Reputation Management in Business Development

Not enough is said about the importance of reputation management in business development. The emphasis is too often on the short term dopamine hit of the new business meeting; sometimes at the expense of the long-term value of the client relationship.

Think about it. How do you judge the KPIs of your new business development team? Likely …

  1. Number of approaches made
  2. Number of contacts made
  3. Number of meetings set
  4. Number of meetings attended
  5. Number of proposals submitted (or pitches invited on)
  6. Number of new clients won
  7. Value of those clients

These are easy to quantify and as Peter Drucker famously said, “what gets measured, gets managed”.

Reputation Management

But don’t allow pipeline building at the expense of reputation building. Reputation can easily be destroyed in the pursuit of pipeline, through:

  1. Overly pushy cold callers
  2. Spamming
  3. LinkedIn pitch slapping
  4. Lack of knowledge

The first three are down to training and common sense. Before employing a new business manager (or new business agency) get them to cold call you and sell you to you. If you feel they are too pushy, maybe think again.

Spamming – just don’t do it. But what IS spamming? Personally I believe that cold email to a cold prospect in a B2B environment is NOT spamming so long as the approach is considered, relevant, timely and appropriate. Don’t be tempted by long sequences with just a couple of days or less between each email. We, for instance, send an email, wait five days, then send another referring to the first and just asking if they’d like to see a case study.

We then wait a month before any further communication unless we hear back from them.

LinkedIn pitch slapping – just don’t do it. Sure, find a reason to connect; but then engage with the prospect on the platform. Comment, like, repost. and then, maybe after a month or so, send a message.

But lack of knowledge is the killer. If your representative (I use the word with care, for this is indeed what they are) cannot converse at c-suite level with confidence and knowledgeability, then consider what long-term harm they may be doing to your agency reputation.

At Manifest, we only employ ex-agency staffers to represent our clients; so they can talk the talk as well as walking the walk, and whether going agency route or in-house, you may want to consider this; sales ability can be taught; experience cannot.