How to Write a Great Business Development Report: A Step By Step Guide with Examples

Author's avatar Reporting UPDATED Nov 10, 2022 PUBLISHED Jan 27, 2022 16 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    Have you ever written a business development report?

    Business development reports can be quite confusing to many people, particularly those within small to medium-sized companies. And business development, in general, is often confused with sales and it’s not rare that it’s overlooked entirely within companies. However, having a business development strategy is critical to long-term success and ensuring that everyone in your company is working toward a common goal.

    So without further ado, here is everything you need to know to write a great business development report.

    What Is Business Development?

    Business development is about expanding business through various activities such as market research, product development, sales strategies, and others that enhance business growth. Businesses need to implement these business development approaches to widen their markets and establish themselves in the global market. Business development professionals are responsible for initiating, planning, and implementing these activities aimed at increasing the sales and overall performance of a business.

    What Is a Business Development Report?

    A business development report is basically a document that outlines the future growth of a business. It usually includes information about sales targets, profits, and operations of the business. The main aim of a business development report is to help management in formulating plans for the company’s future growth.

    What Should Be Included In a Business Development Report (BDR)?

    A BDR can be as simple as a list of all of your potential clients, along with notes about their needs, the status of your sales cycle with them, and what you need to do to close the deal. There are more sophisticated BDRs that use color-coded spreadsheets and complex software tools. The most important aspect of any BDR is its usefulness in helping you predict your future success.

    Business development reports vary from company to company, but for the most part, they should include:

    • Opening paragraph – Make clear what’s included in the report, and why it’s valuable to them. This also provides an opportunity to build rapport with the reader by addressing them by name if you know it (“Dear Bob…”).
    • Calls, emails & social media efforts Be honest about how many contacts you make in your business development efforts. Don’t just include calls that yielded positive results, include all calls. Include emails, too, as part of your strategy to increase your outbound efforts. If you’re using social media and online groups as part of your outreach program, include those numbers as well.
    • Tally the number of inbound inquiries each month – Then compare your performance over time to see if you’re getting more or fewer inquiries. You might also look at a 12-month period as well as a 6-month period to see if there’s a trend in your business.
    • Number of closed deals/closures/transactions – By quarter, year to date and since you started tracking deals.
    • QualificationsQualifying a prospect means making sure that they’re actually interested in buying from you and not just being polite when you call them.
    • Open opportunities – That have not yet resulted in closed deals and sources of those opportunities.
    • Company names and contact persons who provided the lead – It’s very important to have this information on hand because salespeople are usually motivated by money, not by a sense of duty. If a contact provides you with a great lead, there should be a way for you to receive compensation for it further down the line.
    • The date the report was created – This is so you know how up-to-date it is, especially if you need to review it quickly.
    • Name of the business development manager who prepared the report – You want to be sure that you are receiving credit for all of your hard work.

    PRO TIP: Need a quick way to see which sources fuel your sales pipeline? Watch the Data Snack below to learn how to set up and track your HubSpot Marketing data in order to decide which sources are worth further investment.

    How to Write a Business Development Plan?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template for business development plans. Every company has different needs and offers different products or services. However, there are some elements that are fairly standard.

    Below are some suggestions that will help you write a great business development report.

    1. Understand your audience – The most important part of writing a business development report is making sure that it is understandable to your audience. This means you need to understand who your audience is and what they need from the report. For example, if your audience includes members of the board of directors, your language needs to be more formal, while if you are writing for a lower-level manager, you can use more casual language.
    2. Goals & objectives – This section provides information about what has been achieved and what the goals and objectives of the organization throughout the next few years are. The main goal could be to generate higher revenues or to expand into new markets. The organization should also specify its objectives towards achieving these goals:
      • For every goal, a timeline should be specified so that all stakeholders are able to track progress and take necessary actions or course corrections in time when needed.
      • For every objective, a set of activities needs to be identified so that they can be monitored in order to reach the target.
    3. Metrics – A key component of a business development report is the inclusion of metrics that allow for tracking the progress towards the achievement of goals and targets. You should include metrics for each step in your plan including the setting of objectives, implementation, and evaluation of action plans and goals. Make sure that these metrics are measurable so that you can easily track them as you go along. It is also important to include your own personal performance data alongside information on how effective each department has been in achieving its goals and targets.
    4. Customer Segmentation – It is important that the plan highlights where you are today with respect to customer segmentation and how you intend to improve on this aspect in the future.
    5. Sales Pipeline Management – This section of the sales development report should highlight your sales pipeline and explain how you intend to improve on it in the future.
    6. Sales Channel Management – Whether you sell your products directly to customers or through resellers, it is important that your plan clearly defines which channels you use and how they fit into your strategy.
    7. Sales Management Process and Skills – The plan should clearly define how you evaluate salespersons, the criteria for selecting them, the ongoing training for them, etc.

    Note: Also remember that people want first things first. If they don’t get important information within the first two paragraphs they might lose interest in reading your report and just give up on it.

    Now that you have a good idea of the general structure and the kind of information you will include in your business report you are ready to start writing it.

    Business Development Strategies

    Here are some of the key business development strategies you’ll want to implement in your company.

    Understand Your Competitors

    The best way to understand your competitors is to actually use their products. The more familiar you are with the features and functionality of your competitors’ products, the more you will know how they can help your customers achieve their desired outcomes. This insight will help you avoid creating a product that offers no real value to differentiate it from the competition.

    Choose the Right KPIs

    How do you choose the right KPIs for your business development report? Your KPIs should give you a strong indication of how effective your business development efforts are. Here’s an example:

    Let’s say you’re a business developer in charge of acquiring new customers for your company. You’ve set a goal to acquire 20 new customers per month and your company’s revenue is expected to grow by 10% because of it. Of course, this is still a rough estimate, but it gives you something to aim for. In order to achieve this goal, you’ll need to see a steady increase in the number of new customers acquired per month.

    If that number dips or stays constant then it suggests your business development efforts aren’t working as well as they could be. On the other hand, if the number increases, then it shows that your business development efforts are improving and that you’re on track to meet your goals (and maybe even exceed them). In this case, executives (if they’re savvy) will be able to see, at any given time, where their money is being spent and which areas are bringing them the best returns.

    Develop Long-Term Customer Relationships

    Treat your customers well and they will come back to you. This is the basis of building long-term customer relationships. Developing long-term customer relationships is necessary in order to build a sustainable business. Regardless of the type of business, whether it’s a restaurant or an online store, customers are important. Your customers will provide you with valuable feedback to help improve your product and service offerings.

    Implement Customer Feedback

    It’s vital that this report includes both quantitative and qualitative information, with a strong focus on customer feedback. You need to understand how your customers see your product or service, what they like, and what they don’t like so that you can keep moving forward.

    Optimize Your Website for SEO and UX

    An optimized site is one that will show up in the search results when potential customers are looking for a product or service like yours. You want to make sure any keywords used in your title or content are consistent throughout the site and that the overall messaging is clear and shows trustworthiness. Make it easy to find contact information, and don’t beat around the bush with a long list of product features and descriptions, instead, focus on how those features can solve problems and help your customers succeed.

    Improve Your Response Time

    Whenever a prospect reaches out to you with a question, try to respond as quickly as possible. Responding immediately can indicate that you are eager to work with them and confident enough in your business to make them feel comfortable. The best way to respond fast is through the use of a CRM tool that allows you to track your prospects and their sales cycle: when they reached out to you, when they were first engaged with your company, and when they were most recently engaged.

    Related: From 3 Hours to 17 Minutes: How Databox Reduced Chat Response Time in One Week

    Create a Detailed Sales Plan to Identify Areas of Growth

    The purpose of the sales plan is to identify new ways to grow the business. It should outline the current state of your sales and marketing efforts, as well as provide a roadmap for future success. Sales planning is an ongoing process that you should review regularly to make sure it reflects any changes in your company’s goals or market conditions. Make sure that your sales plan is tied into your business development strategy and that it works in tandem with any other existing plans.

    Create a Social Listening Strategy

    Use social listening for competitive intelligence. You can track your competitors’ performance on social media to see what they’re doing well (and not so well) when it comes to business development, marketing, sales, and more. For instance, if you’re competing for funding at an investor pitch meeting, you can listen to how others pitch their ideas on Twitter before your own meeting. Also, you can use social listening to identify potential partners or customers that have complementary products or services — like maybe they both sell fitness products — so you can reach out to them with a partnership proposal.

    Become a Sponsor

    Sponsorship can help you find new customers, create relationships with potential partners, and increase brand awareness. Whether you’re looking to gain visibility, reach a specific target audience, or branch out into new territory, your sponsorship has to have a clear purpose. Whether that’s increasing attendance at a conference or selling products in the Midwest. Be sure you can clearly state what your goals are for each online/offline event.

    Business Development Report Examples

    As we mentioned before, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template for business development, since every company is different and therefore has different needs. However, there are quite a few elements in business development reports that are quite standard.

    To help you build a great business development report, we have built more than 300 dashboard examples that you can download and use as a template for your own report. All our dashboard examples come pre-built with some of the most common metrics and KPIs tracked across different departments – from marketing and sales, to project management, customer support, and more.

    To get started, just choose a template, connect your data, and your metric visualizations will populate automatically.

    Marketing Development Reports

    Do you want to view all your marketing metrics in one place, as well as identify opportunities to improve your current strategy? A marketing dashboard is a one-stop-shop where you can quickly view all your current marketing performance metrics in one place in real-time. It has been proven that dashboards are one of the most effective ways to get people to quickly digest large amounts of information.

    In the example below you can easily track the strength of your on-page SEO.

    Google Analytics Landing Page SEO Dashboard Template
    Google Analytics Landing Page SEO Dashboard Template

    Sales Development Reports

    Sales dashboards automate the sales process and help salespeople identify trends and patterns that might otherwise be missed. A good sales dashboard will help you understand which areas of your sales process are working well, where there are problems, and what you need to do to improve your performance. As you can see in this example, sales dashboards can provide you with a visual snapshot of monthly performance by the sales team.

    Sales Overview dashboard
    Sales Overview

    Customer Support Reports

    A customer support dashboard is a must for every company providing any type of customer service. A customer support dashboard is a great way to track and maintain quality customers relationship — from making sure that you’re responding to their inquiries quickly, to resolving tickets and keeping up with their comments and suggestions. This HelpScout for Customer Support dashboard example gives you insights into your team’s responsiveness and handling time.

    HelpScout for Customer Support Dashboard Template
    HelpScout for Customer Support Dashboard Template

    Software Development Reports

    A software development dashboard gives you an overview of your software project in the most comprehensive and convenient way. All in all, a software development dashboard is a proactive, forward-looking, and self-sufficient platform. It helps teams to be focused on the right things, to make the right decisions, and ultimately outperform other teams around them. This free-to-use MySQL queries dashboard template can help you pull data from your proprietary database and showcase it alongside data from popular services like Mixpanel, Google Analytics, and Salesforce.

    MySQL Dashboard Template
    MySQL Dashboard Template

    Project Management Reports

    This type of dashboard is a tool that helps teams and project managers keep track of the performance of their projects. A project management dashboard gives an overview of the current status, important metrics and measures, and insights about the projects. This dashboard helps you see where you are now, where you have been, and where you are going in the future. Find the right performance indicators (KPIs) for your key areas of interest and make sure your projects are on track.

    Harvest: Projects Time Report
    Harvest: Projects Time Report

    Financial Reports

    A financial reporting dashboard gives you a concise and consolidated view of your performance and business health. A financial dashboard is a snapshot of your company’s financial and operational performance. It is typically built in financial reporting software and includes a collection of graphs, charts, and tables that are designed to give you an at-a-glance view of key business metrics like sales, expenses, and cash flow. In this example, you can see PayPal (Account Overview) – payment, refunds, and other business metrics.

    PayPal (Account Overview) Dashboard Template
    PayPal (Account Overview) Dashboard Template

    Create Better Business Development Reports with Databox

    Say goodbye to the ‘old way‘ of business reporting.

    The traditional way of reporting was pretty straightforward – A boss would ask how many leads you got this week, and you would respond with a number. While the question was simple enough, the answer was often abstract and left a lot of room for interpretation:

    • How did that number stack up against last week?
    • What about the weeks before that?
    • And if it was a really good week, how much did it compare to the previous record high?

    If you want your boss to understand what’s going on in your business development efforts, then you need a new way of reporting — one that’s more visual. And that’s where Databox comes in. Visual reporting with Databox is one of the fastest and easiest ways to track business development performance.

    With information stored in one central place, you’ll never have to worry about tracking down old numbers when you need current performance reports. Best of all, Databox automatically turns your data into easy-to-understand charts that make it a breeze to spot patterns and trends over time.

    Sign up for free and try Databox today.

    HubSpot Sales Manager KPIs Dashboard Template
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    Article by
    Djordje Cvijovic

    Grew up as a Copywriter. Evolved into the Content creator. Somewhere in between, I fell in love with numbers that can portray the world as well as words or pictures. A naive thinker who believes that the creative economy is the most powerful force in the world!

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