In the world of professional services, the terms “business development” and “marketing” are often used interchangeably. In fact, these terms are as different as peanut butter and jelly, or ketchup and mustard, or beans and rice.

You get the idea. They are different, but they are inextricably linked.

That is because business development and marketing need each other. In a successful firm, your BD team works with your marketing team. Together BD and marketing are responsible for the firm’s growth. But they approach that goal in different ways.


blogoffer-middle-marketingplanning-guide.pngThe marketing department’s main function is to understand the wants and needs of your company’s target market through research and analytics. Marketing identifies key differentiators, develops positioning and messaging, and comes up with a strategic plan for communicating that messaging.

The marketing team has additional functions: refining and communicating the company’s offerings, managing online and offline visibility, and monitoring marketing goals, such as website traffic, email campaigns, and more!

Business Development

Business development relies on research and marketing to understand the firm’s audience. They develop and pursue opportunities for growth using data about potential prospects and current clients.  The BD team also uses information to search for tangential opportunities, such as which associations should they join, what offers should they provide. They then develop a strategy for following up with each opportunities, all the while looking for ways to improve current client relationships.

Business development is really about establishing connections based on the brand and message developed by the marketing team. They are always on the lookout for new ways to generate qualified leads or develop partnerships that will extend the reach of their firm—and bring in more qualified leads.

SEE ALSO: What Every Managing Partner Needs to Know About Lead Generation

Working Together

When business development and marketing work hand in hand, creating compatible outbound and inbound marketing strategies, they achieve the greatest effect. Below are five different business development and marketing tactics that should be developed in tandem:

  1. Research and strategy—Business development and marketing should work together to analyze current prospect and client data to better understand their needs. They can then work together to develop a smart strategy for communicating the firm’s message, following up with leads, and measuring the results of both teams’ efforts.
  2. Content development—Content that is created by marketing (articles, white papers, books, guides, blog posts, etc.) should be created based on the issues and needs of prospects and clients. The BD team regularly records the feedback they receive from clients and collects data about what is coming through the pipeline. When that information is shared with marketing, and combined with market research data, marketing has what it needs to compose highly relevant and impactful content.
  3. Campaigns and offers—Campaigns (such a lead nurturing campaign) and offers are created by the marketing team based on research and feedback provided by the BD team. An example would be a research analysis that shows the number of leads converting to sales based on what offers prospects respond to. Marketing can then develop offers that better convert leads into sales.
  4. Speaking opportunities—The marketing team will identify and lock down speaking opportunities for visible experts within the firm. A member of the business development team can then attend the event to network and make the most of a critical opportunity to bring in new business.
  5. Events—Much like speaking opportunities, marketing will identify a particular event that your firm should attend. Example would include tradeshows, conferences, professional associations event, gala, business networking events and more. Marketing coordinates the event and promotes it (on the website or through other media outlets like Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook). The BD attends the event to exploit the chance for new business and to create a strategic plan to follow up with any new leads.

Symbiotic Success

The success of your firm depends on business development and marketing working together. For your business to increase in revenue and work efficiently and with momentum, the two different teams need to focus on the same goal. By working in concert, your firm will be able to attract the clients who will truly benefit from your services.

Additional Resources

How Hinge Can Help

Creating a comprehensive marketing plan is key to success in 2016. Hinge has developed The Visible Firm℠ program to help you create a marketing strategy and more. It is the leading marketing program for delivering greater visibility, growth, and profits. This customized program will identify the most practical offline and online marketing tools your firm will need to gain new clients and reach new heights.