98b Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6AW


Joanna Goddard, commercial growth strategist, is a highly respected business consultant based in the UK

Is your business development working?

Read my Top 5 Tips and find out.

I’m often asked, as it’s an area I specialise in, if an organisation’s business development activity is actually working. Business Development isn’t an exact science. It can be a challenge to attribute results to events, networking and advertising efforts and as a consequence, frustration, over-spending or under-spending can often occur.

Many adopt the approach that if you are out every evening at a ‘thing’ you will become a ‘rainmaker’ and pull in copious amounts of new business.

There can be a fine line between ‘rainmakers’ and busy fools.

Your own time is valuable, as is your firm’s, and so ensuring that confident decision-making about value, timings and frequency of investment in activities such as networking, events, sponsorship, membership, social media and advertising is crucial for a profitable operation.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for measuring business development:

  1. Benchmark – Establish a benchmark of activity. This can be captured in a simple spreadsheet. Consider factors such as event attendance, number of contacts details added to your database, blogs published, website traffic, emails issued. Monthly recording is ideal. Social media analytics and website analytics are invaluable for research and can in addition filter out hot topics, so you know what is of most interest to your customers or clients and therefore which subjects to feature in printed materials or as potential presentation content.
  1. Analyse – Plot findings regularly and soon patterns will be established that enable you to identify cause and effect in relation to turnover. Ensure those findings are a regular feature on your board agendas. For example you may see a clear relationship between the number of blogs published per month and website hits and enquiries.
  1. Train – Train your team, every single one of them, on the importance of tracking the source of new enquiries. That’s fresh enquiries from both existing and new customers or clients. Find out what prompted them to request your services. It’s a regular pitfall that reception teams are not included in briefing information. Share with all staff the importance of capturing this information and how this relates to spending decisions within the company. Really drill this into the company psyche, as it’s deeply significant to your investment decision-making.
  1. Record – The value of memberships is worth questioning on a regular basis. It’s important to record which clients or customers are fellow members of organisations that you fund or are regular attendees at events you sponsor. Spend time exploring this – either focus more time on conversion or consider reducing your investment if the spend does not marry up and you have been renewing the same membership for years! This alone may take a few months of hard work if it hasn’t been done before, however it is worth investing time or securing some temporary administrative support to achieve it.
  1. Get CRM savvy – That’s Client Relationship Management. Software systems are readily available – from free platforms and simple spreadsheets through to established options which link to accounting and which efficiently produce invoices and track payments.

Fundamentally, a CRM system will show at a glance who has been in touch with a client, supplier or prospect, when, about what, and by which method (eg email, phone etc). It will record who received any marketing materials and when, whether they attended an event or placed a new business request. It enables you to stay in touch, thank and introduce ideas to clients with precision and relevance, thus protecting your time and your marketing spend and increasing results. In other words, it can effectively help develop a higher ROI in a measurable and practical way. Established software can also provide you with auto reports to prompt you when you haven’t been in contact with a client over a specific period of time that is set by you.

I have some great contacts who can help with each stage of measuring return on investment and help you develop the points covered above in your business. If you would like to learn more, please do get in touch.