The business of business development












By Bogdan Grebenyuk, Product Manager at Thermevo
on June 07, 2018
The responsibilities of a business development director are always an issue. What does this person do? And what is more importantly - what should he or she do to make it right for the company.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
Winston Churchill

The responsibilities of a business development director are always an issue. What does this person do? And what is more importantly - what should he or she do to make it right for the company.

A wise man's question contains half the answer, so I hedged my bets. I interviewed more than 50 top managers from such businesses areas as insulation profiles, foam, aluminum products manufacturing, building systems and sustainable buildings constructions. I asked two simple questions:

  • Is business development a pain point for your business? (98% agreed)
  • Should a Director of Business Development be involved in operations management? (80% agreed)
All of these companies have a business development director on board. And still in 98% it's not working well. The problem is that the companies use one or combination of approaches: sales and analytics, engineering and manufacturing. And every of them is not a good choice in its way.

Sales and Analytics

There is a significant difference between the result of evaluation and actual events. The business developments prognosis is more than income statements and cash flow projections. Business development refers in first to a conceptual, rather than a financial, model.

To define the company way in the market, we should consider changing nature of user needs, target markets state and likely competitor responses as well as adopt our strategy to it. It is a common mistake to bring an analytical statement to production without any adaptation, especially in the complex and high-performance industries.

It is a business development director's role to identify the business's planned trajectory and factors that are relevantand to predict the development of the company in the future.

Engineering

The engineering approach is a synthesis of technical and scientific research when a practitioner knows what he is doing and what the consequences will be. If earlier technologies constituted businesses, now, they tend to be only a part of а complex business system.

For the successful development, technology should not be the main factor of building company activity.

Some industries like building systems and sustainable building have no indivisible technology process. Technology there is mixed with human activity, and the activity is as important as technology.

Development should be a separate business process, to maintain it a business needs to separate it and engage the development management.

Manufacturing

No company is equal to its production. Certainly the manufacturing process is one of the most important business activities in some industries, but if we apply only a manufacturing philosophy to the company, there will be no business development. The manufacturing process is based on technique and patterns, and the less a process differs from a model, the better. This is great for manufacturing, but it does not work in management.

In fact, the job of business development director is activity over the activities. To control it a business development director needs to ensure group interaction. And that, in turn, will stimulate new knowledge and changes in technical processes and provide the optimal manufacturing organization.

Taking the Lead

Understanding is what gives our actions meaning. Anytime a business development director has to make a decision, and he or she must be able to analyze its impact on the company as well as on its market representation and growth opportunities.

For a while I have worked as an advisor for the companies in the insulation and A/E/C (architecture, engineering, construction) markets, and I often saw a common mistake of understanding the role of business development.

When a business development considers its role to make a steady structure, it acts on a wrong object - typically, technology. So when it comes to creating a development program, the approach is inadequate to the task. One can not create and implement a business development strategy operating on the objects and processes. The business development is responsible for the organization, direction, and management of the activities and therefore - for changes.

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