Last Thursday, I attended nextNY’s Business Development vs. Sales event, which took place on Social Media Day. The panel of speakers included Jane Kim, VP of Business Development at Hashable; Wiley Cerilli, CEO of SinglePlatform; and Eric Friedman, Director of Business Development at Foursquare, with moderator Steve Cheney, Head of Business Development for GroupMe.
Jane noted that companies build a product for one main purpose: to sell it. While those working in business development grow and develop the brand and are more interested in how they can turn a product into an opportunity, salespeople think of how they can turn a product into dollars. Wiley spoke about his experience with SinglePlatform and underlined that a startup’s main goal is to get the first transaction done as soon as possible. Some of advice he gave to future startups is to motivate their team, using interesting visuals and to go beyond the limits of building an idea. Eric spoke of some of Foursquare’s previous transactions, as well as the functionality of business development and sales at Foursquare.
Although the event and speakers focused on sales and business development, I took the advice of these speakers and tried to apply it to the public relations industry. I think a PR firm works for its clients in a similar way to the business development team of a startup. In PR, a team thinks of interesting ways to build a client’s image rather than the products they are selling. I believe that in order to successfully sell a product, the audience has to first be sold on the idea and why it is relevant to them. PR’s job is not only to increase a client’s visibility, but to connect it on a more individual level with its clientele. In this way, the engagement between a brand and the consumer increases and may lead to more sales in the long run.