How do YOU find new customers?

Business development means different things to different people, for the most part it means hunting new customers often in new segments or markets. Too often it means doing this through cold contact.

Business development requires the fostering and cultivation of relationships with a multitude of different people including buyers, suppliers, and end users. However, after years in the same role, existing contacts may not be what they once were and all avenues to find new business can start to feel exhausted.

Utopia can be achieved when combining business development with marketing and communications/ PR to raise brand awareness and ultimately drive sales. The difficulty there is, of course, putting an individual or even a whole team in place that is on the same wavelength and has the capability to do all three and get results.

Not only can such a task be expensive but frequently it is disjointed, with one member of the team responsible for marketing and another for business development and another for PR etc.

One option is to outsource to an agency. I’ve often wondered why we don’t see more of this but after researching PR and Marketing website after website, there is a clear answer. There appears to be very few companies who provide business development as part of the service rather than as a potential end result of a PR and marketing campaign.

Included in any package that Highland Marketing provides, we constantly look for new opportunities for our clients. In every new business meeting, we think of potential customers or partners and ensure introductions are made on both a formal and informal basis.

These are the type of introductions that are difficult to be made by approaching someone at a conference, dropping someone an email or giving them a cold call. Instead, they are based on long lasting relationships built up over more than 25 years in the healthcare IT industry.

Just last week, I took one small existing client to meet senior members of one of the biggest health boards in Scotland to discuss a joint project. Just weeks before, two clients started working together to see how their systems could integrate for the benefit of their users.

In healthcare in particular, where more collaborative working is essential to the NHS’s future both on the supplier side and on the frontline, helping people to partner and work together should be second nature to any professional PR and marketing company.

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