Guest Post: Startup Business Development 101

Holger Luedorf

Don’t just run off and randomly approach partners.  Once the goals are set, the first thing the BD team or person should do is set priorities in terms of who your ideal partners are.  This includes market sizing, market and competitive analysis, and a clear timeline.  If you are new to the industry you better start researching yesterday.  There is nothing worse than being pitched by someone who did not make the effort to understand your business and the challenges you are facing.  Secondly, you need to put a lot of work into figuring out how to approach these partners (more to that in point 3). Finally, you have to make sure you have all the necessary contacts to approach your target partners.  If not, work your network.  Cold calls are rarely effective.  Unless you come recommended by a trusted source, chances are very low that you will get someone’s attention.  Ideally, you have built up a ton of what I call “good karma” by helping out others friends in the industry in previous situation so that you can call in some favors and ask for introductions.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

One Way to Write A Powerful Cold Email

Scott Britton 

One of the most important things in writing an effective cold email is to keep it short. However, communicating all the things necessary to elicit a response in 3-4 sentences can be extremely challenging. One  way I’ve been able to overcome this and start dialogues with many c-level execs and big time entrepreneurs is by communicating my message in a more visually engaging format that’s easier to consume than text.




Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

What Not To Do When Cold Calling

Scott Britton 

When you cold call someone, you’re probably interrupting their day. They person you’re talking to is not primed to be receptive to your pitch in this state. You only want to pitch someone when they’re ready to hear it and attentive. This is why the goal of an initial cold call should be to set a meeting.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

Tricks to Build Relationships When Meeting Influencers

Scott Britton 

Architecting a compelling follow-up during the actual interaction is a great way to start the relationship building process with influential contacts. Interactions with busy, important people are often fleeting. This is why creating a reason for continuing the interaction without seeming too self-serving or formal is so important.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

How to Follow Up to an Unanswered Email

Scott Britton 

One of the biggest fallacies I see amongst professionals who write cold emails is their failure to follow up. Knowing how to write an effective follow up email effectively is probably the easiest way to increase your response rate if you aren’t already doing it.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

How to Cold Email Prospects

Scott Britton 

I’ve written hundreds of cold emails over the past year and come to a few conclusions about how to elicit a positive response. I’ve also received a few myself and consistently see people use strategies that just haven’t worked for me. Here’s my two cents on how to cold email prospects effectively.



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

BD Best Practice: Send A Meeting Agenda

Scott Britton 

Meetings can be a colossal waste of time especially in a field that harbors speculative conversations like Business Development. When appropriate, one practice I use to maximize meeting efficiency is to email the meeting attendee(s) an agenda 2-3 hours prior to the meeting. These emails typically contain the meeting objective, an outline of what will be discussed, and any questions that I know that I’ll be asking.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

Quick Trick to Increase Cold Email Responses

 Scott Britton 

People you don’t know are always more likely to respond to your emails when you’ve been referred. It signals you’ve been vetted. Unfortunately, we don’t always have someone willing to introduce or refer us to the person we’re trying to reach. One way to combat this is by creating a referral. The methodology is pretty simple and can be applied even before you’ve identified the decision maker.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

BD 101: Acknowledging the Language Barrier

Scott Britton 

One mistake people make in BD and sales is they assume prospects speak their language. “We provide a free API….” “It’s the simplest CMS on the market…”  These are presumptuous statements. I’d like to think that the prospects I reach out to know what an API or CMS is, but it’s just not always the case. If understanding my value proposition is contingent upon familiarity with specific terminology I risk losing an opportunity. Why? Because people are too lazy to investigate something they’re not familiar with. That’s why it’s imperative to communicate your value in such a way that anyone can understand.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

BD 101: What to Avoid While Getting that First Meeting

Scott Britton

“Before we hop on a call, mind sending over a deck or one-pager my team can review.” I get this all the time. Target partners and customers often want collateral on your offering prior to taking a meeting with you. It’s a filtering mechanism they use to spend their time efficiently. I avoid sending material prior to a first meeting at all costs. Here’s why.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

How to Ask for An Email Introduction

Scott Britton

There are effective practices when asking for email introduction that respect the time and circumstance of all parties. I’ve really come to appreciate these and wish more people approached introduction requests this way.



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

BD 101: Don’t Be A Cyborg

Scott Britton 

Usually within the first 5 seconds of picking up the phone I can tell if its a cold call. A creative mispronunciation of my name followed by monotone script reading typically give it away.

The person on the other end could have the greatest offer in the world for me. But it doesn’t matter. For better or worse, I’ve conditioned my brain to turn off as soon as I recognize these interactions. Its as if a trigger goes off that immediately diverts all of my focus towards determining how I can politely extract myself from the conversation…I might as well be talking to a machine.

Pro-active business development often requires a lot of cold outreach. When I’m reaching out cold via email or phone, I always try to be cognizant of the interaction outlined above. Specifically, how to avoid being bundled in with the armies cyborgs I just described; my success depends on side-stepping this perception.



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings

How to (re) Approach People

Mark Suster

The truth is that I actually do remember almost all of the people I meet.  But don’t assume that I have a Minority Report like machine that can invisibly and instantly gin up my memory.  The most important advice I can give you is – give me context.

 



Filed Under:
Collection: Business Development & Sales
Category: Approaching Leads & Getting Meetings