Business development has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, and that rate of change is accelerating. In 1981, fresh out of college and eager to make my mark in the business world, I joined a small firm competing with ATT following the ATT/Bell divestiture. The extent of Business Development at the time consisted of networking, snail mail, phone calls and face to face appointments.
Fast forward to present day and you will find that much has changed regarding business development. The catalysts to this change are market disruptors that are changing the way we develop business. The primary disruptors are:
- Technological Disruptors
- Generational Disruptors
- Geographical Disruptors
We are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution, led by technology’s acceleration and the advent of artificial intelligence.
Those companies who rise to the challenge, will succeed.
The marketing mix has shifted significantly, as customer buying behaviors have moved to permission-based marketing. More than ever, branding, or your “Why” has become paramount. Simon Sinek prescribes that people do not buy “What you do”. They do however, buy “WHY you do it” Segmentation has become the norm and CRM has become essential as your front line sales team needs to embrace the customer experience by leveraging the brand and value proposition across multiple touch points.
Rapidly changing technology in combination with generational diversity in the marketplace has further complicated business development. There are now four generations in the marketplace, each with different buying habits depending upon their technology preferences. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z all cohabitate the work space. Making a connection with each generation is increasingly more challenging, yet critically important as we attempt to maximize the mediums to use and the messages to send.
Agile companies who anticipate these changes and align and integrate their Business development from Branding to Marketing to sales will prevail. Additionally, companies that leverage CRM technology to support their customer experience will benefit.