business development culture

Truth in advertising (and sales) – why business development culture matters.

How exactly do you assess an organization’s business development culture … their ethical (or not so ethical) approach to sales and marketing?  And – why should you care?

For many of our customers in the higher education, nonprofit, and business services industries – sales and marketing doesn’t follow a traditional “pipeline to close” process. So business development culture may not be a topic that is front of mind.

But it’s a topic worth considering – whether you are on the side of the seller or you find yourself in the role of a customer.  Because in either situation – for finance teams the true impact of an organization’s business development culture is most often felt long after the sale…and it can be measured in customer satisfaction, retention, and referrals.

So the next time you find yourself evaluating a set of competing vendors, here are three questions to help you evaluate sales & marketing culture – and how it will impact your experience with their product:

  1. Do they focus on their own strengths and positive differentiation in the sales process? Or do they spend a good amount of time denigrating their competitor? No software is a good fit for every potential customer – every software provider should be able to provide a clear scenario for which customer is a good fit for them, and why.
  2. Are their customers satisfied? Ask to speak to current customers – and talk to them about their experience with everything from sales to implementation, to daily use.  For example, how easy or hard is the system to maintain, do they like the customer service team, would they recommend the system to a family member?
  3. Do they have customers who have switched? Let’s face it, for most organizations implementing budgeting software is a pretty big decision.  For an organization to decide to go that process again there is probably an equally big reason. 

For more software evaluation criteria, check out our whitepapers on the topic:

At XLerant we think our business development culture should align with our mission. We believe that if we focus on helping organizations engage and empower their employees to achieve strategic objectives – then we will achieve our own strategic objectives as well.   And sure, it sometimes means we lose out on an initial opportunity or sale.  So we may grow a tiny bit slower – but we are growing stronger and more sustainably with the help of our satisfied and loyal customers.  Who knew budgeting software could make people happy?

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