How Business Development and Marketing Can Work Together

This is a guest blog written by Yekemi Otaru of YO! Marketing.

I’ve been called many things in my 13-year career, including Technical Sales Engineer, Business Development Executive and Marketing Manager. I suppose there are worse things to be called.

Each role felt the same at times; the same purpose dressed up in a buzzword job title. Now that I run my own marketing consultancy, I get to work with talented business development professionals. It is clear to me that marketing and business development are different but must work together to achieve business goals. How can these roles work together to achieve business growth for their organisation or client?

When some people think about marketing, they imagine brochures, logos, matching colour schemes and perhaps promotional goods and beautiful websites. This is all important for supporting a business. However, marketing goes much further than that. I’ll come to how in a moment.

Business Development and Marketing in Sync

Let’s first examine the role of business development (BD). BD is about working at the front line of client relationships. The main aim of the role is to cultivate relationships for the long-term, creating sustainable business growth.

That’s how I see it. Coming back to the essence of marketing, I’d argue that’s my aim too – to help businesses grow. But I do it differently from my business development colleagues. I push out well-crafted messages through relevant channels. BD, in turn, ensures that the fruits from my effort are nurtured and nourished for the long-term. I cannot live without their follow-through and they cannot live without my seed planting.

Business Development and Marketing Enrich Your Buyers’ Journey

My favourite way to break down the stages of the Marketing/BD collaboration is using the funnel approach. The stages are; Awareness (top of the funnel), Consideration (middle of the funnel) and Decision (bottom of the funnel).

Here’s an infographic to summarise the customer’s journey through the funnel:


This approach is used by companies like HubSpot and is commonly referred to as inbound marketing.

Let’s look at how BD and Marketing work together throughout the funnel.

Awareness Define ideal customer profiles

Develop value proposition for each customer group

Create a list of potential customers based on profile

Make initial introduction to customers that fit the profile

Consideration Publish content on industry best practices

Perform competitor analysis to understand potential customers’ options

Create digital lead magnets as part of an email marketing strategy

Deepen relationships with new contacts via networking

Ensure relevant compliance requirements are in place

Create a customer engagement strategy and a process for maintaining existing relationships

Decision Schedule demos

Set up webinars and free trials

Create and share case studies

Develop a digital marketing program of regular interaction with customer via relevant content and customer events

Set customer’s expectations

Answer questions about product and services, and next steps

Handover to sales team to close the deal

Identify future opportunities for upselling and cross-selling

Benefits of Business Development and Marketing Working Together

Considering that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to a sales person, it is more important than ever that sales, marketing and business development work closely behind the scenes to facilitate this journey. Furthermore, 57% of the purchase decision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier.

The advantages of working through the process together are:

  • You know who your customer is (hint: it’s NOT “everybody”)
  • You go from a general description of your customer (macro-view) to a list of specific companies (micro-view) that you want to engage with
  • You add value to potential customers before they even ask for information (or realise they need you)
  • You ensure you have what it takes to do business with your potential customer before you go in for the deal
  • You have a clear strategy for interacting with and informing your target customers of what you do
  • You meet your potential customers face-to-face – not just online – thanks to strategically selected events and networking opportunities
  • You build trust by ensuring that all teams are aligned with your messaging and what the customer can expect from your business
  • You have the best people from each role guiding your potential customer from start to finish

It is a pleasure when I see this collaboration across teams. A business can work smarter (and not harder) to achieve business growth. I call it nothing short of amazing!


About the guest blogger

Yekemi Otaru owns YO! Marketing Limited, a strategic marketing consultancy that works with B2B companies to achieve business growth. In addition to being a published author in social media networks, Yekemi’s areas of expertise are marketing strategy, competitor intelligence, product marketing and content marketing. Yekemi is often invited to speak at B2B marketing conferences and local events. She has a strong background in engineering and is often involved in mentoring young girls to enter STEM subjects.



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