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3 Key Cannabis B2B Business Development Tips for Small Teams

by | May 29, 2024 | Blog

By Dallas Evelyn, Business Development Specialist, NisonCo

Due to their size, small cannabis businesses face some inherent challenges. Business development doesn’t have to be one of those challenges, however. If you’re on a small business development team — or you’re the only person on your cannabis business development team — you don’t need to feel limited. You just need to approach things a little bit differently. 

As a business development specialist for the country’s oldest cannabis PR firm, I’ve made connections with countless companies. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tactics that help me operate more efficiently as part of a tiny but mighty team.

1. Leverage Automation to Streamline Client Communications

One of the most helpful tips I can offer is using automation to its full advantage. I use automation in a few ways to make my job as a cannabis business development specialist exponentially easier. 

Filter for High-Intent Leads

In a competitive, insulated industry like cannabis, most B2B service providers are fighting for access to the same relatively small group of potential clients. To keep up, you need to vet your leads ahead of time to determine the most promising ones. One way you can do this is by choosing a lead generation tool with built-in filters to search by high-intent leads. Narrowing down these potential clients will make your first round of outreach much easier. 

One caveat, though: When you use automation to give you precise lists, sending out mass emails and calling it a day can be tempting. While mass emails are okay for general outreach, personalized “show me you know me” emails will always be more effective for high-intent leads for which you know your business is a good fit. 

Auto-Send Follow-Ups

Most clients won’t close immediately after your first conversation, so you’ll need to keep in touch and nudge them at least a few times to keep things moving. Set up an email to send a couple of days after you meet with a warm lead just to check back in. Automating follow-ups will help keep your communication — and sales pipeline — more consistent. You’ll be able to stay on the potential clients’ minds without spending precious brainpower trying to keep track of email send dates. 

Utilize AI Notetaking for Client Calls

I’m also a huge proponent of using AI notetakers to provide recordings, transcripts, and summaries of important meetings. With an AI notetaker taking down the details in the meeting, I can be more fully present with our cannabis clients. AI recordings and transcripts are also great archival tools that allow you to double-check the details without bothering your client. 

You should always check with other meeting attendees before including an AI notetaker, as not everyone is comfortable with these tools. Some tools have features that will automatically notify guests before the call, eliminating the need to explain at the beginning of the meeting. In my client meetings, I’ve seen more and more people embrace these AI notetakers since the notes an AI assistant generates can be just as helpful to your guests as they are to you.

2. Small Company Business Development Requires Cross-Team Support

Cross-team support is essential for small cannabis companies. When your business development team is small, everyone at the company becomes a business development representative. Everyone should constantly be on the lookout for potential leads and connections, whether they’re an official part of the team or fill a different role at the company. Ensure you have protocols and open messaging forums for cross-team communication about potential leads, too. 

Additionally, having non-business-development team members present on calls or at cannabis events can be helpful. When NisonCo attends a cannabis conference, for example, we typically try to have people from at least a couple of different teams present. Support from other departments helps bring a friendly vibe and lower the sales pressure, making potential clients feel more comfortable, making your outreach more genuine, and making your meetings even more productive.

3. Build a Strong Referral Network

It’s a simple fact that small cannabis businesses can’t do everything. We’re inherently limited in the services we can offer and the number of customers we can serve, but that doesn’t mean we have to pass up relationships with potential clients entirely. Partner with companies providing complementary services to your customer base, and don’t be afraid to refer leads to these other businesses to ensure the right fit. 

A referral network will help keep potential clients happy and build relationships that could lead to future business opportunities. Additionally, it will help you keep your cannabis brand strong as you forge these positive relationships and focus on what your company does best. Referral networks also allow you to focus all your time and energy on the clients who best fit your services, keeping everyone happy.

Work With Other Companies that Understand the Needs of Small Businesses

It’s important to remember that your expertise as part of a small cannabis business can also help you serve other small businesses more effectively. NisonCo, for example, has leveraged our firsthand knowledge of what small businesses need to thrive to help countless other small organizations in the cannabis industry and beyond. 

If you’re a member of a small team in a future-facing industry needing PR, SEO, or content creation services, contact NisonCo today for more information or to schedule a consultation.


About Dallas Evelyn: 

Dallas joined NisonCo in November 2021 to help with Business Development. His experience includes navigating the nuanced healthcare industry in Georgia and growing a catering business in the South’s budding film industry. He graduated from Georgia State University, The Robinson College of Business, in 2014 with a degree in Marketing and sales. Now, Dallas uses those skills to help cannabis, psychedelic, blockchain, and sustainability companies develop thought leadership and grow their brand through organic media opportunities.


About NisonCo: NisonCo is a media, internet and content marketing agency deeply rooted in advocacy. NisonCo is America’s oldest cannabis PR firm and was established in 2013 with an emphasis on harm reduction and cannabis legislation. As leaders in public relations for the emerging cannabis, CBD, and hemp space, NisonCo’s team is passionate about creating and maintaining a positive image for the industry. Access NisonCo’s free, resource-rich blog here and connect with them here.


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