Joseph J. Sherman
Business Development Representative - B2B SaaS

Business Development Talk with Mark Davidoff

Detroit, Michigan (Vito Palmisano)

Mark Davidoff is Board Chairman, Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA). He also is Chief Executive Officer, The Fisher Group. 

How has business development changed since COVID-19? 

The COVID-19 crisis could serve as a catalyst for a transformation of business as we know it. Organizations big and small, from corporate to government to the non-profit sectors are rethinking their strategies, their tactics and their operational models. During this transformational phase it’s possible that the traditional business development playbook no longer applies and if executed properly, great opportunities are ahead. 

Mark Davidoff (Courtesy)

Where is it going? 

The crisis has exposed both the fragility of many business models as well as the nimble and innovative nature of organizations and their people. There are three phases to responding to the crisis. 

Phase I – Stewardship: In this phase, organizations have been focused on survival and well-being. Survival of the enterprise through cost containment, recalibration of spending and investment plans, conversion to remote work environments and a focus on customers and constituencies. At the same time, the battle cry, “taking care of our people,” has been heard as protecting the workforce was in many ways Job 1. 

Phase II – Equilibrium: In this phase, organizations will find their new normal, conduct a damage and risk analysis, begin to identify opportunities and struggle not to leave the learning of the crisis behind. 

Phase III – Propel: In this phase, entities will have a time limited opportunity to leverage the post-recovery period to drive long term systemic change. This phase will require an open architecture for idea generation and collaboration, inside the organization and with potential external partners. Those with a true spirit of innovation will reap the greatest rewards. 

How should business development managers adapt? 

Business development managers need to lead the charge, taking an enterprise-wide approach to squeezing out opportunities and combating challenges. Look deeply into the customer base, market channels, the supplier base, human capital within and relationships externally, all with an eye to your competitors and what they are doing. No one is standing idle and you don’t want to be the one without a chair when the music stops. 

Pictured from left to right are: Daniela Kandel, Innovation Bridges Director, Start-Up Nation Central; Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO, Start-Up Nation Central; and Mark Davidoff, Board Chairman, Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA) and Chief Executive Officer, The Fisher Group. This photo was taken at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on economic development with the State of Michigan. Photo courtesy of Mark Davidoff.

What should executives know? 

Be bold. Now is the time for thoughtful action. In this recovery period, and as we move from the phases of Stewardship to Equilibrium to Propel, those who executives depend on need to be inspired by creating a sense of followership as leaders lead the way to a new set of realities. Be open and transparent about the pathways ahead, as difficult and uncharted as they may be. 

About the Author
Joseph has extensive experience in business development, sales, and marketing with tech start-ups and scale-ups. Joseph holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the KEDGE Business School in France, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. In addition, he has studied at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico and received a fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley.
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