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Pulling the Weeds in Your Business Development Process

James Roloff
James Roloff
3 min read
Pulling the Weeds in Your Business Development Process

I loved my grandmother. But, she was terrible at pulling weeds. They'd always come back no matter how often she tried to weed the garden.

Like many people, she pulled weeds at their leaves. It cosmetically looked as if the garden was free of weeds. But under the surface, the roots of the weeds were still firmly planted and ready to grow back.

Days later, the little shoots of weeds would be visible in the garden again. Growing back into full-grown plants that were visible to those passing by. The weed problem never went away.

The Weeds In Your Business Development Process

Your business development process is much like a garden. It's a system with many moving parts and variables. It requires care. It takes effort to make it grow. And… it can get infiltrated nasty weeds.

In business development, the weeds come in many forms:

  • Bad lead generation
  • Unqualified MQLs
  • Poor close ratios
  • Unpredictable pipeline growth
  • Missed sales quotas
  • And more

These are the problems you address from time to time as they rear their ugly heads but never actually get to the root cause of the issue.  

As you weed your sales and marketing gardens, you take care of the issues at the surface. Everything looks nice for a few weeks, months, or quarters. But you are destined to return to fight the same battles again and again.  

You need to stop acting like my grandmother! You need to learn how to pull weeds by the root.

How to Pull Weeds by the Root

The metaphorical root in your sales or marketing process can be a problem that needs fixing or an opportunity you are not taking advantage of. Either way, you must get to the root. Here is a five-step process to do just that.

Step 1 - Identify the Problem

First, you see the weed itself. It's a problem in your sales process that you know needs to be addressed. It's the symptom of a deeper issue that you'll get to later in your improvement initiative.

Step 2 - Collect Data

The next step is to collect data related to your problem. You'll often find that bad data, such as inaccurate CRM entries or lack of operational definitions across your team (what is a qualified lead anyway?), is a problem in itself and of itself. But do your best to here to collect data that is relevant to the problem.

Step 3 - Identify The Roots

Now you need to identify the symbolic roots of your problem. Running simple statistical analyses to find your data's variances, trends, anomalies, etc., helps you better understand your problem. Using a cause and effect diagram can also be a helpful way to identify significant contributing factors.

Step 4 - Implement an Improvement Strategy

With a potential root issue identified, it's time to run an improvement strategy. Start by formulating a testable hypothesis - a change you can make that you believe will improve your process. Then, set the action steps, assign ownership of activities, and run the improvement process. Pull the weeds!

Step 5 -  Review and Iterate

Was your plan effective? Did you get to the root of the issue? After allowing your strategy to run for a sufficient period (anywhere from one month to one year, depending on the change), you can review the data again. Did you make a meaningful improvement? Are there other changes you can try? Review and iterate to continually improve your performance.

Your Beautiful Sales Garden

Learning to become effective at truly getting to the root of your sales process weeds is a valuable skill. Over time, your sales process will notably improve, and it will be easier to maintain a higher level of performance. You'll have a beautiful sales garden!

This process of identifying potential issues, analyzing data, testing improvement strategy ideas, and reviewing results, is a blueprint that can be used repeatedly. Finally, you will remove the weeds in your sales process for good.