93% of web visitors... Or do they find a compelling reason to stick around and engage with your content?
Average Website Conversion Rates, By Industry...
Average Website Conversion Rates, By Industry...
Most websites would be lucky if they got a 7% average website conversion rates according to a Study by MarketingSherpa.
We could try to get into a deep & meaningful discussion, on what is the definition of website conversion.
A conversion rate can refer to any goal a marketer has, from the sale of a product to a lead form fill, newsletter subscription or free-trial software download.
So if we take the average 7% that means 93% of visitors are leaving your website without taking action.
You now have access to the tools to market to 93% leaving your website...
The Numbers Don't Lie...
Most business owners I work with believe they suffer from a traffic problem, which impacts their conversion.
Yet when you dig a deeper, web traffic & getting them to convert is only a symptom for not having a solid & reliable marketing funnel.
The numbers don't lie, most businesses compete for 2-7% of those who will take action in the first 7 days. So these are the most expensive people to reach.
To make real money you want to engage in the 35% to 45% who take action in the next 90 days.
So the goal is to find & start a conversion with 35% to 45%, adding value, till they are ready to take action.
The reason most businesses struggle to get new customers because they keep making offers to cold prospects.
If you're website does provide content to nuture your prospect then you're fighting for the crumbs. That's a slim 2-10% chance of getting them to take action, then these are poor odds for winning the business.
Just because they're searching does not mean, they will take action straight away.
It's no wonder the conversion numbers are so low.
So you see, by the time your BDM finds out or gets this lead, it could be too late. They've done their homework, they have at least an idea of a solution to their problem.
The first viable vendor to reach a decision maker & set the buying vision has a 74% average close ratio... Source - Forrester
So you need your website to attract qualified leads, educate & nurture them, only then do you have a chance of converting them to customer.
You will soon see that by providing a ton of value, effective communications with your audience. So you need to build your online marketing processes in a very strategic way. Then you can get your message out to your ideal customers, looking for a solution.
Your website content allows you to build relationships with people who need your service, & are looking for a solution.
You will be able to do this because you will be sending the Right Message to the Right People using the right media. So you will generate high-quality traffic, & convert those visitors into profitable customers.
Your goal is getting your customers to come knocking at your door again & again.
The purpose of your marketing must be to move your prospect closer to take action.
Are you still Making your Salespeople Cold Call
So instead of getting your BDM's & Salesperson to churn out hours of pointless cold calls, Just stop it now. You are wasting your time & money.
Just so you see how bad this is. Your BDM would need to make more than 1,600 calls to generate 5 Sales meetings. Now that's what I call waste.
So instead of wasting your limited valuable resources on getting your BDM to pound the pavement knocking on doors. Invest in an online marketing system that will educate & nurture your prospects until their ready to talk to your BDM.
So the good news is, if you know how to find the right people and send them the right messages, you will have less business competing with you. Your business will capture a larger share of the marketing, making more sales, larger profits and save you money as well.