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Business Development 101

Business development is a critical component of any company’s growth strategy. It is a multifaceted process covering a wide range of activities to help your company grow and thrive. These include market research, lead generation, sales pipeline management and customer relationship management. It’s aim is to create lasting value for your organization by:

  • identifying new opportunities;
  • expanding your network; and
  • building strong relationships with clients and prospects.

You need good communication skills. You also need to have a good understanding of your industry and your target market. And you need to be an effective organizer.

In this article we explore three easy ways to enhance your business development efforts. By implementing these strategies you can achieve sustainable success for the long term.

1. Embrace Social Media

If you’re like me (i.e. old!) you grew up before people had phones, never mind mobile phones. As for computers – there weren’t any. However, social media has now become an indispensable tool for businesses seeking to enhance their brand recognition, attract new customers and engage with existing ones.

Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram offer opportunities for real-time engagement by sharing interesting and valuable content and  contributing to relevant conversations.

To leverage the networking potential of social media, create a posting schedule that aligns with your goals. Use appropriate hashtags so people can find you easily. Monitor engagement activities and levels so you can adjust when necessary.

2. Learn how to network effectively online

Networking has always been an essential aspect of business success but it gained even more significance during the COVID 19 pandemic. With restrictions on travel and face to face meetings many professionals turned towards virtual networking events as well as social media platforms for connecting with potential clients or partners.

Doing business online is the new ‘normal’ and even though the restrictions have largely been eased, there has not been a significant fall-off in online activity.

Effective online networking demands an ability to build meaningful connections in a virtual environment. This is best achieved by becoming involved in events and activities that align with your goals.

3. Create a strong sales pipeline

To drive revenue growth you must have a strong sales pipeline. Here are 4 key steps to creating a pipeline of qualified prospects:

  • Define your ideal client profile;
  • Use tools like LinkedIn or other professional networks to identify potential leads who meet these criteria;
  • Develop a value proposition;
  • To test that it resonates with them, reach out to offer valuable insights into their problems while showcasing how you can help solve them.

4. Follow Up With Leads And Clients

Building and maintaining strong relationships with leads and clients is crucial. Poor follow up is probably the most significant weakness in sales and business development. The second most common weakness is over-emphasis on transactions, e.g. only contacting your prospect or customer when you are looking for a sale.

Paying attention to the human side of the relationship will help overcome these weaknesses:

  • Provide advice and value tailored to that specific person’s situation (this also demonstrates your expertise);
  • Check-in regularly to keep in touch will help keep you top of mind while making sure you are aware of the concerns they have;
  • Send handwritten notes or cards, ideally attached to relevant news, information or small tokens of appreciation.

Remember, as Simon Sinek says – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” (Simon Sinek: Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action)


The significance of business development cannot be overstated when it comes to achieving your growth objectives. Maximize your results in this area by:

  • leveraging social media;
  • networking effectively online and offline;
  • building a robust sales pipeline; and
  • keeping your prospects engaged.

These strategies will help you make significant progress towards achieving your goals both now and into the future.