Business building is different in the B2B world. For small to mid-sized B2B endeavours, your client base will be almost exclusively derived from referrals & networking. If you do something significantly different from your competitors, then nobody goes looking for what you do. The flip side is to offer what your competitors do, and have little differentiation. A tough choice. We'll assume you've decided that your vision will eventually prevail, and you take the road less travelled.  The primary challenge is then addressing the lack of awareness of the type of services/products offered. Building this awareness must be at the heart of the business development efforts. There are five distinct tactics to help achieve this:

Networking
1. Aggressive networking in organizations that either directly comprise the target markets, or where membership provides access to the target markets. This typically occurs in one of two manners:

a. Membership consists of practitioners with similar target markets (e.g. other management & business consultants).

b. Membership consists of a professional strata (e.g. CEOs, Sales Mgrs) with good representation in target sectors

Strategic Partners
2. Partnering with other companies aimed at the same target markets, to augment combined capabilities & leverage combined contact base. This of course presumes:

Target Marketing
3. Targeted focus for initiatives & business development programs (includes build awareness, contacts & cold calls) to most attractive & receptive markets.

Public Relations
4. Public relations, articles, interviews, speaking engagements and seminars, and/or exposure in venues composed primarily of targeted individuals or organizations.

Sub-contracting
5. Build awareness & relationship with other companies as a sub-contractor. While these companies may be construed as competitors, they also provide the opportunity to be introduced into targeted markets. The goal here is twofold:

a. Seize immediate revenue generating opportunities, even if not under your name (i.e. ‘white labeled' services presented as those of the contractor)

b. Build trust and relationship strength with competitors for future referral potential. The ability to be a specialized resource can be appealing to them once a trust factor is established.

The key to this latter technique is that if your truly have a unique offering, then there are no competitors – merely other companies working the same space. The quality of your services, combined with your integrity while dealing with their contacts, could win you a long-term strategic partner.

And it's all about the long term… isn't it? 

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