Optimizing Your Sales Process
This week MarshBerry has offered perspectives on how to evolve selling in a virtual world and the importance of differentiating your value proposition to build a sustainable brand. The concepts mentioned earlier this week include overcoming the commodity factor, staying true to your objectives, leveraging technology, knowing your audience and their needs, and staying focused on connecting your value proposition to your clients’ and prospects’ lifecycle. All these philosophies are cornerstones to success. But who in your firm does this? One answer might be, it is everyone’s responsibility. True, but there are distinct roles that can help you achieve success efficiently and effectively. It might be time to consider creating a Business Development Team.
What is a Business Development Team (BDT)? A BDT is an inside sales function that assumes responsibility for prospecting and qualifying potential clients. They devote their time to conducting research, identifying prospects and stratifying them by various criteria. While this team shares in the objective to generate revenue for the business, an important distinction is the stage in which they engage with the prospects across the sales cycle and the depth to which they build relationships. Some of their primary activities include:
- Identifying and connecting with decision makers
- Evaluating if the client would benefit from the product or service the firm has to offer – can the firm help solve a problem or offer something unique and different from the competition?
- Determining where the client is on the purchasing journey – are they in initial phase of exploring options or are they close to deciding?
- And importantly, qualifying if the prospect is ready, willing and able to buy
The BDT spends the majority of time listening, asking questions, and really getting to know the prospect’s pain points and goals. Gathering as much information as possible and properly nurturing the prospect, the BDT can seamlessly transition the qualified prospect to the Sales Consultant.
The core function of business development requires effort and time. It is increasingly difficult to reach and engage with decision makers. When was the last time you took a call from a number you didn’t recognize or really read that random email? These teams are integrating technology and getting creative in building relationships. If you have not performed a prospect presentation via webinar yet, the sales train left the station without you two weeks ago in this COVID-19 era.
Most major industries had been using technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to work with clients and prospects remotely long before COVID-19. Business Development Teams across industries have been hiring roughly 10 reps for every Sales Consultant for years. I don’t think we can say the same statistics apply to the insurance industry. But perhaps this is a good time to try a modern approach to sales, especially when we really have no choice. No one is taking in-person meetings any time soon.
You might ask yourself, why not just let the Sales Adviser do those activities? One of the primary benefits to distinguishing the roles of business development and Sales Adviser is enabling specialization within their roles. There are very different skill sets needed in searching, discovering, nurturing, negotiating, and closing. By separating the business development role from the Sales Consultant role, each can develop a level of expertise that ultimately accelerates the sales cycle from generating more qualified leads to closing more prospects.
The most competent and trusted Sales Consultants have limited capacity to do the research, gather lead intelligence and qualify prospects. Instead, let them focus on achieving high hit rates and close rates with warm introductions. The warm introduction occurs when the BDT matches the client with the Sales Consultant that brings the best expertise to meet their needs. The Sales Consultant can quickly engage and craft the right solutions. The Sales Consultant is the extension of the multiple touches the BDT has invested. They deliver the value proposition of their firm to the client.
The two roles are complementary halves of a whole. Working in tandem to know, understand and provide value to the client, your BDT is hired and trained to be the best door openers known to man. They don’t sell insurance. They introduce your firm as a trusted advisor. When the time is right, they partner with the Sales Consultant to close the deal.
If you have questions about Today’s ViewPoint or would like to learn more about establishing a Business Development Team in your firm, please email or call Gerard Vecchio, Senior Vice President at or 212.972.4886.
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