Business development involves much more than a cutthroat mindset for flashy deals and being pushy to gain more sales. In fact, consumers are turned off by such overly-aggressive tactics.

Making sales and creating lifetime value requires finesse and being genuinely interested in helping people improve their lives. The process entails identifying problems, educating people on them, building credibility, and then making sales.

Here are tips to help you design your business development plan in a way that adds substantial value for both you and your customers.

Implement a lead scoring process

Sales strategies today must measure the strength of leads. Each lead you gain falls into a certain category within the buyer’s journey. This information tells you how to approach them and appeal to their interests and motivations.

If you use a single cookie-cutter form of engagement, you are limiting yourself. This is where automated lead nurturing software comes in.

SharpSpring is a lead nurturing tool that tracks your customers from the very first touch point. It scores your leads and judges them based on their intent to buy. Then, it will engage them with content specifically created for certain stages of the journey.

With the ability to sync up with third party CRM systems such as Salesforce and Zoho, you can easily track leads and pinpoint opportunities to put the right messaging in front of the right people.

Once you have measured and segmented your leads, the trick is creating the content that plays to their current mindset.

Create content that solves problems

In the beginning, or the awareness stage, people are discovering problems and looking for more information. This is where your efforts need to be aimed to educate. For this purpose, create and distribute insightful content such as blog posts, white papers, online reviews, etc. Starting a business blog is one of the most basic and simple action items of content marketing, yet the number of sites without an updated blog never ceases to amaze me.

You should build your lead generation campaigns around a blog on your site with a focused content strategy.

Creating targeted messaging that plays to interest levels is nearly impossible without a combination of lead nurturing software and content. Your ability to make sales depends almost entirely on how well you understand the needs of prospective customers.

Optimize your website to drive sales

With so many options to choose from, consumers have no desire to spend their time trying to figure out what a brand stands for. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you are selling or educating, not conveying what your company is about its unique selling point immediately will render your efforts useless. This is why web design is such a crucial aspect of modern business growth.

The first glance at your website can say more about your intentions than anything else. For instance, if the landing page is chock-full of promotional material, the initial thought might be that you are not so much concerned with solving problems as you are making money.

Remember, the initial tone you set lays the groundwork for what you represent. Take your time and use the right design techniques to ensure your first impression is positive and reflects your values. It’s no secret that a good UX is central to customer retention – and therefore – consistent revenue streams.

Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify let you choose and customize storefront themes to present your brand in a way that truly captivates people.

Shopify is backed by mobile-ready store management features, integrated point of sale systems, and other order fulfillment options that help you enhance the user experience.

Know your customers

In order to promote your messaging in manner that strikes a chord, you need to understand your target audience.

You need to know exactly what type of people you are dealing with, what they want, what their pain points are, and how they consume content. For example, B2C audiences might be more receptive to softer, passive messaging, whereas B2B could be more interested in bolder, solution-based content.

Once you have a firm grasp on this, you will know how to position your approach to educate and sell in way that truly speaks to them.

Embrace social media monitoring

Striking the perfect balance between selling and educating all comes down to how well you know the market landscape and can actively communicate solutions. Social monitoring software allows you to do this much more efficiently.

There are plenty of solutions that can provide all the insight you need. Talkwalker, for example, is an incredibly user-friendly resource that allows you to monitor major social media networks using keywords, hashtags, brand names, and more.

You can get a first-hand look at what people are saying within your industry, who the influencers are, prevalent issues, and levels of sentiment.

What are your top tips for creating a business development plan that works?

Consumer mindsets are evolving by the hour. People are constantly finding new pain points and concerns. Therefore, your sales strategy needs to be versatile and able to adapt to change. The good news is that there are more than enough tools and software solutions to make the process of educating and selling simple for both you and the customers.

Let us know what your tips for creating a business development plan in the comments below or by by connecting with GetApp on Twitter.

About the author

Pratik Dholakiya is founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO, and of PRmention, a digital PR agency.

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