I’ve been called many things in my 13-year career. Including Technical Sales Engineer, Business Development Executive and Marketing Manager. I suppose there are worse things to be called. Each role felt the same at times; the same purpose dressed up in a buzzword job title. Now that I co-own a business growth consultancy, I get to work with amazing energy and technology businesses. At Doqaru, we align business development and strategic marketing. It is clear to me that marketing and business development are different but must work together to achieve business goals. How can these roles work together to achieve business growth for their organisation or client?

When some people think about marketing, they imagine brochures, logos, matching colour schemes. Perhaps even promotional goods and beautiful websites. This is all important for supporting a business. However, marketing goes much further than that. I’ll come to how in a moment.

Business Development and Marketing in Sync

Let’s first examine the role of business development (BD). BD is about working at the front line of client relationships. The main aim of the role is to cultivate relationships for the long-term, creating sustainable business growth.

That’s how I see it. Coming back to the essence of marketing, I’d argue that’s my aim too – to help businesses grow. But I do it differently from my business development colleagues. I push out well-crafted messages through relevant channels. Our BD team, in turn, ensures that the fruits from my effort can nurture and nourish in the long-term. I cannot live without their follow-through and they cannot live without my seed planting.

Business Development and Marketing Enrich Your Buyers’ Journey

My favourite way to break down the stages of the Marketing/BD collaboration is using the funnel approach. The stages are; Awareness (top of the funnel), Consideration (middle of the funnel) and Decision (bottom of the funnel).

Here’s an infographic to summarise the customer’s journey through the funnel:

Companies like HubSpot use this approach and is commonly referred to as inbound marketing.

Let’s look at how BD and Marketing work together throughout the funnel.

Benefits of Business Development and Marketing Working Together

Considering that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to a salesperson, it is more important than ever that sales, marketing and business development work closely behind the scenes to facilitate this journey. Furthermore, 57% of the purchase decision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier.

The advantages of working through the process together are, you:

  • Know who your customer is (hint: it’s NOT “everybody”)
  • Go from a general description of your customer (macro-view) to a list of specific companies (micro-view) that you want to engage with
  • Add value to potential customers before they even ask for information (or realise they need you)
  • Ensure you have what it takes to do business with your potential customer before you go in for the deal
  • Have a clear strategy for interacting with and informing your target customers of what you do
  • Meet your potential customers face-to-face – not just online – thanks to strategically selected events and networking opportunities
  • Build trust by ensuring that all teams align with your messaging and what the customer can expect from your business
  • Have the best people from each role guiding your potential customer from start to finish

It is a pleasure when I see this collaboration across teams. A business can work smarter (and not harder) to achieve business growth. I call it nothing short of amazing!

A version of this blog was originally published as a guest blog on sarahdownsltd.com