I’ve been called many things in my 18-year career, including Technical Sales Engineer, Business Development Executive and Marketing Manager. I suppose there are worse things to be called.

Each role sometimes felt the same, the same purpose dressed up in a buzzword job title. Since co-founding Doqaru, I have gotten to work with talented sales and marketing professionals. It is clear 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, 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 role’s main aim 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 its aim is also to help businesses grow. But marketing professionals do it differently to business development roles. Marketing pushes out well-crafted messages through relevant channels. BD, in turn, ensures that the fruits from marketings effort are nurtured and nourished for the long term. One cannot live without the follow-through, and the other cannot live without seed planting.

BD and Marketing Enrich Your Buyers’ Journey

The funnel approach is my favourite way to break down the marketing/BD collaboration stages. 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:

buying stages_business development and marketing

Companies like HubSpot use this approach, commonly called inbound marketing.

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

Funnel_Business Development and Marketing

Benefits of Business Development and Marketing Working Together

Considering that 67% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to a sales person, 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 d8cision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier.

The advantages of working through the process together include:

  • Knowing who your customer is (hint: it’s NOT “everybody”).
  • Going from a general description of your customer (macro-view) to a list of specific companies (micro-view) that you want to engage with.
  • Adding value to potential customers before they even ask for information (or realise they need you).
  • Ensuring you have what it takes to do business with your potential customer before you go in for the deal.
  • Having a clear strategy for interacting with and informing your target customers of what you do.
  • Meeting your potential customers face-to-face – not just online, thanks to strategically selected events and networking opportunities. Especially now that we’re out the other side of the pandemic as BD had to rely solely on the virtual space during this time, but it is good to be back in the room.
  • Building trust by ensuring that all teams are aligned with your messaging and what the customer can expect from your business.
  • Having the best people from each role guides 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!

If you’d like to explore how you can enable and align your sales, business development and marketing functions, please get in touch below.

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This article was originally posted on Sarah Downs Ltd website in 2018 and has been updated by the Doqaru team in July 2023.