Last updated on December 16th, 2022
I often get emails asking me for my recommendations when it comes to softwares and tools for all kinds of businesses. One question that comes up again and again relates to the best softwares to help with business development – but what does that actually mean?
What is business development, and what kind of softwares can you use?
The thing is that there are a lot of different softwares which help with business development and growth, so a lot of businesses struggle to narrow down which ones to go for first – especially if they are limited on funds or aren’t that ‘tech-savvy’.
So, here is my ultimate guide to business development software. Here you can find out what business development is, how it affects your business, and which softwares are the best to use for the best results.
What Is Business Development?
First, let me define what business development actually is.
Business development is actually a very broad term. It basically refers to the process of introducing different strategies and opportunities to help your business boost its revenue and promote its own growth.
As a result, business development ideas can bleed into pretty much every area of your business – marketing, sales, customer service, product development, etc.
Business growth is a very important priority for a lot of businesses because without it, a lot of businesses begin to shrink or remain stagnant.
There are a lot of reasons why these businesses fail, with studies showing that 38% fail due to running out of cash or 20% were outcompeted by their competitors, but a great way to prevent your business from failing is to keep growing by boosting its revenue.
Basically, if your business fails to grow, then it’s likely it will eventually begin to shrink and could eventually end up failing all together.
This is where business development comes in – it aims to boost your business’s revenue, providing it with more funding and cash for growth opportunities, by creating a long-term value for it with your customers and your market.
How Softwares Can Help Business Development
You would be pretty hard-pressed to find a small business these days that does not use some kind of software, and the reasons why are obvious.
Using softwares offers businesses a ton of benefits ranging from improved productivity to reduced human errors – and these can all help with your business development.
One research project found that the rise in software was helping make businesses more ‘composable’ and so, it has become vital for business development and growth.
From experience, I also know that implementing softwares has also introduced automation to my business, which can take over so many menial and repetitive tasks to boost my own productivity.
A study by Ultimate Software found that 92% of employees agree that having technology (such as valuable softwares) helps them work more efficiently and has a direct impact on their work satisfaction, so introducing software to your business can also help you retain employees.
So, introducing different softwares can help businesses be more productive but also manage and handle their data better.
This data can then be used for analysis to provide teams with valuable information for their future strategies and projects (making decision making five times faster) – all towards increasing their revenue.
What this means is that there are a lot of very different softwares that you can implement to help with your business’s development.
This also made finding and choosing the right softwares to recommend very difficult as there is so much choice out there – but I did my research and below, you will find my top recommendations for softwares to help with business development!
Best Sales Intelligence Software For Business Development
The go-to software to help start your business’s development and growth is sales intelligence software.
This is because business development is all about improving your revenue through increased sales – and many professionals first start out with understanding their sales.
Sales intelligence is vital for providing data insights into things that can affect your selling cycle. This includes customer prospects, leads , and more.
These kinds of insights are incredibly useful for marketing and sales teams as they can provide them with information that can shape their strategies and decisions to help improve the company’s revenue and growth.
Businesses use sales intelligence tools for numerous purposes including 43% admitting to using intelligence tools to track sales and the sales pipeline, and another 54% saying that sales technology helps them build stronger relationships with their buyers.
This in turn can help improve customer retention and boost sales – all through one single software.
So, which sales intelligence software do I recommend?
LinkedIn is one of the most prominent resources online for business development and its Sales Navigator software is great for prospecting potential leads and building relationships to help boost your sales.
It works primarily by allowing businesses to search for people or businesses in your target market – in other words, your potential future prospects.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a range of specific filters so you can find the exact group of businesses or people you need so you can research your leads. You can set up automated updates for news on your leads and create a feed to keep track of them.
To boost your productivity and boost your revenue quickly, ZoomInfo Sales software is a great sales intelligence tool you can use to achieve just that.
ZoomInfo’s sales intelligence software can help businesses define their markets by using data-driven insights to identify potential leads and prospects.
It also analyzes interaction across numerous communication channels you have with your customers including emails, phone calls, and more.
This allows businesses to analyze their interactions with customers to see what works and what doesn’t so those strategies can be implemented across the board to get more clients signed up to your products and services.
For improved productivity, there are plenty of phone and email automation to reduce the number of manual processes and tasks you and your employees need to complete each day to achieve the same results.
This results in faster workflows to turn more leads into clients, boosting your revenue at a much quicker rate.
Best Marketing Automation Software For Business Development
As a digital marketer, I know that marketing automation can have a huge positive impact on businesses.
It works by streamlining your marketing campaigns and efforts by setting up automated campaigns (be it by email, social media, mobile messaging, and more) which can be regularly updated to keep your customers engaged with your business without taking up your time.
One study found that 80% of marketers see an improved lead generation when using automation, and that some of the most important goals of marketing automation involved boosting sales revenue (47%) and marketing productivity (29%). 36% of marketers use marketing automation simply to cut out the boring, repetitive tasks that eat into our very valuable time.
This means that over the years, marketing automation has increased significantly and the worldwide marketing automation industry is estimated to be worth $8.42 billion by 2027.
So, marketing automation is clearly a popular way for businesses to boost sales to help their development – so here are my personal recommendations for marketing automation software.
For small businesses, I recommend Constant Contact.
Constant Contact may be a little limited in features but it is a greatly developed email marketing tool that can help businesses start automated email marketing campaigns almost immediately.
Its pricing plans are very affordable and even the most affordable plan offers hundreds of professional email templates to help improve your business’s brand and image, social media automated posting, and integrations with popular third party tools like Shopify and WooCommerce which could be vitally useful for online businesses.
Constant Contact also offers engagement reporting features which can provide vital insights for marketers regarding views and clicks.
Another great marketing automation software for small businesses is Sendinblue.
Sendinblue offers automation for email and SMS marketing, along with automated chat options to improve your customer service and other CRM features. Contacting your customers can be completely automated to help streamline your workflow.
For example, you can set up easy automated marketing such as an automatic email for each customer to wish them a happy birthday, or track their interactions with your business and reward them with points.
You also have the ability to create landing pages and ads for social media platforms like Facebook. So, Sendinblue offers marketing options beyond just emails, and offers templates and tools for businesses to utilize as they need.
Best Customer Relationship Management Software For Business Development
Customer interaction is all about the communication between a business and its customers.
Without customers, your business won’t be able to generate the revenue needed to expand and grow, so customer interactions are an incredibly important part of business development.
Most businesses instantly leap to customer service whenever they think about customer interactions but it’s more than that.
It also bleeds into social media marketing, email marketing, handling survey and feedback, reviews, generating sales leads, and more.
As a result, a lot of companies turn to customer relationship management (CRM) softwares to help them handle their data efficiently and effectively.
CRM is the fastest growing software in digital marketing with the market expected to grow to $146 billion by 2028.
It’s an incredibly popular type of software used by businesses with 65% of companies using a CRM software within their first five years of operation.
The benefits of using a CRM software include increased sales by 29%, 74% of businesses agree that using a CRM software improved their access to valuable customer data, and 47% of CRM users agree that using CRM had a significant impact on customer retention.
Customer retention is something I particularly believe businesses should focus on improving as a part of their development, as acquiring a new customer is five times more costly than retaining an existing one.
So, CRM software can also have an impact on your profits which in turn, boosts your business’s development!
It’s not just me who thinks that using a CRM software is vital for business development. 57% of businesses say that CRM platforms are the most valuable software for their business, so it’s clear that using a CRM software is vital for your business’s development.
Here are my top recommendations for the best CRM softwares to help with your business’s development.
HubSpot has a lot of advantages to offer businesses that can seriously help out with their development and growth.
Firstly, it’s incredibly easy to use with a drag and drop functionality, easy to navigate user interface, all of which help create a great user experience.
This is a benefit that can really help out new businesses who have yet to try any CRM softwares or struggle with the technical sides of using softwares.
It’s also very affordable as it offers a free version of its CRM software although the features and functions are limited. You can upgrade to some of the paid CRM plans but the prices can become quite costly very quickly as you scale up.
Despite this, HubSpot’s CRM software offers great customer service automation, analytics tools to provide teams with valuable insights to inform their customer interactions, and tracking features for prospects and emails.
This makes HubSpot’s CRM software great for integration across departments including marketing and sales as well as customer service.
Another highly recommended CRM software is Salesforce.
Salesforce is a data-driven CRM software which is great for sales forecasting. It’s an industry leader which set the foundations for CRM software by including all the essentials needed for business development.
It’s incredibly easy to use thanks to its customizable dashboard and users can easily find and view important data to help manage their opportunities, sales, and more.
When it comes to customer data, Salesforce is great for both managing and reporting insights which departments such as marketing and sales can use to their advantage to help the business grow.
There is also automation available in its email marketing and lead management features which can help boost your productivity, along with mobile access so you can access your CRM software from any device – a super handy feature for business owners who often find themselves away from the office.
Best Finance Management Softwares For Business Development
Business development is all about one thing – making money for your business. However, to widen those profit margins, you don’t need to focus entirely on making new revenue through sales.
Another method business development professionals use is by focusing on spending and cutting back on costs.
Maverick spending alone makes up 20% of a business’s costs, and so business development professionals look to cut back on these unnecessary expenses to help expand those profit margins. This will give businesses far more funds to invest back into their business even without making an additional sale!
This is where finance softwares comes in. They can help businesses develop simply by allowing them to keep tighter control over their finances.
Visibility over business spending is increased and this makes it easier for businesses to cut back on processes that are costing too much (more than industry averages) and cut down on maverick spending.
Alternatively, it can help businesses see how much additional funds they have to pour into things like employee training or benefits to help improve employee retention.
Using finance management software can also help boost productivity on tasks such as payroll, taxes, and more. 17% of small businesses spend between 6 to 10 hours per month on payroll alone, and doing this task manually is not only repetitive and boring but prone to errors.
Approximately 54% of Americans are affected by payroll problems so using a finance management system can help reduce payment errors and the time wasted on fixing them
So, there are ways a good finance management software can help with your business development. Here are my recommendations for some good finance management softwares with great features to help with just that.
One of the most widely used finance management softwares used by accountants and businesses is QuickBooks.
It’s an easy to use bookkeeping software with a ton of different features which can be used to help keep track of a business’s spending habits and handle tasks such as paying taxes, payroll, and handling invoices.
It offers a range of plans for businesses that are great for scalability options, ensuring that the software is easy to use whether you are a sole trader, small company, or independent accountant.
Some great features that can certainly be useful for business development include automated bookkeeping tasks, tracking options for payments, profits, and losses, as well as a handy app so you can access your data from any device.
QuickBooks is easily one of the go-to softwares for finance management and accounting, as it’s often viewed as one of the most reliable and efficient softwares for this task.
It’s scalability makes it a favorite with independent business owners to small businesses to medium sized enterprises.
Complaints about QuickBooks generally address concerns about the jump in costs between each plan (each plan doubles the previous’ plans price) and the fact that QuickBooks stopped its services in India in early 2023 and this caused a lot of inconveniences for businesses who worked globally – but this is obviously not applicable to every business out there.
Oracle’s NetSuite is a finance management software that aims to provide businesses with the data they need to make valuable business decisions regarding their spending.
This is done through improved visibility and giving businesses more financial control over their supply chains, inventories, production and more.
NetSuite helps streamline financial management tasks and can easily be integrated with other business processes such as HR, sales, marketing, and more.
There are also features to help businesses track and manage their inventories (if they sell products as part of their business) to help give more visibility into the supply chain and procurement processes of the business – a great place where insights can help make significant cuts in spending without impacting the quality of the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Five Stages Of Business Development?
The five stages of business development (or business growth) is a model businesses use to measure their business’s growth so they can use this information to inform their future processes and strategies.
The five stages are: existence, survival, success, take-off, and resource maturity.
Existence refers to the start-up phase where your business only recently started. The next step, survival, begins when your business has proven itself to be viable by finding a market and customers for itself.
After this, your business begins to mature into the success step where your business really begins to thrive with consistent profits.
To maintain this, the stage of ‘take-off’ needs to be completed so your business can experience rapid growth by expanding.
Finally, the final step of resource maturity takes place after a successful take-off and you focus on the management and financial gains of your business.
This is where companies begin to aim for longevity.
Each stage comes with its own challenges and strategies, but they also vary from business to business depending on its industry, location, and more.
What Are Examples Of Business Development?
Because business development is such a broad term, its strategies and activities cross over with a lot of different areas of a business. This includes sales, product development and management, marketing, and more.
Here are some quick examples of business development in action:
A business begins a marketing campaign to sell its products or services to its target market with the aim to boost revenue and sales.
A business networks and forms a strategic alliance with a local firm and they begin to share finance skills, research and information, and other resources so both businesses have a better chance of survival.
A business takes cost-cutting measures to widen their profit margins by outsourcing certain aspects of the business (IT, accounting, etc.) or switching to a more affordable material for their products.
The term business development is incredibly broad so there are lots of different examples of business development strategies that just seem like regular marketing or financial strategies – but they all count as an example of business development as they aim to boost profits and sales.
What Software Do I Need To Run A Small Business?
There are a lot of different softwares small businesses are told or recommended to get, but the cost of all these softwares can build up over time and eat into your budget.
As a result, a lot of small businesses look to limit the softwares they use or opt for free (but limited) versions.
Some of the most vital softwares for small businesses (in my opinion) include:
Accounting Software – This is to help you manage your finances much more easily so you can make your tax payments, pay your employees, and have a clearer picture of the health of your business.
Customer Relationship Management Software – Customers are vital for every business and small businesses need to be able to manage their data safely and efficiently. A good CRM software can help with this so you can use the data wisely to develop your business.
Document Management Software – There’s a lot of paperwork and documentation that comes with running a business, and using a management software can help you easily find and control your paperwork. This can boost your productivity and keep your business organized.
Human Resources Software – HR is critical for small businesses with more than one employee. They help you comply with your local labor laws, track your payroll, recruit and onboard new employees, as well as keep you connected to your employees for team support and better collaboration.
All of these softwares are a great way to help your business develop and grow by effectively managing your data and keeping things on track.
So, business development is a very broad term used to describe the processes businesses take to help improve their revenue. As a result, there are many different types of softwares businesses can use to improve their business development in many various ways.
From customer management to accounting, marketing and beyond, there are tons of business development softwares to choose from.
There is no singular ‘best’ software for business development as different businesses have different needs, but I hope my top choices above have helped you or inspired you to find the right ones for you and your small business – good luck!