Stepping up to new challenges

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

We worked with a newly appointed director of business development. The role was a new position in the company and it was a radical change from his previous job as a consultant. Despite it having been a number of years since he had directly managed a team he now had to build and lead a new department, which had two years to be successful and meet revenue targets. He knew he needed to develop new capabilities to step up to the challenge and was concerned about how to bring the best out in his team.

Initially he behaved as though everything was important but his Leading Form the Middle programme enabled him to step back from the fire-fighting and he was able to stop wasting time on jobs that were of low or no value. He also quickly realised he had to set specific time aside to think about strategy and the longer term in a more structured way.

An important step for him was to improve communication and collaboration with his peers on the management team. He improved his understanding of the sales directors’ pipelines and their plans for the next 12-24 months, and focused on integrating business development into the flow of information. Through doing this, he created a framework that minimised the number of gaps in communication that had frequently led to problems for other members of the management team in the past.

Building these peer relationships enabled him to provide real leadership for his team too, getting them to think about the bigger picture and what they were trying to achieve with each prospect. In particular, he was able to greatly reduce the amount of time they spent working on leads that were of no real substance, freeing up their time to focus on genuine prospects. The whole team is much clearer about what is expected of them, and they come across more professionally to prospective clients because they are well prepared for sales calls. As a result they provide more and better quality leads for the sales teams.

The director of business development is enjoying himself more and reports:

I’ve got much better use of my time and better use of my day, without working ridiculous hours. I can delegate in a thoughtful and planned way.

And his boss said:

As an organisation we are in a much better position to execute for the coming year. There is also more potential to develop the business development role – there was no blue print for this role before you (the director) took it on. Now other countries are putting in this role and they are coming to the UK for guidance.

His approach helps his boss in other ways too. Their one-to-one meetings are highly focused and tackle priority issues, they have a shorter list of things to discuss when they meet, which are the right things for the business to drive growth. They have also cleared time to focus on developing the important strategic alliances that will help them.