The Future of Business Development – case studies

Author - Arlen Pettitt

Date published:

The Chamber’s most recent report looks at the future of business development. The full report can be read here, and below are four case studies of businesses who have adpated their ways of working for the better.

Newcastle Building Society

Recognising that many of its customers were shielding or reluctant to venture out, Newcastle Building Society colleagues took to the phones making thousands of outbound phone calls to check in on their customers and offer a friendly chat.

The need for financial advice increased through the pandemic and whilst face-to-face advice sessions were reduced, the introduction of video and phone meetings ensured ongoing support for customers and for some it has become a preferred way to keep in touch.

Prior to the pandemic, the Society’s team of business development managers typically spent five days a week on the road visiting mortgage brokers around the UK. They have now adopted a hybrid model of digitally enabled home and field-based working which facilitates more new business appointments and by reducing the time spent travelling, provides an even higher quality response to brokers.

Like most organisations, Newcastle Building Society has had to adapt and change its approach due to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic. 2021 saw the Society achieve its best ever customer satisfaction score of 96%, thanks in part to many of those new practices, partnerships and clever uses of technology.

Its latest announcement – an innovative partnership with shared banking fintech, OneBanks Hub, and global leaders in cash automation, GLORY -promises to bring local banking back to the high street, supporting digital inclusion and a brighter future for high streets and communities.

Uptivity Apps Case Study – Ash Nehmet

[As a result of the pandemic, we entered a new market, produced a different product and also altered our sales approach. All of which are staying long-term.]

We at Uptivity Apps build productivity subscription software (i.e no upfront costs).

Even before the pandemic, we were still finessing a sales approach of going to as many trade shows as possible and trying to meet every exhibitor and visitor. Gulf foods 2020 in Dubai was the last one visited.

Then lockdown happened. First, there was a lot of sitting around and head-scratching. Then phone calls started from panicking brick & mortar businesses because of no online sales We stopped the head-scratching and dusted off a half-developed eCommerce platform sitting on the hard drive. A basic version of JustSell was born shortly afterwards.

Now, 20 months later, JustSell has a customer app, stock-adding app, a sales rep app, B2B section, an appointment booking part and industry-specific web templates. Its B2B feature has attracted a new sales model; reseller partnerships.

A bigger software company catering mainly to builders merchants wanted to partner and resell JustSell to their customers. This is proving to be a big success so we’re now looking for more partners.

The pandemic has left us with a Shopify-alternative in JustSell, a new sales model and much more shoe leather.

Razorblue Case Study – Georgie Watson

With every government announcement came a new wave of uncertainty.

Our approach was to put even more focus on building stronger relationships with our client base and prospects.

We remained open and operational throughout the pandemic and have invested heavily in our 24/7 capability, with offices staffed around-the-clock.

We took the opportunity to create and host our own webinars exclusively for our clients to enhance relationships, share advice and showcase our capabilities and expertise.

The online event space was fast becoming crowded, and we wanted to offer something different. Supporting local suppliers (many of whom were also feeling the impact of lockdowns), we provided guests with a tasting experience to enjoy whilst being guided through tech advice, new products and more.

The events have been a huge success and we continue to run them on a quarterly basis – though now we take a hybrid approach.

We also launched our own bi-annual magazine, Out of the Blue. This publication enhances client and prospect relationships and is an opportunity for us to share technical expertise and business updates with our contacts. Advertising opportunities are available for clients, local businesses and partners.

Contacting prospects has become even more difficult over the last two years, with many using the “working from home” as an excuse to not engage. This meant we had to get even more creative with our marketing campaigns, but we can’t give away all our secrets!

Building on partnerships has proved extremely useful for us of late and this is an area we will be continuing to work on. Partnering up with local colleges and universities is fantastic for brand awareness and supports us in the longer run as we build a talent pool for recruitment and support young people at the start of their tech careers.

We have continued to support local charities throughout the pandemic and encourage other businesses to continue showing up for those that need it most.

Tall Tales Mysteries Case Study – Sara West

Our online murder mysteries began in early 2020 when we were approached by another business to supply an online murder mystery for them. With about two weeks to work out how we jumped on to Zoom and delivered our most popular plot Murder & Sparkling Wine.

From there we opened up events, selling tickets and attracting people from around the world to our virtual murder mysteries. We had to cap ticket sales to make sure everyone had plenty of interaction with our suspects, discovered how to use breakout rooms and all sorts of Zoom features. There were weeks when we had four or five shows and over Christmas even days with up to seven shows!

Working online allowed us to reach an audience we would never have tapped into with people joining regularly from the US, Europe and Australia as well as people from around the UK and many now want to see us live and in person.

We’re still continuing with our online nights – there is still a demand but now we’re having to balance that with increasing demand for our live shows too.

And I’m now creating boxed games giving armchair detectives the chance to prove they really could rival Poirot or Miss Marple when it comes to solving cases with all the case files, clues and information they need to uncover whodunit.

You can read the full Future of Business Development Report here.

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