13 min read
August 26, 2022
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A business development strategy is what your company needs to edge out the competition. Find out how to draw up a strategic plan for business development now.

As the U.S. inflation persists, President Joe Biden has hinted that it could last “for a while” given the available data, which recently showed some acceleration in politically sensitive price pressures. Inflation can be a testing period for companies as they look for ways to expand profit margins and improve activity, and for this, business development is key.

The goal of every enterprise is to develop and expand its operations. Sadly, there are over 213.65 million companies in the world today, which can be a lot of competition for newly-launched startups and even the so-called industry giants. But the good news is, whichever category your business belongs to, you can scale through with solid strategies.

There’s more to growing a business than incorporating and registering a name. The factors involved are truly numerous — whether it’s the need to preserve business growth, expand your pool of opportunities and prospects, and remain relevant despite the competition can be quite overwhelming.

But frankly, this only becomes a challenge when you do not have a proper plan. Think of it — business development isn’t just about generating profit. It’s about steady, consistent, positive growth that results from acquiring new clients, connections, partnerships, or opportunities.

These elements directly impact your business’s chances of success. To unlock new levels of growth, you need to adopt a reliable business development strategy.

Coming up with a strategic plan for business development can be tasking, especially if you’re more of a sharp thinker with a penchant for the trade than an academic with business school degrees. However, engaging the professional service of a business development expert or hiring strategy consultants can make the job easy.

With their experience in business development, professionals have the skills to create an ideal strategic design for your firm’s growth, just like Kellogg’s did. In 2005, the outcome of brainstorming sessions by Kellogg’s team of business strategists was the introduction of recommended Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) on their packaging labels.


Image source: https://news.sky.com/story/kelloggs-launches-legal-challenge-against-new-government-food-rules-for-high-sugar-cereals-12599885 

The results? It worked a great treat, increasing customer attraction to the company’s products. Today, you’ve hardly had a conversation about cereals without Kellogg’s as one of the first names on your lips.

In this post, we’ll be unpacking all there is to know about business development and sharing pointers on how pacesetters in the industry come up with a strategic plan for business development. First, let’s give answers to these queries you might be having:

— What is a business development strategy?

It’s a blueprint that defines how your company intends to accomplish its aim of business development. A strong business development strategy gives instructions on how your firm can pursue and acquire high-value leads and favorable prospects that will bring the company’s long-term goals to fruition.

— Why is business development strategy important?

A robust business development strategy is necessary for new market opportunities, growth, and better positioning within a company’s industry. Without this, a company may experience difficulty developing gainful opportunities and valuable client relationships.

What should a business development plan include?

It includes all strategies for growth and profitability that the business has innovated. A good business development plan contains detailed and well-structured plans for networking, sales, marketing techniques, and ideas for expansion, depending on the company’s specific goals.

We get that you may not be familiar with the technical aspects of your business development strategy, which leaves you needing some clarity. Our experts are happy to offer more insight on the topic and how it affects your firm with professional guidance to navigate successfully. Click here to get a unique-to-you pitch deck detailing action points for your brand’s commercial needs as part of our free project pre-development offer.

Business Development vs. Marketing

First, we understand that these two are often (wrongly) used interchangeably, and often, we are asked by our clients what the difference is. So, it’s a good time to clear any fogginess.

Now, while marketing is geared towards selling the company’s current products and available services to the target audience, business development is rooted in the creation of products that can draw in new clients, explore new market opportunities in new geographical locations, and build better customer relationships through the use of research and technology.

Business Development vs. Sales

If the focus of your business development activity is to attract customers and keep the profits rolling in, then what you have is a sales process. It often plays out like this: You focus largely on closing deals of varying sizes with as many customers as possible while pursuing a particular revenue margin.

Usually, the objective is to keep the company afloat by generating huge profits from sales. However, when it comes to business development, your focus is not as streamlined. Yes, securing numerous sales is undoubtedly an objective, but that’s not all there is to your company; else, you fail to maximize your full potential as a business.

Business development will help you assess the existing and emerging markets, find reliable prospects and identify valuable customers, partnerships, and relationships that the sales team can work with to convert.

Why Do You Need a Business Development Strategy?

A good business development strategy serves as a roadmap, a guide that points your business in the direction of steady growth and expansion while maintaining a reputable position within your industry.

With much said about how, in an increasingly digitized commercial landscape, your digital branding is the lifeblood of your business (Our recent post on digital branding can be found here), your business development strategy sets the tone for your digital branding moving forward, which plays an essential role in accelerating your brand.

Beyond digital branding, to grow your business, your need a strategy for identifying and securing valuable prospects that would steer your company toward success.

Brands like Amazon have supercharged their customer experience, providing customers with more books than they can find in traditional bookstores while letting them know immediately if they‘re in stock. This model knocked off their competition — well-established offline booksellers, and they rode the wave of this strategy to grow other offerings. Amazon is worth 438.118 billion USD in net worth as of Dec. 31, 2021.

Walmart — a key player in the foods market — also integrated its super-competitive pricing into its value proposition (hence their ‘save money, live better’ tagline). This strategy pulled in more consumers and gained a larger market share to rake in a whopping 523.964 billion USD in revenue as of Q1 2022.

And while Coca-Сola’s marketing and cross-channel consistency has served to be an obvious business development strategy in itself. Examples like Tacobell and Lyft are worth going over in detail. Both brands are modern examples of a successful partnership strategy as their offerings complement each other, allowing them to tap into each other’s audiences and increase their market share.

How did they do it? Taco Bell, a chain of fast foods, and Lyft, a transportation service provider entered a strategic partnership where Lyft passengers could ask for a mid-trip stop at a local Taco Bell with the click of a button within the Lyft app. This increased sales for Taco Bell and accelerated brand awareness for both companies.

Throughout these examples, one common theme is that an essential foundation of the most successful businesses is a detailed and strategic plan for business development. For instance, in the medical industry, private or public hospitals employ business developers to ideate strategies for enhancing their brand’s appeal through hospital branding.

Business Development vs. Tactics

It’s common for brands to use both terms interchangeably. But they’re different. To achieve the goal of your strategy, you may employ several different (business and branding) tactics. But in some situations, a particular tactic can be the center of your entire strategy.

For instance, when you network for your business, what outcomes do you desire? Is it effective business development, or you’re merely seeking new prospects?

If you’re only seeking new prospects, then your activity is nothing more than a business tactic. But if, via networking, you’re seeking partnerships and collaborations to spur business growth, then it’s a business development strategy.

Effective Business Development Tactics

There are some business development tactics that have proven effective for high business growth over the years. Below, we’ve listed 10 of the best for you below:

• Conducting and publishing original research.
• Public relations (earned media).
• Nurturing prospects through phone calls.
• Providing assessments and/or consultations.
• Keyword research/search engine optimization.
• Live product/service demonstrations through quality graphic design branding.
• Speaking at targeted conferences or events.
• Networking on social media.
• Marketing partnerships with other organizations.
• Presenting in educational webinars.

How to Create Your Strategic Business Development Plan

Strategic business development involves your processes being aligned with the strategic business goals of your firm. For instance, Coca-Cola Amatil’ strategic plan for business development is focused on product differentiation and technological advantage.

With this, the company has managed to become one of the five largest non-alcoholic bottlers of ready-to-drink beverages in the Asian Pacific regions and has successfully achieved growth while making huge profits, encouraging partnerships and attracting top talents in the industry.


Image source: https://r1creative.net/feed/evolution-coca-cola-bottle/

To create a concrete strategic business development plan, you need to have the following elements in place:

1.Competitive advantage that makes you the better alternative for your target audience than the other businesses in the industry. Once you find your standout feature or USP, you should weave your strategic business development plan around it for the best results.

2.An overall development strategy for your business that is broad enough to engage and convert identified prospects.

3.Foolproof business development tactics that suit your strategy and target audience. It’s advisable to balance both physical and digital innovation for optimum results.

4.A method to monitor the impact of your strategy implementation.

One huge mistake we’ve uncovered during our collaborations with clients when creating their business development strategy is that they tend to speed up the process.

While planning looks good in theory, when it comes to implementation, they often push for quicker outcomes. Management interference only bogs down the process.

Our experts strongly advise having clear-cut objectives, milestones, and checkpoints for proper implementation. Seeing that this is an aspect of your business that can determine its growth or slump, you need the help of professionals.

Stan Branding is an award-winning agency with over 300+ completed projects that have proven results and deep commercial understanding (thanks to the industry-wide experience of our team of marketers and designers) of crafting strategic and unique business development plans for different kinds of companies — whether local, international, or even multinationals.

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Click here for a made-for-you pitch deck detailing action points for business development as part of our free project pre-development offer!

How to Create a Business Development Strategy For Your Business

Creating a strong business development strategy for your business is hardly a day’s job. It requires team effort, tons of market research, and several brainstorming sessions while taking stock of your company’s objectives. A reliable strategy for business development starts with the following questions:

Who is your audience?

If you can’t tell what your ideal audience is, then you’re probably setting your business up to be stagnant. Identify your audience. What kind of clients do you hope to draw in? What category of customers would you want to do business with long-term? Map out your ideal customer profile.

In creating your strategy, you must identify which prospects are most profitable to your company’s growth and develop sophisticated ways to attract them.

What’s your target market?

Again, 90% of our clients are most likely to confuse their target market and target audience to be one and the same. This is not necessarily the case, and we’re happy to solve any confusion on this subject.

Both terms — “Target audience and Target Market” generally refer to the same set of individuals — people who are interested in your services or products. However, while your Target audience applies to a more specific set of people within the broader market, your target market applies to the broader market who will be interested in your services.

It is improbable for a business to be relevant in every market. As such, once you have your target audience ironed out, your next step should be to select a broader (target) market where you would want your business to thrive.

Analyze the existing competitors in that market and evaluate the aspects of your business that helps it stand out from the rest. Afterward, you can use this information to determine the most beneficial way to communicate your value to prospective clientele.

For instance, Procter & Gamble — a leading provider of household supplies — understands that the buying decision ultimately rests with mothers. As such, most of their brand marketing outreach is tailored toward moms.


Image source: https://us.pg.com/

Their 2012 Olympics campaign highlights the role of mothers in the life of an Olympian. It evokes emotion and celebrates the impact of motherhood through the struggles of the Olympian’s journey, eventually leading up to their success.

Recently, we helped ideate a brand development strategy for Triburg, a Germany-based manufacturer and supplier of trailers and accessories (like nets, etc.) for different vehicles. Like most brands, they launched with huge promise, only to stagnate later on.

A free project pre-discovery call on Zoom with our Chief Analyst made them realize how the brand needed innovative ways to project its long-term vision and differentiate itself in a highly competitive market.

The building blocks of our strategy were laid from an in-depth analysis from several brainstorming sessions, sampling stakeholder feedback, and border surveys from the European market. Showing deep commercial understanding, we found the Trailer manufacturing industry to be plagued with price volatility — mostly due to supply chain issues — despite high demand.

Our fix? Positioning Triburg as a stickler for high performance and reliability. In communicating these values, we implemented a color palette featuring blue hues with a tinge of orange for contrast with a triangle-shaped logo that paid homage to the ‘TRI’ in Triburg.


With a new visual identity to take the brand to the next level by improving its brand image and differentiating from the competition, Triburg was able to become a serious player in Germany’s truck trailer industry. A few months down the line, Triburg is reaping the rewards of a coherent business development strategy with a 36.7% increase in market share within their industry as of Q2 2022 (a drastic increase from their projected 8%!).

What Channels do you use?

The next step is determining what channels best achieve your desired revenue goal. The most common choices are networking, paid advertisements, referrals, and content marketing.

These are business development strategies and while some businesses combine one or two, others opt for the entire bunch. Whatever you choose, it is necessary to see that they align with the development goals of your firm.

What are your goals?

You need to set specific goals that are relevant to the development of your business and can be attained within a reasonable time. Your business development goals should always involve ways to introduce new prospects to your sales funnel.

Incorporating S.M.A.R.T goals is an easily implementable way to cruise through this aspect of your business development strategy. S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. It could look something like this:

— By Q3, our team will have increased brand awareness in the XYZ region to secure at least 30 new leads through an inbound marketing strategy.

— By the end of Q1, we will have generated $20,000 in revenue outbound prospecting efforts.

— In Q2, we will double our social media traffic from Q1 by publishing at least 2 new branded posts per week.

— By the end of Q4, we will have increased our social media following by 10% through targeted ads and content strategy.

— In 2020, we will launch a new product line that will generate $1 million in revenue.

This will give you a clear idea of what success looks like and help you to track your progress along the way. When setting business development goals, it is important to keep the following in mind:


Image source: https://stanbranding.com/

Following these guidelines, you can set goals that will help you measure and track your progress and ensure that your business development efforts align with your company’s overall mission and strategy.

If you need help setting business development goals or creating a business development plan, our team of marketers and designers have the expertise to create a comprehensive business development plan that will help you achieve your desired growth.

We’ll partner with you to create a custom plan that fits your unique business needs and objectives. Access our free project pre-development offer for your strategic business development here.

Top Business Development Strategies

Now, let’s examine some of the top business development strategies:

Innovative Networking

This strategy involves actively developing new relationships and partnerships with potential clients. Networking is widely recognized as creating an avenue for business representatives to interact and find new prospects for their respective businesses.

Today, it’s deployed as an effective business development strategy due to its numerous benefits, the most tangible of which is a medium for building strong relationships with business prospects.

The good bit? To cut back on the physical constraints from face-to-face networking especially in a post-pandemic era, businesses have incorporated networking strategy into their digital activity through webinars and online networking events.

The numerous business development plans we’ve hatched for our clients have opened our eyes to one uncomfortable truth: clients fancy taking shortcuts to their networking.

And like most things in life, if your networking isn’t organic, it’s bound not to yield results. Real network-building does not happen overnight — simply curating a lead funnel and looking to convert them through email marketing? Wrong.

There has to be a human effort. Remember, no one like being sold to. So, you don’t need to come off as ‘salesy.’ An example of real human effort will be cultivating relationships with former clients, members of your local communities, contract and service partners and to keep engaging with them.

Advertisement and Sponsorship Programs

The traditional advertisement model (billboards, TV) is fast becoming out of whack with today’s modern, heavily digital realities, and sponsorship deals do not always yield meaningful results.

However, well-targeted digital advertising has become a gamechanger. With the help of digital advertisements, businesses can now deliver information about their latest products and services to the right audience.

For example, if your target audience is Instagram users, you should run paid promotions for your business on Instagram. That way, your firm will make a lasting impression on the right clients. Brands like Lush — a cosmetic chain — have used appealing Instagram posts and brilliant product photography to appeal to their target audience.


Successful businesses do not underestimate the power of referrals, whether written or word-of-mouth, as a profitable strategy for business development. The role of referrals is closely related to networking and drive the highest conversion rates.

Generally speaking, referrals occur when a business representative, whether a stakeholder or a loyal customer, recommends a business to a potential client or investor. While the use of referrals is sometimes deemed unreliable because it solely depends on the credibility of former or existing customers, it remains a top strategy amongst marketers.

Some even go as far as to suggest that it beats traditional advertisement as the leads won by superfans of your brand come in warmer. And there’s plenty of proof to back this up: Airbnb offered Referrers US$18 per qualifying stay and US$10 per qualifying experience, with the referees to get up to $46 account credit.


Image source: https://couponswala.com/blog/airbnb-referral-program/

Overall, Airbnb’s referral program increased bookings by more than 25%, with the last iteration of the referral program banging in even better numbers, boosting referrals by over 300%.

Effective Content Marketing

This strategy ensures that existing and potential clients remain with your company. Over the years, firms have developed creative ways to draw customers in through effective content marketing. Mail was the traditional platform for such attempts at establishing connections, and it was sufficient. But not anymore.

Thanks to digitization, businesses are beginning to supplement their efforts to draw in more viable prospects by using social media as a tool for product engagement and showcasing their thought leadership through speaking at webinars, writing blog posts, or publishing content that shows your company’s expertise.

Annually, Slack holds a conference dubbed the Slack Frontiers Conference to educate their 630,000 customers globally about their ever-expanding services offering. On top of the conference, they also publish marketing (video) content on their Youtube channel, usually targeted at key decision makers at businesses looking to go remote. These videos answer common concerns they may have and generate demand for their solutions.


If 9 years of experience formulating business development strategies across different industries has taught us anything, it’s that strategic business development is not one another deliverable for your internal team.

Here’s why: With so much at stake, the management will likely underestimate the expertise and time that goes into crafting and implementing one. If anything, the failure accompanying this will lead to a waste of budget, losing track of long-term and short-term goals, and teams that are low on motivation.

To create a strategic plan for your company’s development, you need the professional services of an expert. At Stan Branding, we have a team of skilled business developers that are experienced in drafting foolproof strategies for business development.

Need a fresh and effective business development strategy? Do you have one already but need a professional pair of eyes to see if it requires an overhaul? Get a glimpse into our 300+ unique, completed projects with proven results. Ready to rock on with an agency invested in your long-term success just as you but skillfully equipped? Click here to start the development process of your business with a free project pre-development session with our CEO.