Describe your job to us:
I serve as President/Principal of Atlanta-based creative agency My Friend's Nephew overseeing account management, operations and new business development.
What can you tell us about the business development role?
We concentrate heavily on developing and cultivating relationships, but sales is also a numbers game. We know that it takes a certain number of touches, a certain number of times per week or month to convert one prospect into a new client.
How did you get started in business development?
Organically, I played a role in business development as I rose up through account management. Building relationships with clients to farm within existing accounts came naturally and was fun. That experience and level of self-awareness, combined with the interest and drive to do it, led to more business development responsibility.
How has the role evolved over the past few years?
Over time, the ultimate goals of the business development role haven’t changed, but the use of technology and data has changed how the role reaches those goals. We have more data available to us than ever before, and new web-based tools and apps are constantly being introduced to the market. With so much data readily available, it’s critical to stay organized and be able to quickly cut through the data to know exactly who you’re targeting and where each target is in the sales process.
If I am entering the industry and I want to move into business development, what steps should I take?
If you’re new to the industry, you need knowledge and experience. Do everything you can to gain valuable experience and do anything to accelerate that. Don’t be afraid to fail. Do not be overly concerned about where you work, but who you work for. Work for people who will mentor, train and teach you the business and invest in your future. Those mentors will be key in helping you gain the knowledge and experience you need to excel. They’ll also become important resources throughout your career as it develops.
Give us insight on the secret to maintaining a successful client relationship? What is the biggest challenge?
If you provide value every time you interact with a client you’ll build a dependable and irresistible relationship – a relationship where they need the value you bring. The key is to serve them by doing what’s best for them and their business and staying clear of being driven by what’s best for you or your personal gain. It’s hard to get fired if you’re serving them well and constantly providing value.