What is business development and business development consultancy?

Business development has extremely broad implications to a business looking to change its outcomes. In essence, business development will create more sales, or opportunity for sales for a business. Whilst sales consultancy will generally be focused solely around the process of the sales funnel, business development consultancy aims to integrate various functions of a business towards developing business opportunities. These opportunities are then moved into dedicated sales functions.

Business development consultancy takes the understanding of business development, its approach and creates a stage-gate approach to delivering business development as a consultancy project. At Akcela we are well versed in delivering business development consultancy projects.

Within this article we review the general direction of travel for most business development consultancy projects. This approach can be implemented by most businesses to drive results.

Business Development Consultancy

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    The start of any business development project, a target.

    When implementing any business development project, be it through business development consultancy, or a project run internally. Is to define an outcome or goal. With business development, goals aren’t necessarily directly linked to hard and fast sales numbers. They can simply be about creating the opportunity for sales in the future. An example of business development in this context may be to increase signups to a SaaS product on a free trial. Or to increase the number of people on a mailing list. Business development objectives can also be much larger, such as increasing the total number of customers on a platform, which will ultimately incorporate the sales function too.

    Whatever the overall target of the project, understanding and setting the direction of travel is imperative to any business development consultancy project. It allows individuals, teams and consultants to demonstrate whether or not effectiveness has been achieved.

    The role of market segmentation in business development.

    Market segmentation allows businesses to take a targeted approach to who exactly the messaging will be delivered to. Taking the time to segment your customers prior to any business development consultancy campaign will allow your business to focus efforts later on through the project. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to market segmentation, depending on the stage of a business. You can read up about the persona and data driven approach to market segmentation. Once you have completed your customer and market segmentation. You will be able to truly define where your business development efforts are going to focus, and whom exactly it is you will be attracting through this process.

    A note on messaging within business development.

    Whenever we deliver a business development consultancy project, we always take the time to review the messaging. Developing a strong message to your target segment is imperative to deliver results. Whilst an overall marketing and brand strategy is at the core of all successful businesses. Aligning a business’s message to each segment is also incredibly important. When considering the target segment, align the messaging that the segment will relate to. This may sound simplistic, but putting the time and effort into creating the right content for the right clients is vital. No matter how well your approach is, if your message doesn’t relate to the target customer, it will have no impact.

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      Executing the business development strategy.

      When most people think about hiring a business development consultant, or undertaking business development consultancy. Generally, they are thinking about the execution phase. Hopefully this insight has highlighted the importance of the groundwork going into the process. The execution phase should really include the elements of target setting and segmentation, before entering into these early execution and ultimate execution phases.

      Content and business development plan.

      For most business development campaigns, there will need to be a content and business development plan that overlaps and supports the activity. Whilst target setting has already occurred. A plan of action alongside a content plan will enable execution to have a clear pathway to success. As with all plans, it doesn’t need to be set in stone, but having this direction of travel is incredibly important. A solid content and delivery plan will include the content elements surrounding the business development consultancy project and the execution elements.

      An example of this will be to include the dates of email campaigns, the content that they are pointing to (again, think messaging) and the follow up contact. Each element will then be linked to the targets outlined. It is important with any business development consultancy project to constantly review and update expectations throughout the project.

      Crafting the support structures to enable business development.

      When the target is known, the segments are agreed, the plan is set, it is time to ensure that all of the content is ready to go. Creating excellent business development content should be evergreen. That is to say that the content created for any business development consultancy project today, can be used for projects in the future. Ensuring that the content and strategy is in place before go-live will ensure that the project can focus on delivery.

      An often-overlooked element of preparation is ensuring that training is in place for the business development team. When the project moves into the delivery phase, the process should focus on incremental improvements. Not backtracking to deliver training or wholesale changes. Ensuring solid preparation of both materials and people is vital to a successful campaign.


      Outreach is always seen as the tip of the iceberg above the water. However, by this stage, outreach really is purely execution. Really this stage of the programme should only be about muscle memory. Executing all of the elements that have gone before to deliver an outcome. The outreach will begin to pay dividends, but only if the earlier elements have paved the way successfully to do so.

      Feedback and Enhancement

      This is another key area where solid business development consultancy really delivers its value. As much as the process, having the skillset to re-align and optimise any business development project is imperative for success. There are of course examples of such campaigns going into the world with no issues, but more often, there is a requirement for slight tweaks and improvements. Listen to customers’ feedback. Listen to the team’s feedback. Review against the plan and the numbers. Only from these elements can you re-align the project and enhance outcomes.