Masterclass on Successful Business Development Friday, the 23rd of March 2012 Trainers: Jeff Skinner & Sean Fielding This intensive one-day master class is designed for all those within universities whose job involves building links and generating ‘deals’ with businesses. This includes licensing managers (whose goal is to find and negotiate with licensees) as well as those who are trying to identify potential research collaborators, sponsored studentships or stimulate any other kind of relationship with businesses. The course has two primary objectives: • First, we expect participants to leave with a clearer knowledge of the process of ‘selling’ potential opportunities to a variety of stakeholders (but particularly, ‘business’). In our experience technology transfer and other ‘business-facing’ professionals lack knowledge and experience in these areas. • Second, we expect participants to develop a greater level of confidence in their role – accepting ambiguity and lack of authority as an integral and inevitable part of the ‘business development’ role. The course is designed to be highly participatory – based largely around real case studies – some of which will be prepared beforehand by the participants themselves. We will use these cases to draw out those parts of the business development ‘process’ that are the most problematic and challenging, and address these through a mixture of discussion, experience and presentation of carefully selected frameworks. Outline of day: 10.00am
The role of the ‘Business Developer’ in a university context Defining objectives, coping with multiple priorities and expectations, generating business with limited authority – what success looks like and what are the common obstacles and problems faced by those developing new business opportunities?
Ice breaker and facilitated group discussion 10:30am
Developing the business opportunity What is it that we have to ‘sell’ to business and why do we think they will invest in it? Thinking about the opportunity from the different ‘sides of the market’ (academic, university/BDM & external) and using these insights to create a possible roadmap for the ‘selling’ the opportunity. Developing a pitch that sets out a clear value proposition – and then market testing that proposition, arguing: • The problem that you believe is solved by your technology (why should they want it?) • What success looks like (where are you headed, strategically). • What next, and why – what to do with your proposal? • Why this is a good use of yours and the academic time, energy and resource?
Group exercise (based on opportunities brought by participants) with group discussion and summary, conclusions. 11.15
Finding contacts, developing leads
Techniques and tools for finding the right company (and person within that company) to talk to, how to approach the company, where to find background information on the company, market and industry; how to reduce your effort by linking effectively with other parts of the university and by using account management techniques. Use of databases, business development colleagues, academic colleagues and networking events.
Presentation and discussion. 12.15
Networking: Practical demonstration Working a room – making the most of events – a room, tips for being a successful networker.
Practical demonstration & role play. 12.45
Managing the relationship – keeping the deal on track. Dealing with (and avoiding) the complexities that emerge once the relationship between the academic group and a company develops and the opportunity takes on a life of its own – the business developer’s role in structuring the relationship and guiding the process towards a contractual deal. The business developer’s role as project manager, negotiator and communicator with the university’s contracts unit.
Case study (distributed beforehand) based on a real business development opportunity. 14.30
The process of closing a deal Selling techniques – introducing a framework that allows you to structure sales ‘conversations’ with potential clients - moving beyond discussion and the exchange of information towards an initial deal. Techniques for encouraging potential clients to understand their own needs and, by creating and amplifying dissatisfaction, encourage them to work with you to explore your (better)recognise the merit of exploring your (potentially better) way. Developing insights into: • the more common bottlenecks and obstacles that get in the way of collaboration – the various types of organisational ‘baggage’ • The fundamental difference between ‘small’ and ‘large’ sales, recognising the likelihood that sprats are needed to catch mackerels (but are not an end in themselves) • The need to end every meeting with a balanced (but non-zero) commitment.
Presentation of framework, role play, group practice, wrap-up.
What have we learned – what will we do differently in the future?