Business Development · Strategic Partnerships

As a tech person with a product, how do I find a business developer?

Dallas Bass

January 6th, 2016

I'm a developer and a "tech" person. I already have product (managed service) that is profitable. How do I find a business developer to come on board to help find clients? It seems like every business developer already has an idea that they want to pursue and aren't interested in jumping on with a launched product. 
A great idea is 1% of the work. Execution is the other 99%. In this course, we’ll teach you how to conduct market analysis, create an MVP and pivot (if needed), launch your business, survey customers, iterate your product/service based on feedback, and gain traction quickly.

Chris Nunes

January 6th, 2016

How do you BizDev the BizDev?  
  1. Show the extent of the upside - your current average deal value and what it's worth to you to share in that.  Why should they spend time on this opportunity instead of the (many) others?  What differentiates your service from all the others in the same space?
  2. Show the backlog on your current pipeline.
  3. Identify those BizDev folks who have networks in your existing/ideal customer base.
  4. Who are the precursor vendors to your ideal customers, before your service gets involved?  Go find a BizDev person who works in that horizontal and get them excited about the strategic partnership opportunity for those precursor vendors to supply customers to you.  Most BizDev folks on founder sites have ideas they're looking to build.  Find the BizDev folks NOT on founder sites but that are in your target horizontal.
  5. Reserve a portion of your earnings to outright hire someone so that it's not a contingency opportunity.

Justin Roff-Marsh

January 6th, 2016

I agree with Richard for two reasons.

One, if you're the founder, you can always sell -- simply by virtue of the fact that you're the founder. Particularly in tech companies, you can be socially inept and you can show up to meetings in flip flops, and you'll still be able to sell.

Like Zuckerberg's business card used to say, I'm (you're) CEO, Bitch!

Second, if you're the lone developer, in my experience, your skills (and your vision) will be better exploited if you promote yourself to product owner and technical lead -- and outsource all the coding (on upwork.com).

You'll end up with faster development and better quality code. Not because your subcontractors can code better than you -- but because, as technical lead, you ultimately have MUCH greater control over quality.

Better still, you'll discover that you can combine the bus-dev roles and the product owner / tech lead ones and find that you end up working fewer hours than you do now.

If YOU can't sell your own product, then you have a product-market fit issue -- and the earlier you recognize that the better.

Ignacio Blanco Always thinking on the Big Boss: The Client

January 27th, 2017

I am business developer for companies. Even better if the product is already on air.


Dwayne Johnson Social Alchemist - I build equitable, prosperous, sustainable smart cities and regions.

January 6th, 2016

Dallas,

That would depend on how much you know/understand about business and the type of business development help you need. This assumes that your value proposition/compensation makes sense for the type of person you're trying to hire. Don't expect $200K + commission sales people to come beating your door down to make 10% commission only sales on $1000 products in a saturated market with a 10 month sales cycle.


1) Saleperson
Someone find and close clients. A hunter killer that can effectively manage their time, contacts, pipeline. These folks are plentiful and if the returns are good they don't have to be in love with your company or product. They're coin operated. Don't expect them to do much else.  It assumes that you, or someone else understands and can articulate the market opportunity, the general type of client you're looking for, why they would buy, and have a vague idea of how to reach them and can cobble together some sort of demand generating strategy if need be. Oh, and you'll need to provide them with the appropriate tools and have enough understanding of a sales process to manage them effectively. If they haven't had conversations with a specific number of people a week they need to be inspired to perform or move out the door.

2) Sales/BD-Lite
This is a person with sales and a slice of marketing experience; probably someone that has owned or worked for a small start-up before. The skills will usually be weighted toward one or the other (sales vs. marketing) but they'll get the basics about people needing to understand what you're selling and why they should care about it enough to help develop (or have developed) basic materials, website, short list of potential customers, etc. This person would care about what you're selling and want to have a hand in how you present and sell the service. This person doesn't have to be a partner but don't try and treat the like #1; they can do a lot for you and should be compensated accordingly. This sound like more of what you're after. 

A word to the wise; vet the person thoroughly before engaging.  This landscape is full of people that think they know more than they do and/or flat out shysters. Have someone you know or someone here vet them and don't be shy about putting someone on a 3 month contract with deliverables before you hire.

Ed Jeffers MD at EDGE +

January 6th, 2016

Dallas, Been there done that. If you want some one that is truly committed and going to execute with drive and passion, then show them the "end game". I really good or talented BD can sell anything that is a viable product or solution. In the old days it was the pursuit of commissions. That has changed and if you really want a partner not just a sales guys then give them an equity plan. A smart and experienced BD will understand and most likely insist

Aaron Call

January 6th, 2016

I would check with you local business incubator, they should have a wealth of mentors and business development personal for you to connect with. Some may work with you probono until you both feel there is a worthwhile contract to put in place. Regards, -Aaron Aaron Call | Partner | MediCoventures, LLC | We do medical device startups | 480.559.8819 | MediCoventures.com

Terence Latimer Senior Account Executive at Dedicated Media

January 6th, 2016

Hey Dallas, as a Biz Dev guy myself, I can only offer my own perspective. 

Any hesitance I'd have in joining a team with an established product mostly centers around either lack of domain expertise or passion.

While I wouldn't necessarily need to "build" a product to be passionate about it, its a whole lot easier to be an expert of something I'm passionately building. 

Richard McLean Co-Founder Webscale Pty Ltd - KeyPay Cloud Payroll

January 6th, 2016

Dallas 

Maybe you are better of doing the biz bev as its your baby and getting some additional dev assistance to do the tech stuff ??

The only down side is that you may not have the biz dev skills although if you have a profitable product I guess you do have the skills - back yourself mate.

Rob G

January 27th, 2017

Dallas;


you're getting advise all over the map here. first, you need to better understand and articulate what you need. You say you are looking for a 'business developer" when i suspect what you really need is a sales person or combination sales and marketing - 'business development' is about generating demand/lead/sales/revenue indirectly via partnerships (often resellers or partner orgs) and typically comes into play after your direct sales and marketing machine is up and running. Sales is direct lead/revenue generation via customers. somehow the term "business development" has morphed over the years to encompass traditional biz dev and sales. It's like a 'business' person saying "i need a CTO" (to write code) when what they likely need is a developer, and then, of course, you need to know what kind of developer. So make sure you ask for what you really need. Second, there are different skill sets required depending on A) what you are selling (technical, not technical, simple, complex, etc.), B) to whom (consumers, SMB, large enterprises, education, nonprofit, etc.) and C) for how much (value of you avg. sale). As a developer You know there are different skill sets required depending what you are building - a niche mobile app, a mobile game, massive multip player game, a simple web site, a sophisticated SaaS application, AI system, etc. Same goes for sales and biz del ... and marketing to an extent. So "how to find a business developer" depends a lot on what skills you need. What little i can glean from you CFL profile indicates you are targeting SMB customers. SMB is a challenging profile. Deals size is relatively small (avg. deal size is say <$1,000?) which lends itself more toward a marketing only or marketing and inside-sales model than a biz dev or outside sales model. This is a skill set focused more on marketing and high-volume lead gen, prospecting and closing as opposed to large-deal detailed needs analysis, strategic selling, relationship building. The more you can tell us about A, B and C above the better we can answer your question. good luck. feel free to DM me if you need more detail.

Ricky Singh, MBA Growth Hacking Expert

January 29th, 2017

You can use CoFoundersLab, Indeed, and Angel.co to find a good business developer. You need to make a fair proposition to get a good business developer to onboard with your startup.