B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

103: What Business Development Really Means w/ Lucia Piseddu


What makes a great business development professional? And how does business development differ from sales development in the first place?

In this episode, we interview Lucia Piseddu, Founder at The BD School, about the differences between sales development and business development.

We talked about unlocking a BDR’s creativity, the 4 traits of a successful business development professional and “a difference in goals: sales versus opportunities' .

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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You were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenue acceleration. My name is Oenia Muchier and I'm here today with Mucchia, he say do, found the of the biddy school. How you doing today, Lucia? Very good. Thank you right, thanks for inviting good. Good. So today we will be talking about the differences between cells development and business development, but before we get the conversation going, would you mind introducing yourself in a little bit more detail, as well as the organization you represent, the bed school? Absolutely so, Bob. Yeah, so I'm the founder of the bad school, which stands for the Business Development School, and we are the first educational platform entirely dedicated to business development. I launched this company in February twenty and nineteen after one year of research, and I did it because I spent about now it's thirteen years working in business development in different sectors, different industries, and at some point I kind of beat a wall with my career. In two thousand and seventeen and walk, as I usually do, I started learning again, but I figured out that there wasn't really a place to learn business development in structure way and everybody seemed to be doing it differently. So I decided to take on the challenge. I gathered the team around my idea and that's where to be the school started. So we started with the community, which then transformed into a blog than eventually in a proper educational company. We do training, we do mentor shape, we organize events and basically we provide all the tools for business developers and start up founders to learn business development in a structure way and become more effective at this job. Okay, okay, so would you say that your platform is is more dedicated to see US arrows looking at setting up the big team, or do you think is more dedicated to the bed person? So we're going to get to speak about it, but as the Avidia idea, idea, whatever you want to call them, dare at the end person. So with the platform following follow. Yeah, so at the moment is more targeted to business development professionals. As start off founders and as business development professionals, we well, we really target the majority of the people which have from zero to up to six ten years experience in Business Development, and we're actually currently busy with some partners creating something more tailored to the Bob side. We're currently working on it, so it's nothing really ready yet, but our goal is actually to provide business development solutions to all the parties involved, being business developers. That's exactly what we want to do. We want to provide value of multiple levels. So soon we're going to be ready with the BOB offer as well, but for now that we target primarily individual contributors and of course we help them become better at their job, and soon we're going to help companies with their needs as well. Good, my good. Let's of Fox on the in the plan, which is contestic. So, as per the topic of this conversation is quite obvious, but we know there is ongoing conversation in the market. But the difference between cells development and Business Development, I mean, I've got to be honest with you, Lu Chia, I've lost the truck. I'm want to meet with someone. I just ask them how do you could it, trying to undersand the definition of what they got it what? And then I'm changing my lexill, my my my, the word and using I'm ad up, I decided to be a chameleon in that concept because I cannot plus struck. But we don't, you know, Indus B to be tech world. Some company referred to as DA or Bidea. I mentioned Leda, I mentioned ADA, and everybody trying to segregate the different function of this individual quite quite a lot.

So what are your thoughts on the topic? Yeah, so I love this topic actually and for me was actually one of the first things I learned when I started taking little bit more into the business development word. So backstory about my experience in Business Development. I really ended up randomly in this field because my background bus in international relations and my goal was to become an ambassador or maybe a journalist, and I think with business development I kind of do both. Now I'm the D Ambassador of my company and I get to write content, so that's amazing. But at some point, you know, I was like, okay, look, I kind of looked back at my career and I did different positions. There were all called business development, but I did really different things. So when I started learning and educating myself more about business development, I actually figured out that this world was so much bigger than what we thought, and that was a mistake I was also making thinking that sales was the same as business development. So until someone at some point was like look, I really like what you're doing, I think it's a great community that you're building, but I'm not interested because I don't do saves, I was like wait a minute, what are you talking about? So that kind of trigger me and we started doing more in depth research and when we figured out basically that when we think about business development will first of all the reason, just like one definition that everybody agrees on. But one thing is for sure, business development involves a lot more than just saves. So now, like with the be the school, our goal is also to clarify these these different definitions. And there is one other anecdote which I think is going to I think that was the historical moment in which sales started being, you know, confused with Business Development. Have you read the book zero to one from by Peters till, the same guy, of released a truly but I'm not raid yet cool, so I've done. As soon as you do, you're going to see that, because at some point there is one page in which he says well, you know, in sales and so on, we're all electors, right, because nobody likes to sell, nobody likes to be sold. And that is why, then sales people became business developers, you know, because business development sounds fancier, right, except that if you do exactly the same thing exactly, if you do exat threatening, it's like it is cotting, cutting your services. Person I remember when I started was actually now maybe I should be more like a customer relationship playing, you know. And Yeah, I know it's me exactly. But then what happened is that people started really disliking sales people and business developers because they associated it to the same thing. So, and you know, when I read the book I was like a finally the answer to to this, to this problem, you know. So to keep it like, you know, simple, when we think about sales development, people that do sales development are really focus on closing the deals right, so they have a very precise customer profile in mind. They contact a lot of them at skate, most likely, especially in Sass or tech companies, and then their goal is to close the opportunity. These opportunity and also the concept of opportunities another thing, but the goal is to close deals, while in business development are going already is to find opportunities before we even know who our customaries. And then, of course, in some companies you're going to close this deals as well, especially if you're a young start up. But the goal shouldn't be, and it's not the one to go and close all the deals and all the opportunities that knock at your door, but it's really to figure out what's the best opportunity for the company to grow sustainably. So typically a business developer, of course there's also some sales activities because at the end of the day, every company needs clients. But as a business developer, what you're doing is actually to find new ways to grow...

...the company. So if you only go after the clients, what you basically just keeping on one thing that works right, and that's that's okay. I mean, if it works, obviously you should do it, but what you can also do is to open up new ways to grow the company, and that's what business developers should be doing. But then again, when we think about bedrs, as drs and so on in the tech field, that's really there. It's not really business development. Let's be honest. It's more safes, right, it's just that the title is misplaced there. But pretty much they're doing sales. They're not doing pretty much creative or like, you know, strategic stuff to find new ways to grow the company, while what we learned with our research and then like our first you know challenge and goal was to define a little bit better what bed was is really that business development is just not about calling the client, but it's about creating new processes, new tasks and so on which are meant to grow the company on the on the long term and to create value on the long term, which doesn't come only from the customers, but it comes also from the market, from relationships, partnerships and so on. So these, I think, is really the main difference between sales and business development. So sales is more like short term. You go after one precise ideal customer profile, you want to close them. Business Development does okay, great, now we have an ideal customer profile. What else can we do to grow the company besides getting this client? So that's really the mindset shift. You know, that makes all the difference. It's funny because I probably I've seen very, very few business development reps that you know, I think. I think, probably been meeting with we sells people. I think the enough space and definitely from our clients in our clines are little bit from across the world, but they would be to be soft. Well, they all speak about gign is, Thea as Internet resources, focused on focus on the more short autime activity. So it's quite interesting what you're saying because you're almost describing the business development function as the most strategic function, a function that will be responsible for identifying your revenue trends and all potentially, you know, new opportunities for a company. Well, in our space they are tactical guys. In fact, you know business development spread is the game. will go and get the meetings, go and get it is it. Will call you, Lucia, and say, Hey, this is what I've got you on it. You on it. Good meetings, boom, video and the S Da. In the way we've been and I guess you know, as I was saying, it is not a straight definition, but the way I kind of port trade them. If I was to make generality the S D I would actually be a bit more strategy in the video and I would be the person that what I'm saying more strategic is that they would not just think about getting that opportunity to engage, but they would be getting that opportunity to engage with the mean to sell something. So the SDM DSDA would probably be probably be a function that you would expect to see, again, from a generative perspective, from from what I'm hearing from clients daily, they would be more the type of guys that would averaged in value, Bilok dollars, certic dollars, like, kind of things that you could sell from being sedentary, so from walking from from all from you and kind of online selling. That's the S D are from from. I guess the the Videa is more the person. That would be okay, targeting a lot of very large corporate accounts. They are complex, there is lots of decision centers. So I need a videa that can go and investigate, sniff everywhere and see what your opportunities could be and then make sure that we don't every single stood...

...but then don't teammate goal and again, making a bit of a generality across all the people and speaking to in in no industry is to get that engagement, is to get that open up the door business development for the cells get to come and sell the stuff. That's interesting your proception. Yeah, and I mean the thing is that we didn't really invent anything. We just asked the people, you know, and and when we asked and we run this survey, like, we're really impressed at the amount of different ways that people like would use to describe their world. Like one big surprise for us, for example, was that business developers work in product development, which it was not something like I kind of did that when I was in the startup and so, like I would always talk to everyone within the company, but I always thought like this, because it's me, you know, like you know, I kind of paved my way like that. But then, know, it turns out that business there's some type of business developers that actually their only job is to talk with the product development team. So they gather the feedback, they go back to the product development team, they work on features together, they launch them. The same for market entry, like there's some business developers that only work on opening up new markets. So they do market research, they do competitor analysis and so on for this new market and then they go and launch this new market. So it really it is a very complex field and there are so many different ways of doing it, of course. So my idea is that most of the times were actually wasting talent because I think, you know, as a BDR, Short your job can be to set meetings for your account executives or for your SDR or whatever else is closing these deals, or you could come up with new ways to close to find, you know, new opportunities. And to give an example, in two thousand and seventeen, which is then when I started thinking about the bad school, I was working for SAS company active in the recruitment, in the recruitment sector. So what we were doing at the beginnings, of course, we all read predictable revenue and so on. It was like, you know, you're going to be talking to, you know, low tiket people, which was already not the case because I will started, I was start getting big corporate so obviously very complex deals, as you were saying before, but basically my job became to operate a software. That was my job, you know, like I had the super sophisticated software. It's called Apollo Dot. I old they're still there. I didn't have to do anything then click send on an email which already was like okay, whatever, but because we were starting with the new segment and so on, we didn't really have any information about them. So what we would do was just like blasting these emails around, using time plates that we found on sale soccer and so on, like all the major, you know, industry leaders. But guess what, that didn't really work out. So at some point my frustration was growing. The first Saion of my manager was also growing. Is like, you know, feels like we're doing so much, but we were not really, because we were doing was just, you know, like keep repeating the same process that everybody else in the industry was doing, you know. So at some point I was I started getting closer and closer to the growth team. Eventually I became a sort of a hybrid role, so I was still in the safe team, but more towards the growth team, and there is really where I could have an impact, because I was like look, I see that everybody is doing webinars. Why don't we do a Webinar? And already there. I had to convince my boss, you know, to do it, but then we did it and we got eight hundred leads just on the Webinar. Four hundred people showed up at the Webinar and we sold the software like the first one, when we were still doing the Webinar, you know. So I was like, okay, look, I can send as many emails as I want, but look, if you just, you know, let me use my creativity a little bit more, I can come up with some new stuff, you know. And this new stuff, of course, they a'm from serving what's happening around you, which is a big part of the job of...

...the business developer. Then yeah, right. I feel sometimes we waste a bit of talent because like a look, it's like this, just send emails and like, okay, but there is more, you know, I know what you mean. We get we get the question, as Cofer knows, pretty much as soon as you start a conversation, sometimes when new prospect as to what's your technology stack. Okay, before we speak about technology, at which what stage are you at? You know, because, as you mentioned, there is so many companies that want to automate and scale business development sells development team that, you know, they get to the point where they just want to to send emails and put things and look at and the things at the beginning. I don't think it's a number of game. I think at the beginning what you've got to do is to defend the blueprint, and defining the blueprint means okay, well, this is our stuff, right, so we could we said at all that stuff too. So first of all, let's let's look at the companies that are like you and let's not waste time with people who in that organization at home by Oste. Let me need to look at the people in this organization, at our susceptible to buy your stuff, and when you find them, you've got to really understand what their role is. I need to under some not how your very proposition will fit into them, but what's their actual issues. And when you engage with them, you got to speak about of their issues, because they don't care about your new product. There's a thousand coming out every day. So it's about explaining to clients they will look. You want to bring the automation, but we don't have it's like if you bring the build of before the architect the exactly to the fantastic bulder and if you had a blood really would have. You would have, you could you know you would have built up a structure. So incredible. But now insense is laying bricks, because that's so and I completely understone what you're saying now, from your perspective, what makes a Great Business Development Professional? What are the qualities that those people should have? Actually that that that's a good question. I love that so and I can answer you from something we created at the bat school, which is the socalled the now famous in our community club framework. Like litter, lap, clap, like clapping. We even have a small like jingle which is clappy like it's out, clapp it like it's up. But that's Internet. But I do say to our see. So basically, like we found out when we're doing our research. So we really try to, you know, understand like business developers really inside out and we wanted to know everything. I was in an advantage position because I've been doing this job for a long time, so of course I had a lot of insights on my own, but I'm also the kind of person that, you know, needs to see the data. You know, it was like, I don't trust my own experience only. So what we did basically we started analyzing some friends that work in Business Development and then we ask question to about like a thousand business developers, or in the first year only, and that just kept growing and we identified four main personality traits of very successful business developers and these then week what we created the club framework based on that and and we think like we think we've seen it with with our connections. They're really the form most essential things that you need and if you had those four things, then you can build upon that all the time. These are creativity. So good business developers are very creative because, of course, like coming up with new growth opportunity requires, you know, having open mind and thinking out of the box. And Not surprisingly, more not surprisingly, most of the managers we talked to now that we're doing research for companies, they all want proactive business developers, thinking out of the box and so on. that. The other one is learning, a gdt. As a business developer you need to love learning. Like, if you don't...

...like learning, if you don't like, you know, exploring, you're not curious, you're not going to go really far, because big part of your job is to be attentive, to work the input exactly, investigate, though, totally a bit of a share look Holms type totally. Then the third skill is adaptability. I think like with Covid we all understood that we need to be all a little bit more adaptable, because the wise we just don't really move forward, but especially in business development, because I mean regardless of the company or targeting, which of course it's very different, and so on, but you're going to talk with so many different stakeholders, internal, like your manager, your colleagues, external, which can be clients, partners and so on. Everybody is so different, so you need to be able to adapt to them and you need to be able to bring value at all these different levels and because of that you need adaptability. And then the last one is, of course, persistence. These like when I started working in the startup word in two thousand and fourteen, like we had it in our playbook. The first thing you would see was persistence is key, like we added absolutely everywhere. So I kind of internalize that. But absolutely, you know, whenever you're starting something new, new initiatives or even just like a new potential client that has never heard of you, you're never going to convince anyone in, you know, one email, one call or, you know, one shake of hands. Like you need to gain the trust of the people. You need to be credible you need to build up all these things and people know so that we all use a to nation and so on. So that doesn't help be so you need to be persistent. So even if you use your tools, like make sure that you keep contacting people, like as long as it's needed, you know. So this one's creativity, learning, a reality, adaptability and persistence. So if you have the club in you, then you can make it yeah, like that, you know, make it club exactly. So now I like it because it's you know, we've been a we've been reworking completely or recruitment process over covid name, because I think you can get a good, good feel when you meet people in person. But it's sort about the foot what it's about, the food, it's of it's a little bit more complex and and you know what we kind of called the learning agility. We call it, we call it coachability. So we will could see what they are and in fact, you know, we we make some order in the recruitment process and we let them trip and then we create the ord again to see if they're going to take it. We're gonna jump it right. So that and persistence the same. We actually one of the one of the question that we ask in the in the process is something along the line of Oh, Lucia, thank you very much for our time today. You know the on the personal standpoint, I think you are great person, but I don't think you've got polit text to work for us. You're a operatic. So it's going to be a note today and then we look at what hour they are reacting. I know it's terrible, but you've got some people at would have interviewed very, very well. At this point, you just look at them picking their bag and living and why you just want to close the dogs and US Day. I was just testing. You have to let them go, because people the day they will get an objection, they will go. These are people that are showing that they don't have that resilience to believe in them, to believe in what they think is right or wrong. What you only someone else as well completely disagree with you, and I don't get it. You've got to explain to me why, because I've not come sot off for someone didn't even that good for the job. I've got this, I've got that, and then you're okay, see you on Monday. That was the last absolutely no important because at the end of the day, a video or selves rule. It's really about, you know, I think, believing in your product. And even if you'd have a great product, you've got to find a way to believe in your product. You've got to reframe and refrain and refrain until you find something that you...

...can all done to let you really like Hey, don't tell me, and then it's about when you engage with someone. We take in our training, we take the reference to like a I think it's a boxing match or something like that. But if you've got Momma Daddy going on to the ring, even good they are thinking as you will get absolutely destroyed by ideas a guy. No, mentally, you gonna go through that guy. You're gonna Punch him out, you're gonna you know exactly what to do. You've got a game plan and that's how you in. But in SIDS, I think if you have that, some sort of of confidence. That said that, some sort of drive, it helps with the persistence, but you also help with the way you communicate with people. You know people wants to get something from someone who's passionate about it. We don't speak to you like that about the podcast today you know, you probably with you probably did right. So you've got to speak about your topic with passion. If not, stay at home. I don't do it, do something else. Thought any I think that that that's really that's really interesting and I was taking notes and I was like, which is said, well, that's not and I think I do like the the adaptability. I think we need wait to walk more on that. I think the tap that we the way we look at adaptability. We've been looking at scoring emotional intelligence. Yeah, because for us it's about you know, I was I was mentioning the chameleon earlier. Yeah, need to find, as Dr Vida Selves People in general, that don't think just about themselves. They need to have that little those of selfishness that will be write the resilience and everything, but a lot of empathy so they can also always, when they speak to people, put themselves in the shoes sort of them, on the side of them, and then that sort of self forwarness of what's going on. So that's sort of leadership type of thinking in cells. And if we can see all those boxes where we clap big and we give them a job, that's good, Lucia. We are getting to the end of the session today, but it was a really, really good so if anyone wants to get around the conversation with you, or if anyone wants to get in touch, find the details of your blog platform and everything the bed school. What's the best gets order of your Lucia? Absolutely so you can visit our website, the bad schoolcom. There you're going to find all the tools you need to improve your business development skills and, of course, if you want some more insights into what we're doing or about me personally, fear free to connect on Linkedin. I'm always available, so I feel free to share the link in your summary after yeah, we're do well. Thank you so much, Lucia. It was an absolute pleasure to have younger or today. Thank you, Ray for having me. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to BEDB revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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