09.15-10.15 Success as a ‘Business Developer in academia’
The business development and marketing roles are probably the most difficult in the knowledge transfer process – lonely, ambiguous, poorly understood by colleagues and with KPIs hard to set and measure. In the first part of the morning, we ask why this is so difficult and explore the role from the perspective of one who develops new businesses and relationships. As well as an academic with a track record in knowledge transfer.
10.15-11.15 On the front line
How can we best encourage and assist researchers to develop new commercial relationships and opportunities – what are effective activities and strategies; how should you work with IP, licensing and legal colleagues?
11.15-11.45 Coffee Break
11.45-13.00 Developing Commercial Strategy
You have a great technology based on great science. However, this is just the beginning – the next step is to work with academics to develop a commercial strategy. In this session, we use a simple illustration to examine the components of a ‘Plan A’ (‘straw man’) commercial strategy and see how this helps us to advise the academic team on the next steps to commercialisation and lead to a plan of action. We see how the creation of a strategy (really a set of structured choices) leads in a very natural way to consensus, action and a much clearer view of who we should be talking to and meeting – who are our customers, the ‘value proposition’ and the kind of ‘deal’ that we might target.
14:00-15:30 Using your Ecosystem and (regional) Networks
Developing, using and collaborating with your ecosystem; interact with various networks (alumni, regional, chambers of commerce, trade shows, EEN, colleague universities, and institutes, …) that can be used to generate leads and build business. Building partnerships, co-creation strategies and roadmaps together. Based on two Dutch examples we will discuss how to use the ecosystem in business development strategies and activities.
15.30-16.00 Coffee Break
16.00-17.00 Knowing the right people to ‘market’ to
Having figured out the action plan we need to ‘get the hell out of the building’ and start connecting, contacting and influencing potential partners, industry gurus and opinion leaders – the people who may be part of our network and value chain.This is ‘market research’ but it is also ‘marketing’. In this session, we use two or three examples to explore what is involved, and the techniques we should use to identify the right companies and people, how to contact them and how to build their interest.
17.00-17.45 Define your case in groups
In informal groups, we ask you to select one of the individual cases that you will use for the next two days to work with. We ask you to:
Define sales objective / sales object / sellers
Determine your launching potential customer
Identify you potential competition / competitor
17:45-18:00 Wrap up of the day
What did we learn today: time for afterthoughts, hands-on examples, exercises, and Q&A.
08:30-10:30 Using Social Media tools to find Partners and investors
The most difficult aspect of knowledge transfer is finding potential partners, users, champions and investors for our new technologies – both companies and the right individuals within them. Used properly, social media tools can both pinpoint and provide warm leads to those we want to speak to.
In this session we learn – from a social media expert – how to use the huge diversity of tools out there, when and how to use them effectively.
11.00-12:30 The sales process
Many of us (and many academics) find it hard to ‘sell’ to potential partners. We like to talk and present – often far too much – about what the technology is but we do not have strategies for advancing the dialogue towards an initial ‘deal’ of some kind. Successful (sales) meetings should not be pitches or presentations. Rather they should be structured conversations in which we test out value propositions and – only if there is real value for the other party – find some way of developing the relationship by finding some small way to collaborate. In this session, we learn and practice a useful tool (methodology) for structuring such conversations that – if used well – should result in ‘deals’.
13:30-15:00 The Quadruple SWOT – analysing markets, industries, businesses and competition
The session will explain the value and methodology of drawing up a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. In this interactive session, we ask you to work on an “outside-in” quadruple SWOT analysis of your potential targeted customer, the markets and industries in general, your own business/ department/ project and your competition. The goal is to determine your sales’ strategy and focus your sales objectives, your sales team, your action plan and your must do’s.
15.30-16.00 Coffee Break
16.00-17:00 Lining up internal stakeholders (when you have limited authority over them)
One of the hallmarks of a Business Development Manager is that they have the responsibility to create new relationships but limited authority to negotiate and agree on the final terms. This can easily result in internal friction and frustration. We see evidence of this in the final case presentations where over half of the ‘problems’ reported are generally internal. In this session, we study one extremely problematic case where the BDM has generated new business but the relationship has become mired in internal controversy and politics. We disentangle what has gone wrong and what the BDM should have done.
17.00-18.30 Case Presentation Preparation
For this informal group session, we ask you to discuss and prepare a ‘problem case’ that is currently ‘live’ for one member of the group. We ask you to:
Pick one case to present
Discuss and ‘bottom out’ the issue
Suggest some practical solutions
Prepare a short presentation setting out the problem and solution
Once a verbal agreement has been reached the final terms need to be written down and turned into a legal agreement. You may not write that agreement but it is your responsibility to make sure that the terms are clear and workable. In this session, we attempt to disentangle an agreement negotiated by an academic – turning a vague ‘wish list’ into a clear memorandum of understanding.
09.30-11.00 Account Management & building relationships.
All universities want to build long term relationships with businesses (strategic account management) to move beyond negotiating a series of smaller projects into something altogether more ‘strategic’ and broader. This could involve a major investment in research infrastructure based on trust and mutual understanding or a framework agreement. In this reflective exercise, we ask how one university grew a single studentship into a major alliance over a number of years, examining the things they did right as well as the things they did wrong.
Speakers: Course Team
11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
11.30-13.00 Overcoming Barriers, internal and external
We devote this final session to discussing your own cases – ones where you have identified a real opportunity or impasse to which you can apply some of the learnings and strategies covered in the course. Some will be ‘internal issues blocking the commercialisation. Others will be issues of finding a partner or structuring the right deal with a potential partner.
Speakers:Course Team and participants case presentation
Member early bird: €1,290 (available until 11 December 2019)
Non-member early bird: €1,940 (available until 11 December 2019)
If you are not a member join here for €250 a year and benefit immediately from the membership discounts and other specials
CE Points: 18
An understanding the scope of the Business Development role;
How our role interfaces with the academic role and with other KT roles;
How to re-frame research strengths as commercial propositions;
The five elements of a commercial hypothesis;
Using those elements to develop and understanding of the Value Chain;
Using the value chain to identify potential partners;
The ideal characteristics of a potential innovation partner – ‘absorptive capacity’;
Tactics for identifying potential leads using the internet;
Using Social Media to identify thought leaders and active innovators;
The power of forums to link with potential partners;
Using ‘search terms’ to identify active areas of growth;
Understanding the sales process using the ’SPIN’ methodology;
Realising the superiority of the ‘question’ approach over ‘pitches’;
The distinction between ’simple’ and ‘complex’ sales;
The importance of starting ’small’ – but with strategic intent;
What constitutes a success client conversation;
Realising why we so often dislike negotiation and conflict;
The value of teamwork in setting negotiation tactics and issues;
Structuring complex research partnerships;
Converting research objectives into fully contingent agreements;
Using small projects to build mutual understanding and trust;
The foundations of strategic partnerships with businesses.
The ‘Business Development’ role in an academic context.
The support that researchers want and need from us
Developing a Commercial Strategy
Finding leads – who to ‘market’ to.
Using Social Media to find leads
The Sales process
Why we dislike negotiating
Dealing with stress and conflict
Capturing the essence of an agreement
Building lasting relationships.
Overcoming obstacles – building a roadmap.
Why join this course?
Most knowledge transfer courses assume that the partner is already identified and concentrate on the ‘technical’ aspects of structuring a robust deal. However, the more difficult and time-consuming part of process is finding a partner and generating commitment and enthusiasm to the point where they want to invest in the relationship and do the deal. Using a series of case studies and reflections from experienced practitioners, this course develops frameworks and tools that can be widely used to develop new research and licensing collaborations and structure those relationships in a way that benefits and aligns the motivation of both parties.
Who should attend?
This course is designed for those whose job involves finding and ‘warming up’ potential research partners and licensees; the human elements of negotiating a deal. It largely focuses on the part of the ‘process’ where, having identified a promising technology or research strength, it is time to find external partners willing to commit resources to take it to market and structure that deal.
Perfect training for a new Business Developer in academic tech transfer.
Cecile Cavalade, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Very nice course with passionate speakers and great to be able to talk and discuss things with others in the same field.
Esther Smit, IxA/ UvA, the Netherlands