Build Partnerships For Your IT Company By Leveraging These Character Traits

As mature Managed Service Providers continue to grow, the need will eventually rise to hire or promote a dedicated employee for Business Development. To some, Business Development is simply a glorified sales title used to disguise intentions on LinkedIn. Other (more enlightened) IT Providers execute this position in its purest form: building win/win partnerships that foster growth. Dedicating the right person to seek out these partnerships can be the difference between winning and losing local market share and beyond. Whether you are a Business Development Manager yourself or you are an MSP Leader looking to hire one, here are the most important traits that you should look to have on your side to build successful partnerships for your business.

Genuine Eagerness To Learn New Things

To build new partnerships for your brand, you need to be constantly learning. As you encounter new businesses, technologies, and verticals, you cannot properly identify where your company fits into the equation if you do not have a firm grasp on the variables therein.

There is no place for being a “know-it-all” in Business Development. Being too headstrong or failing to admit when you do not know something will only hold you back from discovering the perfect link that brings the two companies together. Successful Business Development Managers are constantly learning about what companies and technologies do, how they work, and what makes them successful.

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Ability To Listen Intently Without Speaking

In business and sales, you cannot identify the basis of a good partnership while speaking. It is only by listening that you can figure out exactly what your prospective partners goals are and how you can help achieve them. You should always look to control the conversation, not dominate it. This is done by asking precise questions that will help your prospective partner self-realize the benefits of doing business with you before you have to say it.

Inexperienced Business Development Managers have a “discourse” (a one-way conversation used to deliver information) with their prospects instead of a “dialogue.” This is a common mistake by those who lack confidence and are looking to simply fill the conversation with as much information as possible to prove their worth. As a general rule, it is important to always ensure that conversations are a two-way street and that information is constantly flowing in both directions, even if it means there are things left unsaid.


Capable Of Being Crafty and Resourceful

Setting meetings by email, LinkedIn, or in-person contact is a large part of today’s Business Development role. The more meetings you set, the more likely you are to find one that produces a valuable opportunity for growth. That being said, getting access to people is not always easy.

Some of the most successful Business Development Managers are those who can leverage their resources to get access to the right people. If you have read Alex Banayan’s book The Third Door then you know exactly the type of maneuvers I am talking about. Banayan’s book is the perfect how-to guide of hacking your way into business meetings, regardless of how big your target, and having the conversations you could have never dreamed of. Not only is this possible, but this type of ability is almost required to be successful in today’s age of Business Development.

High Level Of Respect For Other’s Time

While setting meetings is important, there is nothing more important than showing up on calls, video conference, or in-person meetings on-time and communicating any exceptions. One of my biggest personal gripes is when someone reaches out to me via email or LinkedIn asking for my time, schedules a meeting, and then stands me up on the call. To me, this is the ultimately “no-no” in not only Business Development but Business in general.

Your prospective partners time should be valued equally, regardless of who they are and how big the opportunity is. Blowing off meetings can justifiably give prospects a bad impression of you. This may not matter at a small scale, but it certainly matters in the grand scheme of building trust and a good reputation within your industry a whole.

Relatable To Business Leaders and Their Problems

One issue that plagues newly appointed Business Development Managers with no experience is their lack of business acumen. It takes participation either operating a business yourself or having a leadership role in a business to really relate and connect with people that are in these positions. The ability to reflect on these experiences can build a sense of comfort and trust in a prospective partner that is unequivocal.

If you are an MSP leader hiring a Business Development Manager that has no business experience, then it is important that they have the ability to learn by osmosis. By immersing themselves into the right groups of people, and paying close attention, they should be able to learn enough to become somewhat relatable until their real-life experience catches up.

Sound Logic, Reasoning and Problem Solving

Business Development Managers should be able to see the opportunity in everything and then have the ability to persuade someone else into seeing it to. This ability to craft win/win partnerships and then execute them takes a very unique way of thinking that is difficult to teach and often comes naturally to those who excel at it.

The best way to improve logic is by building a base of experience to draw from in your equations. If you know the type of partnerships that have been successful in the past, you are more likely to predict what type of partnerships will succeed in the future. Always look to understand how partners actually benefit from your company and then replicate this success with new partners in similar scenarios.

Last But Not Least: Hustle

The one thing that requires no skill, experience, or intelligence is hustle. Successful Business Development Managers are often self-starting hustlers that have ability to just “do.” They do not need exhaustive training, hand-holding, or micro management. They are simply let loose with a goal and a few guidelines and turn over stones until they find something.

A Business Development Manager that is timid, hesitant, or lazy cannot and will not succeed. The most important part of this role is putting yourself out there to as many targeted individuals as possible and finding those who are willing to reciprocate. Successful Business Development Managers can take rejection on the chin and move on without losing confidence or changing their mindset.