Business development and the “human element”

I was prompted to write this short piece after receiving the 11,000,000th  (an actual statistic…. probably) ham-handed marketing in-mail /email from a services provider that: A. had nothing to do with my role or my industry, and B. was written exceptionally poorly. To be blunt, I believe shot-in-the-dark cold emailing is a fool’s errand. Perhaps at some point, this might have been an effective tool, but with the flood of providers available, particularly in the cybersecurity industry, it just does not cut the mustard.

Effective marketing, in my opinion, is about identifying a client’s pain point and offering a solution to solve the problem that is both time and resource efficient. You need to establish and continue to build a relationship with that client that is built on trust and mutual benefit. If you approach a potential client putting in the hard sell immediately, nine times out of 10, they won’t engage. That is why people in business development that have a higher level of emotional intelligence are more successful than their less “clue-ey” counterparts. You need to be able to read a person, read a room, and understand how the majority of people think and act, and shape your approach and demeanour to suit, often in an instant.

Remember; generally, most people enjoy talking about themselves more than any other subject. It’s why social media is so popular. It is entirely inwards focused. Use that to your advantage. Do your research on the target client (see reconnaissance) and identify something about that person or their company that is either good or bad so you can either congratulate them or empathise with them. For example, “Hi Potential Client, I saw that you just won a prize for promoting diversity in the workplace. That is brilliant to see. What motivated you to get involved in that space?”.

Don’t get me wrong, your interest must be genuine because people can instinctually spot a fake. But this type of introduction opens up a conversation that will inevitably lead to you describing the work you do and offering a catch-up over coffee to continue discussing theirs and your interests, which is the perfect opportunity to offer to assist them with their problem.

Of course, this is just one small part of business development, and I am not going to give away every play, but I think it is worth considering how you approach your BD strategy and whether it is designed with emotional intelligence and the “human element” in mind.

On a related note, ensure that your solution does, in fact, solve their problem. If it only addresses part of their problem, then you should not waste yours or their time. This leads to my next post (coming soon!) on why cybersecurity companies should consider offering a broader offering. Specialisation in just one area makes it increasingly difficult to remain competitive. I’ll explain further in my next post.

If you enjoyed this post, please share on LinkedIn or your preferred platform. If you agree or disagree with me, please leave a comment! Keep it constructive!

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