Business Developer’s Dilemma Part 2: How to Balance Marketing Requests for Help
Use the Goldilocks Rule
In the last BD Guild message, we discussed how a Business Developer could respond when marketing requests help from time to time. The real issue is when it happens time and again, and there’s no end in sight. It seems like BD and Marketing are not on the same page.
When your marketing department requests proposal help again and again, what is your best reaction? Pause.
Is this a chronic issue and is the time commitment more than four hours?
As a BD professional, your number one priority is to meet clients and develop the path to win with your technical team. Is your involvement putting future wins at risk? This is a go/no-go situation and should be a quick decision—either you have time, or you don’t. Mentor marketing staff in how to best use their time and engage help before it becomes a crisis, so this isn’t a repeat scenario.
Client face-time and focus is a long-term investment. What is the lost opportunity cost for a potential win if you divert your energy and effort to the marketing task? Put it into dollars and cents, and you’ll have your leaders’ attention. Especially if they “rely” on BD to jump in to help on a regular basis.
Offer to find an alternative resource: another team member, third-party resource, or submit a requisition for a new hire. Line up technical writer/proposal consultants as a backup when the pursuit load starts getting heavy. Help your marketing team keep all the balls in the air and handle multiple priorities.
BD’s number one priority is the client, which means cultivating, maintaining and managing client relationships. Marketing/Proposal’s number one priority is meeting every proposal deadline. ONE person cannot be expected to do both of these roles and succeed.
This is why it is important for technical leaders to understand that you can’t expect BD and Marketing professionals to work interchangeably, just as a structural engineer isn’t expected to design a mechanical system.
Put it into terms leadership will understand. Make sure they know your concern is for “our (the company’s) client.” Set realistic and manageable expectations early.
Not too much, not too little, just enough help is the best BD strategy.
Barbara Shuck, FSMPS, CPSM, President, Everest Marketing Services, firstname.lastname@example.org, (m) 602.686.4616. Thanks to Beth Harris, F.SAME, FSMPS, CPSM, Vice President, Business Development, Versar, Inc., email@example.com, (m) 404-808-5067 for her wisdom and insights on this article.