Digital business development involves leveraging data and the most cutting edge technology to connect with prospective clients in new, well-timed and highly personalized ways. Digital tools help us improve our audience targeting, create personalized funnels, and get data-driven insights for analysis and improvement. We can refine messaging, content, and outreach techniques by integrating CRM systems. When using digital tools, you have to plan, test, and refine what otherwise flows naturally in conversation. Without intelligence into audiences and personas, digital biz dev can feel impersonal. Those who have been in business development for a while also need to reframe what success looks like and feels like. ExecuSense, LLC helps its clients prioritize their digital journey based on their business development goals and their overall digital strategy.
With digital business development tools, team members can reach a broader audience with less effort. In a post-Covid world, this is even more important. In-person meetings are now reserved for only the biggest and most complex deals. It would take a lot of sales people to reach as many prospects as you can through digital campaigns.
While marketing remains a numbers game, the statistics and ratios for conversions are dramatically different. For those used to higher close rates from fewer, highly qualified leads, these numbers can be confusing. Digital only works if you work with it. It is not a one-time investment or a set it and forget it philosophy. Skip key steps and you’ll almost always end up with poor results; building a strong foundation is the only way.
You would be surprised by what can be accomplished by focusing on SEO and Organic Search. If you want to move up the SERP list, you need to optimize your website and develop an effective content strategy. This is especially true for small businesses. This should always come before paid advertising. If you have a beautiful website but it’s not ranking in searches, what’s the point of sinking ad dollars into anything?
SEO brings the clients to your site, but user experience and content is what keeps them engaged and ultimately convert. Conversion may mean they sign up for a newsletter, purchase your product or register as a user on your app. The quality of your product, website, and content plays a role in how successful your campaigns are. If a potential client lands on a page of your website and they don’t convert, you need to find out why and fix it. SEO is like the first runner in a relay race. It will get you off to a good start but once it hands the baton off to your other digital products, those products must complete the relay.
You've nailed down your keywords, have optimized for SEO and understand the competition's tactics. Your Organic Search is functioning well.
Even with moderate traffic, your conversion rates are good. People are engaging with your site, or email content or app and are completing the transaction.
You are tracking new and repeat customers separately and can see that your website traffic is not entirely repeat business.
You have visibility into campaigns in your analytics tools and both customer service and biz-dev teams have visibility into inbound traffic.
You know who you're targeting, select your channel, structure your campaign and let it run!
Client Relationship Management (CRM) is more than the tool you use to manage your client interactions. It is the mechanism for managing conversion funnels and evolving customer journeys. Well implemented CRM can keep you lean as your business grows. It facilitates delivery of brand promises while ensuring consistency of brand experience. CRM also ensures transparency, reporting and the right data points to know where, when and how to refine your process. A good CRM strategy evolves with time and helps mature your client segmentation and content strategy. Everything is connected. A few high level things to consider or include in your CRM strategy include:
B2B Business Development and Partnership Strategy can complicate the distribution of goods and services. This is due to consumers interacting with a partner’s platform as compared to yours. B2B focuses on aggregation of supply (inventory), price and control of customer experience.
Another trend that exists within B2B is the use of API technology to distribute content. To offer your goods or services on an externally managed application, some form of integration is needed. There are many Software As A Service (SaaS) products that have plug-and-play API connectivity for suppliers. If you can’t connect quickly to gain access to these closed marketplaces, you risk losing out on key opportunities. As a result, API Strategy is now considered a business development enabler. If you are exploring various digital marketplaces to expand into, some of the following may be good to consider:
SEO is a full-time job. Many people make the mistake of outsourcing their SEO without taking the time to learn the basics themselves. You need to be able to communicate with your vendor, direct their work and call out performance issues. Keyword analysis, for example, should be collaborative and experimental. You are essential to developing keywords, as you provide insights into industry trends and competitors. Without you, it will take longer to see results.
Managing expectations with your SEO partner is key. You may have healthy SEO results for three months only to discover impressions or click through rates dropping in month four. Performance should be reviewed at least monthly. The process is no more complicated than traditional business development. You will win by building relationships, delivering good service, monitoring the competition and adapting when necessary. The biggest difference is the ability to engage potential clients from a single user interface. Organic SEO, paid campaigns and content marketing have plenty of options to choose from. Below are a few you may be familiar with:
Defining your client acquisition strategy involves choosing the most effective channels and tactics. Digital channels can be excellent lead generators if this is an intention that is identified early on. User data and engagement patterns can help teams analyze purchasing behavior and refine their marketing strategies. Intelligence and analytics gained through digital channels will inform your organic SEO as well as make your paid campaigns more effective. We’ve listed a few variations of approaches that you may be familiar with: