The choice between full time direct employment of business development support services and outsourcing them depends on so many factors. Its worth considering some in detail before you make a decision best suited to your aims and objectives: 

The most obvious is cost. Next comes commitment, outcomes and integration. Recruiting a full-time experienced business development professional would typically demand a six-figure salary. Your business development professional would be adept at all elements of the business development process - understand the business objectives and be able to translate these into a robust tactical plan generating a pipeline with enough opportunities to bid and win to achieve agreed targets. Alongside this would be a continuous flow of pre-positioning work on all future tendering activity, relationship building, networking, prospecting, attending events, social media strategy and execution as well as creating thought leadership pieces and a raft of other facilitation and ‘connecting’ activities. However this is a huge financial outlay at a time when the coming year looks like it comes at us with some significant headwinds as well as some legislation change opportunities. 

Contract or part time business development professionals would cost significantly less and would still be involved in all the above activity. They would also have a wider sphere of networking as typically they would be involved with multiple non-competing clients and have a broader understanding of the market sectors. There are down times or periods of inactivity with a full-time business development role while, when the contract or part time resource can be better utilised for the committed or agreed days. In this aspect, the part time decision becomes more focused and therefore better value for money. In my experience, the self-employed consultant is always looking for opportunities and is less prone to clock watch or leave stones un turned for another day.

This is, of course, a sweeping generalisation. There are many excellent business development professionals who are ‘rain makers’ in the industry and who are genuinely worth their weight in gold. The pertinent point is to properly understand and agree objectives at the outset, meaningful measurements and roles and responsibilities as soon as you can with your outsourced or part-time business development role. Be clear. Be concise and understand that many tactical activities may be on a trial basis – ready to be tweaked if the initial response isn’t what was originally expected.

So which do you choose? Be sure to understand why you are looking for a business development resource. Are you looking to grow the business for sale? Succession planning? Exit strategy? Improve profit margins? How do you think this resource will help you achieve your longer term goals if working more on the business rather than in the business? All excellent questions to ask yourself before you make the commitment. This isn’t a sticking plaster to a dip in sales. Business development can dramatically impact on the growth of your business if you are clear on your own motivations. Get in touch if you would like to explore the Why behind your decision to look for support.