Business Development During a Pandemic 101

Imagine yourself two weeks before GDC, by the end of February, your yearly plan hot under your arms, your tickets ready, all set for kicking off the next 12 months, big time. I don’t know about you, but that was my situation. We know how that ended.

Imagine yourself two weeks before GDC, by the end of February, your yearly plan hot under your arms, your tickets ready, all set for kicking off the next 12 months, big time.

I don’t know about you, but that was my situation. Me and my team were ready, excited, we were going to OWN that GDC and make 2020 the best year ever.

Well, you know how that ended.                     

I confess my first reaction was pure, straight panic, no ice. Immediately we sat down and draw an emergency plan, that didn’t work either, and soon we realized that 2020 was over. Or we thought it so. I’m the main head for business development in the team, mostly because of my networking and experience. The network was there, but I don’t know about you, this is my first pandemic.

What to do? Would my contracts be canceled? Would they reach their end, and, without a new business development cycle, I’d have nothing to replace them? Would my long-term clients put a hold on their services? It was nerve wracking.

So, I just calmed down. “I got this”, I thought. Got what? Well, it was time to discover. Here lies my first advice: It is OK to panic. It is not OK to keep panicking. There is a solution to everything, my time in science college thought me that.

The next step was to strategize and plan. Again. Second advice – if you feel lost, regroup. Start again. There is no limit to how many plans and strategies you can make, specially during unexpected changes and challenges. We did that, and decided to reach to everything and everybody on our prospecting list. We did not start looking to the plethora of new online events popping all over the place.

The question was – do we have enough momentum going on at the biz dev pipeline? The good news was we had a few potential new clients that were looking for GDC as well. We reached for them with the following mindset – we don’t know if we are doomed or not, but this will pass and you should be ready. Advice 3: learn how to twist your pitch. There is always a possible twist.

Nice, so we saved our near future – GDC refunds were also happening here and there. What next? Mmm, maybe we should resume our prospecting with this new online stuff and focus on renewing ending agreements. Our renewal effort was very positive. The online events (PGD, WNHub) not so much. Take a look at my other post where I discuss online events here:

Renewals are always fantastic, because they leave you safe for the middle term, and give oxygen for long term efforts. So, here is another advice: care a lot for your clients, but give that extra care for the ones with renewal clauses – they may save your life.

Now, we are in May, and we have no idea what is going to happen until EoY, but we have some signs. Our industry is stronger than never, notably on the multiplayer side of things. Business has actually grown, after those two very dark months, and I strongly believe the games industry will be seen with even more attention from the world when all this end. We, as an industry, proved to be extremely strong in very difficult conditions. This is a feature that all levels of investors look for when chipping in.

Finally, my last advice – keep developing business as positively as you can. Even if you are just planting seeds, you’ll get their results after all this. To give you a bit of light and positiveness, some of mine are already flourishing.


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