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Design Leadership by Richard Banfield

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Chapter 7. Sales and Marketing

Introduction

Call this topic what you will—sales, business development, or new business—it all has the same outcome for design leaders: it brings home the bacon. Without a pipeline of project opportunities, the design groups we interviewed would not exist. Sales is the backbone of a for-profit organization, but healthy sales impact more than just the bottom line. A strong sales pipeline and clear marketing message boost the company’s morale and motivation. In our interviews, we saw that design leaders who showed confidence in business development strategies also earned the respect of their teams and clients.

It’s probably not surprising that for many, this area of the design leader’s responsibility was the most problematic. For many of the leaders interviewed for this book, sales and marketing results in a lot of sleepless nights. At conferences for design leaders, like Owner Camp and Mind the Product, this topic got a lot of people’s attention. It’s clear that having a sales and marketing strategy that produces consistent results is a high priority. The universal concern is that the skills for building new business relationships aren’t always the design leader’s strongest traits. Many design leaders come from a design, engineering, or marketing background. Almost none of the leaders we interviewed had any formal training in sales. In fact, 40% admit to not being involved with sales in any direct way. This is in spite of the fact that they consider ...

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