Building a Winning Business Development Culture
For those of us involved in economic development, we know that attracting, growing and keeping quality jobs and investments in Ohio is a complex process. It’s a big reason why our team at JobsOhio wanted to introduce and reinforce a culture of consistent and excellent client response and service across the state.
Through various touch points we met business development expert Carol Johnson, founder of Continuous Dialog and an expert in economic business development techniques. We recognized that she would be a good fit to educate state, regional and local economic development partners on best practices for effective business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. In late 2016, we contracted with Carol for business development training specifically for economic development in Ohio. Through the first quarter of 2018, roughly 140 staff members from JobsOhio and the regional network attended a series of trainings: 1) Building a Competitive Advantage to Win, 2) Leveraging Our Strengths and 3) Thriving in a Coaching Culture.
The overarching goal of these trainings focused on how we approach business development for Ohio. That meant learning empathy for prospects, coming together as a team to have common language, role expectations and responsibilities to the client, and defining the value JobsOhio can bring to a prospect.
One key takeaway that JobsOhio quickly implemented internally was the NPV Chart: Need – Proof – Value. We looked at every industry and program and identified the needs for prospects and the key drivers that ensure success, the proof or unique evidence that separates Ohio from its competitors, and finally the value: How does the proof benefit the client? Is it something that increases speed, reduces risk and cost or is it something else?
For those of you who have been through Carol’s trainings, there were numerous lessons learned, including the readiness to address objections to Ohio that potential clients may have. With those lessons in mind, JobsOhio and REDO trainees created a bank of tools and resources for LEDOs and REDOs to utilize. Some of the topics include:
- Business Development Principles
- Meeting Scorecard
- Objection Bank
- Need – Proof – Value Chart
- Sector Tip Sheets
Implementation of the key principles from the trainings will be crucial for continued success with a few regional network partners already aggressively rolling out the plan. The intention is for the tools and concepts to be shared with local economic development partners. If you have any questions regarding the training or available resources, please reach out to your regional contact listed below:
- APEG – Katy Farber; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Columbus 2020 – Patty Huddle; email@example.com
- DDC – Julie Sullivan; firstname.lastname@example.org
- REDI – Sue Biorseth; email@example.com
- RGP – John Gibney; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Team NEO – Steve Fritsch; SFritsch@TeamNEO.org
A winning business development culture thrives on instilled values, language, expectations and skills. I believe we are moving in the right direction to make this happen. I can’t wait to see our collaboration pay off for 2018 and beyond.
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