Mo asks Warren Shiver: At what point in your career did you realize that business development was something you should focus on?
- Warren started his career off in the typical management/consulting track almost exclusively focused on product delivery. Warren’s wife worked for PeopleSoft at the time, and he was able to go on a few president’s club trips with her. Seeing top performing business development professionals treated so well opened his eyes. No engineers get treated to trips to tropical destinations for delivering a project on time.
- Warren was in business school at the time and interviewed for all the top technical positions, but they all wanted to see more sales experience. Warren started to focus more on sales and got the opportunity to build a small team working with companies to improve sales performance. That role forced Warren to focus on business development and kicked off his relationship with Mo.
- As a deep technical expert, the first yes you need to hear is from your internal partners to get introduced to clients. You need to make yourself as relevant and as easily understood as possible to build trust internally before you can get in front of clients.
- Trust is foundational. Your niche solution may not be overall material to the account manager so it represents a significant risk.
- To build trust you need to prove your success. Do you have a track record of prior success in a similar situation?
- The best client-facing team of executives brings a broad selection of skill sets to a project, even if it means going outside the firm, in order to build the trust and relationship with the client.
- The most important element of success is having a process. It takes a steady and disciplined approach to be successful, whether you are selling internally, externally, or a combination of both.
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