The key is to have a written business development activity plan that outlines how you are going to achieve your targets for the year ahead.
If you don’t have a plan, I highly recommend that you develop one ASAP.
Without a plan, the chances are that you will be too busy dealing with existing clients or sponsors to undertake the required amount of new business development activity to achieve your targets.
However, if you have a robust and realistic plan, you will gain clarity, focus and confidence for the year ahead (the words of a client whose plan I just helped develop).
Key elements of the plan
The plan need only be one page. Keep it simple.
It should outline the activities month by month that will enable you to identify and attract sufficient quantities of your potential clients or sponsors.
Quantities that, based on your prospect to meeting to client conversion ratios, will enable you to achieve your targets.
Break your activities into four categories:
1. Personal channels
This is where you are going to go to meet prospects face to face and begin to develop relationships (an important part of business development) examples include networking events and conferences.
2. Non Personal channels
This is the media (magazines, websites and newspapers) that you will read and view daily, weekly and monthly to identify prospects.
3. Marketing activities
Here I am referring to traditional marketing activities such as advertising, direct mail, exhibiting and newer forms of marketing such as the use of social media and Search Engine Optimisation.
4. Attraction activities
These are activities such as speaking, writing and hosting events that allow your prospects to experience the benefits of what you can offer (the most effective form of marketing).
Outline your prospect to client conversion ratios
Based on your experience of each activity, outline the anticipated number of prospects, meetings and clients that will be generated in each category e.g.
1. Personal channels – 30 prospects to 20 meetings to 10 clients
2. Non personal channels – 60 prospects to 25 meetings to 10 clients
3. Marketing activities – 60 prospects to 25 meetings to 10 clients
4. Attraction activities – 20 prospects to 15 meetings to 10 clients
Total – 170 prospects to 85 meetings to 40 clients
The ratios reflect that attraction activities and personal channels are the most effective and efficient ways of generating business.
A planned approach
By taking this approach you will have planned exactly where your clients and sponsors will come from.
Track your results
I also recommend that you track the success of this year’s activities in terms of their conversion rates to help you make the following year’s plan as effective as possible.
It’s not too late
If you don’t have a written plan already, don’t worry, it’s not too late to plan for success this year.