BD Matters appoints Anne Harlow as Managing Director ahead of launch

BD Matters - Anne harlow

BD Matters has appointed Anne Harlow as Managing Director ahead of its formal launch on 1 April 2022.

BD Matters is a new business development community that was launched informally by Adam Graham during the first lockdown, when he recognised there were very few communities designed around the business development function.

Anne Harlow

Harlow joins BD Matters from The Agency Collective where she spent four years steering and growing the community and onboarding over 400 members. 

She also increased partnership revenue and developed a new member referral scheme. 

Prior to that she grew the sales development team at Pure360 from five to 12 people and increased revenue by 40%.

BD Matters is a like-minded community that gives its members the confidence to grow. 

The community is welcome to business owners and anyone who contributes to business growth from the top to the bottom of the funnel. 

For BD Matters, the term “business development” encompasses the cold face of sales and acquisition, through to marketing, nurturing and closing.

Over the past two years the BD Matters community has welcomed over 300 members, creating a new space to empower business developers and give them the confidence to grow. 

Now with Harlow coming on board, there are plans to scale the business and enhance the offering to members with access to experts, exclusive content, discussion boards, events and away days, guides and templates, plus savings on business development martech.

To date, the community has been free. It will launch its commercial offer on 1 April and anyone who signs up before that date will benefit from 50% off for 12 months.

As part of the original sign-up, members were invited to take part on a study into the perception of business development. 

50 business development professionals responded, and these were the findings:

  • 50% have a new business team the size of 1
  • Only 17% could say their pride was ”10/10” to tell people they were a salesperson
  • 62% shared feelings of isolation or not being fully supported
  • 45% believe salespeople are perceived to be untrustworthy
  • 62% have changed their job title to make themselves appear less ‘salesy’
  • 35% believe a sales career has lost its allure (or never had it!)
  • 82% believe it’s possible to change the perception of salespeople for the better

To address these findings, part of the BD Matters manifesto is to improve the way sales is perceived, so it’s not seen as a “dirty word”, recognising the mental health impacts of the role, and supporting ‘grassroots’ talent to help them see business development as an exciting career path.

BD Matters has also appointed a new advisory board of experts to provide monthly surgeries to help members. 

Experts include:

  • Katy Howell, CEO, immediate future
  • Zoe Mitchell, Global New Business Lead, Wunderman Thompson
  • Oli Richards, Chief Marketing Officer, The Beyond Collective
  • Ellie Ring, New Business Director & Partner, BBH
  • Kim French, Head of Marketing, Preen
  • Anna Stone, Global New Business & Marketing Director, Ogilvy
  • Nathan Anibaba, host of Agency Dealmasters Podcast

Adam Graham is the Founder of Gray Matters, a business development consultancy teaching agencies how to attract and win new business, so they can achieve long-lasting growth. 

He also sits as an Expert Advisor for the DBA Experts and is the New Business Community Lead for BIMA.

Anne Harlow, new Managing Director, BD Matters, said: “I have gained a real passion for helping people thrive and have seen first-hand the impact a vibrant community can have on its members and what that means for both professional and personal growth.”

Adam Graham, Founder, BD Matters, added: “Growing up in business development at big global network agencies and independents, there was always a lack of community, a lack of learning, muddled career paths, few leaders to look up to, and a general lack of appreciation and understanding of the role. 

“Since then, not much has changed, and perceptions and investment in the discipline are disappointing, so we’re proud to offer something we never had growing up and to provide a voice for the industry.”