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Business Development Manager vs Business Development Advisor - which avenue should we pursue?

We are a 2yr old Tech Startup in Atlanta, GA and we are at a point where we need help with strategically growing our business and have been told that we need a Business Development Manager? Of course, we have limited funds and have considered that maybe we need an advisor instead of hiring someone to fill this role. Is there a preferred way to go at this early stage when funds are limited?

23 Replies

Michael Brill
4
0
Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Business Development Manager implies an operational role where someone is out pounding the pavement working on deals. Advisor implies someone telling you that you should go out and pound the pavement.


Barbara Jones
0
1
Barbara Jones Entrepreneur
Founder/CEO at Lilllii RNB Inc
Wow, good point, especially since my current team does NOT have time to go and pound the pavement ...

Patrick T. Malone
0
0
Interim President & CEO at Blairsville Union County Chamber of Commerce
Business Development Manager vs Business Development Advisor - which avenue should we pursue?Barbara, So how do you obtain business now?
Chip Royce
1
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Chip Royce Advisor
Sales / Marketing Leader, Generating revenue / profits / scale for technology ventures
Agree with @michaelbrill; you need a team member with accountability for any direct revenue / indirect benefits associated with these partnerships.
Folks have different definitions of Biz Dev; but in any case, if this is important to the growth of the company, you need to invest in it just as you would your sales & marketing team.
The solution for you might be a part-time biz dev resource. Until the company and deals are up and running, there's a good chance that you don't have enough work for a 40 hour week. With my firm, Flywheel Advisors, I work on hourly / retainer for some % of my week which is dedicated to the strategy and execution of the partner strategies we establish. The company gets a seasoned exec it otherwise couldn't afford, conserves cash for the company (vs. a full-time head) and ties my results / relationship to successful revenue generation.
Barbara Jones
0
0
Barbara Jones Entrepreneur
Founder/CEO at Lilllii RNB Inc
We have gotten all of our business to date by word of mouth or previous relationships, networking. After 2 years, we have exhausted these connections. So, this is the reason we need to have someone focused on helping us market ourselves and our services. Most of my teem are IT Consultants so we are not the best people to do the Marketing or Sales. We really need help in this area.
Chris Carruth
6
0
Chris Carruth Advisor
VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions

Disclaimer: I have engaged in this role many, many timesso my comments are a bit biased toward what I haveexperienced as working.

First, Bus Dev has many shapes as defined by the employer/client using them. To some Bus Dev IS Sales, to some Bus Dev is pre-sales, to some Bus Dev is the hunter role while Sales is thegatherer role, to some Bus Dev is about finding strategic partners/channels so that the sales ramp can be compressed...and it goes on. I have seen it defined differently by industrial sector and even within companies in the same sector - no one size fits all.

So preferably first define the objective so your discussions are on point. You don't want to waste your time or the BD resource's time trying to find out where/how the time spent will make the most impact. You should knowwhere you are needing the help and focus like a laser on that area.A solid BD resource should be able tohelp in many ways but there should bea focus.

Secondly understand BD gurus, like Sales execs, have spent a long time, perhaps decades building not only the rolodex but the ability to find the right person to talk to, in a way that creates an opening for your product or service.

Thirdly, most BD resources won't work for 100% commission as it places all the risk on their side of the table. There are always exceptions but I personally have not seen many, if any,.

However, BD resources may beopen to a shared risk scenario with a startup, depending on what stage the business is in, what the product acceptance has been so far, sales trajectory rates, customer churn rates, close rates, etc. He/she is looking for some proof that taking some risk on their side is worth it.

In terms of getting someone on board,be creative in what youoffer:

a) options

b) compensation accelerator's tied to results

c) ability to work from home

d) part-time so that he/she can continue to diversify their efforts; if a 100% of time is spent on your product and it fails the resource has to go back out and build business from scratch

e) potentially benefits

f) and last but not least to be involved with a cool sexy product that no one does like you do!

Ok, done..let me know if you need anything else..


Devin Voorsanger
0
0
Program Director, Tech Entrepreneurship @ Zahn Innovation Center at City College
I've always been a firm believer that everyone in the company's founding team is in sales in one way or another. You might not have the skill set (yet) but you should develop it. That having been said, each direction has it's own merits.

1) Biz Dev manager
Responsibilities:
a) Marketing - CRM based Lead generation efforts
b) Entire pipeline management - Qualification of potential opportunities and accurate forecasting of same. Ability to report to management on different companies in each stage of pipeline and what their efforts are to move companies from each stage to the next.
d) closing business - closing business that at the end of the day provides at a minimum $x multiple of their entire compensation (including commission)

2) Biz Dev Adviser / Consultant
Responsibilities:
a) Setup a CRM to facilitate analytics based sales and marketing as well as knowledge transfer
b) Lead generation system - to facilitate ongoing sales efforts with constant source of warm leads
c) Sales Penetration Strategy - a detailed 3, 6 , 9 and 1 year strategy laying out tactical sales efforts
d) Hire Sales team - Hiring of 1-3 Sales staff to enact the sales strategy


I would usually suggest the second route (it takes longer but it leaves you with a sustainable business). the first route can be very much of a crap shoot as someone can be good at selling YOU buy not at selling your product.

Please note I am telling you this as someone who does option 2 as a business. That's what I do so obviously I think it;s better and see the value more of that approach. Someone who's business is actually pure sales might have a different slant on it.
Devin Voorsanger
1
0
Program Director, Tech Entrepreneurship @ Zahn Innovation Center at City College
Also Chip and Chris have some really good advice from the "hire a sales person" approach. I really like Chris's approach to compensation.
Kendra Nasiatka
0
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Kendra Nasiatka Advisor
Founder and CEO at 99 CREATIVE
I agree with Devon. This is the way I run my business as well. The only thing I would add is that you may want to purchase hoovers.com or the list.com to have access to the right client leads. Discoverorg.com is IT specific and one of my former colleagues uses it, hes says it's amazing as far as getting the right leads and direct contact info to make that connection.
Stephen Peck
0
0
Stephen Peck Entrepreneur
Chief financial Officer at Thompson Media Group
I would first articualte your needs with your outside professional team....your accountant, lawyer and banker.
This is a very good way to leverage your reach to find someone who might be able to assist you.
An accountant, lawyer, banker each have multiple clients to review against your needs.
Good luck,
SDP
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