Business development in recruitment – where relationships grow, opportunities are plentiful, and success comes from smart strategies. It is the cornerstone of recruiting success, where your ability to cultivate and nurture relationships translates directly into your triumph – but if done incorrectly, it can also make you sink. With 50% of most recruiters' time being wasted on unproductive prospecting this blog will guide you on the best steps to maximising your BD time to drive results.
Whether you're fresh off the blocks or transitioning into the recruitment arena, business development is something you need to know by heart – and there are strategies that can help you be more effective with less effort. Knowing what actions are just a waste of time, and which will lead you to success – wouldn’t that make life easier?
Understanding of Your Market
Before you dive headfirst into hitting the phones, you must first understand your prospects. Take the time to research and comprehend the needs and pain points of your clients and how you can help them in both areas. Effective business development is not about throwing a pitch and hoping for the best. It's about having meaningful conversations that lead to mutually beneficial partnerships. Develop a clear plan for what you're going to talk to your prospects about. Consider their pain points, industry trends, and how you can address their specific needs. A well-thought-out conversation plan will set you on the right path to building valuable relationships.
Your understanding should extend further than just what you are going to talk to your prospects about – after all, you can have the best strategy for conducting sales calls in the world, but it is useless if you never get to speak to anyone, right? Make sure to understand the Golden Hours when your prospects are best contacted and the preferred communication methods for your market to maximise the number of conversations you are able to have. A good outreach strategy will make the calls a lot more pain-free!
A Clear Business Development Process
To succeed in business development, you need a structured process that guides your interactions with prospects and clients. This process should encompass everything from how you decide who to target, what steps are you going to take to engage your prospects, what to do once you speak to prospects, and at what stage are you going to exhaust a lead that you haven’t managed to contact. By having a clear business development process in place, you can ensure consistency in your approach and maximise your chances of success.
Your BD process should include a mixture of different methods for reaching prospects, so you are not solely reliant on hammering the phone for results. Mapping each step in a flowchart and templating your messaging alongside the cadence of your process will help you understand how it takes a potential client on the journey to working with you.
Effective automation and utilising AI
In a competitive landscape, leveraging technology can set you apart from the crowd. Using the latest tech will allow you to work much more efficiently, identify the best prospects to target and engage your prospects in novel ways that can help you get their attention.
Being able to automate manual steps in your BD process will help you unlock time efficiencies that will allow you to target more prospects in a shorter amount of time. If you are able to maximise the number of attempts you are making, this will inevitably lead to more conversations and more closed leads, which is the name of the game! Using AI in your interview process as well as all the actions leading up to it is the first step to improving your efficiency and reaping the benefits of effortless BD.
While the benefits of automation are clear they come with one very important pitfall to be aware of, the loss of personalisation. If your prospects feel that your outreach is automated, they won’t feel valued and be less likely to engage with you so make sure you are building in personalisation in every step. Getting this right is very much a balancing act between automation and that personal touch that you will be constantly adjusting as your processes mature.
Setting KPIs to measure the success of your strategy and using them in a constructive way to drive improvement is important to building a successful BD process. First off, you will want to define the result you are looking to achieve (the number of leads converted) and the percentage of the data you have available that you will need to convert to achieve this. Top tip: if this is above 5%, I would recommend getting more data or being more conservative in your targets!
Next, you will want to measure the conversion of each stage of your process that simply leads to you having a conversation. If any stages have a particularly low conversion as a percentage this should be a prompt for you to revisit your strategy for this stage to investigate what needs to be changed to improve your results.
Finally, you will want to measure the conversations that lead to you achieving the outcome you are looking for as a percentage of the total number of conversations that you are having. This is the bottom line you are looking to impact with your strategy and if you can take steps that influence this number growing you know that you are on the right track!
David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.