Professionals focused on business development work to develop a company, evaluating its performance and looking for areas for improvement. Improvement may come in the form of building and maintaining relationships with allies and partners, or it may involve identifying growth opportunities in other channels. Working in business development offers growth potential and the option of a rewarding career.
In this context, we’ll discuss what professionals do when they focus on business development and what skills are needed to succeed in that role.
What is business development?
Business development is the identification of long-term methods to increase value by developing relationships, markets, and customers. The main responsibility of a business developer is to grow a business/project. Depending on the industry, the daily tasks and strategies for achieving this goal vary, but the overall mission remains the same.
While many business development roles require a degree, it depends on the company and the position. In most cases, you will need experience in sales, marketing, or business management.
Skills are also vital to your success in this field, including sales, communication, negotiation, marketing, data analysis, and project management.
By developing these skills, you can increase your chances of success in the field of business development.
This term refers to the ideal customer or partner for the company. Identifying target companies, customers or customers is an essential aspect of business development work to avoid wasting time and resources.
To determine your target audience, you will need to conduct research and analyze potential partnerships and sales channels.
Business Development Skills
If you want to play a role in business development, there are several common skills you can find in job descriptions. Setting personal goals to improve these skills can help you be a more competitive candidate.
1 . Sales skills
Although business development and sales functions serve different purposes, they share some similar tasks and responsibilities. For that reason, basic sales skills can help you succeed in this role.
To drive growth opportunities, a business development professional must be able to identify members of the company’s target audience and effectively find and track opportunities. In addition, business developers need the skills to build relationships with potential partners or potential customers.
This can involve tasks like cold calling or making face-to-face meetings to discuss possible opportunities and sell the idea of a partnership that benefits all parties involved. Every business must acquire customers to grow, but every potential customer is not the right fit. The ability to assess whether a potential customer is qualified or whether a partner has access to members of the target audience is a necessity in business development.
Additional sales skills include:
- Updating the sales funnel or customer management platform;
- Qualifying leads;
- Promoting customer relationships.
Business developers often work closely with sales team members to promote qualified leads through the sales funnel and take prospects to the next level. After delivery, the sales team members will demonstrate the product, negotiate and finally close the deal.
Although business development professionals are involved in the sales process, they rarely close deals or convert prospects into customers. These responsibilities rest with the sales team.
However, the ability to optimize the sales process can improve the success of a business, which is why business development professionals and sales team members work together in this capacity.
3. Communication skills
Without strong communication skills, it will be difficult to succeed in the business development world.
Business developers must be able to write and speak with confidence and clarity, and listen to potential customers’ answers and concerns.
A business development executive’s responsibilities include calling prospects, maintaining long-term relationships, and sharing valuable information with those involved in the business.
Along with these communication skills, a business developer must be able to negotiate. While they are not the ones who close the deal, they are responsible for generating leads and keeping them interested as they move through the sales funnel.
To be successful in negotiations, you need to think creatively, understand the needs of others, and prioritize. Above all, your communication style must be genuine and diplomatic. You can also improve your communication skills by practicing presentations and pitches to feel more confident.
3 . Marketing skills
In many companies, the business development department often aligns itself more with the marketing department than the sales department. While a business developer should have some sales skills, they should also understand the basics of marketing and apply them to their role.
Ultimately, the goal of marketers and business development professionals is to grow the business, although the methods for doing so may differ.
Smaller companies may not have the resources to employ a full marketing team; therefore, some of the tasks often associated with marketing can fall to business developers. These tasks include finding ways to promote the brand, expand the market, acquire new users and generate awareness.
Also, many business development executives are looking for opportunities to form partnerships, not to sell to a direct end customer. Therefore, the ability to effectively promote the brand is pertinent.
4 . Business Intelligence Skills
Business intelligence is gaining insights and a deep understanding of a market. In business development, developing these skills involves researching the needs of the company and its competitors to gain a broader view of the target market.
Data collection and analysis also fall under business intelligence. Some of the most common types of data that benefit a business developer include the size of the potential market, any changes that affect it, and the types of campaigns that generate positive responses from certain market segments.
To develop this skill, an individual can start by conducting research, collecting data, and learning more about target markets.
5 . ROI and data analysis skills
A business development executive must be able to track Return On Investment (ROI) and have the data to support it when presenting it to managers and executives. Business developers’ trail of metrics will vary depending on the sales cycle, company and industry need. Some standard measures include revenue, the number of deals produced through partnerships and other channels, as well as the sales pipeline, and the influence of the development team on the deals in that pipeline.
Having the skills to clearly present the company’s progress, as well as the organizational skills to keep up with what you’re doing to drive the company’s growth, can greatly benefit your ability to succeed in that career.
6 . Project Management Skills
Developing a business is a large and complex project – managing it closely is essential to the overall success of a business developer. Some of the skills needed to be a great project manager transfer to business development.
These skills include leadership, team management, the ability to monitor and manage risk, and personal organization. The ability to lead a team is important when managing a project because you’re probably not handling all the tasks yourself. Managing your team involves supporting teamwork, resolving conflicts, and measuring performance. These same skills apply to your own performance as a business developer.
Business development exists to develop a business in a more strategic way than it experienced initial growth.
Each company or industry will have its own specific development needs, but having access to the right professionals can create that growth potential. If you are interested in pursuing a career in business development, identifying and developing the skills you need can help you succeed.
We wish you success with your project!
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