Sales and business development are just two different ways to refer to the same activity – getting your company’s product or service into the customer’s hands. Right?

Wrong! Both positions exist to help grow your business, but they contribute in very different ways.

  • Sales = ABC (Always Be Closing)

  • Business Development = ABO (Always Be Opening).  

Sales is about selling the product or service to the final customer at an agreed price by using specific tactics and techniques. Business development is a process of identifying new business opportunities, distribution channels and markets, and cultivating partnerships.

Sales has a transactional nature with a focus on selling a product or service to the customer. The sales process is a short term approach, based on the execution of a plan for distribution of goods and services. Business development has a relational nature, with a focus on selling solutions to strategic partners. The business development process is a long term approach, based on devising a plan for business expansion.

In sales, the seller comes first, and the focus is on what the seller is selling. In business development, the customer comes first, and the focus is on understanding the customer’s needs.

Sales and business development should be considered as complementary halves of a whole, and the degree of separation between sales and business development will vary. Smaller companies may have sales reps who are responsible for both prospecting and closing. As companies grow, the roles should be further defined, with two separate teams focusing on what they do best.  

Everything sold or bought is based on a relationship, and when you have a good business development pipeline, you can see your sales grow as prospects develop into clients who turn into loyal referral creating customers. It’s easy to get sales and business development mixed up, but they are two separate positions with unique roles and responsibilities. By making the distinction today, you can position your company for more success in the future.

Giving Value to Build Relationships by John Dinkel

We all know that building relationships with your prospective clients leads to sales success however many of us struggle with how to do that.  There are many ways to build relationships and giving value is one of them.  A lot of the time, when I hear about companies giving “value”, it’s in the form of discounts on services and that’s not what I mean.  I’m talking about giving value to that prospect in the form of information, good-will and connections.  This is where you have the opportunity to really build trust and develop a deep connection.

Here are some suggestions on how to give more value:

Send an article or book.  Coming from the media, I always sent articles to prospective clients.  Its’s a great way to start or follow up on a conversation.  If you’re doing your homework, you should know what your prospect is interested in or what business challenges they are facing.  Do a little research and find an article or book that pertains to that interest or challenge.  They will certainly appreciate it.

Invite them to an event.  There are a lot of different events out there so it shouldn’t be hard to find something that can help your prospect grow their network and meet potential new prospects.

Give them a recommendation.  Giving a prospect a recommendation or good review is a great way to help them boost their brand and expertise.  LinkedIn & YELP! are just two examples. 

Refer them to a potential prospect.  Nothing builds trust and a relationship better than introducing your prospect to a center of influence or potential client for them.  Think about the last time someone referred business to you…it’s a good feeling, right?  Keep this in mind too…92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know. 

These are just a few ways to give value to prospects and if you adopt these on a regular basis, you’ll begin to quickly enjoy the benefits and you’ll stand out from the competition.

The Powerful Synergy of Effectiveness and Efficiency by Gerry Sandusky

Saving time is not a new priority. A recent trip to Barcelona, Spain reminded me of that.

On a tour of the city’s old town, a tour guide shared with my group the palace where Christopher Columbus met with Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain, upon his return from his first voyage to the new world.

Keep in mind, Columbus sold Ferdinand and Isabella on financing the trip because he was looking for a faster way to the spice trading routes of India. He found something far more important.

Doing important work in less time has always generated big benefits. It’s the marriage of effectiveness and efficiency.

In business most people would agree it is effective to know the strengths and weaknesses of the people in your organization. Doing it once a year is no longer efficient. Too much happens in the course of a year.

It took Columbus seven months to complete his first trip to the New World and report back to his investors. You can now make the trip in about seven hours.            

Technology has accelerated the need for time savings because we are now busier than ever. Just pursuing time savings alone isn’t a strong enough strategy. It’s the merging of time savings with a meaningful purpose that creates the magic and opens the door to the powerful law of unintended consequences.

Trigger is designed to help leaders use time-tested principles and a patent pending algorithm to put powerful insights and recommended actions in the palm of their hand when it comes to evaluating and developing the talent in their organization.

And like Columbus discovered, an important journey designed to save time can lead to a meaningful destination. Sometimes that destination is even far more amazing than what you first set out to find.


Marketing and Sales are two critical functions in every business. They are true corporate siblings and siblings do not always get along. Working together, Marketing and Sales generate customers and help to keep them. Since you cannot eliminate conflict in an organization, what you can do is harness it to clarify ideas and strategies for selling your company’s products or services. Let’s define some terms:

Marketing with a small “m.” The process of marketing is simply the creation of customer satisfaction at a profit. Marketing with a capital “M” is generally a staff department that does market research, develops products and services, and designs company communications of all types, internal and external. Occasionally, Marketing may include customer service and inside sales.

Sales is a process. The function of Sales is to move prospects (who may already be customers for other services or products) from interest to buying. Marketing creates the messages that create interest and Sales closes the deals. Sales people can be a tremendous source of research information that can help refine messages and promotions and also improve products and services. Marketing can be a great source of leads that sales people take to turn into business that generates revenue and profits.

Where things go wrong. Sales people are generally the most highly compensated employees in the company. In many companies, they can make more than executives because they are directly connected to the generation of revenue. Left unattended, that attitude of sales people can evolve into elitism which rubs other employees the wrong way. In the whole process of creating value that gets monetized into revenue and profits, is there any job in the company that is not in some way connected to that end? Does everyone in your company understand that?

What to do. First, help every employee understand their role in creating the value that brings customers and keeps them. Measure their performance on the part of their job they control that contributes. Have new employees spend time learning how their jobs are connected with the jobs of others in the larger internal system of value creation. Have Marketing and Sales work together on promotional programs to reinforce the alliance between message and action. Make sure Marketing provides a steady diet of research on how the company is doing in satisfying customer needs. Train sales personnel to search for prospects needs and sell to those needs specifically. Regularly debrief Sales and customer contact people staffers to learn what is really going on in customers minds. Get their opinions on what they see working and not working. As a leader you can harness the natural conflict between Sales and Marketing for the good of those employees and the good of your company.

Paul Riecks is a Principal at INSIGHT.  At INSIGHT, we believe that every business has the opportunity and the potential to be as successful as its owners want it to be and deserves the chance to reach that potential. One of the best resources available to business owners and CEOs for help in reaching their company's potential is the deep pool of knowledge shared with other business owners and CEOs. So, what we do is form INSIGHT Groups-each with 10-15 owners and CEOs- and facilitate their monthly meetings where they advise each other, share ideas and experiences and gain the clarity they need to achieve the success they seek.

What’s the Difference between Empowering and Enabling? By Alan Dobzinski

As a leader in your business, your job is to help each team member take personal responsibility for his or her behaviors, actions and results.

Your responsibility is to guide and assist them in working toward their professional goals, and to help them eliminate the barriers to achieving those goals.

You’re there to empower them.
You’re not there to do it for them. That’s enabling.

The essence of my approach is empowerment. To empower is to give people power and authority, or remind them of their power and authority.

To enable is traditionally defined as “to provide someone with the resources, authority, or opportunity to do something; to make something possible or feasible.” At first glance, it sounds a lot like being a great leader, doesn’t it?

But the word enable is sometimes used in an inverted sense: to enable a person to do something that is not ultimately in their best interest. You may have heard the word used this way in relation to alcoholism. Spouses are encouraged not to “enable” their alcoholic loved ones by, for instance, calling in sick for them, or otherwise enabling them to keep drinking excessively. In this context, becoming an “enabler” is not something you want to do.

Some leaders enable people to remain dependent or lackadaisical. If, for instance, one of your team members handles a project poorly, and you re-do it yourself, you’re enabling them to remain unskilled. Instead of empowering them to grow, learn, or develop, you’ve done their work for them, and thus actually hindered their progress. Just think about what that’s costing you in time, money and stress!

I recently worked with an executive who told me he was only getting 60% production out of his admin assistant. If the admin assistant is, for example earning $50,000 annually, you can see you are only getting sixty cents on every dollar you pay out. Is that acceptable to you?  

You may want to take a look at where the gap is and how much of the gap is centered around enabling them. It’s costing you.

Here’s an example of enabling. The CEO of family-owned business (let’s call him Jeff) engaged me, and in our first coaching session, he complained, “I’m working way too many hours.”

Of course, I said, “Tell me more about that.”

“Well, every day at 5:00 or 5:30 in the evening,” he said, “all my employees are walking by my office, waving goodbye to go home, and I’m stuck here until 8:30 or 9:00 at night. This is really getting old.”

As we talked about that, and I asked open-ended questions to uncover what was taking up so much time, Jeff explained, “Every morning, when I get to work, there’s a line outside my door.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“My managers are lined up, waiting to come in to talk to me,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“They need to know what to do.”

“Then what happens?”

“I tell them what to do!”

“Okay, what happens then?”

“Then the next day, we’re right back to where we started. Another line outside my door.”

As you’ve already gathered, Jeff was enabling his employees to remain dependent on him for all the answers. No wonder they kept lining up at his door.

  • They didn’t have to think for themselves.

  • They didn’t have to worry about being wrong or taking risks.

  • They didn’t have to worry about displeasing their boss.

  • They didn’t have to be accountable for their actions.

  • They just asked him what to do, and he told them. Easy!

Have you ever stopped and thought about why this happens and what it’s costing you?

Enabling leads to lower productivity which leads to lower morale which leads to a bottom line where money falls through the cracks and you don’t even see it.

In the example above, Jeff’s people wee stagnating, and Jeff was exhausted.

Does this sound familiar to you?  In fact, does this feel familiar to you?

Think about it: If your kid throws the socks on the floor and you/your spouse keep picking up the socks for them, what’s going to happen? Of course, your kid will keep throwing the socks on the floor until you draw boundaries and decide this is no longer acceptable. And, until you do so, like Jeff, you’ll be working longer and harder because your’e doing the work for them.

Stop enabling and start empowering!

—Alan Dobzinski

Coaching Can Put You on the Path to Success by Paul Riecks

Some years ago, a member of a business owner peer group responded to a roundtable question about what he planned to do to get ready for the coming year. His answer surprised a number of people who were expecting the usual strategies of goal setting, customer research, talking with the bank to raise money. What he said was, “I first try to think about what my path to success should be to reach my goals and the goals of the business.“ He said that everyone has a different idea of their path but not many actually sit down and think it through in actionable detail.

 The next question was how do you do that? His answer was, “I talk with all my “coaches” and they help me mark out the path. Those of you around this table are on my list of coaches. So are people I have met along the way whose opinions I respect and who have the courage to ask me the tough questions I need to answer whether I like some of those questions or not.”

He added that he also had a 1:1 coach that he hired several years before with whom he talks once a month. “At the end of each of our talks, we agree on tasks I want and need to complete and goals I want me and the business to meet. We start the next week with me reporting the results to the coach. The toughest part of that conversation is talking about why some of the tasks were not completed and goals that were not met. “

Several people in the meeting looked shocked at all the effort he was putting into actually reporting to people who were outside his company and they asked why he did all that. His answer was very interesting. “I believe that accountability is the main driver of accomplishment. All of us in this room lead an organization. Unless we are publicly traded, we do not have a board of directors looking over our shoulder. Maybe some of us have our businesses to avoid the scrutiny and roadblocks we may have faced elsewhere as employees. But at some point, we come to realize that we need something and some people who want us to succeed and help us get out of our own way on the path to the success we seek. They probably don’t tell us what to do. They help with questions and conversations that help us ourselves get clear and specific about what we need to do.”

So, it you are wondering if you need to see if coaching can help you have a more successful path, look up certified business coaches and business leader peer group firms and find resources and people that are a good fit with you and get on that path.


Paul Riecks is a Principal at INSIGHT.  At INSIGHT, we believe that every business has the opportunity and the potential to be as successful as its owners want it to be and deserves the chance to reach that potential. One of the best resources available to business owners and CEOs for help in reaching their company's potential is the deep pool of knowledge shared with other business owners and CEOs. So, what we do is form INSIGHT Groups-each with 10-15 owners and CEOs- and facilitate their monthly meetings where they advise each other, share ideas and experiences and gain the clarity they need to achieve the success they seek.


Friday, January 4 - Maryland Bankers Association - 12 Annual “First Friday” Economic Outlook Forum - 10:0am - 2:30pm - Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel

WHY?  This event tends to sell out.  Local economic experts will discuss both current events and and the future of the region’s economy.  Great crowd of influential business owners, ceo’s and executives.

Wednesday, January 9 - The Daily Record - Annapolis Summit 2019 - 7:30am - 9:30am - The Governor Calvert House

WHY?  If you’re curious about what the Governor, Senate President & House Speaker have to say about the upcoming session than I’d recommend you attend.  Networking is good with attendance historically around 100.

Also, if you’re looking for another legislative event check out the GBC’s 2019 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Forum.

Wednesday, January 9, Howard County Chamber of Commerce - Young Professionals Networking Mixer - 7:00pm - 9:00pm - The Soundry

WHY?  I haven’t attended one of these yet but I’ve heard good things.  It’s inexpensive and I’ve heard it’s a great place to meet up-and-coming leaders.

Thursday, January 10 - MEDA - 2019 MEDA Winter Conference - 8:00am - 1:00pm - Governor Calvert House

WHY? Public and private-sector leaders discuss the economic development-related legislation that will be considered for the 2019 session.  Two great panels plus keynote by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford

Thursday, January 17 - ACG - MD Deal Market Update - 7:30am - 9:30am - The Maryland Club

WHY? Great place to meet professional services firms, investors, M&A professionals and the region’s top dealmakers.

Thursday, January 17 - Anchor Ventures - Passion to Profit - A Quick-Fire Showcase of Inspired Innovation - 4:00pm - 7:00pm - Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures

WHY? Learn about upcoming tech companies and the entrepreneurs behind them.  I’ve been to a couple of these and they’ve never disappointed.

Tuesday, January 22 - Bisnow - Baltimore Opportunity Zones - 7:30am - 10:30am - Venue TBA

WHY?  Great panel to discuss the new law on Opportunity Zones and tax incentives for developers. There are 42 tracts designated as Opportunity Zones in Baltimore.  Learn how you can take advantage. Expect great crowd of developers, investors, entrepreneurs.


Tuesday, December 4

The Future of Downtown Baltimore

7:30am - 10:30am
Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor
WHY?  Great topic and speakers.  There will be discussion around investing in the CBD, the national Opportunity Zone program and the future of the urban core.

Wednesday, December 5

Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce
Digital Marketing Workshop

9:00am - 12:00pm
Sheraton Baltimore North
WHY?  I haven't been to this before but the topic and guest speakers seem interesting.  Google and Constant Contact will be presenting.

Wednesday, December 5

Building Congress & Exchange
Holiday Party & Annual Meeting

5:00pm - 7:00pm
WHY?  Great opportunity to meet leadership of BCE and mingle with other executives in the construction, real estate and development community.   

Wednesday, December 12

Maryland Nonprofits
2018 Holiday Party

5:00pm - 7:00pm
Howard County Conservancy
WHY?  I attended last year and if you're looking to meet nonprofit professionals and professional services executives this is a good event.  It's also a great opportunity to meet with the MD Nonprofit staff to learn more about how this organization is supporting our nonprofit community.

Tuesday, December 18

Greater Baltimore Committee
Newsmaker Breakfast: Meet Baltimore’s New Faces in Annapolis

7:30am - 9:30am
GBC Offices
WHY?  I like these events because they are typically small and you have the opportunity to meet some good people in a very casual environment.  The programs are usually good too and the topic is timely.

Tuesday, December 18

Baltimore Business Journal
Digital Marketing Seminar Series - Refresh for 2019

8:00am - 11:00am
Media Star Promotions
WHY?  If you're looking to engage with small business owners and take in some great information from local experts this is a good event.  The topic will focus on brand and brand experience.



Saturday, November 17

Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic
Charm City Celebration of Wishes

7:00pm - 11:30pm
Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor

WHY?  Celebrating their 35th anniversary to support local wishes and enjoy a taste of Maryland

Wednesday, December 5

Greater Baltimore Committee
Mayor's Business Recognition Awards Luncheon

11:30am - 1:30pm
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel

WHY?  This annual event draws a great crowd of distinguished executives and honorees.  The sponsorship list is impressive too  

Friday, December 14

BWI Business Partnership
December Signature Breakfast

7:30am - 9:30am
The Westin BWI Airport

WHY?  Keynote by Comptroller, Peter Franchot about recent changes to federal tax law and how they will affect individuals and businesses.  Expect a great networking crowd.

Monday, December 17

The Daily Record
ICON Honors

4:30pm - 7:30pm
The Center Club

WHY? The Daily Record's annual event honoring Maryland business leaders over the age of 60.  Great opportunity to meet some of the regions most prolific movers and shakers.


Thursday, November 1

Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce
Breakfast with the Mayor
 7:30am - 10am
Horseshoe Casino

WHY? Should be an interesting opportunity to hear what the Mayor has to say about what's happening in the city.  The BCCC has a great group of sponsors and I suspect they will have a great crowd of decision makers

Thursday, November 1

Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce
2018 Business Hall of Fame & Award Dinner

6:00pm - 9:00pm
The Ballroom @ LIVE! Casino & Hotel

WHY?  Impressive Hall of Fame & Business Awards honorees.  Expect a great crowd of local business owners & executives.

Monday, November 5

The Daily Record
Most Admired CEO's

5:15pm - 9:00pm
Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel

WHY?  This is one of The Daily Record's signature events that supports a great group of sponsors and doesn't disappoint on the selection of CEO's & business owner

Wednesday, November 7


Renaissance Fine Arts

WHY?  Sounds like a fun and interesting take on networking events. David Gertler of Treble will keynote the night

Friday, November 9

Futurefy Work
Design Lab 1

8:00am - 4:00pm
Axis Research & Technologies

WHY? For small business owners & HR professionals.  Workshop dedicated to the future state of work.  Intimate educational event to help you create a roadmap for your organization's employee experience

Wednesday, November 14

Greater Baltimore Committee
Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards

5:30pm - 8:30pm
Horseshoe Casino

WHY? Celebrate exceptional minority and women-owned businesses and majority businesses and executives who nurture the development of minority business in Baltimore.  Always a great crowd and sponsors

Thursday, November 15

Baltimore Business Journal
40 Under 40

5:30pm - 7:30pm
Hard Rock Cafe

WHY? One of my favorite events of the year.  Exciting, fun night of meeting the Baltimore regions top young talent.  As always, there's an impressive list of diverse executives and business owners

Thursday, November 29

Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland
Champions of Maryland Manufacturing Gala

6:00pm to 9:00pm
Martin's West

WHY?  RMI's annual gala celebrates the best of manufacturing in Maryland with multiple awards categories including this year's Grand Champion of MD Manufacturing, Aris Melissaratos.  Come and join multiple sponsors and executives from all over the state.