The #1 reason your BDM fails

Are you insane?

There’s a growing problem for SME’s in the New Zealand marketplace and it’s arguably the biggest threat to any business owner; lack of revenue.

As a small to medium sized business owner, you may have already ‘trimmed the fat’ in your operational costs to increase bottom line profit, but you now have to tackle the elephant in the room, top line growth.

“I know I need to have a website and do some Digital Marketing” you said.

You may have just invested thousands of dollars in an online Marketing strategy to deliver new leads to fuel growth for your business, but to no avail; revenue is still flat or worse still, going backwards.

What do you do now?

The rational next step is to hire a BDM (Business Development Manager) to go out and win some new business for your company.

A person who has a strong history in Sales; someone who can ‘hit the ground running’, who you can give a $60-80k base salary, unlimited commission, a company car, a phone and a product/service catalogue and in return, they will be the answer to all your revenue prayers.

You may have put an ad up on Seek, or asked around for a recommendation from your network, you may have already hired someone who told you all the things you wanted to hear in the interview, looked the part and was the type of person you’d be happy to have a beer with.

After the novelty of the Sales saviour had worn off, the actual sales results were not forthcoming.

Instead, you either started to hear excuses (at the 6 month mark) or, worse still eventually heard nothing at all (9 month mark); until eventually there was a letter of resignation emailed to you one Monday morning (12 month mark).

“Right, let’s put another advert up on Seek” would likely be your normal response, because what else can you do?

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results”

Now if I were to ask you my earlier question again, would your answer be the same?

Don’t worry, there is a way out of the asylum and RevUp have a key.

Let’s start by looking at the landscape you find yourself in as a business owner looking to hire a BDM.

For reasons too long to list here, good Business Development Managers are becoming increasingly harder to find and increasingly in demand here in NZ, but the crux of the issue, is that traditional sales methods are no longer effective in today’s ‘business to business’ landscape, whilst newer sales people don’t have the passion.

You may have blamed the lack of hunger to make cold calls from new BDM’s for their lack of success, or their lack of resilience to hearing the word ‘no’, but you are pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

The finger needs to be pointing at you, the business owner.

“You know what you’re doing, but you don’t know where you’re going”

I’m not saying that the BDM’s you hire are not partly to blame in some scenarios, but there are ways to hire the right person (RevUp being one avenue for it), but regardless of the skills of your new sales person, they are being set up to fail in today’s increasingly challenging business environment, if you don’t have your business’ story clearly communicated.

In the past, BDM’s were primarily motivated to survive, which is why they are commonly referred to as hunters.

The world has changed.

There is a now a generation of BDM’s who have grown up with all of life’s creature comforts, they were born into homes where they were loved, fed and most of their material needs were met, as such pure financial reward is no longer enough.

It doesn’t mean that the new generation of BDM’s doesn’t have the work ethic of the older generation; it just means that their motivators for demonstrating that strong work ethic are different.

The new generation of BDM’s need to know that what they are doing means something.

Meaning comes from having a clear view of where you want your business to be in 3 years’ time, what needs to happen to get there and fundamentally, why it’s so important to get there.

They need to know why the story is so important to you and why it should be important to them.

To them, increased profit is not enough, regardless of what it means to you as a business owner.

Don’t believe me? Then let me ask you this.

Do you think you’d run further on a treadmill, running track or the open road?

Treadmill – This is the short term BDM focus of making cold calls or waiting for inbound leads. It’s reactive, desperate and with no clear planning.  The sales results are poor and the BDM normally lasts 3-6 months, because they feel they are on a treadmill going nowhere.

Running Track – This is the medium term, and may involve some referrals and attending networking events, but it relies solely on monitoring KPI’s, targets and rewards each time a BDM completes one lap of the monthly, quarterly or annual track.  Sales results start off OK, but slowly become sporadic as the BDM finds they are just going around in circles.  I give them 12-18 months in the role, with only the first 9 months being marginally productive.

Open Road – This is the long term growth plan, the one which will ensure your business is truly successful.  It is where your business has a long term strategic goal/story/roadmap, which a BDM can believe in and use as a beacon in the distance to keep motivated to keep going during tough times.  This meaning (beacon) will have them steadily growing your revenue for 3 years.

Yes, your BDM needs the skills to be able to run on a treadmill or running track if required, but having a beacon on an open road helps focus their activity and purpose, whilst showing that tomorrow is going to be different and better than today and that looking back on what they have been doing in regards to cold calls and targets, is part of the longer meaningful journey going forwards.

This is where RevUp can help you.

RevUp will not only help you create your Sales story, but can also help you find the right person to deliver on that story, whilst also coaching them along the way.

If you’d like to know how RevUp has helped businesses like yours overcome their revenue challenges, click here, or just drop me a private message and I’d be happy to have a chat to see if we can do the same for yours.

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