There comes a point when your middle-market business must shed its start-up mentality and begin to scale with systems and processes to receive sustainable growth in business development. In younger businesses especially, a lack of business development leads to an ebb and flow of revenue. To achieve a consistent revenue stream, you must prospect for more opportunities, even if you're in the middle of working a potential large deal. In order to do this, consider these business-building tips:

business development in sales takes planning

  • Unless your business receives 100 percent of sales through referrals, prospecting must occur every day. Consider setting regular blocks of time daily solely for this purpose. Prospecting can happen through a multifaceted strategy using the telephone, voice mail, email, social platforms, and through referrals and recommendations. Mid-sized organizations often have at least two segments of prospects — enterprise-sized companies as well as SMB or at least two different main industry niches. If this is your situation, know that different strategies work for prospecting smaller companies versus larger and that strategies within one industry niche may not work as well as another.
  • The best results happen and are replicated because important metrics are measured on a regular basis. Know what your marketing can do and know what each sales rep can do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. You can't improve what you don't measure. Because you're a mid-sized organization, it may be a lean executive team to oversee sales efforts or perhaps a sales leader is on board. Work to do A-B testing with prospecting strategies and messaging strategies. A simple "try one way, then the other" can work well when there are not layers of leadership and you must be nimble.
  • Unless you have found all the perfect prospects for your business, there must be an ongoing effort to identify the most probable potential buyers from the least probable. As you excel working in one industry, understand who the buyers are and why you are a solution for them. Take that insight and work with others in the same niche. This is a great way to build your reputation and revenues. Having deeper pockets than a very small business, you can evaluate and plan for sales tools that help you find potential buyers and understand company and industry trigger events, which often lead to sales opportunities.
  • Move qualified opportunities to closure. There must be a solid process and methodology that is repeatable and scalable in business. Being a mid-sized organization, enough experimenting has gone on — now you can settle on systems that work. Most young companies do not have this in place. It is a function of how the company leadership wants to scale and how planned versus reactive they want to go about it.

Lori Richardson is the founder and CEO of Score More Sales. Lori is a thought leader on B2B front-line sales growth and works with (or in conjunction with) technology brands worldwide. Follow her on Twitter.