Would You Aim for a Business Development Manager’s Role?

The presence of an efficient business development manager is crucial to a business’ existence. It is one of the key roles of this age, that every business seeks to fill in, hiring a strategic planner, who can grow with the company. Those employed as the business development managers look after his/her team’s collective effort, looks for potential clients in the market, defines the target audience, and if needed, even redefines the company’s objectives.

These are top-level executives, who remain I contact with the management. Their ultimate goal is to create new business opportunities and ensure the company’s long- term growth. The term ‘business development’ can be described as an amalgamation of strategic planning, sales and marketing. Those holding more than 5 years of experience in sales can also be considered for this position. Besides, many leading firms consider MBAs to be hired as business development managers. Most commonly, those hailing from sales are seen heading for these career options. However, business development has a lot more than just sales, but the sales professionals are found suitable to fit in these jobs.

Job Description

  • Defining target audience and looking for potential clients
  • Preparing strategies to pitch the products to clients
  • Marking team’s collective efforts and keeping a checking on the lead generation
  • Representing the organization in the corporate events
  • Preparing monthly reports and analyzing the same
  • Providing essential data to the management
  • Taking essential steps for corporate associations
  • Identifying new sales opportunities
  • Working in coordination with other departments such as sales & marketing

Key elements for a business development manager’s role

For every business development manager, the following elements are of great significance.

Business Acumen

A business development manager can explore job opportunities in numerous sectors, including FMCG (Fast Moving Consume Goods), IT (Information Technology), Finance, Manufacturing, Consulting, and others. In any of these sectors, an understanding of the industry and the business is needed for the professional to possess. It will not just help him conveniently take on the role, but will also take the right decisions with an understanding of the business.

Management & Research

He plans as well as manages to take the business the next level. A professional serving as business development manager has to lead the team and direct it to the right path. For this, leadership and management are of great essence. Besides, research too is a major element for these professionals. They need to research well about the market, the prevailing trends, the customer’s requirements, and so on.

Strategic Planning

The business development managers are also involved in planning the campaigns to target the potential clients. They may even look for marketing and sales related data for the same.

Customer Service

Another major element remains the customer service. They need to ensure whether the customer their team is dealing with, is entirely satisfied with the services. They also need to constantly check on a crucial deal that has not been closed.

The Other Essential Details

In the recent years, the need to hire these professionals has been realized by most of the brands. They can explore the job offers from varied sectors as per their preferences and knowledge. However, some of the leading organizations they can aim to work with include Infosys, Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Wipro Technologies, Cognizant, and many others. Further, these professionals can expect to earn Rs 578,392 per year in India.

Business Development Requires a Multitude of Skills

Business development is one of the functions that every company, from inception to exit, performs at one time or another. It’s also one of the most “unbounded” roles within a company. For some companies, business development means acquiring new customers. Others, it means raising capital. And, for yet another set of people, it means to build alliances and partnerships.

Whatever the term ultimately means to anyone, it is a function that clearly requires a multitude of skills. Let’s take for example, raising money. A business development person in a small startup company would be responsible for building relationships to raise venture capital and/or general financing for startup operations. Oftentimes, the reason this function falls under business development is because the business developer is building strategic partner relationships. Some of these strategic partners deem the relationship critical to grow new business opportunities. In that respect, the strategic partner will then invest money in return for an equity stake in the startup company.

In the case of building and managing partnerships, the business development team is often called Alliances. In this example, business development or Alliance is responsible for recruiting, managing, and supporting partner companies. In addition to this, the Alliances organization would also have a responsibility for driving a certain amount of revenue through the partners, as well. This alliance function essentially builds a core ecosystem around the host company. The ecosystem effectively allows the host company to be in more markets, capture certain geographic territories, or even drive more revenue than it could on its own.

Building joint ventures is also a form of business development activity. There are times when a company needs to work together on a specific business opportunity. The opportunity could be related to driving new business in a specific country or perhaps in a particular industry. The two companies would develop an operating agreement under which they will work together. Shared revenue and expenses, team alignment and sales targets are examples of agreements created as part of this joint venture relationship.

Driving sales is another function where business development is often categorized. This is especially true when a company is first starting off in business. Many small companies categorize their sales efforts as business development rather than sales. One of the reasons for this is because the territory is new or perhaps the product line is untested with customers. The business development group is responsible then for selling new business in an uncharted environment.

Corporate development is another function often interrelated with business development. In general, though, a corporate development function handles aspects of mergers and acquisitions for a company. Their role is to identify companies that have synergistic business models and would complement the host company. In many aspects, a corporate development officer for a company has similar skill sets and experience as all of the above organizational roles.

As one can ascertain, business development is a “catch-all” term that can encompass many different roles within an organization. That said, the skill set and experience for a business development executive is fairly broad. He/she must be versed in areas, such as building partnerships, strategy, technology, geographic markets, sales, and, of course, finance. In addition, understanding the specific industry in which the company operates is icing on the proverbial cake.

The business development executive is a key contributor to the success of a company. This individual, if used properly, can help create the very foundation on which a company operates.

5 Business Development Don’ts

5 Business Development Don’ts

In my over 25 years experience in business development for Financial institutions, IT enterprises, Law Firms and Medical Practices there is an unfortunate, common repetitive pattern/tendency that costs unnecessary money and reduces efficiencies considerably.

This tendency can simply be defined as “unproductive” business development practices. While it can be stated simply it is NOT a straightforward problem in the least. Not appropriately, consistently and diligently creating and implementing a business development plan can and does cause significant financial and productive leakages to a business entity. For a small or growing company, business or practice, such a business development oversight can and often is very detrimental in many ways.

I have identified 5 of the most common unproductive business development practices. I hope that, if you can identify any or all of these within your business entity, you recognize the red flag and take heed.

The 5 Major Business Development Don’ts are the Following:

1) Don’t Randomly Advertise. Sounds weird, but it is NOT. One of the most common mistakes and seemingly harmless ones is to advertise a company, product or service without a clear target.

Unless you are a large entity, advertising expenditures should be seriously confined for specific targeted campaigns. Brand recognition advertising for smaller and or new practices is NOT an optimum use of resources.

2) Don’t Just “Get” Business- Instead Get the Right Business.

A common mistake in small to medium size companies is to “accept” any client even if the fit is not perfect, i.e. a client project that is not cost effective or a “difficult problematic client” or a client whose request is out of the range of expertise.

This can be a seemingly difficult situation, especially, if there are cash flow issues within a company. However, ultimately, saying no to these clients is the most cost effective solution.

3) Don’t Leave Your Business Growth to “Chance”

Many small businesses and medical practices get “caught up” in servicing clients when ample clientele is at hand, thus, ignoring future business needs. For small to medium size businesses this is one of the major causes of cash- flow problems. There should always be a consistent everyday effort to bring in new clients. This ensures a constant source of new clients as they progress through the customer life cycle.

4) Don’t Ignore Your Previous Clients

One of the biggest sources of potential revenue for any business, medical practice or law firm is satisfied past clients. There are three ways that these clients can generate new revenue for a business: firstly, by cross-selling other products or services that are complementary to what they bought last time; secondly, by up-selling services or products that enhance their growth or customer satisfaction; thirdly, referrals. Satisfied customers are one of the greatest sources of new business. However, in order for this to be successful you must cultivate a “relationship” with your clients via warm calling, holiday cards, emails, gift certificates etc and you must ASK! Previous Clients are the quickest most effective way to gain new clients… do not ignore this financial resource at your fingertip!

5) Don’t Confuse Business Development/Sales/Marketing

Sales and Marketing are quite distinct from Business Development. Simply put Sales represents the completion of a client prospecting stage, Marketing is the means to communicate value and awareness of a product or service, while Business Development represents the holistic/big picture for business growth. More specifically, business development concerns the tasks, processes and preparation for business/opportunity growth. Business Development is in essence the means to obtain the plan and targeting for growth. Having this plan/bigger picture helps to refine the client/service/product penetration and thus expedites and streamlines the sales and marketing efforts.

Ironically, most sophisticated and large companies have well funded business development departments, however, it is the start-ups, small and medium size enterprises that actually need a business development team or process the most.

It is my sincere expectation and desire that should you identify any of these “red flags” in your business it will start a thinking process and adjustment of your entity’s activities and strategies.