Whenever we speak to someone and they tell us that they don’t believe in “outsourcing business development” we say “Good! you shouldn’t.” We then go on to explain our analogy with the oil industry (and please forgive our simplification of a very complex business).
The oil industry is divided into the Upstream business and the Downstream business. The Upstream element is the exploration and the Downstream is the delivery to the end user and bang in the middle is the refinery.
The oil exploration business is dangerous, exciting, more than a little dirty and very VERY difficult. But the rewards can be huge. The oil companies use specialist businesses who already have the right people, processes and equipment to do it more cost effectively than they could do it themselves, even though technically they probably COULD do it themselves.
These companies use sophisticated equipment that help them detect a reservoir of oil, drill down and, more often than not, hit nothing of much interest. They then move on, and repeat the process until they hit oil. They then deliver the oil to the refinery at which point the oil company takes over.
We hope you’ve twigged our analogy by now. Yes, we’re one of those Upstream companies. The reservoir is new business and the refinery is the first meeting between the prospect and our client (the oil company). From then on our client is in charge and eventually delivers the refined product (petrol) to the end user. The account team who will work on the business.
That’s why you SHOULDN’T outsource business development. But you SHOULD outsource the upstream element of the process and concentrate on what you are good at. Winning new business, not prospecting for it.