A career in business development… or sales by another name

By Gary Proctor – Career Coach and Business Consultant

You may have noticed an increase in the number of jobs being advertised with ‘Business Development’ in the title now, be it at Director, Manager or Executive level. But what does it mean and what are the attributes required to follow this career path? 

This is where the Careers and Business Relations team could help you…

The role and what will you do?

The title suggests that the role will involve developing business over and above the company’s current budgeted key performance areas such as sales turnover, client numbers and profit. This is a very simplistic description, but in essence the company will have identified key areas where they would like to see growth in the future and require a specific skill set and resource to deliver this against strategic targets and measurements.

So with that in mind, the responsibilities could involve many of the following:

  • Utilising some form of lead generation system (a way to find new clients)
  • An element of cold calling (usually by telephone) and the use of social media
  • Effective networking
  • Following up on opportunities and setting meetings
  • Planning and preparing presentations and proposals
  • Communicating new product and service developments to prospects
  • Overseeing the development of marketing literature
  • Writing reports
  • Working with existing client account managers
  • Achieving targets
  • Providing management with feedback and ideas/solutions

What will you need and what are the desirable skills?

Obviously a good degree will give you an edge over an individual who doesn’t have a degree, but work experience and the ability to evidence that you have demonstrated the following skills will be paramount:

  • Good evidence of business sense
  • Obvious enthusiasm and high energy
  • Self confidence
  • Ability to network and enjoy it
  • An understanding of the sales process, particularly consultative selling
  • Good communication skills
  • An understanding of marketing PR
  • Negotiating and influencing ability
  • Lots of initiative
  • Resilience – the ability to stick to the task and learn from the setbacks and mistakes

Where can this career lead you?

  • Experience gained in this area can lead to progression within an organisation to other functionalities such as sales management, marketing or CRM.
  • Management consultancy firms also see the benefits of individuals who have gained experience in these roles, and coupled with good financial acumen and strategic thinking, can command excellent opportunities in this area.
  • Most companies within the FMCG area (fast moving consumer goods) would also see experience and skills gained in business development as a significant asset.

In today’s employment market, many people look at business development roles as a clever description for cold calling and some businesses do wrap it up this way. However, in my experience, business development is a vital part of a business’s strategy to grow and should be viewed in that light. Successful business development executives, by the very nature of the skills and experience gained, have the ability to create very exciting future careers…

To make an appointment with our expert Careers Advisors & Coaches, contact us today!
Call us on: +44 (0)207 487 7419 or visit our office in Jebb 205.
Email: careers@regents.ac.uk
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