A client of mine has a venture to build out a new book for business for their firm. This can feel like boiling the ocean because the possibilities of what to do first are endless. In an effort to generate progress, it’s easy to jump right in and start with any prospect or client. But instead, we chose a different approach and first worked on their Strategic Business Development Plan. This helped them to first find focus, so they could then accelerate growth.

In this post I’m sharing the elements worth paying attention to, to help you create your Strategic Business Development Plan.

  • Vision for the next 12 months. What do you want to become in the next 12 months? What does the ideal territory or book of business look like? This includes top line and bottom line growth, new clients, and expansion of existing clients.
  • Verticals. Which 2-3 verticals are worthy of your focus? As you look at your current client set, that can give you some clues. Also give some thought to verticals that are exciting for you, that you want to dive more deeply into. For example, my client had four verticals they were considering. After some preliminary research and looking at their current book of business, two of those four were prime candidates for focus. They had traction in those verticals, and those verticals also made sense for their geographic market.
  • Top Target Clients. With your verticals in hand, now you have a track to run on in determining your top target clients. For each vertical, create a brainstorm list of at least 25 per vertical. Once my client had those lists in hand, we could then evaluate which targets made the most sense to pursue. From there, we began researching individual decision makers, and planning their outreach to them.
  • Strategic Alliances. These are your outside partners, where you can create mutually beneficial results. They become additional “feet on the street,” helping you to identify opportunities, partner on engagements, or make introductions.
  • Personas. For each of your key verticals, you will want to create decision maker and influencer personas. For each persona, document their vision, key challenges, and motivations for making change.
  • Brand Profile. This is your high-level plan to build your marketing presence. For example, if LinkedIn is where you’re able to connect with key prospects and clients, is that part of your strategy? What are the ways you will commitment to building your thought leadership in the marketplace? This can include consistent content creation, your organizational or personal website’s thought leadership, inbound list building, guest blogging, and podcasts.

There has never been a better time to think strategically about your book of business or sales territory. If you’re a sales or practice leader, this is the time to lead your team through strategic planning. Plan for your future growth and success. These six pillars will give you a solid foundation to build from so you can create consistent results.

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