The Ultimate Guide to Business Development and How It Can Help Your Company Grow

Discover the importance of business development and how the process can help your business grow better.



Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

business development

Updated: 08/19/22

Published: 08/17/21

Imagine working for a company without any employees dedicated to growing and developing the business.

Nobody to challenge you to improve or tell you about new business opportunities, changes in the market, what your competition is up to, or how you can attract your target audience more effectively.

This would make it pretty hard to succeed, don’t you think?

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Business Development

Business Development Reps

BDR Responsibilities

Business Development Ideas

Business development process, business development plan.

Business development is the process of implementing strategies and opportunities across your organization to promote growth and boost revenue.

It involves pursuing opportunities to help your business grow, identifying new prospects, and converting more leads into customers. Business development is closely tied to sales — business development teams and representatives are almost always a part of the greater sales org.

Although business development is closely related to sales, it’s important to note what makes them different.

task of business development

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Business Development vs. Sales

As mentioned, business development lives on the greater sales team yet it serves a different function than typical sales work and responsibilities.

Business development is a process that helps your company establish and maintain relationships with prospects, learn about your buyer’s personas, increase brand awareness, and seek new opportunities to promote growth.

In contrast, sales teams sell your product or service to customers and work to convert leads into customers. Business development-related work simplifies the work of a salesperson or sales manager.

Let’s take a closer look at what business development representatives — the people responsible for carrying out the various business development tasks — do next.

Business Development Representative

Business development representatives (BDRs) seek out and establish new strategies, tactics, targets, employees, and prospects for your business. The goal of all BDRs is to find ways to grow and provide long-term value for the business.

Possessing the necessary business development skills and experience will help your BDRs achieve all of their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.

Business Development Representative Responsibilities

Although some BDR responsibilities may change over time and as your business grows, the following list will provide you with a solid understanding of typical BDR tasks.

1. Qualify leads.

BDRs must qualify leads and pinpoint ideal prospects to determine who they'll sell to. Typically, leads are qualified through calls, emails, web forms, and social media.

The key to qualifying leads (leads who are assigned to the BDRs as well as leads BDRs identify themselves) is to consider their needs and then determine whether or not your product or software could be a solution for them.

2. Identify and communicate with prospects.

By qualifying leads and searching for people who fit your buyer personas, BDRs will identify ideal prospects. They can communicate with those prospects directly to learn more about their needs and pain points.

This way, BDRs can determine whether or not the prospect will really benefit from your product or service by becoming a customer. This is important because it increases the potential of improved customer loyalty and retention.

Once the BDRs have identified ideal prospects, those prospects can be passed along to a sales rep on the team (or sales manager, if necessary) who can nurture them into making a deal.

3. Proactively seek new business opportunities.

Proactively seeking new opportunities — whether that’s in terms of the product line, markets, prospects, or brand awareness — is an important part of your business’s success. BDRs work to find new business opportunities through networking, researching your competition, and talking to prospects and current customers.

If a new business opportunity is identified, BDRs should schedule marketing assessments and discovery meetings with the sales reps on the team so they can all assess whether or not there’s potential for a deal.

4. Stay up-to-date on competition and new market trends.

It’s important to stay up-to-date on your competition’s strategies, products, and target audience as well as any new market and industry trends.

This will allow you to more effectively identify ideal prospects. It also helps your business prepare for any shifts in the market that could lead to the need for a new approach to qualifying leads and attracting your target audience.

5. Report to salespeople and development managers.

As we reviewed, at most companies, BDRs report to sales reps and sales managers. BDRS must communicate with these higher-ups for multiple reasons such as discussing lead qualification strategies and how to get prospects in touch with sales reps to nurture them into customers.

BDRs also have to report their findings (such as business opportunities and market trends) to sales reps and managers. Relaying this information and collaborating with sales reps and managers to develop and/or update appropriate strategies for your business and audience is critical to your success as an organization.

6. Promote satisfaction and loyalty.

A BDR's interaction with a prospect might be the very first interaction that prospect ever has with your business. So, creating a great first impression right off the bat is crucial to promote interest early on.

Whether a BDR is working to qualify the lead, learn more about the prospect and their needs, or find the right sales rep to work on a deal with them, their interactions with all of your prospects matter.

Once a BDR researches the prospect or begins interacting with them, ensure they tailor all communication towards the prospect. Customizing all content sent their way shows them they’re being listened to and cared for. These actions are professional and leave a strong impression.

In addition to understanding how BDRs help you grow, business development ideas are another powerful way to engage prospects and identify new business opportunities. Let’s take a look.

  • Innovate the way you network.
  • Offer consultations.
  • Provide sales demos for prospects and leads.
  • Nurture prospects.
  • Provide prospects with several types of content.
  • Communicate with marketing.
  • Invest in your website.
  • Push your employees to expand and refine their skills.

Business development ideas are tactics you can implement to positively impact your company in a multitude of different ways. They can help you identify ideal prospects, network more effectively, improve brand awareness, and uncover new opportunities.

The following tactics are here to get you started — every business and team is different, meaning these ideas may or may not be suited for your specific situation. (So, feel free to modify the list!)

1. Innovate the way you network.

It’s no secret cold calls are less effective than they once were. Instead, innovate the way you network by establishing strong relationships with your prospects. You can do this by meeting with them in person at conferences, trade shows, or events related to your industry.

Browse your online networks including LinkedIn and other social sites for potential customers, too. Reach out to the people who sign up for your email subscription or complete other forms on your site.

2. Offer consultations.

Offer consultations and assessments for prospects. Talking about the ways your product or service applies to their needs will help prospects decide whether or not they’ll convert.

In contrast, consultations and assessments may also bring to light the ways a prospect is not an ideal fit for your product (which is equally as valuable since it prevents you from wasting any time nurturing them or having to deal with an unsatisfied customer down the road).

3. Provide sales demos for prospects and leads.

Provide your prospects and leads with sales demos so they can see how your product or service works in action. Ensure these demos are customized to show a prospect or lead how your product solves their challenge. You can share these demos in person, over email, on your website, or via video chat.

4. Nurture prospects.

Remember to nurture your prospects, whether it’s by phone call, email, meeting, or another mode of communication. The point of lead nurturing is to provide any information needed about your product or service so your prospects can decide whether or not they want to make a purchase.

By nurturing your leads , you’ll be able to tailor the content regarding your brand and product so your leads can better understand how your product will solve their specific pain points. You’ll also be able to show your support for the prospect and ensure they feel heard and understood by your company.

5. Provide prospects with several types of content.

Provide your prospects with different content types such as blogs, videos, and social media posts so they can learn more about your brand and product or service.

It’s best to meet your prospects where they are and provide the content they prefer to read or watch. Ensure all of this content is downloadable and/or shareable so prospects can send it to their team members to show them why your solution is their best option.

6. Communicate with marketing.

Although business development lives in the sales department, that doesn’t mean internal business development work only involves other members of the sales team. Host regular meetings and maintain open lines of communication with the departments at your company that impact your ability to succeed such as marketing and product development.

Think about it this way: Marketing creates content and campaigns for your target audience about how your product or service resolves their challenges. So, why wouldn’t you want to talk to them about the blogs, campaigns, social media posts, and website content they’re creating for the people you’re selling to?

Your reps and BDRs can share any content the marketing team creates directly with prospects to help them convert, as well as inform the marketing team of any content they feel is missing for prospects. If there are projects or campaigns out of your scope, you can opt to hire a marketing agency to help fill the void. But, like your marketing team, they'll need to understand your product and how to connect with your target audience.

7. Invest in your website.

You never get a second chance at a first impression, and in many cases, your website is exactly that — your prospects' first impression of your brand. So, it serves you to make it as accessible, navigable, visible, and helpful as possible.

Taking strides like making your site visually engaging, connecting your social media profiles, optimizing your site for search engines, linking to collateral like sales content , and maintaining an active blog can go a long way when conducting business development.

8. Push your employees to expand and refine their skills and knowledge.

Business development is never stagnant. Strategy, technology, and market conditions are all constantly evolving — so you're best off having your employees stay abreast of these trends.

Anyone involved in your business development should be liable to develop new skills as needed. If your organization adopts any sort of new technology, thoroughly train anyone the change touches on how to use it.

Encourage your employees to learn more about both the nuances of their field and the industries they serve. Is artificial intelligence starting to shift the dynamics of a specific industry? If so, make the BDRs who serve that market learn all they can about how it might change the nature of the companies they interact with.

A business development process is the combination of steps your business takes to grow effectively, boost revenue, improve relationships with leads, and more. These steps are what your business development team will work on every day. It includes everything related to delighting customers along each part of the buyer's journey.

By working through your business development process, your team will have a strong understanding of your organization-wide goals, sales targets, current business situation, who your target audience members are, and more.

How to Do Business Development

  • Conduct extensive market research.
  • Raise visibility and awareness.
  • Promote thought leadership.
  • Conduct outreach.
  • Qualify leads to pass off to sales.
  • Provide exemplary customer service.
  • Develop sales content from success stories.

1. Conduct extensive market research.

Successful business development rests, in large part, on you understanding your market and target personas. If you have no idea who you're trying to sell to and the state of the market they comprise, you can't successfully implement any other point on this list.

Study and survey your current customers to see who tends to buy from you. Look into your competition to get a feel for where you fit into your broader market. And take any other strides to get a better feel for the "who" behind your successful sales — without that intel, you'll never be able to shape the "how" side of your business development.

task of business development

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2. Raise visibility and awareness.

Business development, as a broader practice, extends beyond your sales org — your marketing department can also play a central role in the process. You can't source a base of potential customers if no one knows who you are.

Actions like constructing an effective website, investing in paid advertising, leveraging social profiles, participating in co-marketing partnerships with industry peers, and maintaining an active blog can all go a long way in supporting successful business development.

3. Promote thought leadership.

This point is sort of an extension of the one above. Establishing credibility is one of the more important steps you can take when doing business development. You can't just stop with prospects knowing who you are — they need to trust you if you're ever going to earn their business.

Publishing in-depth, industry-specific blog content is one way to get there — if you can show that you have a firm grasp on every aspect of your field, you can frame yourself as a reliable, knowledgeable resource for your customers. That kind of trust often translates to sales, down the line. Other media like webinars, white papers, and video content can also help your case.

4. Conduct outreach.

Actively reaching out to prospects is one of the most crucial, traditional elements of business development. You need to touch base with prospects if you're going to vet them and ultimately convert them to qualified leads.

This step is typically supported by extensive research on individual prospects, paired with contacting warm and cold leads proactively but not aggressively. BDRs typically shoulder this responsibility — and for many people, it's the aspect of the process most closely associated with the term "business development."

5. Qualify leads.

Once your BDRs have connected with leads, they need to qualify them to determine their viability and understand whether they're worth the sales org's time and effort. That generally entails having conversations with leads and asking the right qualifying questions to reveal their fit for your product or service.

This is one of the most pivotal moments in the business development process — in some respects, it could be considered its last step. Successfully executing this point typically means the process, as a whole, has worked.

6. Provide exemplary customer service.

Business development is an ongoing process that involves virtually every side of your business in some capacity — and customer service is no exception. Your service org needs to keep current customers happy to generate positive word of mouth and bolster your company's reputation. That kind of effort offers you credibility and can generate referrals, making business development more straightforward and effective.

7. Develop sales content from success stories.

Another part of business development is translating customer satisfaction into actionable, promotable sales content — pointed, product-specific content that's used to generate sales. While marketing content is used for thought leadership and garnering general interest, sales content is used to appeal to potential buyers, looking into your company specifically.

Sales content can come in a variety of forms, including case studies and testimonials — two mediums that lean heavily on your current customer base. When you use customers' experiences to generate interest in your business, your business development efforts essentially come full circle.

Visual of the 7 business development process/strategy stages

By compiling these elements of business development and sharing them among your team, you create an actionable business development strategy or plan that encourages and promotes success and growth. Let's review the different steps involved in creating your business development plan next.

A business development plan is a strategy your team can refer to while working to achieve growth-related goals. Sales managers typically create the business development plan for BDRs to work on.

The purpose of a business development plan (or strategy) is to set realistic goals and targets that allow your reps to grow the business, close more deals, identify prospects, align members of the sales team (and other teams, company-wide), and convert more leads.

1. Craft an elevator pitch.

You can simplify any initial communication with prospects by having an elevator pitch ready to go. This elevator pitch should explain your company’s mission and how your product or service can solve the needs of your target audience. Your elevator pitch should grab the attention of prospects and leads — and get them excited to learn more about what you offer.

Additionally, you can help your team determine which elevator pitches used by both BDRs and reps are most successful in converting leads and then document it in your greater strategy so everyone has access to it.

2. Set SMART goals.

Set SMART goals for your strategy — meaning, make sure your targets are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. By creating SMART goals for your business development plan, you’ll be able to ensure these goals are aligned with those of your entire company.

For example, if one of your goals is to increase your number of identified qualified leads this quarter by 5% , make the goal specific by determining the type of prospects you’ll focus on and how you’ll identify them.

Then, decide how you’ll measure your success — perhaps by measuring the number of these prospects who then go on to talk with a sales rep to learn more about the product or service.

You determine this goal is attainable due to the fact you increased your number of qualified leads last quarter by 3%. 5% isn’t too much of a leap.

Your goal is relevant because you know it’ll help your business grow — it pushes you to make a greater impact on your team by contributing to the sales team’s ability to close more deals and boost revenue. Lastly, it’s timely because you’ve set this goal for the quarter.

task of business development

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3. Conduct a SWOT analysis.

As mentioned above, part of any role in business development is to stay up-to-date on market and industry trends and understand your competition. This is where SWOT analysis comes in handy — SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats . The key to using SWOT analysis correctly is to have a clear goal in mind first.

For example, if your goal is to determine the best way to handle outreach with prospects , you can begin talking to your BDRs, sales reps, sales managers, and current customers about what works best for them.

Next, think about your strengths — what does your business do well? Maybe you have a large support team that provides helpful onboarding for new customers. Or you have several remote reps who can meet face-to-face with prospects in their desired location.

(You might have multiple strengths that make you stand out, so don’t be afraid to list them all and which ones have the greatest impact on your customers.)

Now, think about your weaknesses . Are your product’s limited offerings requiring some leads to consider your competition’s product in addition to yours? Is the need for your product growing faster than your production, or faster than you’re able to establish a large customer support team to assist your customers?

Onto your business opportunities . Think about where you’re going as a business and what you know you can accomplish. For example, maybe your business has recently partnered with another company that can help you boost brand awareness and attract a much broader base of leads and customers.

Lastly, who are your threats ? Think about your current competition — who’s producing a product or service like yours and is attracting a similar target audience? Who could become your competition in the future — is there a market gap that another company (new or established) could identify the need for and begin selling?

SWOT analysis allows you to identify the ways your company can create opportunities to grow and expand. It also helps how you establish new processes to address any weaknesses or threats such as identifying more qualified leads, efficiently converting prospects into customers, and shortening the sales cycle.

4. Determine how you’ll measure success.

Depending on the SMART goals you created and the SWOT analysis you performed, you’ll also need to decide how you’re going to measure your business development success.

Here are some examples of common business development KPIs that can help you analyze your efforts:

  • Company growth
  • Changes in revenue
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Leads generated per month/ quarter/ predetermined time
  • Prospect and customer satisfaction
  • Pipeline value

5. Set a budget.

Depending on the type of business development goals you set for the team, you may determine you need to set a budget. Consider your resources, the cost of any previous business development strategies you’ve developed, and other important operational line items (what you need, who’s involved, etc.).

Collaborate with the greater team to determine the amount you’re willing to, and need to, spend on business development to get the process started at your company.

6. Always keep your target audience in mind.

Whatever it is you’re working towards, keep your target audience and ideal prospects in mind. Assess their needs and understand exactly how your business and product or service will meet their pain points.

After all, this audience is the group who is most likely to buy your product. Make sure your plan addresses them and their needs so your team can convert more of them and grow your business.

7. Choose an outreach strategy.

As we’ve reviewed above, a major component of business development is finding new prospects and potential customers. To find new prospects, you’ll need to decide how you’ll perform outreach, or connect with these potential customers. Here are some ideas:

  • Use referrals
  • Upsell and cross-sell
  • Sponsorship and advertisement

Also, review any expectations or guardrails related to outreach reps are held to so your business has only professional and on-brand interactions with prospects.

Congrats! You’ve just completed your business development plan — with your strategy and ideas, your business will be growing in no time.

Business Development Resources

1. hubspot sales hub.

Business Development Resources Hubspot

Best for Businesses Interested in a Wide-Reaching, One-Stop Solution

HubSpot Sales Hub includes a suite of resources that enable more focused, effective business development. Features like email templates and email tracking lend themselves to well-targeted, productive prospecting.

Its conversational intelligence capabilities can provide invaluable insight into the "why" behind your BDRs' overall performance — letting you pinpoint the strengths and flaws in key business development elements like your messaging and pain point assessments.

Sales Hub is a dynamic solution that covers a lot of bases for your sales org — including several beyond business development. But that wide range of applications doesn't undermine its utility for BDRs and their managers. If you're looking for a solution that addresses almost every component of successful business development, consider investing in HubSpot Sales Hub.

2. Bloobirds


Best for Businesses Interested in Keeping BDRs and Top-of-Funnel Activities on Track

Bloobirds is a sales engagement and playbook platform that guides SDRs and closing reps to convert more prospects into customers. It partners with your existing CRM — sitting on top of it to make it more functional for the sales team.

It eliminates admin tasks, makes selling more intuitive, and makes sure reps follow best plays with the in-app playbook's help. Bloobirds helps sales teams flow through their pipeline — it also collects crucial data and creates competitive insights.

3. Leadfeeder

Business Development Resources leadfeeder

Best for Businesses Struggling to Generate High-Potential Leads

Leadfeeder is a powerful resource for enhancing a central element of any business development efforts — lead generation The platform helps you identify high-potential leads by automatically analyzing your website traffic.

The software removes ISP traffic to pin down visitors' companies and gauge interest. It also lets you create behavioral and demographic filters for better-informed, more productive lead segmentation.

Successful business development often leans, in large part, on your ability to generate high-quality leads — so if you're interested in effectively sourcing those contacts, you'll need to invest in some sort of lead generation software. Leadfeeder is as good a place as any to start.

task of business development

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4. LinkedIn

Business Development Resources LinkedIn

Best for Businesses Looking for a Free Way to Source Leads

LinkedIn is one of the most prominent, practical, effective resources for certain key elements of the business development process — namely, prospecting. The value behind leveraging social media for top-of-funnel sales activities isn't exactly some well-kept secret.

Plenty of business development professionals already use channels like LinkedIn to source, screen, and connect with potential leads. Strides like scrolling through skill endorsements, using alumni searches, and engaging with users who have looked at your posts are all excellent ways to find interested prospects and enhance your business development efforts.

Business Development Helps You Grow Better

Business development is a crucial part of any successful company. It’s how you determine the best ways to boost revenue, identify your ideal prospects, generate more leads, and close more deals.

Think about how you can make a strong business development plan and ensure you have the right group of business development reps so you can begin growing your business today.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills

Why more and more companies worldwide are embracing this planning process

task of business development

What Is Business Development?

In the simplest terms, business development is a process aimed at growing a company and making it more successful. That can include seeking new business opportunities, building and sustaining connections with existing clients, entering strategic partnerships, and devising other plans to boost profits and market share.

Key Takeaways

  • The overarching goal of business development is to make a company more successful.
  • It can involve many objectives, such as sales growth, business expansion, the formation of strategic partnerships, and increased profitability.
  • The business development process can impact every department within a company, including sales, marketing, manufacturing, human resources, accounting, finance, product development, and vendor management.
  • Business development leaders and team members need a wide range of both soft and hard skills.

How Business Development Works Within an Organization

Business development, sometimes abbreviated as BD, strives to increase an organization's capabilities and reach in pursuit of its financial and other goals. In that way, it can impact—and also call upon the specialized skills of—a variety of departments throughout the organization.

As the financial services giant American Express puts it, "When it comes to organizational growth, business development acts as the thread that ties together all of a company's functions or departments, helping a business expand and improve its sales, revenues, product offerings, talent, customer service, and brand awareness."

For example:

Sales and Marketing

Sales personnel frequently focus on a particular market or a particular (set of) client(s), often for a targeted revenue number. A business development team might assess the Brazilian market, for example, and conclude that sales of $1.5 billion can be achieved there in three years. With that as their goal, the sales department targets the customer base in the new market with their sales strategies.

Business development often takes a longer-range perspective in setting goals than many sales departments have in the past. As the Society for Marketing Professional Services puts it, "A traditional view of sales is akin to hunting, but business development is more like farming: it's a longer-term investment of time and energy and not always a quick payoff."

Marketing , which oversees the promotion and advertising of the company's products and services, plays a complementary role to sales in achieving its targets.

A business development leader and their team can help set appropriate budgets based on the opportunities involved. Higher sales and marketing budgets allow for aggressive strategies like cold calling , personal visits, roadshows, and free sample distribution. Lower budgets tend to rely on more passive strategies, such as online, print, and social media ads, as well as billboard advertising.

Legal and Finance

To enter a new market, a business development team must decide whether it will be worth going solo by clearing all the required legal formalities or whether it might be more sensible to form a strategic alliance or partnership with firms already operating in that market. Assisted by legal and finance teams, the business development group weighs the pros and cons of the available options and selects the one that best serves the business.

Finance may also become involved in cost-cutting initiatives. Business development is not just about increasing market reach and sales, but improving the bottom line . An internal assessment revealing high spending on travel , for instance, may lead to travel policy changes, such as hosting video conference calls instead of on-site meetings or opting for less expensive transportation modes. The outsourcing of non-core work, such as billing, technology operations, or customer service, may also be part of the development plan.

Project Management/Business Planning

Does an international business expansion require a new facility in the new market, or will all the products be manufactured in the base country and then imported into the targeted market? Will the latter option require an additional facility in the base country? Such decisions are finalized by the business development team based on their cost- and time-related assessments. Then, the project management /implementation team can swing into action to work toward the desired goal.

Product Management and Manufacturing

Regulatory standards and market requirements can vary across regions and countries. A medicine of a certain composition may be allowed in India but not in the United Kingdom, for example. Does the new market require a customized—or altogether new—version of the product?

These requirements drive the work of product management and manufacturing departments, as determined by the business strategy. Cost considerations, legal approvals, and regulatory adherence are all assessed as a part of the development plan.

Vendor Management

Will the new business need external vendors ? For example, will the shipping of a product require a dedicated courier service? Will the company partner with an established retail chain for retail sales? What are the costs associated with these engagements? The business development team works through these questions with the appropriate internal departments.

10 Potential Areas for Business Development

As noted earlier, business development can require employees throughout an organization to work in tandem to facilitate information, strategically plan future actions, and make smart decisions. Here is a summary list of potential areas that business development may get involved in, depending on the organization.

  • Market research and analysis: This information helps identify new market opportunities and develop effective strategies.
  • Sales and lead generation: This involves prospecting, qualifying leads, and coordinating with the sales team to convert leads into customers.
  • Strategic partnerships and alliances: This includes forming strategic alliances, joint ventures, or collaborations that create mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Product development and innovation: This involves conducting market research, gathering customer feedback, and collaborating with internal teams to drive innovation.
  • Customer relationship management: This involves customer retention initiatives, loyalty programs, and gathering customer feedback to enhance customer satisfaction and drive repeat business.
  • Strategic planning and business modeling: This includes identifying growth opportunities, setting targets, and implementing strategies to achieve sustainable growth.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: This involves evaluating potential synergies, conducting due diligence , and negotiating and executing deals.
  • Brand management and marketing: This includes creating effective marketing campaigns, managing online and offline channels, and leveraging digital marketing techniques.
  • Financial analysis and funding: This includes exploring funding options, securing investments, or identifying grant opportunities.
  • Innovation and emerging technologies: This involves assessing the potential impact of disruptive technologies and integrating them into the organization's growth strategies.

The Business Development Process in Six Steps

While the specific steps in the business development process will depend on the particular company, its needs and capabilities, its leadership, and its available capital, these are some of the more common ones:

Step 1: Market Research/Analysis

Begin by conducting comprehensive market research to gain insights into market trends, customer needs, and the competitive landscape. Analyze data and gather additional information to identify potential growth opportunities and understand the market dynamics.

Step 2: Establish Clear Goals and Objectives

Leveraging that research, define specific objectives and goals for business development efforts. These goals could include revenue targets, market expansion goals, customer acquisition targets, and product/service development objectives. Setting clear goals provides a focus for the business development process.

Step 3: Generate and Qualify Leads

Use various sources, such as industry databases, networking , referrals, or online platforms to generate a pool of potential leads. Identify individuals or companies that fit the target market criteria and have the potential to become customers. Then, evaluate and qualify leads based on predetermined criteria to determine their suitability and potential value.

Step 4: Build Relationships and Present Solutions

Initiate contact with qualified leads and establish relationships through effective communication and engagement. Utilize networking events, industry conferences, personalized emails, or social media interactions to build trust and credibility. As your relationship forms, develop and present tailored solutions that align with the client's needs. Demonstrate the value proposition of the organization's offerings and highlight key benefits and competitive advantages.

Step 5: Negotiate and Expand

Prepare and deliver proposals that outline the scope of work, pricing, deliverables, and timelines. Upon agreement, coordinate with legal and other relevant internal teams to ensure a smooth contract execution process.

Step 6: Continuously Evaluate

Continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of business development efforts. Analyze performance metrics , gather feedback from clients and internal stakeholders, and identify areas for improvement. Regularly refine strategies and processes to adapt to market changes and optimize outcomes.

While it's common for startup companies to seek outside assistance in developing the business, as a company matures, it should aim to build its business development expertise internally.

How to Create a Business Development Plan

To effectively create and implement a business development plan, the team needs to set clear objectives and goals—ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). You can align these objectives with the overall business goals of the company.

Companies often analyze the current state of the organization by evaluating its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis . That can make it easier to identify target markets and customer segments and define their unique value proposition.

A substantial component of a business development plan is the external-facing stages. It should lay out sales and marketing strategies to generate leads and convert them into customers. In addition, it may explore new potential strategic partnerships and alliances to expand your reach, access new markets, or enhance your offerings.

Teams should conduct a financial analysis and do resource planning to determine the resources required for implementing the plan. Once you implement, you should track progress against the key performance indicators (KPIs) you've chosen.

Skills Needed for Business Development Jobs

Business development is a fast-growing field across industries worldwide. It is also one that calls upon a wide range of hard and soft skill sets.

Leaders and other team members benefit from well-honed sales and negotiating skills in order to interact with clients, comprehend their needs, and sway their decisions. They have to be able to establish rapport, cope with challenges, and conclude transactions. They need to be able to communicate clearly, verbally and in writing, to both customers and internal stakeholders.

Business development specialists should have a thorough awareness of the market in which they operate. They should keep up with market dynamics, competition activity, and other industry developments. They should be able to see potential opportunities, make wise judgments, and adjust tactics as necessary. Because many of their decisions will be data-driven, they need good analytical skills.

Internally, business development practitioners need to be able to clarify priorities, establish reasonable deadlines, manage resources wisely, and monitor progress to guarantee timely completion.

Finally, people who work in business development should conduct themselves with the utmost morality and honesty. They must uphold confidentiality, act legally and ethically, and build trust with customers and other stakeholders.

Why Is Business Development Important?

In addition to its benefits to individual companies, business development is important for generating jobs, developing key industries, and keeping the economy moving forward.

What Are the Most Important Skills for Business Development Executives?

Development executives need to have leadership skills, vision, drive, and a willingness to work with a variety of people to get to a common goal.

How Can I Be Successful in Business Development?

Having a vision and putting together a good team are among the factors that help predict success in business development. A successful developer also knows how to write a good business plan, which becomes the blueprint to build from.

What, in Brief, Should a Business Development Plan Include?

A business development plan, or business plan , should describe the organization's objectives and how it intends to achieve them, including financial goals, expected costs, and targeted milestones.

The Bottom Line

Business development provides a way for companies to rise above their day-to-day challenges and set a course for a successful future. More and more companies, across many different types of industries, are coming to recognize its value and importance.

American Express. " Business Development and Its Importance ."

Society for Marketing Professional Services. " What Is Business Development? "

World Economic Forum. " The Future of Jobs Report 2020 ," Page 30.

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What is Business Development? Main Concepts and Best Practices

What is Business Development

What is Business Development? How to, Best Practices, Main Concepts

What is business development introduction.

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of commerce, businesses strive not just for survival but for expansion and prosperity. At the heart of this pursuit lies a strategic process known as business development. This multifaceted approach empowers companies to identify new opportunities, foster valuable relationships, and carve a path towards sustainable growth. In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of business development, effective methodologies, best practices, and the tools that can elevate businesses to new heights.

What is Business Development?

Business development is a proactive and strategic process that aims to unlock a company’s growth potential and enhance its overall value. It involves a meticulous study of markets, customers, and industry trends to identify unexplored territories and lucrative prospects. Rather than focusing on day-to-day operations, business development centers on long-term vision and strategic planning, aligning the organization with its long-term goals.

How to Do Business Development

While business development may vary depending on the industry and company size, certain core principles can guide organizations towards success:

Market Research

Market research is the foundation of effective business development. It involves thorough data collection and analysis to gain insights into potential markets, consumer preferences, and industry trends. By understanding the needs and desires of target customers, businesses can identify gaps in the market and opportunities for growth.

In-depth market research includes competitor analysis to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. It also involves studying macroeconomic factors, technological advancements, and regulatory changes that could impact the business landscape. Armed with this knowledge, companies can make informed decisions on market entry, product development, and strategic partnerships.

Networking and Relationship Building

Building strong relationships is a crucial aspect of business development. Effective networking allows businesses to connect with potential clients, partners, and stakeholders who can contribute to their growth. Networking can take place through industry events, conferences, trade shows, and online platforms.

The key to successful relationship building is to approach interactions with a genuine interest in understanding the other party’s needs and objectives. By actively listening and offering value, businesses can establish trust and credibility, laying the foundation for potential collaborations or partnerships that benefit all parties involved.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

To achieve successful business development, alignment between the sales and marketing teams is paramount. Marketing teams should provide sales teams with insights from market research and customer data, helping them understand the target audience and positioning the products or services effectively.

In return, sales teams must communicate customer feedback and real-world observations back to marketing, allowing for adjustments in strategies. This synergy ensures that business development efforts are supported by well-coordinated sales and marketing campaigns, driving lead generation and conversion.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the roadmap that guides business development initiatives. It involves setting clear objectives, defining measurable goals, and charting the steps to achieve them. The process includes assessing the company’s current strengths and weaknesses, analyzing potential opportunities and threats, and formulating strategies to capitalize on the strengths and opportunities.

A well-crafted strategic plan outlines the specific actions required at each stage, allocates resources effectively, and sets timelines for achieving milestones. It also incorporates contingency plans to address unforeseen challenges, ensuring adaptability in a dynamic business environment.

Embracing Innovation

Innovation plays a pivotal role in business development, driving differentiation and competitive advantage. Encouraging a culture of innovation within the organization fosters creativity and empowers employees to explore novel ideas.

Businesses can engage in innovation by conducting research and development activities, exploring new technologies, and seeking feedback from customers and industry experts. They should be open to testing and iterating new concepts, products, or services, embracing the idea that failure can lead to valuable lessons and improvements.

Risk Management

Business development involves venturing into new territories, and with it comes inherent risks. Effective risk management is essential for safeguarding the company’s interests and resources.

To mitigate risks, businesses must conduct thorough risk assessments, identifying potential obstacles and challenges. They can then develop risk response plans to address these issues proactively. By being prepared for various scenarios, businesses can navigate uncertainties with greater confidence, ensuring that their growth trajectory remains on track.

Best Practices in Business Development

Implementing best practices can significantly enhance the effectiveness of business development efforts:

Customer-Centric Approach

Putting the customer at the center of business development efforts is essential for long-term success. This approach involves understanding the target audience’s needs, pain points, and preferences. Through customer surveys, feedback sessions, and data analysis, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and expectations.

Once armed with this information, companies can tailor their products, services, and marketing messages to address specific customer needs effectively. By focusing on providing value and solving customer problems, businesses can build strong brand loyalty, foster repeat business, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Continuous Learning

In the dynamic and rapidly evolving business landscape, staying updated with the latest industry trends, technological advancements, and customer preferences is crucial. Continuous learning involves monitoring industry publications, attending conferences, webinars, and networking events, and engaging with thought leaders.

Through continuous learning, businesses can anticipate market changes, spot emerging opportunities, and proactively adjust their strategies. Embracing a culture of learning within the organization encourages employees to stay curious, innovative, and adaptable, fostering a culture of growth and improvement.

Agility and Adaptability

Business development should not be rigid but agile, ready to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances. An agile approach allows businesses to respond quickly to market shifts, emerging trends, and competitive pressures.

Businesses can embrace agility by promoting open communication channels and flattening hierarchies, enabling faster decision-making. Regularly reviewing and reassessing strategies based on performance metrics and market feedback ensures that the business remains on track and can seize new opportunities swiftly.

Long-Term Relationship Building

Business development is not solely about short-term gains; it involves nurturing long-lasting relationships with clients, partners, and stakeholders. Beyond mere transactions, businesses should focus on building trust, reliability, and mutual benefit.

To achieve this, businesses should prioritize exceptional customer service, actively seek feedback, and address any concerns promptly. Demonstrating commitment to long-term partnerships encourages collaborative problem-solving, customer retention, and advocacy, all of which contribute to sustainable growth.

Measure and Analyze

Data-driven decision-making is essential for effective business development. Implementing key performance indicators ( KPIs ) and regularly analyzing relevant data provides valuable insights into the success of various initiatives.

Businesses can use analytics to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, sales conversions, customer acquisition costs, and overall revenue growth. This data enables them to identify successful strategies, replicate them, and fine-tune underperforming aspects, ensuring continuous improvement.

Business Development Tools and Methods

Crm (customer relationship management) software.

CRM software is a powerful tool that streamlines and enhances business development efforts. It enables businesses to centralize and manage customer data, interactions, and communication in one integrated platform. CRM systems track every touchpoint with prospects and customers, including emails, calls, meetings, and purchases.

Beyond basic contact management, modern CRM software provides advanced features like lead scoring, sales pipeline tracking, and automated workflows. These features help sales and business development teams prioritize leads, identify potential upselling or cross-selling opportunities, and deliver personalized experiences to customers.

Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Business intelligence tools provide businesses with a wealth of data-driven insights critical for effective business development. BI platforms collect and analyze data from various sources, transforming it into actionable information.

Through data visualization, dashboards, and interactive reports, BI tools help identify market trends, consumer behavior patterns, and emerging opportunities. Armed with this knowledge, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize their strategies, and stay ahead of the competition.

Social Media and Networking Platforms

Social media and networking platforms have become instrumental in modern business development. These platforms offer access to a vast pool of potential clients, partners, and industry influencers.

By engaging with their target audience through social media , businesses can build brand awareness, share valuable content, and foster a community around their products or services. Networking platforms like LinkedIn facilitate direct communication with key decision-makers, enabling businesses to form meaningful connections and explore collaboration opportunities.

Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

Collaborating with other organizations through strategic partnerships and alliances can significantly amplify business development efforts. By leveraging each other’s strengths, businesses can access new markets, share resources, and benefit from complementary expertise.

Strategic partnerships can take various forms, such as joint ventures, licensing agreements, or distribution partnerships. These collaborations open doors to new customer segments and enhance the company’s overall competitiveness in the market.

Main Tasks of Business Development Manager

The main tasks of a Business Development Manager (BDM) are diverse and encompass a range of responsibilities focused on driving growth and creating new business opportunities for the organization. Depending on the industry and the specific company’s needs, the tasks of a BDM may vary. However, some common main tasks of a Business Development Manager include:

  • Market research: Conducting comprehensive market research to identify potential business opportunities, analyzing industry trends, competitor activities, and customer needs. This research forms the foundation for strategic decision-making and market entry.
  • Lead generation and prospecting: Identifying and pursuing potential clients, customers, or partners through various channels, such as cold calling, email campaigns, networking events, and referrals. The BDM actively seeks out new business opportunities and creates a pipeline of potential clients.
  • Client relationship management: Building and maintaining strong relationships with existing clients, ensuring their satisfaction, addressing any concerns, and identifying opportunities for upselling or cross-selling additional products or services.
  • Sales and negotiation: Collaborating with the sales team to convert leads into clients or customers. The BDM may participate in sales meetings, presentations, and negotiations to secure new contracts and close deals.
  • Partnerships and alliances: Identifying potential strategic partnerships or alliances with other organizations that can mutually benefit both parties. The BDM works to build strong collaborative relationships to expand the company’s reach and capabilities.
  • Developing business strategies: Working with senior management to formulate long-term business strategies and action plans that align with the organization’s growth objectives.
  • Market expansion: Assessing the feasibility of entering new markets or expanding the company’s presence in existing markets. This involves analyzing market potential, regulatory requirements, and competition.
  • Innovation and product development: Collaborating with the product development team to identify new product or service opportunities, ensuring that the company stays competitive and relevant in the market.
  • Marketing and promotional activities: Developing and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns to promote the company’s products or services, enhance brand visibility, and attract potential customers.
  • Data analysis and reporting: Utilizing data analytics to measure the effectiveness of business development strategies, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), and preparing reports to assess progress and make data-driven decisions.
  • Budgeting and resource allocation: Managing budgets allocated for business development initiatives and ensuring optimal utilization of resources to maximize the return on investment.
  • Attending industry events: Participating in conferences, trade shows, and industry events to network, identify trends, and stay updated on industry developments.

Overall, the business development manager plays a pivotal role in driving the company’s growth agenda, fostering strategic relationships, and exploring new opportunities to expand the business. They act as a bridge between various departments within the organization, contributing to the overall success and long-term sustainability of the company.

What is Business Development? Summary

Business development is a pivotal process that empowers companies to unlock their growth potential, explore new markets, and foster valuable partnerships. Through market research, strategic planning, and customer-centricity, businesses can navigate the ever-changing landscape of commerce with confidence. By embracing best practices and leveraging effective tools, organizations can adapt, innovate, and thrive in an increasingly competitive world, ultimately paving the way for sustained success and prosperity.

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Business Development: Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills

Business Development: Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills

Business Development Manager has recently become a widely sought-after professional position in modern companies.

In practical terms, someone in this role is like a chef who combines various ingredients based on the recipe they create into a single dish.

Similarly, in business, there are many aspects such as products, trends, consumers, and others that are then crafted into a strategic package that can create a valuable business.

These elements are skillfully crafted by a Business Development Manager, and you can learn more about their responsibilities, salary, and recruitment tips in this article.

What is a Business Development Manager?

Business Development: Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills

If asked what a Business Development Manager is, the answer can vary depending on the scale of the business, the company’s life cycle stage, and business goals.

However, experts agree that a Business Development Manager is a strategic position responsible for helping a business grow to achieve its desired objectives.

A Business Development Manager will integrate elements such as data, product knowledge, trends, consumers, human resources, finances, third parties, and even legal aspects, combining them into a business development plan.

“A business development manager integrates all company functions with the goal of increasing revenue, sales, product value, services, branding, and mitigating business risks,” according to American Express .

This task is not limited to business owners, salespeople, or marketers alone. It requires someone to help blend these elements and functions together.

Moreover, in the current landscape, competition is no longer just about the quality of the product. It is about the speed and accuracy with which a business responds to market changes.

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Roles and authorities of a Business Development Manager

Business Development Manager, has the following tasks:

Formulating, implementing, and overseeing business strategies, ensuring that everything leads towards business development.

Identifying and conducting research to assess business risks and new opportunities, whether in terms of trends and market positions, consumers, competitors, stakeholders, or third parties.

  • Building and maintaining positive relationships with consumers by listening to their desires and needs or creating retention programs.
  • Exploring new opportunities while maintaining good relationships with third parties such as suppliers or vendors.
  • Collaborating with the product development team to create products based on conducted research.
  • Monitoring sales progress and ensuring it aligns with predetermined targets.
  • Monitoring every aspect of the consumer journey, from awareness and leads to conversion.
  • Collaborating with the finance team to ensure efficient business operations.
  • Monitoring all documentation processes related to operational and business development, from invoices to employment contracts.
  • Collaborating with various teams such as design, marketing, and CSR to maintain a positive company image (brand).

In addition to the points mentioned above, Business Development Manager also has the authority to determine the standards and criteria needed for the sales and customer service teams.

Business Development Manager’s focus differs at each business scale

Quoting Oasis, the focus of a Business Development Manager varies at each business scale.

In a startup company, a Business Development Manager is more focused on building strong products and services in the eyes of consumers.

Additionally, a Business Development Manager in a startup ensures that the products and services align with the market it enters. At this level, a business development manager also actively seeks funding, investors, and employees aligned with the company’s vision.

Meanwhile, at the medium-sized business level, Business Development Manager focuses on adding more value to the products and services provided.

In contrast, at the large-scale company level, they begin to have broader responsibilities. They start considering product intensification and diversification, the use of technology, and even seeking new strategies that can bring efficiency to business operations.

Skills required by Business Development Manager

Being a Business Development Manager undoubtedly requires a foundational knowledge of the products or services offered by the company.

In addition to that, a Business Development Manager should possess both soft skills and hard skills, including:

Soft Skills:

  • Good communication, both verbal and written, as a Business Development Manager interacts with various functions in the organization and conveys ideas.
  • Critical thinking, the ability to think rationally and solve problems based on data, facts, and observations.
  • Negotiation skills, as a Business Development Manager frequently builds relationships with consumers and third parties, requiring negotiation abilities.
  • Willingness to take risks, fearlessness of failure, and a forward-thinking mindset.
  • Progressive thinking, an open-minded approach and adaptability to help identify opportunities.
  • Time management, as business operates within limited cycles, and markets often experience anomalies, requiring effective time management.
  • Decision-making expertise, the ability to make quick, precise, and astute decisions.

Hard Skills:

  • Business Development Manager should also possess technical skills such as:
  • Market research capabilities, SWOT analysis, STP, and trend analysis.
  • Understanding financial basics like ROI and budget planning.
  • Familiarity with marketing metrics such as engagement rate, leads, traffic, churn rate, and retention rate.
  • Ability to create effective presentations.
  • Proficiency in project management methods.
  • Understanding basic legal knowledge, including contract law and environmental law.
  • Mastery of technology supporting business development processes, such as CRM software, data analysis, marketing automation, or digital ads.

Estimated salary of Business Development Manager

According to Indeed , the average base salary for an entry-level Business Development Manager as of January 2024 is IDR 8,420,245 per month or approximately IDR 101,042,940 per year.

However, according to data gathered by Michael Page in 2020, the gross base salary for a Business Development Manager can reach double digits and varies across industries.

For example, in the financial industry, Business Development Manager has an average gross base salary of around IDR 34 million per month, followed by the IT industry at IDR 33 million.

Career prospects for Business Development Manager

The position of Business Development Manager will continue to evolve and be in demand indefinitely, even if a company is already settled or established. For those interested in pursuing this position, you can start from conventional roles, such as marketing, finance, customer service, digital marketing, sales, or even IT jobs.

Currently, there are entry-level positions specifically designed to pave the way for a career in Business Development Manager. Examples include business development officer, business analyst, business operation, business intelligence, acquisition specialist, and customer success specialist.

Tips for companies looking for Business Development Manager

Whether you are an HR or a business owner, there are several things to consider when recruiting a Business Development Officer to ensure effectiveness and alignment with the business needs. Mekari Talenta offers some tips when you want to hire a Business Development Manager.

1. Align with goals and business scale

Before hiring a Business Development Manager, you need to assess your business’s current position in its life cycle. Is your business still in the stage of acquiring customers or a startup, a medium-sized business in take-off, or a large-scale enterprise looking to expand? As mentioned earlier, at each business level, the role and focus of Business Development Manager vary.

2. Conduct recruitment branding

Recruitment branding is a recruitment process that emphasizes the company’s image throughout. You can showcase your product values, company profile, work culture, and current company focus during the recruitment process. This is done to give candidates a broad overview of your company.

3. Clearly outline qualifications

Ensure that in your job postings, you specify clear qualifications, including both job descriptions and required skill sets. This is done to conduct pre-assessments and make your recruitment process more specific.

4. Conduct technical tests and portfolio review

Business Development Manager requires proficient technical skills according to the business needs. Therefore, in your recruitment process, you need to conduct technical tests. This can include a case study that can be presented through a presentation. Additionally, a Business Development Manager usually has a portfolio. Make sure you request a portfolio for evaluation during the recruitment process.

5. Utilize talent pipeline

You can gather data through a talent pipeline from job listing websites, your own job portal, or even from your internal employees. A talent pipeline is a collection of potential candidates gathered from various sources, allowing you to pick candidates when needed. Read more about the talent pipeline here.

To execute an effective talent pipeline, Mekari Talenta can assist you in gathering various candidates entering your company. This is because Mekari Talenta provides an Applicant Tracking System feature that can automatically monitor candidate data, making the recruitment process more efficient.

Applicants data can be used in the next recruitment process if you need a Business Development Manager.

Mekari Talenta also has Manpower Planning feature, allowing you to manage employee data accurately, including performance, positions, salaries, and other data.

This way, you can easily promote a Business Development Manager internally without taking too much time. Ready to have a reliable business development manager? Prepare Mekari Talenta in your company by discussing your company’s needs with our sales team .

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The Ultimate Guide to Business Development in 2022


What Does Business Development Do?

Business development (or biz dev) identifies ways to increase long-term value through establishing your business in new markets, building meaningful partnerships, and increasing the value of an existing customer base.

Business developers collaborate with various business units across the company while influencing the firm’s direction and growth. This can be based on both current business and market trends.

Although business development and sales are closely related, it’s important to note what makes them different.

How is Business Development Different From Sales?

Business development helps you establish and maintain relationships with prospects, increase brand awareness, learn about your buyer personas, and look for new opportunities to promote company growth. In short, it covers every aspect of your business operations.

In contrast, the goal of your sales team is to get new clients. They can generate sales by email outreach, cold calling, or networking. Your sales team's success is measured by how many prospects they convert into customers.

The work of a business developer simplifies the sales manager's job. Let’s take a closer look at what  business development representatives do.

What’s the Role of Business Development Representatives?

Companies typically hire business development representatives (BDRs) when they’re ready to scale from a small startup to a fast-growing company or when inbound leads are insufficient to keep the pipeline full. 

When a business needs more qualified leads than it can generate through digital marketing , BDRs can help by initiating calls with prospects to determine if they'd be an ideal customer for the company. 

If the potential customer is a good fit, the BDR will arrange for a discovery meeting between them and a member of their sales team. From there, it's the sales rep's responsibility to build strong relationships with the prospect and eventually get them to close deals.

Business development reps must know their product and service offerings intimately to communicate their value and purpose to potential clients. 

Other BDR responsibilities include:

  • Presenting the business to potential clients
  • Identifying client needs and suggesting appropriate products or services
  • Customizing product solutions to increase customer satisfaction
  • Looking for new business opportunities in the market

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What Are the Activities of Business Development?

Successful business development activities run across various departments, including sales, marketing, product management, and project management.

All these activities are based on the goals set by the  business development team. For example, suppose a business has a successful product in the United States. In that case, the biz dev team might evaluate the further potential for expansion. 

After doing market research , the team found that they could expand the product to new target markets like Australia. The business development team then assesses the Australian markets and concludes that the company can achieve sales worth $2 billion in four years. 

With such goals in place, the sales department can now use its sales strategies to target the customer base in the Australian market.

The main departments and activities influenced by business development are:

  • Sales: Salespeople focus on a specific set of customers or markets with a particular revenue goal in mind.
  • Marketing: The marketing team promotes and advertises products to sell them to end-users. It plays a complementary role in achieving sales targets.
  • Project management: The business development team assesses the cost and time needed to expand a business into new markets. Once they set the goals, the project management team then swings into action to achieve the desired result.
  • Strategic partnerships: When entering a new market, the business dev team weighs all the benefits and drawbacks of forming strategic partnerships with local businesses operating in the region. The team then decides if it's worth creating the partnership or going solo.
  • Product management: Biz dev teams develop a plan that adheres to legal approvals, cost considerations, and regulatory adherence. The product management team then uses this plan to drive their work.

For instance, let’s say certain medicine compositions are allowed in India but not in France. In that case, the business development team will find out if the market in France requires a customized or new version of the product. They'll then create a product development plan from their research, which the product management team will use when creating medicine for that market.

Builds Crucial Relationships

Relationship-building is a critical component of the business development process. While acquiring new customers has its appeal, keeping existing customers will always result in a higher ROI — and it will cost you 5–25X less . 

Business development helps you build crucial customer relationships.

So whether it's networking with prospective partners, cultivating existing talent , or courting potential customers, a skilled business developer can zero in on the relationships that require the most attention. 

In doing so, they'll be able to identify new business opportunities, generate leads, and make critical hires.

Boosts Growth and Lowers Costs

Growth is the end goal of business development, and one of the most common metrics for measuring business growth is the bottom line. Creating a strategy to increase the amount of money coming into the business while ensuring less money is going out is critical to business development. 

When you focus on business development, you identify which products and markets have the highest profit potential and which deals to chase first. As a result, you'll make wise business decisions that'll keep costs down and identify areas of funding needed to facilitate expansion.

Helps Improve Your Brand’s Overall Image

A well-known brand can make more money than a lesser-known brand. In fact, the value of the world’s 100 most valuable brands increased by 42% in 2021, totaling a whopping $7.1 trillion. 

Aggregate value of the 100 most valuable brands worldwide.

Important Skills Business Developers Should Have

As your business grows, you may experience bottlenecks because of failing to notice problems as they emerge. These unexpected issues can arise within your company or outside the business due to, for example, poor customer management. 

In either case, hiring a business developer to identify the problems hindering business growth can be beneficial.

Here are some must-have skills for business developers:

Strong Communication Skills

An excellent business developer must be a team player and have strong communication skills. Teams with effective communication can increase their productivity by up to 25% , and these skills are required to engage all the different stakeholders involved. 

Effective communication increases team productivity.

Business developers should also be able to confidently cold call prospects to increase the chances of gaining new clients. 

Understanding Your Business and the Competition

A business developer should understand your products and services. They should also know everything about your competitors to provide you with the leverage needed to outperform them. 

They'll conduct the necessary market research to identify your company's current position and competitive advantage over similar brands in the industry. 

Negotiation & Persuasion Skills

Business development professionals should be tactful and diplomatic at all times. They should know when to compromise and when to take a stand to achieve your business goals. 

They should also be able to win the hearts of your prospects to persuade them to become loyal customers.

High Collaboration Skills

Business development isn't a one-person show. Pumble shares that 86% of employees and executives blame workplace failures on a lack of effective collaboration and communication. 

An effective business developer should be able to influence and build relationships and manage conflicts to get things done. 

Effective Project Management Skills

Since developing a business is a project in itself, good business developers are effective project managers. Companies generally waste 11.4% of their resources due to ineffective project management. 

So, business development managers should be able to set goals, manage projects, establish timelines, manage risk, calculate budgets, delegate tasks, and manage teams.

How To Create a Business Development Strategy

A solid business development strategy instructs your team on how to generate high-value leads that'll ultimately support your organization's long-term goals. 

If you don't have a strategy, your team members may find it hard to identify qualified prospects . They may waste time developing relationships with prospects that'll never convert. 

That said, here are three main steps to developing a reliable business development strategy:

How to create a business development strategy.

Identify Your Audience and Competitive Landscape

Crafting a successful business development strategy starts with identifying your target audience. Focus on specific companies or clients that present significant growth opportunities for your business. 

That's crucial because business development is a long-term game. The customer relationships you build may take months or even years to turn into sales. So, you don't want to build relationships with unqualified prospects.

Moreover, identify other businesses operating in your industry and get a clear picture of what they're offering to differentiate your product and deliver value to your customers.

Determine Which Channels To Use To Achieve Your Business Targets

Once you've identified your target audience and understood the competitive landscape, outline the channels you'll use to achieve your targets. That involves analyzing your yearly revenue goals and developing specific ways to achieve them. 

The most effective business development channels are a combination of advertising, networking, referrals, content marketing, and cold calls.

Set SMART Goals and Choose Effective KPIs

Set SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound — goals for each channel to measure and track your progress. 

Your business development objectives don't have to be directly related to revenue generation, but they should contain strategies for introducing prospects to your sales funnel .

In addition, ensure you can measure those goals with relevant, meaningful KPIs that reflect your company's health. 

Useful KPIs to measure your business development efforts.

These metrics should give you a good idea of how effective your business development efforts are.


Thanks to inbound and the HubSpot software, we’ve been able to bridge the gap between marketing and closed sales.

Charl Grobler

National Marketing and Product Planning Manager

Suzuki South Africa

Wrapping Up

Business development is vital to any successful company. It helps you figure out the best ways to identify your ideal prospects, generate more leads, close more deals, and boost revenue.

However, you must carefully craft your business development strategy to avoid losses resulting from misguided attempts to gain new clients and business opportunities.

A simple business development plan is far more effective than having several complex strategies in the hopes of seeing positive results. When implemented correctly, fewer elements always produce better results.

Learn about HubSpot's sales tools that are built to help your business build for growth.

Scale quick, stay lean. Bring your teams together with HubSpot’s CRM.

task of business development

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do you need for business development.

Most companies prefer candidates who have a Bachelor's degree in marketing, business, or a related field. They also want individuals with basic knowledge of CRM software and MS Office and an understanding of different markets and marketing strategies.

Whatis a business development executive?

A business development executive oversees the business development process within the company to promote its long-term growth. This position is ideal for people who enjoy working as part of a corporate management team. 

You can do well as a business development executive if you have a knack for numbers and sales strategies, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and work well under pressure.

What is the difference between marketing and business development?

A marketing department focuses on the consumer, their journey from awareness to loyalty, and the strategies used to get them there. 

Business development, however, focuses on the tasks and processes that'll increase revenue opportunities.


14 Must-Have Skills For Business Development Professionals

Business Development Skills

As a business development professional, you have to evaluate the performance of the company and find ways to improve it.

Such improvements are possible through strategies like building and maintaining better relationships with your business partners and looking for more opportunities in other areas.

Maintaining growth in a competitive market is a challenging task; hence, business development professionals must have the necessary skills and expertise for the job.

To convert new leads into customers, you have to keep your skills up to date, understand the trends in your market and improve business effectiveness. Here is a list of the top skills that every business development expert should have.

Business Development Skills

1. communication skills, 2. sales skills, 3. marketing skills, 4. business intelligence, 5. project management skills, 6. negotiation skills, 7. strategic skills, 8. computer skills, 9. analytical skills, 10. goal–focus, 11. organisational skills, 12. people skills, 13. creative thinking, 14. collaboration skills.

Communication skill is a vital requirement in the field of business development.

The professionals should have the ability to write and speak clearly and confidently. As a business development professional, you have to be an excellent listener to capture valuable feedback from customers.

Business development managers must find prospective customers, maintain long –term business relationships and forward the necessary information to stakeholders.

Excellent communication skills are a boost to winning during negotiations as well as maintaining a close relationship with leads even if they haven’t closed a deal yet.

The prospective customers will only move through the funnel if you keep them interested through your communication and selling skills.

One way of improving communication skills is through presentation practice that will boost your confidence. Confidence is a boost to your communication skills as it gives potential customers a sense of trust. The best communication style must be genuine as a way of building trust with your partners.

One way of improving your business is by growing your customer base. Business development professionals have to identify potential customers and come up with follow up strategies .

They are also required to go an extra mile of building a strong relationship with potential partners and prospective customers.

A business development strategy can improve sales through activities such as cold-calling or planning one-on-one meetings to sell your business opportunities to prospective customers.

The growth of a business is dependent on the acquisition of new customers. Every business developer has to scale down the numbers to those with a higher possibility of buying the deal.

Business developers are also required to work closely with the sales department to encourage more qualified sales as a way of increasing the number of successful deals. The sales team will present the product to the customer and negotiate for the best deal.

It is important to note that the business development professionals don’t close deals even after taking part in the sales process . The responsibility of converting the prospects into customers is left to the sales team. The business development professionals and the sales team must collaborate to streamline the sales process and improve the business sales success rate.

The Business Development department also works closely with the marketing department for the success of the business. A business development professional must understand the necessary marketing skills and apply them in their day to day roles.

Both the marketing department and the business development teams have the same goal of growing the business; however, the approaches may be different.

In small companies, the business developer may be required to perform some tasks related to the marketing department as such companies may not have the resources to incorporate a full marketing team .

Such tasks include expanding the market, promoting the brand and create product awareness. Business developers are more focused on forming partnerships rather than marketing new products to customers.

As a business development professional, you have to go beyond your business and understand how competitors and the market is performing. To gain such understanding, the business development experts must conduct thorough research, collect data and also analyse it.

Proper data analysis is an effective way of understanding your market and knowing the market segment that best suits your product.

Business intelligence provides relevant information about the market, such as its size, the competitors and possible changes in the market. Such knowledge is very crucial in ensuring that the business stays updated with the relevant statistics about market trends.

Data collection and analysis is also a part of business intelligence. Most of the business data that benefit business developers include the size of the market, possible changes affecting the market, and the types of campaigns that successfully impact the market positively.

Ways of improving your business intelligence skills as a business development professional include research, data collection, and analysing the target market.

Project management has a considerable impact on the success of a business development professional. Business development should be viewed as a large project.

Some of the skills that you need as a business developer are related to project management. The skills that cut across these two fields include leadership skills, risk management and monitoring and team management. Team management is crucial when managing a project because you cannot perform all the tasks alone.

Every business has a focus to meet their development goals. To achieve these goals, they must have access to the best professionals that will drive the development agenda and exploit their growth potential.

As a business developer, you have to support your team, evaluate their performance and also resolve any possible conflicts.

As part of business development, you have to convince others to do something that was not in their plans. Negotiation skills are essential for business development. Good negotiation skills ensure that you get a higher client conversion rate.

For better negotiations, a business development professional must be diplomatic and know the customer needs. Excellent negotiation skills are beneficial in resolving customer related conflicts, a better understanding of clients and partners and relationship building.

As a business developer, you will be negotiating on behalf of the company, meaning you have to ensure that the terms agreed upon are favourable to your organisation.

To convince prospective customers, you have to be ethical and find ways of earning their trust. Good negotiation skills are also focused on winning the hearts and minds of prospects through tactical means.

Communication skills bring the candidates on board, but excellent negotiation skills ensure that the prospects will be in the business for long.

Strategy is a key factor in business development goals.

As a business development professional, you have to forecast for months and years ahead. A proper strategy will depend on your prioritising capability and the use of research to better understand the situation.

The strategic skills will enable a business benchmark the competition and come up with strategies to keep it ahead of others.

Business development professionals have the role of coming up with strategies that will enable them to build trust with the customer and move the prospects from the initial stage of just buying and selling to a more beneficial state of partnership.

Every employee in today’s business set up must have the necessary computer skills. You may not be required to have IT or programming skills as a business developer, but you must have the skills needed for daily operations.

Most business communications, analysis and research, are done using computers in this digital era, meaning you have to understand the basic programs.

Some of the basic computer programs include the Microsoft office applications needed for routine documentation needs as well as email for communication.

Computer illiterate employees are less efficient and may not meet the needs of the employer. Customers also not trust your capability to keep up with the ever-changing business world if you cannot work with computers.

Apart from the necessary Microsoft Office skills, a business development manager must also be in a position to work well with the CRM software.

A business development manager must have an analytical mind to reach for potential. You need to analyse the market research and sales data to identify possible opportunities.

A business development professional also has to differentiate the opportunities that make commercial sense and pursue them. A business can lose time and money by investing in non-profitable projects that cost more to run than what they bring in.

One function of a business development manager is to track the company’s returns on investment and gather data to support the findings when presenting the information to the executives.

As a developer, you can track different metrics depending on the sales cycle and the needs of your company. Some of the standard measurements include revenue, the number of completed deals as well as the number of sales pipeline achieved. The business development team must show the effect of their influence on the sales pipeline delivered.

To identify profitable opportunities, the business development team must understand the market through aggressive data collection and analysis.

The team must be up-to-date with the latest trends in the market from which they will identify possible risks as well as opportunities that can put the company ahead of the competition.

New business is always about strategies and goals.

As a business development professional, you must work with goals and targets to pursue long term plans. Good business developers know the importance of goals and a plan to reaching them.

A goal provides the direction while the plan acts as in giving the clarity on what needs to be done to achieve the set goals.

Proper goals and plans are also a tool used for the support needed.

The business development professionals can present their goals and plans to the leadership and use the facts to request for the required resources, the laid down plans are also a guide to the sales team that works closely with the business development team.

Every business development person must be in a position to set their own expectations and come up with plans to meet them.

As a business development expert, you will have to work with the other departments in the organisation and also report to the top-level management. The modern business set up is result-based, meaning tight deadlines are a common work norm, yet you still have to develop the sluggish prospects that take longer to mature.

Good organisational skills enable this professional to balance all the duties and responsibilities bestowed upon them. They have to organise the workloads of the related teams and also manage their team for visible results.

Every business deals with a more significant percentage of people skills than management skills. People skills include factors such as individual contribution to the growth of the company, handling disputes and teamwork.

The most beneficial quality in people skill is listening carefully to others before you talk and respecting those with an opposing view. A competent business development professionals take the available opportunities to talk and present to others the best they can offer.

Creative thinking can boost a business development’s ability to identify new opportunities as well as ways of developing the existing opportunities. Creative thinking is a skill that every business development professionals should have as the competition market becomes more complicated.

You can train the professionals in areas such as sales techniques and marketing, but you cannot teach them to be creative. Creativity is a natural skill that can be harnessed to provide value of the company by building a stronger relationship and finding better opportunities.

Collaboration is also a part of Business development skills.

As a development professional, you will not work alone.

You will have to work with others from inside and outside the organisation. Good collaboration skills enable people to build relationships, solve conflicts, influence others and overcome office politics to get things done.

Skills for business development is a new term in business, but it requires a person with the best skills for the best resorts. A business development professional is an all-round individual needed to collaborate with the rest of the organisation to take it to the next level.

These professionals mostly work with the sales department and most importantly, with the marketing department where the business development skills are paramount in ensuring success.

The above list is some of the skills for business development that an employer should look for when hiring a business development professional.

task of business development

Kevin Thomas Tully is a globally-recognized Social Selling and Big Data strategist who employed the principles of Social Selling long before the term entered the popular business vernacular. A Johns Hopkins-trained data scientist, Kevin has applied true buyer intent data, predictive analytics, and data mining to the sales and marketing process for more than a decade to gain a strategic marketplace advantage for leading brands worldwide.

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  • A Game-Changing Business Development Strategy to Achieve Consistent Growth

Joe Pope

Your business development strategy can be key to the success or failure of your firm. In this post, we’ll explore how to create a strategy and associated plan that can propel an individual, a practice or an entire firm to new levels of growth and profitability.

Business Development Defined

Business development (BD) is the process used to identify, nurture and acquire new clients and business opportunities to drive growth and profitability. A business development strategy is a document that describes the strategy you will use to accomplish that goal.

The scope of business development can vary a lot from organization to organization. Consider the model professional services organizations use to get new business shown in Figure 1.

task of business development

Figure 1. The three stages of the business development funnel

The first two stages of the model, Attract Prospects and Build Engagement, are traditional marketing functions. The final stage, Turn Opportunities into Clients, is a traditional sales function. In its traditional role, business development would be looking for new channels of distribution or marketing partners.

But roles are changing and naming conventions evolve. In today’s world many firms refer to the entire marketing and sales process as business development. We know, it can be confusing. So let’s sort it out a bit.

Business Development vs. Marketing

Marketing is the process of determining which products and services you will offer to which target audiences, at what price. It also addresses how you will position and promote your firm and its offerings in the competitive marketplace. The result of all this activity should be an increasing awareness of your firm among your target audience — and a stronger flow of qualified leads and opportunities.

Download the Business Development Guide

Historically, business development has been a subset of the marketing function that was focused on acquiring new marketing or distribution relationships and channels. While this role still exists in many companies, the business development title has become interchangeable with many marketing and sales functions.  

Business Development vs. Sales

Sales is the task of converting leads or opportunities into new clients. Business development is a broader term that encompasses many activities beyond the sales function. And while there is some overlap, most traditional BD roles are only lightly involved in closing new clients.  

Business development is often confused with sales. This is not too surprising because many people who are clearly in sales have taken to using the title of Business Developer . Presumably this is done because the organization believes that the BD designation avoids the stigma sometimes associated with sales.

Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than in professional services. Accountants, lawyers and strategy consultants do not want to be seen as “pushy sales people.” This titular bias is firmly rooted despite the fact that developing new business is an important role of most senior members of professional services firms. Also, the many aspects of the traditional business development role (finding new distribution channels, for instance) don’t translate easily to the professional services environment.

Since so many clients want to meet and get to know the professionals they will be working with, the Seller-Doer role is well established in many firms. The preference for Seller-Doers also tends to discourage firms from fielding a full-time sales force.

As an alternative approach to leveraging fee-earners’ time, some firms have one or more Business Developers on staff. In the professional services context, these folks are often involved in lead generation and qualification, as well as supporting the Seller-doers in their efforts to close new clients. In other organizational contexts, this role might be thought of as a sales support role.

The result of this confusing picture is that many professional services firms call sales “business development” and make it part of every senior professional’s role. They may also include some marketing functions, such as lead generation and lead nurturing, into the professional’s BD responsibilities.

It is on this expanded role — in which business development encompasses the full range of lead-generation, nurturing and sales tasks — that we will concentrate on in this post.

See also: Heller Consulting Case Story

Business Development Examples

To clarify what the professional services business development role entails, let’s consider this business development example:

Bethany is the Director of Business Development at a fictional mid-sized architecture firm. She is not an architect herself. Nor is she involved in any aspect of delivering client projects. Instead, her role is exclusively focused on signing new business for her firm—whether new or existing clients. 

For new clients, Bethany spends much of her time responding to RFPs, communicating directly with inbound leads generated by the marketing/sales enablement team, and nurturing potential clients that she met at a recent industry conference. Bethany also collaborates with the marketing team in the development of any materials she needs to sell to new accounts.

When it comes to existing accounts, Bethany also plays a major role. She meets monthly with delivery teams to understand whether current client projects are on scope or if change orders are needed. She also maintains a relationship with clients’ key stakeholders. If an opportunity for more work opens, she knows that her relationship with the client is an important component of the potential deal.

In this example, Bethany is the primary driver of business development but that does not mean she is doing this alone. Her colleague, Greg, is a lead architect at the firm. While Greg’s primary focus is delivering for his clients, business development—and even marketing—is also an important part of his professional life. Greg often attends industry conferences with Bethany, where he is a speaker and subject matter expert and she is the primary networker. The business development dynamic should not end with Bethany, and it should permeate the whole organization.

In this business development example, you can see that the range of roles and responsibilities is wide. This is why it is essential that business development be delivered strategically. Let’s talk about what that means.

Strategic Business Development

Not every business development activity has the same impact. In fact, many are opportunistic and tactical in nature. This is especially true for many Seller-Doers. 

Caught between the pressures of client work and an urgent need to bring in new business, they cast about for something quick and easy—maybe a small piece of business at a low price point—that will produce short term results. Of course, this is no real strategy at all.

Strategic business development is the alignment of business development processes and procedures with your firm’s strategic business goals. The role of strategic business development is to acquire ideal clients—the kind that are highly profitable and aren’t overly demanding—for your highest priority services using brand promises that you can deliver upon.

Deciding which targets to pursue and strategies to employ can be a high stakes decision. A good strategy, well implemented, can drive high levels of growth and profitability. A poorly conceived strategy can stymie growth and frustrate valuable talent.

Yet many firms falter at this critical step. They rely on habit, anecdotes and fads — or worse still, that innovation killer, “this is how we have always done it.” In a later section, we’ll explain how to develop your strategic business development plan. But first let’s explore some of the strategies that might go into that plan.

Top Business Development Strategies

Let’s look at some of the most common business development strategies and how they stack up agains what today’s buyers are looking for .

Networking is probably the most universally used business development technique. It’s built on the ideas that professional services buying decisions are rooted in relationships, and the best way to develop new relationships is through face-to-face networking.

It certainly is true that many relationships are established in that way. And if you are networking with members of your target audience, you can develop new business. But there are limitations. Today’s buyers, however, are very time pressured, and networking is time consuming. It can be very expensive, if you consider travel and time away from the office.

Newer digital networking techniques can help on the cost and time front. But even social media requires an investment of time and attention.

A close relative of networking, referrals are often seen as the mechanism that turns networking and client satisfaction into new business. You establish a relationship, and that person refers new business to you. Satisfied clients do the same.

Without question, referrals are common, and many firms get most or all of their business from them. But referrals are passive. They rely on your clients and contacts to identify good prospects for your services and make a referral at the right time.

The problem is, referral sources often don’t know the full scope of your services or the range of ways you can help a client. So many referrals are poorly matched to your capabilities. Other well-matched referrals go unmade because your referral source fails to recognize a great prospect when they see one. Finally, many prospects that might be good clients rule out your firm before even talking with you. One  study puts that number at over 50%.

Importantly, there are new digital strategies that can accelerate referrals. Making your specific expertise more visible is the key. This allows people to make better referrals and increases your referral base beyond clients and a few business contacts.

Learn More: Referral Marketing Course

Sponsorships and Advertising

Can you develop new business directly by sponsoring events and advertising? It would solve a lot of problems if it works. No more trying to get time from fully utilized billable professionals.

Unfortunately, the results on this front are not very encouraging. Studies have shown that traditional advertising is actually associated with slower growth. Only when advertising is combined with other techniques, such as speaking at an event, do these techniques bear fruit.

The most promising advertising strategy seems to be well-targeted digital advertising. This allows firms to get their messages and offers in front of the right people at a lower cost.

Outbound Telephone and Mail

Professional services firms have been using phone calls and mail to directly target potential clients for decades. Target the right firms and roles with a relevant message and you would expect to find new opportunities that can be developed into clients.

There are a couple of key challenges with these strategies. First they are relatively expensive, so they need to be just right to be effective. Second, if you don’t catch the prospect at the right time, your offer may have no appeal relevance — and consequently, no impact on business development.

The key is to have a very appealing offer delivered to a very qualified and responsive list. It’s not easy to get this combination right.

Thought Leadership and Content Marketing

Here, the strategy is to make your expertise visible to potential buyers and referral sources. This is accomplished through writing, speaking or publishing content that demonstrates your expertise and how it can be applied to solve client problems.

Books, articles and speaking engagements have long been staples of professional services business development strategy. Many high visibility experts have built their practices and firms upon this strategy. It often takes a good part of a career to execute this approach.

But changing times and technology have reshaped this strategy. With the onset of digital communication it is now easier and much faster to establish your expertise with a target market. Search engines have leveled the playing field so that relatively unknown individuals and firms can become known even outside their physical region. Webinars have democratized public speaking, and blogs and websites give every firm a 24/7 presence. Add in video and social media and the budding expert can access a vastly expanded marketplace.

But these developments also open firms to much greater competition as well. You may find yourself competing with specialists whom you were never aware of. The impact is to raise the stakes on your business development strategy.

Combined Strategies

It is common to combine different business development strategies. For example, networking and referrals are frequently used together. And on one level, a combined strategy makes perfect sense. The strength of one strategy can shore up the weakness of another.

But there is a hidden danger. For a strategy to perform at its peak, it must be fully implemented. There is a danger that by attempting to execute too many different strategies you will never completely implement any of them.

Good intentions, no matter how ambitious, are of little real business development value. Under-investment, lack of follow through and inconsistent effort are the bane of effective business development.

It is far more effective to fully implement a simple strategy than to dabble in a complex one. Fewer elements, competently implemented, produce better results.

Next, we turn our attention to the tactics used to implement a high-level strategy. But first there is a bit of confusion to clear up.

Business Development Strategy Vs. Tactics

The line between strategy and tactics is not always clear. For example, you can think of networking as an overall business development strategy or as a tactic to enhance the impact of a thought leadership strategy. Confusing to be sure.

From our perspective, the distinction is around focus and intent. If networking is your business development strategy all your focus should be on making the networking more effective and efficient. You will select tactics that are aimed at making networking more powerful or easier. You may try out another marketing technique and drop it if it does not help you implement your networking strategy.

On the other hand, if networking is simply one of many tactics, your decision to use it will depend on whether it supports your larger strategy. Tactics and techniques can be tested and easily changed. Strategy, on the other hand, is a considered choice and does not change from day to day or week to week.

10 Most Effective Business Development Tactics

Which business development tactics are most effective? To find out, we recently conducted a study that looked at 824 professional services firms. The research identified those firms that were growing at greater than a 20% compound annual growth rate over a three-year period.

These High Growth firms were compared to firms in the same industry that did not grow over the same time period. We then examined which business development tactics were employed by each group and which provided the most impact.

The result is a list of the ten most impactful tactics employed by the High Growth firms:

  • Outbound sales calls from internal teams
  • Providing assessments and/or consultations
  • Business development materials
  • Speaking at targeted conferences or events
  • Networking at targeted conferences or events
  • Conducting and publishing original research
  • Live product/service demonstrations
  • Presenting in educational webinars
  • Marketing partnerships with other organizations
  • Case studies

There are a couple of key observations about these growth tactics. First, these techniques can be employed in service of different business development strategies. For example number four on the list, speaking at targeted conferences or events, can easily support a networking or a thought leadership strategy.

The other observation is that the top tactics include a mix of both digital and traditional techniques. As we will see when we develop your plan, having a healthy mix of digital and traditional techniques tends to increase the impact of your strategy.

Business Development Skills

Now that we have identified the key business development strategies and tactics, it is time to consider the business development skills your team will need. Business development skills require a broad range of technical skills but there are some that make a difference.

When the Hinge Research Institute studied marketing and business development skills in our annual High Growth Study , we found that the firms that grow faster have a skills advantage within their marketing and business development teams.

In Figure 2 below, we see which business development skills are the most important for the high growth firms:

task of business development

Figure 2. Skill ratings by marketing function (High Growth vs. No Growth firms)

Let’s dive into the top three skills from this list. 

The number one business development skill high growth firms enjoy are strong project management skills. And for experienced business development specialists, this makes good sense. Staying organized, accurately tracking business development activity, and managing accounts are essential for building and maintaining strong business relationships. Sound project management practices also allow the business development team to product stronger proposals more quickly without sacrificing quality.

The next most important skill is simplifying complex concepts. In business development conversations, it is vital that team members are able to communicate your firm’s service offerings and capabilities in a ways that prospects can understand. Speaking in industry jargon or presenting overly complicated charts creates unnecessary confusion and friction. Therefore, it is no surprise to see that the fastest growing professional services firms have an advantage in communicating complex information in a way that buyers understand.

The third most important business development skill is data analytics. Firms that make a habit of regularly monitoring key metrics have a real advantage. They can see what marketing techniques are working and which are having problems. The allows them to make course corrections in near real time. Firms that rarely or never look at data are running blind, relying instead on potentially misleading anecdotal evidence.

Review the other business development and marketing skills in the figure above and determine which skills your team should aim to develop.  Developing these skills should be a key priority of your business development team.

How to Create Your Strategic Business Development Plan

A Business Development Plan is a document that outlines how you implement your business development strategy. It can be a plan for an individual, a practice or the firm as a whole. Its scope covers both the marketing and sales functions, as they are so intertwined in most professional services firms.

Here are the key steps to develop and document your plan.

Define your target audience

Who are you trying to attract as new clients? Focus on your “best-fit” clients, not all possible prospects. It is most effective to focus on a narrow target audience. But don’t go so narrow that you can’t achieve your business goals.

Research their issues, buying behavior and your competitors

The more you know about your target audience the better equipped you will be to attract their attention and communicate how you can help them. What are their key business issues? Is your expertise relevant to those issues? Where do they look for advice and inspiration? What is the competitive environment like? How do you stack up?

Identify your competitive advantage

What makes you different? Why is that better for your target client? Are you the most cost-effective alternative? Or the industry’s leading expert? However you position your firm, your claims need to be true, provable and relevant to your target audience. It is very useful to document this positioning as you will use it over and over again as you develop your messages and marketing tools.

Choose your overall business development strategy

Pick the broad strategy or strategies you will use to reach, engage and convert your prospects. You can start with the list of top strategies provided above. Which strategy fits with the needs and preferences of your target audiences? Which ones best convey your competitive advantage? For example, if you are competing because you have superior industry expertise, a thought leadership/content marketing strategy will likely serve you well.

Click to play video

Choose your business development tactics

A great place to start is the list of the most effective tactics we provided above. Make sure that each technique you select fits your target audience and strategy. Remember, it’s not about your personal preferences or familiarity with a tactic. It’s about what creates a connection with your audience.

Also, you will need to balance your choices in two important ways: First, you will need tactics that address each stage of the business development pipeline shown in Figure 1. Some techniques work great for gaining visibility but do not address longer-term need to nurture prospects over time. You need to cover the full funnel.

Second, you need a good balance between digital and traditional techniques (Figure 2). Your research should inform this choice. Be careful about assumptions. Just because you don’t use social media doesn’t mean that a portion of your prospects don’t use it to check you out.

task of business development

When, how often, which conferences, what topics? Now is the time to settle on the details that turn a broad strategy into a specific plan. Many plans include a content or marketing calendar that lays out the specifics, week by week. If that is too much detail for you, at least document what you will be doing and how often. You will need these details to monitor the implementation of your plan.

Specify how you will monitor implementation and impact

Often overlooked, these important considerations often spell the difference between success and failure. Unimplemented strategies don’t work. Keep track of what you do, and when. This will both motivate action and provide a great starting place as you troubleshoot your strategy. Also monitor and record the impacts you see. The most obvious effect will be how much new business you closed. But you should also monitor new leads or new contacts, at the bare minimum. Finally, don’t neglect important process outcomes such as referrals, new names added to your list and downloads of content that expose prospects and referral sources to your expertise.

If you follow these steps you will end up with a documented business development strategy and a concrete plan to implement and optimize it.

task of business development

Free Resource

The Business Development Guide


How Hinge Can Help

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10 Common business development activities

Lucia Piseddu

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Common business development activities you should be doing. Check this shortlist to organize your work and get results.

If you work in business development and you often wonder what activities you should be focusing on, you came to the right place. And you will be happy to know that you’re not the only one to struggle to create a successful plan of action.

In fact, we found out that the majority of business development pros have a hard time even explaining what they do. Why is that?

The main reason is that business development tends to be quite complex as a field. As a quick recap, we define business development:

A set of tasks and processes meant to develop and implement growth opportunities within and between organizations in a sustainable way.

I know…it’s not very straightforward, right?

And that’s the issue with business development. In a field in which you have so many choices, it becomes easy to freeze and not be able to focus on the right activities.

Nevertheless, good business developers exist and the only reason why they are successful is that they identified the right business development activities they should be doing.

We got curious and wanted to understand their recipe for success, so we interviewed thousands of them and they helped us map out for you the 10 most common business development activities you should be working on.

Here is the shortlist:

  • Research, research, research
  • Ecosystem mapping
  • Spot growth opportunities
  • Idea generation
  • Experimentation ideas
  • Lead generation
  • Prospecting
  • Project management
  • Strategic partnership management
  • Analyze data

Let’s dive deeper into these common business development activities that will help you become a better business development pro.

The business development school - 10 Common Business Development Activities

     The BD School – 10 Common Business Development Activities

1 – Research, research, research

The first step to creating a successful plan of action is to spend time understanding your environment. It’s important you allocate part of your time to researching your market, industry, competitors, and of course…customers!

After all, you can’t be successful at something you don’t fully understand.

Run complete market research or whenever available, read the one your company already did in the past. Ask dumb questions to Google to understand the size of your market, the relevant trends, and anything in between that can help you move forward.

Of course, you’re not alone in trying to conquer the market , so make sure you dedicate time to analyzing your competitors . Your competitors are a great source of inspiration and can help you identify new growth opportunities .

A cool trick you can use when researching your competitors is to look at the negative reviews of their customers. You’ll find golden opportunities to differentiate yourself and provide something your customers want.

Last, of course, you need to research your customers and really understand what they need and find out how your product or service actually helps them.

2 – Ecosystem mapping

Second, in the list of most common business development activities is ecosystem mapping. Once you have a clear idea of how you position yourself in the market, you need to identify relevant stakeholders that can help you achieve your goals.

Think about all the potential individuals and organizations that can bring you closer to your end customers and work on building strong relationships with them. Generally speaking, you should look at institutions, media, companies offering complementary services to yours, or influencers.

But of course, each company is a story on its own, so you need to dig deeper and find specific stakeholders relevant to your case. And of course, it’s not just about you finding quick ways to get results.

Building an ecosystem means understanding what your stakeholders need and making sure you can bring value to their organizations.

A well-developed ecosystem amplifies your impact on the market and will help you get results quicker.

3 – Spot growth opportunities

One of the most common business development activities is, of course, spotting growth opportunities . That’s pretty much the reason you’ve been hired for.

Although, also one of the most difficult to wrap your head around. How does that work? How do you find opportunities? What’s an opportunity anyway?

Opportunities are literally everywhere, but you need a process to be able to actually see them. One best practice is to look at new trends emerging in the market and think of ways your business can benefit from them.

For example, earlier this year, the whole world went crazy on Clubhouse, the app where you could listen to real-time conversations and interact with your favorite people.

It grew extremely fast going from 2 million users in January 2021, to 10 million just 5 months later. Of course, many companies jumped on it, increasing their reach basically overnight. Good business developers like our student Erica Pew saw the opportunity too.

She used Clubhouse to establish herself as the go-to person in the events space in the UK. Erica went on to be nominated for the BD100 Awards , a prestigious accolade in the UK creative industry, and landing a position as Client Service Director for an award-winning Creative Event Agency.

Don’t stop at trends. Talk to your customers, analyze content on social media, go to events, analyze old unsuccessful deals, ask your partners, and so on. The main point is that you need to think out of the box and not restrict yourself to safe activities you’ve been doing forever.

Get creative and let opportunities come to you!

4 – Idea generation

Now that you have identified some good opportunities, you need to think of ideas to realize them in real life. Keep in mind that an opportunity by itself doesn’t mean you’ll grow your business. You need to leverage the opportunity and adapt it to your specific case.

You might be thinking: I’m not very creative, I don’t get the famous great ideas under the shower…what do I do?

The good news is that idea generation is a process and there are plenty of tools you can use to come up with great ideas. For example, you can use mindmaps to lay down your thoughts and connect different concepts into innovative ideas.

Another tool you can use is collaborative innovation which consists of discussing topics with others who might have different views than you. The combination of the different insights will help you reach new, unexplored conclusions.

Or, if you like freedom, you can try the Blue-Sky Thinking approach which literally means brainstorming without any sort of limit. The idea behind this approach is to help you remove boundaries and look at your challenges in a different way.

The only thing that really matters when it comes to idea generation is to keep an open mind and use creative thinking.

Listen to this podcast for inspiration: Creativity in Business development

5 – Experimentation

Idea generation is the first step of another common business development activity which is experimentation. Because although your ideas might look great, you can only know they work if you test them.

Experimenting means dissecting your idea, understanding what you want to achieve with it, and preparing a plan of action to execute it. And of course, you need to make sure you monitor your experiment to see if you’re getting closer to your goals.

There are many types of business development experiments you can run. For example, you can open up a new channel that you never tried before to reach out to your audience. Or you can improve your emails and run some A/B tests to see what works best with your stakeholders.

Once you have some results from your experiments, make sure to scale the activities that brought you the best results and ditch the ones that were not successful.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a process in place to validate your assumptions!

6 – Prospecting

Next in the list of common business development activities is prospecting which is the process of looking for contact information of relevant stakeholders and getting in touch with them.

Prospecting is also one of the activities that gives the most headaches to many business developers. It’s very common to contact hundreds of people and not really get results. This usually happens when you don’t have a clear target in mind.

The key to successful prospecting is having a clear customer profile in mind and knowing exactly what are their pains and needs. You also need to create great value propositions which help your prospects understand how your product or service can help them achieve their goals .

There are many strategies you can use when prospecting and the most used are cold calls , cold emails, and cold outreach on social media. And of course, there are plenty of tools you can use to automate some parts of the process, for example finding email addresses of phone numbers.

One of our favourite tools is Hunter but you can find an extensive list of business development tools at this link . But we recommend you to do the process manually first and only when you get good results, automate it.

Tools are great to enhance what works, but if your process sucks, they will only harm you: use them with care!

7 – Lead generation

Lead generation is one of the most common business development activities and it means generate interests from relevant stakeholders in what you do. In short, it’s not enough to have a long list of emails that you contact every day.

To be a lead, your contacts need to express a genuine interest in your product or service.

Lead generation can either be outbound or inbound. Outbound leads are generated when you contact relevant stakeholders, while inbound leads are the ones that contact you first.

There are benefits in both processes. Having an outbound lead generation process will give you control and will help you better forecast your results. You can always contact more people or imrpove your approach and it’s entirely up to you.

One big downside of outbound lead generation is exactly timing. Because not all companies you contact may need your service right now and this comes with rejection, which can be tough on many of us. But it’s important not to take rejection to heart. If you struggle with that, probably this article will help you put things in perspective .

On the other hand, inbound lead generation will give you more relevant leads who are currently looking for your solution. This makes the process easier as it removes the timing barrier. They’re there for you and your job is to educate them and help them find the right solution.

An effective business development strategy includes both processes. Make sure you have a good balance!

8 – Project management

Business developers need to be excellent project managers. This is because you will work on many different tasks involving many different people. As a business developer, you need to have great time management and organizational skills.

Besides, you need to be great at communicating with other departments or external stakeholders in order to achieve your targets. Of course, you should also be great at documenting processes so that you can easily scale the activities that bring the best results.

As usual, there are many collaborative tools you can use to help yourself. Our favourite is Trello which is very intuitive and easy to use to manage complex projects. Our tool stack includes also Miro , Hubspot , and Canva helping our business development team have a clear overview of their tasks and better collaborate with the marketing and design team.

9 – Partnership management

As a business developer, the essence of your role is in building and maintaining partnerships. It’s important to build a solid process for partnership management so you can achieve your target.

Finding the right partners always start by setting clear goals for yourself in order to find the best stakeholders that will help you reach them. Once you set your goals, you can get in touch with potential partners and identify the best ones.

Strategic partnerships involve a good deal of negotiation and building trust, so you need to be good at asking questions, active listening and of course, negotiation! Partnerships can really help you skyrocket your results, but only if they are win-win.

You need to find out what’s important for your partners and create a proposal that makes both of you satisfied.

10 – Analyze data

Last in the list of common business development activities is analyzing data. Very often business developers feel like they have to justify their roles because they don’t seem to have results. You know, when your boss is constantly asking you what you’re actually doing and you have no clue of how to handle it!

That’s never a good position to be in, but there is a solution which is looking at the data and let them speak for you. Of course, when you work on many different tasks, many of which long-term, it can be a daunting task.

However, there is a way to measure any business development activity and the secret is to identify tangible KPIs for each of them. Basically, you need to attach a number!

For example, if your job is to find partners, then you can measure how many potential partners you contact in a month and how many of them actually decide to work with you.

After keeping track of your activities, consolidate the findings into reports so you can get a better overview of your activities. From here, you can optimise your efforts to be more effective, accurate, and efficient.

If you would like to learn an easy step-by-step process to measure your activities and show your value to your boss, all you have to do is to watch our webinar on this topic.

But that’s not all!

By joining our course, you’ll get access to 1000+ hours of practical and actionable content delivered by experts in the field. You will improve your skills and you will learn how to generate more leads and increase revenue for your business.

So your boss will never question your presence again!

Enrol to the certification program today.

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Business Development Team Roles and Responsibilities: Key Positions and Duties Explained

Business development teams are pivotal in steering companies towards growth and market expansion. Their multifaceted roles encompass a range of activities from identifying new business opportunities to establishing valuable relationships with clients, partners, and stakeholders. These professionals are tasked with the strategic analysis of market trends, negotiating deals, and ultimately, increasing revenue streams for the business. Their success hinges on a nuanced understanding of the industry, combined with the adeptness to foresee and capitalize on emerging business prospects.

The responsibilities of a business development team are dynamic, evolving with the company’s objectives and the market landscape. This group of professionals works closely with the sales and marketing departments to create and implement growth strategies, all while ensuring the operational efficiency of the business. They’re often the catalysts for change within an organization, driving innovation and fostering a culture of continuous professional development. The team’s effectiveness is typically evaluated through a robust system of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which offers a measurable insight into their contributions and the value they add to the organization.

Key Takeaways

  • Business development teams identify and leverage new opportunities to drive growth.
  • These professionals work interdepartmentally to formulate and execute strategic initiatives.
  • Success is measured by evaluating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reflective of their impact.

Understanding Business Development

In the dynamic world of business, developing and implementing a robust growth strategy is vital. Effective business development requires a comprehensive understanding of how to expand a business’s reach and enhance its profitability.

Defining Business Development and Goals

Business development encompasses the ideas, initiatives, and activities that help improve a company’s market position and maximize its financial growth. This function includes identifying potential growth opportunities, such as new markets, partnerships, or paths to attract future clients. The primary goal is to drive business growth by leveraging networking , negotiations, and marketing strategies to establish and nurture long-term value for the organization.

Relationship Between Sales and Business Development

Sales and business development are closely linked, yet they serve distinct roles within an organization. Sales focus primarily on closing immediate deals and generating revenue through customer acquisition. In contrast, business development is concerned with forming strategic partnerships and enhancing the business’s overall market position for sustained growth. The relationship between the two is symbiotic; successful business development creates new opportunities that the sales team can pursue, leading to increased revenue.

Strategic Planning for Growth

Growth strategy is at the heart of business development. It involves the deliberate design of a business strategy to identify and exploit opportunities for expansion. This strategic planning considers factors such as market trends, competitor analysis, and internal business capabilities. A comprehensive growth strategy includes:

  • Market Expansion: Exploring and entering new markets.
  • Product Diversification: Introducing new products to diversify risk.
  • Acquisition: Acquiring businesses to quickly scale up operations.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Aligning with other businesses for mutual benefits.

Each element must align with the overarching goals of the company and is typically guided by a mixture of analytical data, foresight, and industry experience.

Key Roles in Business Development

In the realm of business development, certain roles are pivotal in steering the path of growth and market success. These key players craft strategies , foster relationships, and analyze market data to propel a company forward.

Business Development Manager

The Business Development Manager is at the forefront, responsible for identifying new business opportunities and managing relationships with potential clients. They lead market research and analysis, ensuring a deep understanding of the competitive landscape and customer needs. Their role extends to the oversight of lead generation and prospecting , which lays the foundation for successful negotiation and closing of deals.

Sales and Marketing Teams

Working closely with the business development manager are the Sales and Marketing Teams . This collaborative power duo employs data analysis to shape effective marketing campaigns, aiming to increase brand awareness and generate sales leads. The sales team, armed with insights provided by the marketing team, focuses on pitching products or services to prospects and achieving set sales targets .

Project Management and Analysis

Integral to maintaining the momentum of business growth is Project Management and Analysis . Project managers organize and oversee projects to align with strategic business goals, while analysts scrutinize data to inform decisions . Both roles encompass the monitoring of timelines and resources, ensuring that initiatives are executed efficiently and business strategies are properly implemented .

Core Responsibilities of the Team

The core responsibilities of a business development team are vital in steering a company towards increased revenue and market presence. They focus on key areas such as scouting for new opportunities, nurturing potential clients, crafting winning proposals, and enhancing the company’s profitability.

Identifying New Opportunities

They continuously analyze the market to identify new opportunities that align with the company’s objectives. This involves thorough market research to pinpoint trends, gaps, and potential sectors for expansion. For a business development team, recognizing these opportunities is the first step towards business growth.

Lead Generation and Prospecting

Effective lead generation is critical. The team leverages various strategies and tools to generate leads that could convert into clients. Prospecting involves reaching out to potential leads through cold-calling, emailing, networking events, and social media engagements. The aim is to create a robust pipeline of leads that can be nurtured through the sales process.

Creating and Negotiating Proposals

For potential deals, proposals that clearly articulate the value proposition are crafted. In proposal creation, detailing services or solutions that meet the specific needs of the lead is essential. Subsequently, negotiation becomes a key phase where the team works to find a mutually beneficial agreement, ensuring a balance between client needs and company capabilities.

Revenue Growth and Profitability

Ultimately, the primary goal is to achieve revenue growth and profitability . The team deploys strategies to convert proposals into closed deals, thereby increasing revenue. They also monitor and manage the profitability of projects, seeking ways to optimize cost-efficiency and resource allocation without sacrificing quality – ensuring sustained profits and long-term business growth .

Skills for Business Development Success

The ability to drive business growth hinges on a team’s mastery of core skills that facilitate market expansion and forging profitable relationships. This section spotlights essential competencies for business development professionals .

Communication and Networking

Communication skills are paramount in business development, as they enable professionals to articulate value propositions and foster relationships with clients, partners, and teammates. Individuals should be adept in utilizing various platforms to convey messages effectively, ensuring clarity and impact. In addition, efficient networking prowess connects the dots among industry contacts, opening doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

  • Articulate oral and written communication
  • Active listening
  • Persuasive presentation and public speaking
  • Networking at events and social platforms

Analytical and Organizational Skills

A business development professional must possess strong analytical skills to evaluate market trends, dissect competitor strategies, and interpret complex data leading to informed business decisions. They should also exhibit organizational skills to manage projects effectively, set priorities, and adhere to timelines, ensuring operational efficiency.

  • Market research and analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Time management and prioritization
  • Project planning and implementation

Adaptability and Problem-Solving

The business landscape is ever-changing, and adaptability is crucial for navigating new challenges and seizing emerging prospects. Equally, problem-solving skills allow professionals to tackle setbacks swiftly and inventively. It’s the combination of flexibility and creativity in resolving issues that distinguishes successful business development teams.

  • Quick adjustment to market shifts
  • Creative solutions to unforeseen problems
  • Embracing new technologies and methodologies
  • Learning from experience and adapting to change

Building Client Relationships and Services

Building strong client relationships and delivering exceptional services are critical components of successful business development. They ensure that prospective and existing customers remain engaged and satisfied with the products and services offered. The ability to effectively engage clients , maintain customer satisfaction , and deliver quality is what sets leading businesses apart.

Engaging Prospective Clients

Prospective clients are the lifeblood of any business’s growth strategy. Engaging them requires a deep understanding of their needs and the ability to communicate the benefits of products or services clearly. Tactics like personalized communication and demonstrating value upfront can help to turn potential clients into loyal customers.

Maintaining Customer Satisfaction

Once a business secures a client, keeping them satisfied is essential. This involves regular communication, efficient problem resolution, and continuous improvement based on client feedback. High customer satisfaction leads to repeat business and referrals, contributing to the business’s ongoing success.

Delivering Quality Products and Services

The cornerstone of any strong business-client relationship is the consistent delivery of quality products and services. This reflects the business’s commitment to excellence and meeting client expectations. It entails rigorous quality control processes and being responsive to client feedback for continuous product and service enhancement.

Expanding Business Horizons

Expanding business horizons encompasses strategic efforts aimed at exploring new markets and opportunities, driving growth through innovation and diversification, and strengthening industry relationships through effective networking.

Exploring New Markets and Opportunities

Companies seeking to expand often explore new markets to tap into fresh audiences and untapped demand. Business development teams conduct market research to identify viable opportunities, going beyond current geographies or demographics to pinpoint areas ripe for growth. Analyzing market trends, customer needs, and competitive landscapes equips the team with the knowledge to strategically enter new sectors.

Innovation and Diversification

Diversification and innovation are critical for businesses intent on sustaining long-term growth . This involves expanding the product or service offerings to mitigate risks associated with market volatility. Business development managers prioritize research and development (R&D) to innovate, ensuring their company stays ahead of industry curves and adapts to the dynamic market demands.

Cultivating Industry Relationships and Networking

The foundation of successful business expansion often lies in networking and cultivating industry relationships. By engaging with key stakeholders, businesses can forge partnerships, gain insider insights, and access new channels for business development. Establishing a strong presence in industry events, professional groups, and online platforms is essential for building a vast network that supports sustained growth.

Operational Efficiency and Tools

To enhance a business development team’s performance, operational efficiency is paramount. The integration of sophisticated tools and methodologies fortifies the team’s ability to analyze markets, manage client relationships, and streamline sales processes. Robust software solutions, methodical research, and technology adoption lay the groundwork for these improvements.

Utilizing CRM and Sales Software

In the pursuit of operational efficiency, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and sales software become essential. These tools are critical in managing the sales funnel, allowing teams to track interactions with potential and existing customers. With features that facilitate sales automation and detailed feedback, these systems not only save time but also provide actionable insights that drive sales strategies.

Market Research and Analysis Techniques

Informed business decisions hinge on precise market research and analysis . These techniques enable teams to understand industry trends and consumer preferences. By leveraging robust software tools specializing in data analysis, teams can dissect complex market information, which aids in tailoring business development strategies to meet the market’s needs, thus heightening the prospect of success.

Automation and Technology Adoption

The deployment of automation and the adoption of cutting-edge technology are key to ramping up operational efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks, companies can devote more resources to strategy and innovation. In particular, hardware advancements can provide the necessary edge in cybersecurity measures, safeguarding essential data. The development of technical skills within the team ensures the effective use of these technologies, propelling productivity forward.

Professional Development and Training

In the realm of business development, teams thrive when professional growth is prioritized. This section explores the vital roles within professional development and training, from enhancing skills to ensuring employees advance in their careers.

Coaching and Mentorship

Effective coaching plays a crucial role in professional development, offering personalized guidance to team members. Experienced business development managers serve as mentors , shaping the professional landscape of the team and refining competencies through one-on-one sessions.

  • Enhances performance
  • Accelerates onboarding for new hires
  • Encourages personal and professional growth

Career Path and Progression

The trajectory for career advancement in business development must be clearly defined. Employees need transparent pathways for progression, which can be facilitated by structured training programs .

  • Aligns individual goals with organizational objectives
  • Helps in retaining top talent by providing a vision for growth

Continuous Learning and Skill Enhancement

The business world is ever-changing, and continuous learning is essential to remain competitive. Skill enhancement programs, whether internal or through professional courses, ensure business development professionals stay ahead in their field.

  • Regular workshops and seminars
  • Access to the latest market and industry research
  • Opportunities for certifications relevant to business development

Salaries for business development managers are often commensurate with their level of training and the success they bring to the organization, highlighting the importance of investment in professional development.

Measuring Success and KPIs

In business development, the key to sustainable growth lies in setting precise performance metrics, interpreting market feedback accurately, and maintaining strict accountability reporting . These factors help teams understand how their actions align with the company’s strategic objectives.

Setting and Evaluating Performance Metrics

Prospects and sales leads are integral to measuring business development success. Setting specific, quantifiable performance metrics enables teams to evaluate their approach toward generating and converting leads. For instance, a KPI can be the percentage increase in sales revenue from new clients over a set period. Establishing clear benchmarks helps teams to not only measure current performance , but also to benchmark against industry standards, providing a clear goal for growth .

  • Number of new prospects acquired
  • Conversion rate of prospects to qualified sales leads
  • Year-over-year sales revenue growth from new clients

Adapting to Market Feedback and Results

Feedback is a goldmine for business development teams; it provides actionable insights to adjust strategies in real-time. When market results indicate a different path, the ability to pivot and re-strategize becomes valuable. For example, if feedback suggests that a product does not meet a prospect’s needs, this can lead to tailored solutions that better align with market demands, thereby improving sales revenue .

  • Tailoring products to meet specific client needs
  • Modifying sales pitches to better address potential concerns

Reporting and Accountability

Transparent reporting ensures accountability within the business development team. It not only underscores the outcome of their initiatives but also holds them accountable for consistently tracking and reporting their performance . Reporting should reflect both successes and areas needing improvement, allowing for a comprehensive view of the business development outcomes.

  • Detailed breakdown of sales revenue by new accounts
  • Status reports on prospecting activities and lead generation
  • Analysis of target versus actual performance for key metrics

What Are the Key Positions and Duties within a Business Development Team?

The business development team role definition encompasses various key positions and duties, including sales, marketing, and strategic partnerships. Business development managers are responsible for creating new opportunities, while sales representatives focus on closing deals. Marketing specialists develop strategies to promote the company’s products or services. Overall, collaboration and innovation are essential for success.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addressing key topics within the realm of business development, this section responds to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the roles and responsibilities of various positions in the field.

What key skills are essential for a Business Development Manager?

Essential skills for a Business Development Manager include market research and analysis , strategic planning, excellent communication , negotiation capabilities, and strong relationship-building skills . They must also possess a high level of resilience and be adept in lead generation and prospecting.

What are the typical responsibilities of a Senior Business Development professional?

A Senior Business Development professional typically oversees strategy development and implementation , handles key accounts, and forges strategic partnerships. They engage in high-level negotiations, and their responsibilities may also include mentoring team members and leading organizational growth initiatives.

How do the roles in a Junior Business Development position differ from senior roles?

Junior Business Development roles generally focus more on the operational aspects of sales and business growth, such as lead generation , initial client outreach, and assistance in the coordination of marketing efforts. Their work is usually guided by senior professionals who direct strategy and critical decision-making processes.

Can you outline the primary duties of a Head of Business Development?

The primary duties of a Head of Business Development include leading the business development team , setting overarching growth goals, creating strategic plans for market expansion, and pioneering efforts to identify and seize new business opportunities. They also play a critical role in stakeholder management and driving the company’s revenue.

What specific qualifications are beneficial for a career in Business Development?

Beneficial qualifications for a career in Business Development range from a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related fields to professional certifications in sales or marketing. A good business development manager appreciates the nuances of sales strategies and showcases a robust understanding of the industry in which they operate.

To whom does a Business Development Manager usually report within an organization?

A Business Development Manager typically reports to the Head of Business Development or the Sales Director. In smaller companies, they may report directly to the Chief Executive Officer or the company owner. Their reporting structure is often aligned with the organization’s size and complexity.

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Business Development Specialist Job Description

Also known as Business Development Officers, Business Development Specialists are responsible for identifying opportunities for business growth and optimizing marketing strategies. They analyze business processes and finances, implement business plans, and establish effective networks. They may also be involved in merger and acquisition strategies.

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Business Development Specialist Job Description Template

We are seeking a resourceful Business Development Specialist to expand our business and improve our branding initiatives. As a Business Development Specialist, your duties will include establishing networks with industry specialists, maintaining valued customer relationships, and negotiating deals.

To be successful in this role, you should demonstrate extensive experience in business development strategies and marketing. Accomplished Business Development Specialists are experts in identifying and capitalizing on business opportunities.

Business Development Specialist Responsibilities:

  • Analyzing and expanding business operations toward sustained growth.
  • Monitoring revenue streams and identifying opportunities to increase profitability.
  • Evaluating and improving sales, marketing, and branding strategies.
  • Identifying and developing new lines of business based on consumer behavior.
  • Performing competitor analysis toward obtaining an increased market share.
  • Developing client relationships and strengthening industry partnerships.
  • Identifying new clients by researching and creating networking opportunities.
  • Negotiating and closing business deals that promote sustained revenue.
  • Liaising with Sales, Marketing, and Management to align strategies aimed at increasing revenue.
  • Assessing and advising on potential joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions.

Business Development Specialist Requirements:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Business Development or Marketing, or similar.
  • Master of Business Administration Degree (MBA) preferred.
  • Previous experience as a Business Development Specialist in a related industry.
  • Proficiency in integrated business management and CRM software, including NetSuite and Odoo.
  • Advanced knowledge of business development, marketing strategies, and brand expansion.
  • Experience in identifying profitable business opportunities and potential clients.
  • Exceptional ability to analyze market trends and competitor behavior.
  • Ability to maintain strong client relationships and establish industry partnerships.
  • Competency in negotiating and closing business deals.
  • Ability to advise on possible joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills.

Related Articles:

Business development officer job description, business development coordinator job description, business development associate job description, business development consultant job description, business development specialist interview questions, business development officer interview questions, business development coordinator interview questions.

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Seb Coe to lead Manchester United’s Old Trafford regeneration task force with Gary Neville and Andy Burnham

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: General view outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester United and Galatasaray A.S at Old Trafford on October 03, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Sebastian Coe will lead a task force to explore the regeneration of Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium.

As reported by The Athletic last month , former United captain Gary Neville is also a member of the task force. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Trafford Council CEO Sara Todd are also involved.


Coe chaired the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games which saw large-scale infrastructure built in the UK capital. “We are overdue a project of similar scale and ambition in the north of England,” Coe said of the Old Trafford project.

The regeneration of Old Trafford is a priority of INEOS, which completed its purchase of a 25 per cent stake in United last month.

United are not planning to move away from Old Trafford due to the club’s deep-rooted history on the site, but there are options for redeveloping the existing stadium or building a new ground on the adjacent club-owned land. The initial preference of INEOS co-founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is to build a new stadium over a redevelopment project.

One of the main focuses of the task force will be the financing of the Old Trafford regeneration project. A variety of potential private funding sources will be explored, with the cost of building a new stadium and/or a wider regeneration plan likely to require additional financial partners.


Explained: Could Manchester United use public money to rebuild Old Trafford?

Ratcliffe has already held meetings with fan group and community leaders to discuss potential options with those who will be stakeholders in any project. United will continue to consult with fans and local residents, both groups which are represented on the task force.

United owns a significant amount of land around Old Trafford which it believes is currently under-utilised and could be repurposed for housing, leisure and business, among other things. The club also say that any regeneration project will be based on sustainable principles and they are keen to work with Manchester authorities to improve public transport, for the benefit of fans, residents and the environment.

“This can be a major regeneration project for an area of Greater Manchester which has played such a key role in British industrial history, but which today requires new investment to thrive again,” Ratcliffe added.

“The north-west of England has a greater concentration of major football clubs than anywhere else in the world, yet we don’t have a stadium on the scale of Wembley, the Nou Camp or Bernabeu. We will not be able to change that on our own, which is why this task force is so important to help us seize this once-in-a-century opportunity.”


If United want the best stadium in the world, they need to knock down Old Trafford

Old Trafford task force members

  • Seb Coe — chair of the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games
  • Andy Burnham — Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Sara Todd — Trafford Council CEO
  • Gary Neville — former Manchester United captain
  • Duncan Drasdo — member of Manchester United fans’ advisory board and CEO of Manchester United Supporters’ Trust
  • Tom Ross — leader of Trafford Council
  • Eamonn Boylan — CEO of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester
  • Anna Bensky — associate director of Peel Land
  • Dame Nancy Rothwell — president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester
  • Malcolm Press — vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University

‘If Manchester United want an elite stadium, Old Trafford must be knocked down’

Andy Mitten, Manchester United contributor

Old Trafford has desperately needed investment for about 20 years but, until recently, few people at Manchester United saw a problem with the stadium and the issue remained largely undiscussed.

So, as every main rival either rebuilt or extensively redeveloped their homes, Old Trafford stood still. It has remained the biggest club stadium in the country, but it has been some time since you could call it the best, and it is starting to fray around the edges.

Let me be clear — Old Trafford is not falling down (as some say it is). It is still a good football stadium and (former CEO Richard) Arnold and (former CEO Ed) Woodward do deserve some credit for pushing on with safe standing and engaging with fans to improve the atmosphere after years of silence from the club.

But how best to move forward with its improvement? I had always preferred the idea of a redeveloped and expanded stadium, with the major focus being on increasing the size of the main stand, whereas Gary Neville, for example, had the view that a new stadium was needed.

However, I’ve started to feel differently about a redevelopment in the last year. Little things have made me think this. Things like the club’s chef talking about the restrictions that come with working in a building that is, in parts, more than 100 years old. Things like going pitchside and seeing how tight the drop-off is and how dangerous it could be for players.

Also, visiting new stadiums in New Jersey, Los Angeles and Las Vegas during the 2023 pre-season tour made me realise some of the venues in the U.S. are on a different level.

(Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Mark Critchley

Mark Critchley is a football writer for The Athletic, covering Manchester United and Manchester City. Mark joined after five years as The Independent's northern football correspondent. Follow Mark on Twitter @ mjcritchley

Organizational Effectiveness Consultant - Change Leadership

  • Remote (United States)
  • Human Resources


Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads the development and implementation of programs and processes of enterprise, business unit/division and team level organization effectiveness (OE) programs including organizational design, workforce planning, performance management, culture, leadership and team effectiveness, change management, workforce engagement, and career development
  • Aligns the organization on key organizational effectiveness objectives
  • Collaborates with leadership across the enterprise and within HR to gain business insight and input for program design and implementation plans; partnership with HRBP team
  • Educates and upskills the organization through training and facilitation
  • Provides ongoing support, guidance and coaching to business leaders to effectively execute on organizational effectiveness related goals
  • Maintains, upgrades and modernizes programs and processes based on metrics, outcomes and industry best practices
  • Maintains leading edge expertise to ensure Thrivent implements the most effective programs and processes to drive organizational outcomes

Required Job Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in applicable field required (Human Resources, Psychology, Business)
  • At least 8-10+ years of related experience in change management, consulting, or program management
  • Experience working with and influencing employees and management at all levels in the organization
  • Experience in developing training curriculum that reflects knowledge of adult learning principles, different learning/work styles and established instructional design approaches and processes
  • Exceptional written and oral communication and interpersonal skills for collaboration with clients and partners
  • Able to adapt quickly to changing needs and requirements, new technologies, new processes and standards in an environment of continuous improvement
  • Builds trusting relationships, approaches work with curiosity and demonstrates persistence and resilience.

Preferred Job Qualifications

  • Advanced degree preferred
  • Change management, change leadership, or project management certification (Kotter, PROSCI, PMI, etc.), as well as leading large-scale cross-functional initiatives
  • In-depth knowledge of and experience leading Organizational Effectiveness programs
  • Experience in financial services industry and/or fraternal benefit societies

Other Critical Factors

  • Periodic travel

Thrivent provides Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) without regard to race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship status, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law. This policy applies to all employees and job applicants.

Thrivent is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation, please let us know by sending an email to  [email protected]  or call 800-847-4836 and request Human Resources.

Thrivent Diversity Equity Inclusion

Our DEI Perspective

At Thrivent, we know our organization is strengthened when we have a diverse team that reflects our clients and builds on the diverse perspectives of others.

We believe that humanity thrives when people make the most of all they've been given, which includes our history, heritage, individual and collective experiences. Take a moment to pause with us, reflect on where Thrivent is at in our DEI journey and look forward to the future in anticipation of great things to come.

Read our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report

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KAYTUS Released MotusAI, an AI Development Platform for Highly Efficient GPU Resource Scheduling and Task Orchestration

KAYTUS, a leading IT infrastructure provider, has unveiled MotusAI, an AI development platform now accessible for trial worldwide. MotusAI is tailored for deep learning and AI development, integrating GPU and data resources alongside AI development environments to streamline computing resource allocation, task orchestration, and centralized management. It accelerates training data and manages AI model development workflows seamlessly. This platform drastically reduces resource investment, boosts development efficiency, elevates cluster computing power utilization to over 70%, and significantly enhance in large-scale training task scheduling performance.

Streamline AI Development for Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency

The rapid expansion of enterprise AI business and AI model development brings forth challenges including low computing efficiency, complexity in model development, varied requirements for task orchestration across different scenarios, and unstable computing resources. Ensuring efficient, flexible, and stable operation of AI business is critical for enterprises to consistently derive business insights, generate revenue, and maintain competitiveness.

Optimize Resource Management for Maximum Computing Power

MotusAI efficiently allocates resources and workloads by implementing intelligent and flexible GPU scheduling. It caters to diverse AI workload demands for computing power by dynamically allocating GPU resources based on demand. With multi-dimensional and dynamic GPU resource allocation, including fine-grained GPU scheduling and support for Multi-Instance GPU (MIG), MotusAI effectively meets computing power requirements across various scenarios such as model development, debugging, and training.

Streamline Task Orchestration for Versatile Support of Various Scenario

MotusAI has revolutionized cloud-native scheduling systems. Its scheduler surpasses the community version by dramatically improving the scheduling performance of large-scale POD tasks. MotusAI achieves rapid startup and environment readiness for hundreds of PODs, boasting a five times increase in throughput and a five times decrease in latency compared to the community scheduler. This ensures efficient scheduling and utilization of computing resources for large-scale training. Moreover, MotusAI enables dynamic scaling of AI workloads for both training and inference services, supporting burst tasks and fulfilling diverse scheduling needs across various scenarios.

MotusAI empowers users to maximize computing resources, spanning from fine-grained division of single-card multiple instances to large-scale parallel computing across multiple machines and cards. By integrating features like computing power pooling, dynamic scaling, and GPU single-card reuse, MotusAI significantly enhances computing power utilization, achieving an average utilization rate of over 70%. Furthermore, it enhances computing efficiency by leveraging cluster topology awareness and optimizing network communication.

Data Transfer Acceleration for Three Times Efficiency Improvement

MotusAI excels in data transfer acceleration through innovative features such as supporting local loading and computing of remote data, which eliminates delays caused by network I/O during computation. Utilizing strategies like "zero-copy" data transfer, multi-threaded retrieval, incremental data updates, and affinity scheduling, MotusAI significantly reduces data caching cycles. These enhancements greatly improve AI development and training efficiency, resulting in 2-3 times boost in model efficiency during data training.

Reliable, and Automatically Fault-Tolerant Platform

MotusAI supports performance monitoring and alerts for computing resources, providing real-time status updates for core platform services. It employs sandbox isolation mechanisms for data with higher security levels. In case of resource failures or abnormalities, MotusAI automatically initiates fault tolerance processes to ensure the quickest possible recovery during interrupted training tasks. This approach reduces fault handling time by over 90%, on average.

Comprehensive Management of AI Model Development in One Integrated Solution

MotusAI accelerates AI development and supports every stage of large model development. From managing data samples and software stacks to designing model architectures, debugging code, training models, tuning parameters, and conducting evaluation testing, MotusAI offers a complete platform. It integrates popular development frameworks like PyTorch and TensorFlow, along with distributed training frameworks such as Megatron and DeepSpeed.

Moreover, MotusAI enables comprehensive lifecycle management of AI inferencing services, including offline and online testing, A/B testing, rolling release, service orchestration, and service decommissioning. These features collectively enhance the business value of AI technology, fostering continuous business growth.

Additionally, MotusAI provides an integrated visual management and operation interface that covers computing, networking, storage, and application resources. Operational staff can comprehensively manage, monitor, and evaluate the overall platform operation status through a single interface.

Free Trial Available

MotusAI is now available worldwide for a trial period, offering free remote access for one month, along with testing, training, and support. Users can also opt for local deployment using their own devices and environment, with local deployment testing support from KAYTUS. For more information 1 and to register 2 , please visit Link 1 , Link 2 .


KAYTUS is a premier provider of IT infrastructure products and solutions, delivering a suite of cutting-edge, open, and environmentally friendly infrastructure solutions for cloud, AI, edge computing, and other emerging technologies. With a customer-centric approach, KAYTUS adapts flexibly to user needs through its agile business model. Learn more at

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