Turning Business Development from an Afterthought to a Strategic Asset
GROWTH CHALLENGES SOLVED WITH BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
How one global services enterprise turned Business Development from an afterthought to a strategic asset to transform its European sales model
Established mature client accounts had generated a strong revenue profile for this global services enterprise. However it recognised the need to acquire new logo accounts in order to future proof business growth. Strategic Business Development played a critical role in transforming its sales model across Europe, creating higher growth, combating margin erosion in legacy offerings and increasing sales productivity.
Driver for change
Although a strong revenue profile from a mature retained client base prevailed, these accounts were now on fourth or fifth generations of outsourcing contracts and as a result, revenues and margins were being eroded with every renewal. The key issue therefore, for the UK division of this global services enterprise, was a lack of new logo pursuits.
Faced with a challenge of how to capture and create demand, the business evaluated its current approach to Business Development.
Telemarketing and Marketing-led lead generation campaigns provided strong brand awareness but lacked the high quality engagements needed to support major enterprise sales efforts. A small inside sales team had some of the right skills, but were too focused on closing deals on large framework agreements to break into new accounts. As a result, aligning specific areas of the business – namely those involved with high value consultative engagements – with external Business Development expertise became a key priority.
Within nine months Clarify’s strategic Business Development capability had generated $59m in pipeline for one sector of the UK organisation.
Why is strategic Business Development an asset?
Clarify specialises in this specific area of requirement and was brought in to support the sales team. Business Development is Clarify’s core competency; its aim is to navigate large complex buying centres in target accounts, identify the prospect’s pains and objectives in order to secure access to the right stakeholders to create qualified pipeline. Within nine months Clarify’s strategic Business Development capability had generated $59m in pipeline for one sector of the UK organisation.
The impact of a Business Development programme was compelling; as a result of the transfer of responsibility the sales team were now able to engage and influence opportunities earlier in the sales cycle. This was important as engaging clients pre–RFP had a hugely positive effect on the win rate. High quality sales appointments were passed to the sales team with multiple stakeholders identified and engaged – who were interested in value and innovation not just price. And the right deals were matched to the right sales people and teams at the right time.
BD supports sales transformation on a European scale
This however was not the end of the story. The change in customer buying behaviours and an increasingly knowledgeable customer-base has culminated in a different buying process – and this was one of the drivers for a review of the organisation’s European go-to-market strategy.
The new sales operating model was focused on generating revenue in enterprise accounts. However these deal types have complex, lengthy sales cycles and investment in these opportunities takes time to filter back through the P&L. Increasing sales productivity, reducing the cost base while generating revenue were the key aims of this review.
What has been the reaction from sales?
“Clarify agreed a contact plan with myself and the local account managers for two large multinationals. We now have two significant opportunities. A $30m+ contract across 140 countries and a more immediate services deal in 5 European countries. Clarify came at this from 90 degrees and opened doors to contacts we had not identified previously. Thank you”
“This year there is $7m committed total contract signings and a $300k new logo opportunity that we simply would not have got to without Clarify. Add to that, our new logo pipeline is nearly all generated by the Clarify team.”
Compelling results aligned with business objectives
It was at this stage of the review process that the results of the Clarify UK Business Development (BD) programme were shared with Europe. This empirical proof demonstrated specialist BD was now a strategic asset to the business with 32 per cent of new UK business pipeline coming directly from Clarify. In a two year period the ROI pipeline is 1:491, in terms of figures this equates to $442m cumulative pipeline to date and 167 new logo sales opportunities*.
In terms of all opportunities handed across to the sales team, 86 per cent progressed into the pipeline – meaning sales productivity has been boosted and crucially, sales buy-in to the programme remains very high. 23 per cent of engagement is with C suite contacts and the results directly reflect the organisation’s corporate objectives for growth.
Business Development’s impact on profitability
Due to the shift in the way that marketing, selling and buying behaviour has changed in recent years it has altered the way that organisations are starting to view and more importantly value, Business Development – rather than an afterthought, it is an asset.
Although Business Development has a significant impact on the sales process the value it has on an organisation in terms of generating predictable revenue and supporting sales transformation initiatives means it should not be underestimated by those responsible for P&L. Investing in a Business Development strategy has been proven to positively impact profitability 24 and 36 months down the line.
*NB a Business Development programme is designed to scale so the ROI will continue to increase along with revenue, new logo opportunities and closed deals
Clarify’s strategic Business Development capability is proven to increase sales productivity, generate predictable revenue and plays a critical role in sales transformation. Enlightened companies that take high-value complex sales propositions to market are investing in this capability because it delivers a competitive advantage – which is why they often prefer to remain anonymous.
If you would like to discuss how strategic Business Development could help your business, please contact us.