Growing smart is all about fishing. To land the most fish we must first understand the difference between SELLING, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT and MARKETING. These terms are commonly used interchangeably, but actually represent very different things.
SELLING: Traditional sales models are based on a transactional approach. You bait the hook, cast the line, wait, maybe say a prayer (or a curse word or two), feel a bite, reel it in, unhook it…and start all over again from the beginning. Not exactly the picture of efficiency. This method works well for those who find comfort in repetition and like playing “the numbers game”.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: It’s much more effective, efficient and fun to cast aside our rods and fish with a net instead. The art of business development is all about casting the net in a savvy and intentional way, so that it lands in all the right places, capturing the biggest fish. The biggest fish, however, are not just qualified prospects or clients (of course, they are the tastiest), but they also include promotional opportunities, professional development, community involvement, PR, new social and professional relationships, etc. This approach is much more sustainable and infinitely more satisfying. Casting the BD net requires awareness and technique and must be practiced to harvest the most fish.
MARKETING: The process of marketing is researching the best fishing grounds, finding the right bait for the targeted species and knowing when to throw back fish that are either too small or not so tasty.
Selling and business development cannot spur smart growth unless they are properly aligned with the right marketing efforts. And conversely, the only way a robust marketing campaign will reap rewards is if the fisherman is adept at either fishing with a pole or casting his net.
Most organizations, at one point or another, have invested heavily in either marketing or business development/sales, but rarely are the two carefully coordinated. The fisherman won’t catch the fish he wants if he uses the wrong bait or poorly chooses his fishing ground. On the other hand, if he invests in a fancy boat and special bait, but has no idea how to cast the net or rod, he’ll utter far more curse words than prayers.
What fish are you looking for? Where will you find them? How big is your net and are there tears in it that may allow fish to escape? Which fish should be thrown back? And most importantly, WHY do you fish?