Is an existing marketing budget the be all and end all of business development?

by jim-piper

Anyone engaging with a new business agency would see budget as being a key part of the qualification process:

“We don’t want to meet anyone without an approved budget for our marketing services!”

On face value that is a perfectly valid comment and it is always something Alchemis has highlighted as part of our core meeting quality criteria. However, more and more of our clients are developing propositions around very targeted offers and services, which revolve around specific client issues. This is great news as we are able to offer something unique and different, but as a result, whilst these offers provoke interest from the prospect, it is unlikely that they will have an allocated budget for that specific activity.

This is where the new business approach to qualification needs to change. Would that offer or service provide a solution to a business need that the prospect has? If the answer is yes and we can convince the prospect that this is the case, it is not necessarily about allocated budget, but more about the authority and decision making power of that individual within their organisation. If they can see a true benefit, a budget can always be found.

In terms of the new business process, you have grabbed their interest and the next step is to persuade them to create or reallocate budget for that activity. It could be that you now need to work with that prospect to build a business case internally. This is time consuming and often arduous, but this kind of approach, should it be successful, is likely to result in stronger relationships.

At the end of the day, of course there needs to be a significant “marketing” budget in the first instance and that needs to be qualified. However, from the perspective of a business development partner, the emphasis really needs to be on the decision making power and authority of a prospect. Qualify that and you are over one of the largest new business hurdles.