Sales and business development have always been inextricably tied together. While they are often correlated with securing sales, most business development teams depend on much more to be successful in the long-term.
A thriving business development approach is based on the connection and interpersonal relationships discovered, cultivated, and maintained over the years. These long-term, valued relationships often begin over coffee, meeting at a conference or a tradeshow, for example. Shared experiences have always been a point of connection, bonding, and a potential for networking and establishing relationships.
Our world has been turned upside down for the past two years. The traditional way of establishing human connections and relationships has changed, perhaps permanently. Travel has been impacted, conferences and tradeshows have been canceled, even local professional organizations have opted for virtual meetings. In addition, our celebrations and daily lives have been altered as well. Funerals and weddings became virtual events, and we became more open to telehealth appointments, online learning, online grocery shopping, and restaurant delivery.
According to a Pew Research study, 90% of Americans say the internet has been essential or important to them during the pandemic and 40% reported using technology in new ways. Approximately 81% of Americans say they have used video calls during this timeframe.
Even with all the innovations in technology and increased accessibility to virtual platforms, human beings – prospective clients and partners – are built for connection and interpersonal relationships.
“For many, digital interactions could only do so much as a stand-in for in-person communication. About two-thirds of Americans (68%) say the interactions they would have had in person, but instead had online or over the phone, have generally been useful – but not a replacement for in-person contact,” according to the Pew Research study.
Many different approaches have been explored over the past two years. Here are a few ways those in business development have adjusted to and learned how to continue forging meaningful relationships and prioritizing connections with current and prospective clients and partners.
Networking and Connection Ushered into a Virtual Experience
Platforms that support virtual events have been around for a decade, but video conferencing saw an unprecedented surge in usage over the last few years, Zoom being one of the most popular applications. Not only did Zoom’s revenue skyrocket, according to a Statista report, but so did “Zoom fatigue,” a new cognitive strain caused by the overuse of video-based technology during the pandemic.
Tech companies have had to double down on their platform settings and prioritize a virtual experience that can support hundreds, if not thousands of attendees. Even though online meetings and conferences may lack many of the benefits of in-person conversations or face-to-face networking, this novel approach did prove to increase access to conferences and webinars, usually at a fraction of the cost for the attendee, if not provided as a complimentary entry. Teams have been able to attend more conferences and educational opportunities than ever before from home, work, or even listening while in the car.
Many companies are doing an excellent job creating a virtual interactive experience for their customers and partners. The events must be targeted, relevant, interesting, and interactive. High-profile speakers along with giveaways are becoming the norm as companies seek to engage and establish a connection between the prospect and the company brand. It needs to be a positive, authentic experience where they feel seen, heard, and valued for giving of their time, energy, and potentially financial commitment. It becomes a virtual open door to begin a conversation and a new relationship.
The investment in the virtual experience and the expanded attendance lists have allowed business development teams to meet more people and have provided the opportunity to build those relationships through a lens that prioritizes human connection and engagement. This is why authentic, personal follow-up is of the utmost importance to enhance and strengthen the personal connection.
Prioritizing the Human Connection with Thought Leadership
Experience is knowledge. The basic function of thought leadership is to provide others with information, support, and guidance by sharing experience, wisdom, and knowledge. Transparent, authentic, and genuine sharing, through a variety of online and offline mediums, allows our team to establish connectivity with those familiar with our company and culture and offer a credible introduction to those who are not familiar with Signature Performance.
According to the 2020 Edelman-LinkedIn Thought Leadership Study, 88% of decision-makers say that thought leadership can be effective in enhancing their perception of an organization, 48% of decision-makers say that thought leadership can influence their purchasing decisions, and 41% also agreed that they would be more willing to pay a premium to work with an organization that produces thought leadership versus those who do not.
Pivoting during this unprecedented time with our thought leadership strategy has allowed clients, prospects, and potential partners to continue building trust and credibility in the products and services provided, as well as understanding our value-based approach to business, and what sets us apart in our innovative approaches to easing the burden of healthcare administrative costs.
Signature is Committed to Our Healthcare Community
Signature Performance is committed to making the lives of those we work with better by prioritizing interaction and intentional communication from our team. By prioritizing our thought leadership platform and ensuring that we are providing useful and timely content helps ensure that we maintain and prioritize the connection and interpersonal relationships we have with our current clients, partners, and prospects.
Our depth of experience on both the payer and provider sides of the business is what allows our team the opportunity to evaluate healthcare industry issues from a variety of perspectives and innovate custom solutions that get to the core of some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare today. We believe the healthcare industry in the United States can be transformed, and that sentiment is what motivates our dedicated team to do our best each day. It is our calling to reduce the cost of healthcare administration by improving overall quality and minimizing resources through technology and innovation.