A Notebook With 2018 Goals

Every year we have the chance to start fresh and improve our lives from the year before. It’s why you see so many health and fitness advertisements leading up to and past New Year’s Day. We create resolutions — a firm decision to do or not do something — for self-improvement.

This opportunity for self-improvement and goal setting doesn’t just apply to individuals, though. Businesses can also seize the opportunity, motivating their teams to reach higher goals than ever before. And in an area like business development, these resolutions can mean big business results.

If your business development team is already looking at setting their 2018 goals, creating a set of New Year’s resolutions as well isn’t a bad idea. In fact, with only one-third of senior managers being able to correctly identify their firm’s top priorities, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to align your team around business objectives without any confusion.

In the spirit of the new year and making resolutions that stick, here are five New Year’s resolutions you can make in 2018 that will improve your firm’s business development.

1. Make CRM a Priority

According to CSO Insights, less than 40% of businesses have a CRM adoption rate of over 90%. Without a fully adopted CRM solution, your CRM will quickly become dated and house inaccurate information. Naturally, this creates a slippery slope where eventually your business development team may not use your CRM at all. But how can you increase CRM adoption?

CRM should become a top priority at your entire firm, not just with your business development team. It’s possible that your team isn’t using your CRM because they find it takes up too much time and isn’t very helpful. This means your firm’s leaders need to do everything they can to make your CRM a useful tool that helps your business development team close more deals at an accelerated rate.

For example, they could increase their investment into the CRM system through optimizations like CRM data automation, state-of-the-art integrations, relationship analytics, and more. These technologies automate much of the work that goes into the care and feeding of your CRM. This allows your business development team members to spend more time with prospects while CRM and relationship data is captured automatically in the background.

2. Focus on Actionable Insights

Data is information. Information that helps business development professionals upsell, move deals along faster, and close them. But how positive are you that your business development team is focusing on actionable data — data that they can actually take into a client meeting and use to their advantage?

Equip your team with the actionable data they need to close larger deals and bring more clients into the fold by identifying the information they should be analyzing. For example, tracking client social profiles, transaction history, and behavior, enables your business development team to uncover new sales opportunities through mutual connections or relevant pieces of information that will help your team strengthen client relationships. Better yet, automatically collect and deliver this actionable data to your team by implementing tools like relationship intelligence automation that provide relationship mapping and other helpful reports.

3. Set Team Accountability

Accountability might sound like a scary term, but in reality it’s a necessary part of business that keeps crewmates sailing the ship efficiently. Without an accountable business development team, tasks may fall by the wayside and goals may be left unreached. And while it’s easy to promote accountability within your team, it’s infinitely harder to show them how to be accountable and set expectations.

The key to accountability is making it easy for your team to see when failures happen. To make it easy, detail to your team what needs to be done and when. This outlines actionable tasks and deadlines that they can work towards, and should they miss their due date, they can hold themselves responsible for why it was missed. For accountability to be widely accepted, it’s important that it happens across the organization as well — no one should be exempt. This means admitting your own failures and taking responsibility for your own actions as well.

4. Reduce Time Commitments

Most business development professionals only spend one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. The rest of their time is spend on writing emails, data entry, scheduling meetings, and other administrative tasks. These are all tasks that can be automated and allow your business development team to spend the majority of their time nurturing leads and filling up your sales pipeline.

Make 2018 the year that your business development team spends more time with clients than behind a desk by introducing automation into your firm. For starters, CRM data automation makes sure your team won’t have to lift a finger to enter or maintain client information or data. Marketing automation programs write and send customized emails to clients so your team doesn’t have to craft emails for every client. Seize any opportunity you have to reduce the amount of time your team needs to spend on administrative items to maximize their time with clients.

5. Invest in Training

As you are likely intimately aware, today’s business landscape is always changing. To combat the constant evolutions, continuous learning will keep your team on top of trends, informed of the latest industry news, and ready for anything the market throws at them.

Promote learning and professional development for your team by hosting refresher training that incorporates the latest trends, thought leadership, and other expert advice. In addition, encourage your business development team to attend conferences, webinars, and other learning opportunities outside of your firm. Not only does this allow them to learn from the brightest minds in their field, but it also provides an opportunity for them to network and build their connections.

Set Your Firm Up for Year-Long Success

Business development is the key to fueling business growth. For more ways to keep your business booming in 2018, check out these business development trends that are shaping the future.