While there are many people who can aid and assist your troops in their business development (BD) battles, it is imperative to have the support of strong and effective ‘generals’. This is why it is crucial that the managing partners, chairmen and other firm leaders be actively involved in any BD campaign.
Their leadership roles may involve many facets. Great leaders should be unwavering in their support for business development and the troops. They should measure and reward positive advances. They should also encourage and publicly praise individuals and accomplishments. While this may seem like an obvious or minor thing to do, it sometimes can be difficult for leaders who are overachievers themselves – and who have come to ‘expect’ this level of achievement from everyone else – to utter the words, ‘good job.’ Regardless, this is one of the most powerful tools in the leadership arsenal.
Conversely, if any of the troops are not carrying their weight, a good leader should take corrective action privately and provide the assistance needed to promote the needed improvements. Most importantly, generals should lead the troops – by example. They should actively encourage business development. They should share their BD contacts. They should attend BD meetings. They should discuss the importance of BD to the firm as well as each individual. They should provide or serve as BD mentors for the newer recruits.
Ultimately, when it comes to winning the BD battles, the troops are only as strong as the weakest link, which is why many firms are now focusing on promoting and rewarding leadership as one of the keys to business development – and firm – success.