Annual Biz-Dev Spring Cleaning: Nine Things to Toss Out


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Spring has sprung! But what signaled its approach weren’t daffodils or the many hues of outsized azalea blossoms. It was a dependably punctual annual request—well, more accurately, a demand: “Can we get rid of some of this junk in the garage so I don’t have to go through contortions just to get out of my car?”

“. . . . Yes, Dear. As soon as Strasburg gets this last out. . . .”

Let’s saunter over to see the collection of articles I painstakingly stowed over the winter, now deemed undesirable. What to get rid of? Partially filled cans of old, congealed paint? Obsolete computer peripherals? A stack of disassembled Ikea shelving, with holes and channels precisely routed to accommodate the long-missing metal doo-hickeys? I’ll take all of this suburban detritus out to the curb for my neighbor to pick over and put in his garage. Done! Now the car door swings fully thirty degrees—room enough to get in or out without having to swear.

It’s rare to find a business development garage that doesn’t look like my real garage, metaphorically speaking. Most have tools and tactics that are just sitting around, gathering dust, and getting in the way. Get rid of them! You’ll find the experience cathartic.

1. Social-media Checkboxes. They’re all over the place. “Twitter? Yeah, we’ve got someone doing that. Same for Facebook.” But if they’re not integrated into your marketing and business development system, they’re just in the way.

2. Best-practice Checkboxes. Same. Dust them off to see what’s inside. Throw them out if they’re no longer useful. “Our lead conversion rate is on par with our industry.” “We’re bringing in marketing automation in accordance with industry best-practices.” –None of which will differentiate you from your competitors, or accelerate your corporate strategy.

3. Old sales promotions. Conditions change, and promotional tactics have to keep up. The Washington Nationals baseball team began their Red Carpet Rewards loyalty program to address a revenue problem: a low season-ticket base. The question was, ‘How do you create loyalty and affinity beyond just a season ticket?'” said Andrew C. Feffer, the team’s COO (Rewards Program Loses Luster for Some Nats Fans, The Washington Post, May 8, 2013). That was before the team signed Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Zimmerman. Today, the Nationals are in the top half of the league in attendance per game, have had positive operating income every year since 2006. The loyalty program perks just got a lot stingier.

4. Old Social Media Governance policies. Yes, like that hedge that’s now encroaching your front window, Social Media tools—and the number of employees using them on behalf of your company—have grown out of control. Vine (pun intended), Pinterest, and other social tools have emerged. And Twitter sure hasn’t gotten any safer for those prone to verbal indiscretions.

5. Outmoded sales process flowcharts. Buyer habits have changed, and your last sales process was probably already obsolete the moment you pasted it into PowerPoint.

6. Old compensation and incentives programs. Still paying generously for sales that aren’t valuable or profitable? Don’t wait until the end of the fiscal year to toss out incentives that aren’t congruent with your corporate objectives.

7. Marketing sacred cows. They take up way too much space. “Hey, we’ve always hosted an annual golf outing!” But as The Economist reports, “cycling is the new golf.” Who knew?

8. Trendy tactics. For example, “Stop Selling!” and “Be a Trusted Advisor to your client.” Neither one appears in the index of The Challenger Sale—a book I’m keeping only until Rethinking the Challenger Sale is published sometime in the future.

9. Predictive Validity hubris. It arrived on a truck with your Big Data, and it’s right by the main lobby door. You trip over it every time you walk in. As Nate Silver cautions in his book, The Signal and the Noise, “Our ancestors who lived in caves would have found it advantageous to have very strong, perhaps almost hyperactive pattern-recognition skills—to be able to identify in a split-second whether that rustling in the leaves over yonder was caused by the wind or by an encroaching grizzly bear. Nowadays, in a fast-paced world awash in numbers and statistics, those same tendencies can get us into trouble: when presented with a series of random numbers, we see patterns where there aren’t any.”

Some of the stuff in our Biz-Dev garages is admittedly tough to part with. Once proud ideas now look forlorn when unceremoniously dragged to the rubbish bin, tossed in a heap, along with the soiled packaging from yesterday’s lunch. I remember how I felt when I recently trashed my CD boom box with built-in cassette player. But it had to go. I stopped using it well before my first iPhone provided the same capabilities.

Ahhhh! There’s nothing like de-cluttering! Now, back to the ball game . . .

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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