Business development has undoubtedly changed over time but one thing that has remained constant is the need to create long-term value to help your business grow. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in - sales, client representation, social media management, or marketing - consistent growth is important.
But how can you make it happen?
One of the most efficient and effective ways to grow your agency and keep up with ever-changing trends is to use the services of a specialized business development company. There’s no shame in seeking help - in fact, in most cases, it’s the smartest thing you can do. Not bringing in professionals with specialized expertise to help your business is a huge missed opportunity.
Anyone who runs a business knows that gaining and maintaining momentum is important but it’s hard to keep up when you’re busy running your business from day to day. You don’t have time to invest in client or customer acquisition and, even if you manage to squeeze it into your busy schedule, it’s not getting the attention it deserves. Hiring a trustworthy company that specialized in business development maintains your company’s growth, grabbed onto trends and taking advantage of new innovations in ways you never would have thought of.
So, how can you find the right help? What should you look for to make sure you’re using the right business development company for you and your business? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you make the right call.
1. Do They Have the Expertise Your Business Needs?
The first thing to ask yourself is, what is your niche? This is pretty obvious but it’s very important to define your niche as clearly and precisely as possible. Are you trying to acquire clients in the real estate loan marketplace? Do you offer social media management for new startup companies? Perhaps you run a web development company and are looking for new customers?
Now, look for a business development agency that has experience in your niche. If you’re an ad agency that needs help keeping up with the market, find a business development agency with experience working with ad agencies. Why would you choose someone to help you build your business who had no experience in your business?
This isn’t the time to experiment. You don’t want to work with someone who’s going to experiment with different approaches or who doesn’t have a clear idea of how to reach your goal. Choose a business development company that knows what questions to ask and has the answers you’re looking for to take your business to the next level.
To do this, you need to ask the right questions. Try to find a company that has extensive, sweeping experience. The more projects they’ve done, the better. If they have a history of working with both large and small companies in your industry, even better. They know your market well and can really help guide you to where you want to be.
You should also seek out a company that has experience forming relationships. Solid relationships between your business and your customers are based on the strength of the connection between your brand and your audience. Sales are the natural outcome of this relationship and you need to work with someone who sees its value.
2. How Well Do They Communicate with You?
It sounds cliche but communication is key. So many projects fail due to poor communication. Developing your business is definitely not a project you want to fail so make sure the business development company you choose communicates clearly and regularly. It’s important to know that you are on the same page throughout the process.
If you have any concerns, particularly at the beginning of the project, bring them up. You need to feel comfortable enough with the company you’re working with to talk about your concerns. You also need to know that your concerns are going to be taken seriously and addressed as they arise.
Start at the very beginning when you’re still feeling out a few different companies. Who responds to your email quickly? Do you feel like they see your business as a priority? Are they able to answer your initial questions clearly and concisely?
Scope out their social media accounts. How do they interact with people in Facebook comments? Do they respond on Twitter? Are the active on LinkedIn? Maintaining an active social media account for a business is a lot of work. If they don’t have one or aren’t responsive, it’s a pretty good indicator that they don’t really value communication as much as they should.
3. What Is Their Marketing Experience?
Marketing is something a lot of companies struggle with, particularly with the speed at which everything changes. A lot of new businesses have a hard time reaching their target audience. It doesn’t matter how good your product is or how amazing you are at the service you provide, you will not be successful unless you can reach your audience.
How can your business reach your audience? How can you expand it? Can you calculate the return on investment you can anticipate by pursuing various marketing channels?
Finding a business development company with marketing expertise to share can save you a lot of grief. They can help you avoid issues and navigate any surprise technical issues that arise. They know which social media channels are worth investing your time in and which ones are not.
Think about what you already know about marketing and what areas you need help with. For example, you may have done great at marketing your business on your own for the last few decades but feel completely lost when it comes to using social media to attract and engage with customers.
Look for someone who compliments your expertise. If you need help with social media marketing, find a company that specializes in social media marketing. And make sure they’re dedicated to sticking with it. Things change so quickly on social media, it’s important to work with someone who can evolve fast enough to keep up.
4. Are They Reliable?
Risks are a part of any business. You probably already now that. Your agency, employees, and livelihood all depend on your ability to make good decisions. If you can eliminate risk, you make your life a little easier. One way to do this is to make sure you’re working with a business development company that’s reliable.
Choose a company that is dedicated to seeing it through with you. You don’t want to work with someone willing to drop you when a bigger project comes along or takes on another client and isn’t completely dedicated to your company. Look for someone willing to see it through. Find out if they offer any quality of commitment assurances and that they’re ready to gear up for a long term commitment.
5. Do You Mesh Well?
Do their culture and strategy fit in with what you’re trying to do in your own company? Remember, you’re going to be in regular contact with these people, maybe even several times a day. It’s important that you’re able to work together and that you share the same vision about what your company can be.
When you’re trying to narrow down which company to work with, one of the best things you can do early on is read the “about” section to get a feel for their mission. How do they view their clients? What’s their mission? How do they plan to impact the world? Most importantly, do those things mesh well with your business?
The Best Business Development Company?
The best business development company is the one that’s best for you. The most important thing to keep in mind is to perform an honest assessment of where your business is and the type of help you need to get you where you want it to be.