James Cotton has been nominated as part of TheBD100 - Most influential people in business development. You can vote for James here.
Full name: James Cotton
Job Title: Founder and Managing Director
What were your highlights of last year?
- Achieving a 92% proposal conversion rate.
- Increasing retainer revenues to 35% of turnover.
- Building a client retainer portal to reduce admin costs, deliver increased value and enforce transparency and accountability.
- Repositioning the agency to concentrate on the science, technology, academic and finance sectors.
- Rebranding the agency and building a new website to better communicate our proposition and sector expertise.
What has been your most memorable win - and why?
2012 - Imperial Innovations. Our first listed company. It was one of the most detailed proposals I had ever written and formed the basis for our modern proposal format that consistently delivers 90% conversion.
How would you describe your approach to business development?
By delivering an outstanding customer experience you create advocates who are happy to refer you to other businesses.
I am selective of who we work with and our selection criteria is based on chemistry (will we enjoy working with them?), stakeholder engagement (will we have access to the decision makers?), financial (will it be profitable?), fit (does the project sit within one of our four key sectors?), referral potential (is there opportunity for follow on work or a network effect?), portfolio (will we be proud to have the work/client on our portfolio/roster?), publicity (do we have authorisation to publicise our engagement?).
By ensuring that all or most of these criteria are met we know we can do a great job. We know our clients will be delighted and we know they will refer us. We are lucky not to have to spend any money on advertising or sponsorship and all of our business is generated organically or from referrals.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Under promise. Over deliver.
What would be your number one tip to anyone starting in business development?
Always be honest and always do what you say you're going to do.
What is your new business soundtrack?
Too many to mention
If you think James should be part of the TheBD100 list, please vote for him.