10 key strategies for business development

6. Sales strategy, part II

Don’t seek to sell to anybody who steps forward wanting your product; be selective, make sure that they are right, that the product will serve meet their need. Otherwise there is a risk that they will consider that your product or service was poor value and they’ll share that information with others, and that will damage your reputation.

7. Sales strategy, part III

Design the processes that transfer the customer to the operational element of the business. Think through the steps that have to take place now that somebody has become a customer. Businesses that are seen as mediocre often fail to make this transition; expectations are high but delivery is poor and the customer immediately feels disappointed and let down.

8. Operational strategy, part I

The first element of an operational strategy should always reflect how customers will be handled within the business. The strategic delivery at the right time of the first product or service in that relationship is possibly the most important delivery that any company can make to any customer.

9. Operational strategy, part II

Think about how to develop the relationship with the customer so that they will advocate your service and refer other business to you. To do that, think about what drives your customers to make recommendations, and design your service to make sure that that framework exists. It’s the design of the framework that is the strategic element of what you do. Get that right it will serve you for years; get it wrong and growth is very hard.

10. Operational strategy, part III

Think about suppliers and partners important to successful delivery. Automating where sensible, insourcing and outsourcing the relevant elements to drive the best possible service in the context of what is expected and the reaction that you seek is key.

Strategic design of a business is tough. Every element of every strategy is linked. If the marketing changes, the sales strategies need to change. If the sales strategy changes, the operational strategies need to change.

Markets change, customers’ needs adapt and move, technology moves on, partner opportunities change over time. It’s important to be both nimble and nuanced; nimble to change course when required quickly, nuanced by applying knowledge, skills and experience to do so brilliantly.

The most successful companies nuance the experience of their staff, leverage it to be adaptive and responsive to change, and deliver strategy as a core competence.

William Buist is CEO of Abelard and founder of xTEN Club.

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