The chaotic and rapidly changing journey of a startup is both unavoidable and essential. At the coalface of growth, business developers define the future of a young ventures. Investing valuable time into their recruitment, training and mentorship is therefore one of a founder’s paramount tasks. How does an entrepreneur go about finding and nurturing their Queen and King BD?
Sting of Success
Buzzwords and box-ticking are rife in the corporate world but when it comes to recruiting for a young company, the process need not be so formulaic. Above all, Business Developers have to be able to deal with pressure, rejection, and the emotional rollercoaster that’s part of the trade. To this end, hiring a strong-willed and determined character who has concrete examples of times they have persisted in moments of darkness is key. Creativity also helps when it comes to lead generation and thinking of innovative ways to reach qualified prospects as well as the obvious need for established communication skills, especially with regards to presenting your service to potential clients. Hire people who understand the cultural mindset of your target market. As much as diversity should be embraced and new energy with fresh ideas is vital to growth, be sure that the person is also a good cultural fit in terms of what your vision is for the team — it can be a very expensive mistake to make. As a general rule, soft on the outside with a killer sting (but perhaps less of the black and yellow stripes) is a strong combination.
Whether you are hiring a junior business developer straight out of university or a more mature professional with several years of sales experience under their belt, be sure to commit ample time to their training and development into your company’s ways, particularly in the first three months. No-one is going to buy from someone who cannot answer basic questions around clients, services, pricing and the benefits of working together so encourage your new hire to ask as many questions as possible and put aside slots of time to discuss the details (daily for the first month, weekly thereafter). Particularly in the case of junior hires, it is incredibly important to lead by example. Let them shadow you during networking sessions, listen in on plenty of first-calls, watch over you in numerous face-to-face meetings and hear you negotiate. This is the most efficient way to show them the ropes, build confidence and help to foster a solid relationship between you both before letting them fly on their own.
Once your new Business Developers has honed in on their skills, fine tuned the knowledge of what they will be selling and seen plenty of examples of best practice, it is time to allow them to perform and hoard honey for the business. Set-up the right KPIs and incentive scheme to keep them motivated, but first and foremost, trust them to take what they have learnt and turn it into something valuable. Stepping back can be a difficult thing for some founders, as the business growth ultimately relies on sales, but showing your confidence in them will be certain to reap rewards in the long-term. As the position is inevitably a rollercoaster of twists, turns, stresses and emotions, showing support, and creating a culture where failure can be expressed, analysed and conquered will provide a solid foundation for future recruits and for the business overall.
Beyond the skills and training, the relationship between a founder and business developer should be one of trust, and shared vision.
The best business developers will not merely just conduct a transactional relationship, they will share their passion for your product.
Team Early Metrics
P.S : By the way we are still looking for our Queen or King BD ;) — Here