Are business development activities some of your most time-consuming tasks?
They are in many companies. Of course those tasks are necessary, but many people are surprised to learn they don’t have to be the sole domain of executives or business development managers.
Good news; your virtual executive assistant can help! Sure, they can’t take over business development as a whole (that would be the domain of a business development manager), but there are many tasks they can take on.
Here’s a look at how you might get business development help from your virtual executive assistant:
More than an average assistant…
One of the awesome things about virtual executive assistants is that they’re more highly skilled than a traditional virtual assistant. Some EAs may have started out as VAs, but the executive assistant role is several steps up in terms of skills and responsibilities.
We look at executive assistants more as strategic partners to the executives, entrepreneurs and business owners that they serve. Increasingly, executives rely on their virtual EA as a sounding board – someone they can run ideas past and who will speak up and offer their thoughts, even during meetings.
Virtual executive assistants are often so relied upon that they’re seen as a proxy for their executive. They’re often called upon to answer questions and people will assume that they’re speaking on behalf of the executive. Strategic business knowledge is generally part of their skillset, which makes them ideally placed to help in the business development space.Your executive assistant brings strategic business knowledge to help with business development Click To Tweet
Nurture client relationships
A virtual executive assistant isn’t there to establish new relationships with clients or investors. They don’t devise a strategy for them or sign them up for anything. What they can do is nurture client relationships that the executive has already done the foundation work for.
This might include things like setting reminders so that important follow-up is done, setting up meetings, sending out notes or key materials and even taking care to ensure the client gets a personalized touch. For example, the EA will note things like the client’s interests. They can arrange tickets to see the client’s favorite sports team or a special surprise for their birthday.
Your virtual executive assistant isn’t going to devise the strategies you use with clients, but they can certainly make suggestions and can execute well. In fact, execution is a big part of their job.
Presentations and marketing materials
A virtual executive assistant has excellent technological skills and can produce high-quality materials for your business development needs. For example, you might need to give a presentation to a group of investors: your EA can put together professional slides and any other marketing materials you might need to show.
You can expect your virtual executive assistant will work hard to understand you, your position on things, how you speak, and how you address certain issues. Once they’ve been working with you for a while, they’ll often develop a knack for putting together materials that sound as though they come directly from you.
If you have speaking engagements, a virtual executive assistant can be a great help putting your notes and presentations together. They can help you with your pitches and with any flyers or brochures.
Social media and email management
Both social media and email often factor heavily in business development activities. A virtual executive assistant tends to have great skills to help in these areas and keep engagement going via those platforms.
For example, we’ve had EAs develop email drip campaigns to welcome new clients. Some have also taken over social media, particularly in terms of any public accounts for their executive. (Note: an EA isn’t usually a “social media manager” for driving strategy or for completely taking over all business-related accounts. They can help to implement strategy by posting according to guidelines, but they don’t otherwise replace the position of the social media manager).
Outreach and engagement opportunities
Virtual executive assistants are great at helping you to find the right opportunities for outreach and engagement with a wider audience. Here’s an example: several of ours have been responsible for researching and putting together lists of potential speaking opportunities for their executive.
Outside of actually speaking at events, your EA can locate and provide a list of conferences that would be good for you to attend and network. They can even get you registered and all travel and accommodation booked.
After events, you often end up with a bunch of new contacts and a pile of business cards from the people you’ve met. Each of these can represent an opportunity to develop your business further, but only if those details are kept and you follow up with the contacts! EAs can help by capturing all the information you’ve collected and assisting you with follow-up. They can take data from business cards and input it to your contacts database. In short, they’re helping you to make the most of those opportunities for growth.
How to set your EA up for success
Most virtual executive assistants will need time to learn about you and your business before they can start to make more significant business development contributions. There are some important things you can do to help set them up for strategic success:
- Make them part of your meetings. An EA will learn your strategic objectives for the business as well as personal and professional goals by taking part in meetings where you discuss strategy. They will learn your priorities and therefore how to prioritize business development activities to help.
- Recommend any publications, podcasts, or books they might listen to or read so that they can get a good grasp of your industry and understand the various challenges and opportunities.
- Communicate with context. EAs are skilled at many things, except mind-reading. Giving them context around any tasks and what you expect helps them to better understand and be in a better position to make suggestions. When they understand context, they can often fill in any gaps themselves.
- Trust them with important tasks! Executive assistants have a high level of skills but one mistake many executives tend to make is seeing them through old “secretary” paradigms. EAs are partners for achieving your business goals and can be trusted with autonomy and meaningful work. Their talents go beyond traditional secretarial work and you’ll get more from the relationship if you acknowledge that and trust them with important tasks.
- Give frequent feedback. This will help your EA to understand your preferences better and to make adjustments.
A virtual executive assistant can be just what you’ve been looking for if you don’t have enough time for critical business development activities.
Executive assistants are very capable, skilled professionals and can execute on your strategies and goals. With time, your EA gets to understand your priorities very well. They’ll make suggestions and they’ll often be able to take initiative themselves.
If you’re looking for an executive assistant to help with business development activities, Worxbee is a great place to start. We find and hire the best virtual executive assistants with experience across a range of industries. Talk to us today about how we can match an EA to your needs.
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