If you are the owner or CEO of a company, you will soon come to the conclusion that you need to grow your business. Not only that, but you might be out of ideas, skills or knowledge to do that as well. What do you do in this situation? You hire a business development manager, of course.
But who are they, what exactly do they do, and what qualities must they have?
What Does a Business Development Manager Really Do?
Business development per se can mean a lot of things, from handing out fliers to hiring more people and attracting more investors. Even so, the best part of all specialists believe a business development manager should focus on the following three activities.
- Customers: A good business development manager understands that clients and customers are the heart of any business. It is only logical. No customers equals no sales. And no sales equals no more business and capital. Therefore, your business development manager will always strive to attract as many new clients as he can. However, keep in mind that this first concept under his scrutiny does not mean your business development manager should neglect your existing customers. Not at all, in fact. The ‘customers’ idea also means that he must extract as much value as he can from your standing ones.
- Markets: Apart from clients, what else should become the focus of your business? The market. An excellent business development manager must try to find out where the customers reside. This idea can mean both from a geographical point of view or as far as their mindset is concerned. When he does find out their exact location, he will try to create ways to reach them and offer them what he perceives they need from you. Evidently, this will be in terms of products and services which your company offers.
- Relationships: Once you have established a business, understood the ins and outs of your market and found your customers, it’s time to get networking. Your business development manager needs to build relationships for you, which he will base on trust and correctness. He or she must do this to facilitate as many opportunities for your business as they can.
What Skills Must You Look for in a Business Development Manager?
There are many out there who might just call themselves a business develop manager. However, that doesn’t mean you must not screen them out. Don’t worry because we are here to help you with that. Here are some skills to look for in a good business development manager.
1. Strategical Skills
Does he know how to pursue an opportunity? He might be able to find it, but if he can’t grow it well enough to turn it into a concrete deal, it’s no use. If he claims he knows the best way to the development of your business, what are the grounds on which he is basing this claim? Can he or has he already performed an analysis of your business?
Can your guy tell a dangerous opportunity from a good one? Business doesn’t really work like publicity. You know what they say about the latter: there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Unfortunately, companies don’t work like that. When it comes to business opportunities, there are wrong ones as well. Will your development manager be able to tell the difference?
Does the person you are considering for the job understand the fundamentals that drive your business forward? Does he have an intimate knowledge of your clients, partners, and competitors? Can he assess what he needs to do about them? All these questions fall into the same category. If he can answer ‘yes’ to all of them, then he has what are called strategical abilities.
2. Sales Skills
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product, service, or the concept of a partnership. Every company out there must perform some type of sales at some point. In that case, your business development manager is the guy to do it once again.
He has to believe in the item that you are selling and find the best strategies to infiltrate it in the market. In this sense, a good business development manager will be the one who can make your sales go up in almost no time after you hired him.
3. Relationship Management Skills
If the introduction we made is correct and you already are a business owner or CEO, or if you’re thinking about becoming one, then the following will not come as news to you. Business development is all about networking. As a consequence, your business development manager must be a people person, with a lot of connections, friends, and acquaintances all over the market.
He has to be able to engage in partnerships which he will then use for leverage when the time comes, and you need it. He must also not limit himself to your niche or market. Allow us to give you an example. Let’s say that you own a cupcakery. You might believe that your business development manager should remain confined within the limits of the baking market. But you’d be wrong.
If he or she has networking and relationship management skills he could make all sorts of friends and partners in various fields, radio included, for example. Later on, when the radio network holds a concert or a festival, he can go to his relations and ask if your cupcakery can erect a stall at the festival. This is what business development means and this is where he or she will display their value.
Other Responsibilities of a Business Development Manager
Apart from the primary duties we described above, here are some more of their obligations.
- Cold calling in your geographical area so that he can find new leads or opportunities.
- Meeting with clients and engaging them in new business.
- Planning the approaches and pitches for new investors.
- Present himself under an image that replicates that of your company.
- Identifying the market’s trends and striving to drive your business towards them.
- Submitting weekly or monthly reports on his activity and that of the company to you, the CEO or owner.
- Being able to train and mentor other employees of the company if they need it.
- Understanding your enterprise’s commercial goals and targets.
The Road to Management
As far as education goes, the business development manager job requires each candidate to have a bachelor’s degree. He or she must also possess at least three to five years of experience in the field so that they are able to take your company to new heights.
The market shows that most companies also require the business development manager to have an MBA.