“What’s happening with the pipeline?” “Can you sort out this PPT?” “Have you finished that RFP?” “How’s that pitch coming along?” “Is the content campaign ready?”
Networking, marketing, thought leadership, event delivery, product development, social media, relationship management and more – the biz dev role demands a myriad of skills and abilities akin to the personified swiss army knife.
Oh, and you’re expected to be brilliant at them all too.
But here’s the thing. This mythical all-rounder is exactly that. A myth. It doesn’t exist.
No matter how good you are, or how hard you work, the abject truth is that you’ll never be a master at everything, even with a tonne of extra hours, targeted training and considerable effort.
Many pay a serious price for trying to be all-encompassing, whether it’s sustained levels of high stress, a secret but persistent fear that you aren’t good enough, the pressure of systematic job hopping, or even for some, loss of employment.
But that’s just the job right? The expectations of agency employers are sky high and the pressure is palpable. With no ability to bill clients, the onus is on repeatedly proving your worth and earning your keep. You are required to use the full gamut of tactics to deliver a jam-packed and converted pipeline, ad infinitum. All with little or no training, or support.
But what if there was a way to change things, that delivered better results for both you and the agency?
The good news is, there is. But it involves doing something unintuitive for both parties – having you focus everything you’ve got on harnessing your strengths rather than trying to tick the box on every competency across the new business spectrum.
It means having you give up the quest to be the fabled all-rounder and simply do what you are good at, while pulling in support from others across the business to make a contribution where they have a natural ability.
Rather than risking exposure, employer disapproval and eventual unemployment, which are the usual fears with this idea, in my experience it has completely the opposite effect if it’s done consciously and committedly.
Picture this: If you are a natural networker, but not so hot at content creation, which of the two are you likely to enjoy the most and get a result from?
If you give equal weighting to both activities you limit your potential results because you aren’t devoting your time to what you do best.
If you give more time to the content piece because it requires considered effort, it’s likely to take much longer to deliver results, if it delivers them at all.
But if you focus your energy on networking and enlist the help of a content hot shot in the business to support on that component, you’ve probably just increased your success stakes considerably.
From a personal point of view, by understanding, developing and singularly applying your natural talents to the job every single day, two things happen. Firstly, you’re going to love it and be highly motivated because it’s feels intuitive, easy and like you’re pushing on an open door. Secondly, you’re much more likely to be successful for the same reasons.
From the point of view of other team members across the business, if they get to do the same and contribute to the sales and marketing areas where they excel, it feels great and is good for their profile and career trajectory.
From the perspective of an enlightened employer, everybody wins. With everyone doing a lot of what they do well as part of an integrated team, the success rate inevitably increases, giving the agency its best shot at meeting and exceeding targets.
The plain fact is, when you focus your efforts on your personal strengths you are much more likely to increase your contribution, excel in your career and find lasting satisfaction.
It’s an under-utilised win win that maximises profitability, retention and results for everybody involved.
Alison O’Leary is a certified life coach, specialised in career coaching through her practice, Live True. In a 19-year career she has held a number of senior management positions within the digital marcoms industry, most recently as Deputy Managing Director, Europe for Racepoint Global. Alison specialises in people development and combines insights, tools and methodologies from corporate and personal coaching work to help marcoms professionals realise their true career potential for personal and organisational benefit.
Sign up now!