the Business Development is the essential process for any business. It helps ensure the stability and growth of sales over time. To do this, the manager or general management defines a commercial strategy which sets the objectives, the means and the tools to achieve them.
In BtoC (Business to Consumer) but also in BtoB (Business to Business), it is necessary to establish an effective business development approach. However, it is not the same process when targeting a consumer or a professional. Indeed, in B2B the buying journey is longer and based more on trust.
Do not panic ! We give you the keys and advice to develop an effective B2B business plan!
How important is business development?
We call Business Development all the strategies and tools put in place in order to grow a company in every sense of the word: turnover, notoriety, market share, visibility and employees.
Without a strategy to increase (or maintain) sales, a business cannot last. Indeed, if sales collapse, it is bankruptcy! The principle of commercial deployment is therefore to define a strategy and a commercial action plan consistent with the resources to ensure the long-term sustainability of the company.
Concretely, the stages of the implementation of the process are as follows:
- Define the commercial strategy (orientations, objectives to be achieved, resource allocations, etc.).
- Establish a business action plan (the roadmap to achieving goals).
- Train sales people (or yourself) on tools and software.
- Measure and adjust throughout the sales cycle.
These steps are similar in BtoB or BtoC. But it is in the implementation of actions that a difference occurs. So read the rest of the article to discover the specifics of B2B.
BtoB vs BtoC business development, what does that change?
Ultimately, what is the difference between B2B or B2C?
The sales process is not the same since in BtoC, your offer is aimed at the general public. The consumer is the sole actor in the purchase, from information gathering to the transaction. As a result, marketing techniques play more on impulse buying. Thus, the Brand content approach, where you highlight your brand through attractive visuals, to capture attention, is effective. The goal is to convert a lead into a customer by playing the emotional card. Can go is a great tool for designing professional and engaging content!
While for the BtoB market, it is not the same job. We are trying to establish a relationship of trust between professionals. The stakes and the needs are different since the sale constitutes an investment for a company (and not a consumption for an individual). In the next paragraph, we detail the points of this longer sales process.
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BtoB prospecting: a longer and more complex sales process
The sales process is longer since it can depend on several people who are part of different departments within the company. The decision-maker takes the time to take more information. To save time and make things simple, many companies prefer to invest in commercial outsourcing .
In BtoB prospecting , you have to play on several levers:
- Content marketing: through different visuals on your site (such as an article, portfolio, etc.) or on your social networks, you increase your visibility with potential leads, by providing them with free content that brings real value.
- People: exchanges are really at the heart of BtoB sales projects. Establishing a relationship of trust is essential know-how in this context of financial investment.
BtoB companies cannot simply play on the emotional side to find new customers. There are two things to consider:
- The prospect’s purchasing motivations: increase their turnover and improve their productivity.
- The level of trust he has in you.
Your goal is therefore to offer solutions to the specific problems that your prospect encounters, as well as to create a relationship of trust with him.
You want to know the actions and operations to implement to improve your commercial performance and make your company prosper? You’ve come to the right place since the rest of the article deals precisely with the procedure to be followed to achieve this.
The implementation of an effective commercial strategy
Set sales targets
Once you have carried out a market study, analyzed your competitors and their positioning in terms of prices, quality of services, means used to promote their brands and visibility, go on the attack by defining your own objectives. This is the starting point in setting up your business action plan. Indeed, the objectives are benchmarks to be reached and, ideally, to be exceeded. Without them, the very essence of your business deployment doesn’t make sense. In addition, it provides additional motivation because generally, who says reaching a goal, says bonus!
The indicators make it possible to define effective objectives. Generally, this is the turnover achieved the previous year, the customer satisfaction rate, loyalty rate, etc. The implementation of a measurement system ensures that you stay on course. Do not wait until the end of the year to adjust the actions if necessary.
Okay, but if it’s enough to just set goals based on metrics, why aren’t all companies super productive? In reality, it is a little more subtle than that… For it to be motivating and achievable, the definition of objectives must include several criteria. This is where the SMART method comes in.
The SMART method, ideal for achieving business goals
This method makes it possible to define objectives adapted to each one, so that they are more achievable. .
With the SMART method, each objective must be:
This approach is much more effective than it looks. It stimulates teams by presenting them with specific and achievable objectives. It is therefore a question of being more coherent with the realities on the ground. In order to make this even more concrete and to mobilize everyone, there is a second very powerful method: the OKR method.
The OKR method, focusing on the collective to achieve its objectives
OKR stands for objectives and keys results that is to say, objectives by key results. This method makes it possible to lead and manage teams. The business deployment manager can define sub-goals to help achieve the end goal in stages. When completed, they are called key results. These are indicators: from 70% success, you will reach your final goal!
The OKR method integrates each member of a team in the final mission. Employees, managers, administrative assistants, sales force, all are concerned by the objective and all strive to achieve it.
The OKR method is based on 3 main pillars:
- Objective: this is the final outcome. It must be ambitious but still achievable.
- Key result: this is the performance indicator. It allows you to know if your final goal has been reached.
- Initiative: it is the set of choices and strategies that you put in place in your sales process to achieve your objective. For example, you rely on direct or indirect prospecting: sending flyers, promoting on social networks, cold emailing … All the actions to be taken as part of your prospecting plan .
Successful business development by establishing relevant marketing strategies
Inbound and outbound marketing are two very distinct strategies to add to your communication plan .
Inbound marketing, approach your B2B prospects smoothly
The principle of inbound marketing is to bring prospects or customers to you in a natural way. It is therefore a question of attracting the customer to the company and not of imposing it in an intrusive way. This Marketing strategy receives positive results because it is the prospect who collects information from your various online media (website, social networks). The secret is to offer relevant content.
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80% of business decision-makers prefer to get information through articles than advertisements *! It is a way to “verify” your expertise in your field of activity. Also, don’t neglect customer recommendations. Indeed, customer satisfaction is also an essential criterion for a BtoB prospect to wish to collaborate with you.
Outbound marketing, promote your business loud and clear
Here it is a question of push its product or services towards its target by distributing it on a large scale: advertising on radio, TV, online, presentation of its company at trade shows, telephone canvassing, cold emailing, street marketing or even the famous door-to-door canvassing.
In outbound marketing, it is necessary to measure your promotion well so as not to have the opposite effect. Indeed, when a brand is too visible, the audience is less receptive because they are tired of hearing regularly about the same company. In addition, the use of advertisements may seem a little intrusive for some customers who now prefer to be involved in their purchase. Nevertheless, outbound marketing remains a lever to make oneself known to a large audience in which there are inevitably leads .
Do you want to generate an avalanche of qualified B2B prospect meetings? Take meeting with a Proinfluent expert for an audit of your business situation.
Loyalty of its B2B customers
A loyalty program to keep customers
When you find new customers, setting up a loyalty program is necessary to keep them. Beyond the transactional aspect, be a real partner of business with your customers. Offer them a free support service! This makes it possible to maintain a bond, to establish a solid trust and to make your collaboration last.
Do not neglect the level of quality of your services, a client who has had a positive experience with your agency:
- is always more inclined to start over (you retain him),
- and give a favorable opinion (you have recommendations).
More classic, a loyalty program is always a safe bet to ensure your growth. This can be done during the customer’s first purchase, i.e. the customer receives a discount on their next transaction.
To build customer loyalty in BtoB, it is necessary to maintain the customer relationship and establish a privileged link between you. For this, ensuring the training of the sales team and equipping yourself with a CRM tool are excellent choices.
Ok but what is a CRM?
A CRM (Customer RelationShip Management) or GRC (Gestion Relation Client) in French, is a single database for all salespeople in charge of customer relations. Thanks to him, exchanges are facilitated and reactive. Information relating to exchanges and projects between the company and the customer is centralized in the form of a customer file. Thus, each advisor has access to data, which facilitates customer relationship management. The use of these tools makes interactions smoother and sales are boosted!
How to do business development in BtoB? The complete guide: conclusion
Commercial development is essential for every business to last over time. Here are the ideas to remember for BtoB professionals:
- Keep in mind that the B2B client needs real trust before engaging with you. The purchase is not based on feelings and impulse, but rather on confidence as well as on reflection, the possible return on investment, the improvement of productivity …
- Set ambitious but achievable business goals using the SMART way. So that each member of the company is mobilized and that the results are positive, apply the OKR method!
- Set up marketing strategies: inbound and outbound marketing are an excellent combination between promoting your business, and enhancing it with qualitative content.
- Build customer loyalty with loyalty programs that provide additional customer satisfaction.
- Invest in training for your sales force (skills, know-how, software, etc.)
- Use tools like a CRM to centralize key information and take care of the customer relationship.
BtoB business development: to sum up in 4 questions
Comment développer un nouveau secteur commercial ?
To develop or renew a business sector, establish an effective action plan:
• Define objectives based on indicators, for this the SMART method is perfectly suited.
• Use the OKR method to animate and involve your teams to achieve the final goal.
• Set up an effective marketing strategy in order to obtain leads: inbound marketing, outbound marketing or both at the same time!
• Build customer loyalty and record all your interactions in a CRM.
Pourquoi faire du développement commercial ?
Business development is the very essence of business success. Thanks to him, she is constantly growing and exceeding her goals, bringing motivation and unwavering involvement to the teams. It is a set of strategies put in place to obtain concrete results. A business action plan must be developed in order to achieve its goal as effectively as possible.
Quelles sont les stratégies de développement ?
There are 4 main development strategies:
• Cost domination: offering products / services at a lower price than those of competitors.
• Differentiation: knowing how to distinguish yourself from your competitors.
• Innovation: bring out an innovative product / service or bring them up to date, so that they correspond more to current demand.
• Cooperation strategies: this involves cooperating with competition instead of confronting it.
Quelles sont les différentes stratégies commerciales ?
There are many business strategies but their goal remains the same: to propel the company and boost its performance. To define the one that best meets your expectations, take into account your main goal and the means you have to achieve it. Additional sales, the niche market, expanding or restricting its services, focusing on large volumes or even approaching large accounts. All of them are effective business strategies.
* Sources: Markentive.com