There are many ways to drive business development in an organization but one that I have found that is key is communication.
Yeah right you said, no brainer… But if so simple why are companies so bad in doing this…
What do I include in communication then… Well let me list it and then explain
- Customer Relations
- Technical Development
- Customer Relations
Yeah that is right customer relations is key to business development and to conduct customer relations you need to communicate.
A lot of smart innovations in products/services are developed by a person or a team that have an idea or a vision. Where did this idea come from? Usually from either their own irritation of something missing or from discussions with other persons about either what is possible or not and unfulfilled needs.
- How do you get things moving… well you communicate
- How do you develop and get input to new development… well you communicate
- How do you conduct sales… well you communicate
- How do you build a reputation and brand… well… yeah you got it now…
I have a story from my time in Ericsson that is quite simple but emphasize my point about communication.
Ericsson wanted to be more liked, considered as an innovation leader and leading supplier by the operator community and influencers like Gartner and I was responsible for developing the new communication strategy for the mobile systems division. When I got the objectives they were absolutely off the chart based on the money they were ready to spend so I had to go back and think hard for a while on how to manage this issue.
I talked to a lot of people and the product managers and engineers and came to the conclusion that the reason to that Nokia was seen as the innovation leader was that they communicated constantly about their system, development and research… Ericsson and Nokia did a lot of co-development on things like 3G but Ericsson never ever talked public about their research until it was ready to be launched… Nokia on the other hand talked like it was their development solely which of course repeated often enough will be considered a truth… My solution to it was to revise the objectives, develop a new manual on how and when to publish but I guess that it was buried since they still play with the cards close up…
So what is my advice about communication and business development…
- Talk about what you aim do, stealth is over-rated and mostly plain ridiculous – dot com era…
- Invite your customers in the development work – yeah not just a RFC
- Make a sensible plan for communication – it differs if you are a small company or a big international company but still the basics are the same.
- Make sure that your iteration process involves ordinary users and non-experts… i e your customers and users… and listen to them, technically your solution might be better but it might not work in the ordinary workflow of users day…
- Good ideas might come from anywhere… therefore communicate…