Posted 9th December 2009.
Back in the days when I was managing major business transformation projects, almost the first thing I did on every engagement was to instil a regular project management “drumbeat”.
Not that I particularly viewed myself as a Roman galley slave master. But the metaphor was clear. By establishing a regular cycle of project management reviews we ensured that the whole programme progressed forward in-sync.
Now of course, most consultants hate “bureaucracy”. They like to be self-managing and independent. But in practice, the regular drumbeat reviews always picked up things each team wasn't doing, or areas where they could integrate or work better with other teams. And they simply kept the pace moving. Knowing the reviews were coming up, each team leader managed the progress of their area better.
Not surprisingly, the same process works incredibly well for business development too.
Now whether you do them as part of a big team or you do them just for yourself, you need to take time out on a regular basis to look at your pipeline and identify actions you can take to improve its position.
A typical agenda for a business development drumbeat review might be:
- Review progress executing your Lead Generation tactics:
- Reviewing progress vs your marketing action plans – i.e. are you successfully carrying out the activities
- Reviewing the outcome of the tactics – e.g. how many short term leads (usually sales meetings) did you generate? How many long term leads (contacts passed into lead nurturing) did you generate?
- Reviewing the progress of your Lead Nurturing activities – e.g. How many contacts did you make with your A/B/C clients and prospects vs plan?. How many prospects do you have in each phase of your nurture funnel (if you use one) and how is this progressing? What was the feedback from the contacts with A priority prospects and clients? How many nurtured leads converted into sales opportunities (i.e. a sales focused meeting for a live piece of work)?
- Reviewing the progress of your sales activities
- What does each stage of your sales process/pipeline look like vs target and how is this progressing over time?
- What was the outcome of your key sales meetings this period: lost sale, “treading water”, progress or sale?
- What business did you close this period?
- Agreeing the critical activities your business needs to focus on in the
- Are there shortfalls in the early stage pipeline?
- Do you need to focus on Lead Generation?
- Are some potential sales “stuck” and need senior effort to help progress?
- What support is needed for each professional or business developer to help them progress and close their key opportunities in the upcoming period?
- Are there any consistently weak areas in the process that need addressing?
- Are any individuals consistently under-performing? Do they need coaching, support or reassignment?
- Do we need more or different resources focused on lead generation or sales?
A simple review like this typically takes between 90 minutes to 2 hours and it's best done weekly (certainly for the first few iterations) or fortnightly.
At first it'll feel uncomfortable and bureaucratic. But persevere – the results will be well worth it.