Part I was a popular post so I decided to follow it up with Part II – B2B2C and the impact of the business development person! Every good business development professional I’ve ever known has been intimately involved with product development at a hands on level.
“As a startup moves through the first two steps of the process, it has no Sales, Marketing, or Business Development organizations or VPs. Instead, it relies on an entrepreneurial Customer Development team.” – Steve Blank
But what about when your company is in a later stage? How do you as business development professionals learn to solve problems like a member of the customer development team? As the business development pro, guru, builder, it’s your job to solve for X and create win-wins.
One of the mistakes that people make in lean startup methodology is that they don’t realize a huge part of finding product market fit – is trying to sell the product. Customers will define how they use or don’t use your product no matter your golden intentions. Actively seek to be a part of that process.
Some thoughts below:
- Get developers and product managers with an acumen to business on your team. Communicate what you are hearing from your potential partners.This can be the difference in influencing the next best thing your developers build and a new release of an API that developers won’t use.
- Communicate the good, bad, the ugly. Let your team know about everything you are hearing. As an organization, don’t be afraid to tackle areas where you stink. You’re customers will love you for listening. (This one is by far the hardest of all in a big organization, where Kool-Aid drinkers ignore “the areas of improvement.”)
- Vice versa, listen to your product team. If you are at a much earlier stage and in a bizdev role before the product is even built, you have the luxury of playing an active role. They provide a framework for integrating it into every core decision your company makes.