A career in business development: The ultimate guide for you to know and understand if business development is the thing for you. As a student, I never dreamt of becoming a business development associate. When asked what I want to become when I grow up I always thought of becoming a doctor, a hairdresser, an astronomer, a journalist, and eventually, an ambassador.
But business development, I had never even heard of it, I didn’t even know it existed.
To be honest, I didn’t know what a career in business development looked like until I got to the crux of it.
It’s almost mystical how you start with something and I started reading up, trying to know as much as possible about it. How to build a career in business development, and how to become better at it.
To my surprise, there wasn’t much information regarding the business development associate job, so I started reaching out to people in the field and gathering some information through them.
If you are thinking of doing a business administration course or taking it to another level, this complete guide on how to build a career in business development is all you will need.
In this you will learn the following:
- Why make a career in business development?
- What does a business development associate do?
- What’s the typical business development executive career growth?
- How profitable is a career in business development?
- Terms in business development
- How to prepare for interviews?
Here you can also find the 10 best online web development courses that are free.
Why Make a Career in Business Development?
A career in business development, allows you to learn a lot, it unlocks the skills you never thought existed and helps you utilize those skills to the most optimum usage and deliver results.
The beauty of business development is that it compels you to think out of the box and find creative solutions to the said problems. Also, as mentioned earlier it helps you uncover a lot of business development associate skills you didn’t even know you had.
In my humble opinion, there are 3 main reasons why one should choose a career in business development:
1. A Career in Business Development Unleashes Your Skills.
One of the few things I’m most amazed about after working as a business development associate is that it feels almost like a movie. Every day is a new challenge completely, every day is different from the other and you have to embrace and enjoy the challenge.
And one certain thing is that you will learn a lot of things like adapting to the change, you will also get to know how empathetic you are which will help you understand your clients eventually helping you reach the business goals.
And learning is also an everyday thing, even a few years later, you will still be learning new things, some learn that they are particularly good at spotting opportunities and problem-solving. The list of business development associate skills that you will uncover would be incredible.
It is said that each one of us has some hidden talent, but unfortunately, so not all of us get to experience them. We get so stuck in our routines that we don’t get enough challenges and don’t even try to do anything new which ends up making us comfortable with what we have. Incorporate sales business development, it is just not possible to get comfortable as the very nature of the job pushes you to push your limits. You will discover many new qualities about yourself and improve and shine with the ones you already have.
2. You Will Not Get Bored if You Work in Business Development.
If you are someone who gets bored easily at work, then business development is just the thing for you.
Business development involves so many different activities and stakeholders that you are so indulged that you simply won’t have the time to get bored.
In business development, you get the chance to work on many projects that involves other departments, and hence you’ll get the chance to learn new skills beyond the field of your expertise.
For example, if your job is corporate sales business development, you’ll find yourself in both the sales and growth teams. You will be not only contacting prospects, but also organizing webinars, working on email marketing, and much more.
This will allow you to learn new business development associate skills that will contribute to your professional growth extremely fast.
You become more valuable as a business development associate in the job market.
3. You are The Frontman of Your Company
If you choose a career in business development, you will have to prepare yourself to become the frontman of your company. You are the face of the company, the first contact for the consumers and partners and whatever you say can make or break a deal.
Hence there is a lot of responsibility on you in business development. You’re performing one of the most profitable duties in the company.
This means that you’re directly responsible for the growth of your organization in one way. The growth of the company depends on you.
If you work long enough and in the right way in a company, you earn the power to steer a company’s direction based on your findings in the field.
By experimenting and always being in contact with your clients, you’re in the best position to suggest new ideas to your company cause you can make an informed decision.
Lastly, if you are working in a startup, you can grow your career exponentially fast. Business development at startups, especially, is very strategic, so your actions will have a big impact on the growth of the company. This will make you a chief employee in no time!
Business development allows you the potential to realize your career goals quickly.
What Does a Business Development Associate Do?
A business development associate is accountable for building strategies to increase the company’s sales and overall organizational growth. They conduct market research and evaluate everything to understand clients’ requirements, create business plans, generate development reports, and create presentations. Apart from this, they stick to the standards and policies of the company and ensure that others are also following the same. Below are a few roles and responsibilities a business development associate should have or already has:
- Manage sales and coordinate transition and delivery of their products and services
- Create coordination with internal teams to develop better sales and marketing strategies
- Consult with senior management to explore innovation or development in your present products and services to reach the market demand
- Building marketing plans to boost the products and services of the organization
- Build a network of potential customers via cold calling, emailing, or/and internet search
- Recognize and qualify new consumers as per the company’s policies and business model
- Manage appointments, calls, and meetings between senior management and clients for exploring new business development opportunities and for business expansions
- Oversee meetings with internal teams and clients to explore project development and delivery stages
- Maintain and consistently update the client’s database, such as names, phone numbers, and email addresses
- Support the business development team in building a business model, business plan, scope of work document, project budget
- Facilitate leadership in contract development, handle negotiations, and perform due diligence
- Ensure internal teams live up to projects with high customer satisfaction
- Work in and with teams to realize the quarterly or yearly targeted revenue
- Gain the skills needed to be a business development associate
Below are the skills you must possess to be a successful business development associate:
Even though business development is not the same as sales, there are some common responsibilities because of which business development associates should also have sales skills.
Business development associate skills include mapping out the target growth opportunities for which they need to identify the target audience of the organization, creating relationships with them, and consistently following up on the potential projects. They may also be required to do cold calling or set up meetings to introduce the product and discuss the idea of partnership with advantages involved for all the stakeholders. To fulfill these responsibilities, associates must have the sales skills, such as identifying the prospect, qualifying the leads, updating the sales funnel, and nurturing relationships with the clients.
Good communication is instrumental in becoming successful as a business development associate. The associates should be confident and crisp and clear in speaking and writing and they should also have good listening skills to understand the needs and issues of the clients. Also, a business developer should know how to negotiate with others while keeping a positive and professional working outface so they can secure the best deal for the organization. Good communication skills will also help them in keeping their target clients interested as they progress in the sales funnel.
Business development associates must have a fundamental knowledge of marketing. In most companies, associates have to work with the marketing division of the organization, as the end goal of both divisions is the immense growth of the company’s business.
Business development associates may have to make plans for brand promotion, spreading awareness of their products, market expansion, and capturing new users. They should also have the skill to look for opportunities to build partnerships instead of merely selling products or services directly to the consumers. Hence, to successfully perform these roles, marketing skills are very important for a business development associate.
Project Management Skills
Project management is an important skill for business development associates as developing or expanding a business is a difficult task. Some of the skills required to be a good project manager are monitoring, leadership, team management, and managing risk. While working on a project, you coordinate with the whole team, and hence it is imperative to know how to lead a team. To ensure the good working of the team you may need to resolve conflicts, support teamwork, and evaluate performance. These skills are crucial for a business developer to effectively manage a project.
Business Intelligence (BI) Skills
Business intelligence is an in-depth understanding of the industry and the capacity to acquire insights into the market. While working as a business development associate, you have to research the present and growing desires of the customers and businesses so you can be sure to offer the products and services that fit their needs. Business development associates analyze the data to recognize the size of their target audience, the factors impacting their target market, and the campaigns that received positive responses from the potential market segment.
Data Analysis and ROI Skills
Business development associates must know to calculate returns on investment (ROI) and use the supportive data to illustrate it to leadership or executives. The metrics they use may change depending upon the sales cycle, needs, and wants of the organization and industry. They should also have the capacity to give attention to detail to distinguish important pieces of information and key indicators from a large set of unorganized data. Having the skills to present the company’s progress and organizational skills to present what you do to enhance the company’s growth will prove instrumental for you to be successful in this career path.
What’s The Typical Business Development Executive Career Growth?
When one starts thinking seriously of a career in business development, one of the first questions they usually have is how far they can go with it. They know that they can become a business developer but then what’s next?
You know, when you are a doctor your career path is more or less stable and clear. But as a business developer, it is a different story.
Because it’s such a wide field there is some confusion around it, which is why job offers are also pretty messed up. Meaning that sometimes the same job can have very different roles and responsibilities from one company to another.
However just looking at the career path, you can expect more or less this progression:
1. Business Developer or Business Development Associate
Abbreviates to BD or BDR, and it is the most entry-level position or the first-level job and that’s where most of us start. Of course, depending on the company this role can change a lot. However, generally speaking, this responsibility is mainly related to either acquisition of target clients or opening up new channels.
2. Business Development Manager
Contrary to what you might think, being a BDM or a Business Development Manager does not necessarily mean you will manage people under you or a team. But, what you will surely manage is the complete business development process. As BDM you’re still involved in the execution of the business plan even if you have a team working with you.
3. Head of Business Development
That’s the first managerial or senior role and this is when you start executing less and managing more. At this position you will be involved in strategic decisions, creating and managing a team and you directly work hand in hand with the company leadership.
4. Director of Business Development
This role is more high-level and it needs a lot more long-term and strategic approach to the business. You are responsible for the tasks and outcomes of your team. But contrary to the other roles, you’re less involved in the real execution and you mostly have to deal with mid-management staff.
5. Vice President of Business Development
When you reach this point, you’ll enjoy being with the senior leadership and exploring how you’ll drive growth opportunities for the company in the long term. You’re completely on the strategic development division of your company and think ahead of the future. At this level, you’ll again manage less and think more about what to do next that will be beneficial for the company.
The most interesting thing in developing a career in business development is that at each stage there is a sort of microcosmos of the next level.
What I mean is that the ultimate goal at any stage of the company is to have and get growth opportunities.
The actual difference in these career stages is the number of things you experience and learn in your career.
As a VP you have a lot more experience to use in your decision-making process, while as a business developer you have very limited experience.
Is it a problem? Not necessarily.
In fact, as a first-level or entry-level professional, you have another superpower which is your curiosity or hunger for knowledge and the hunger to learn new things and if you use it correctly, you will be able to be very successful as a business development associate.
Now that you know what is the growth in terms of career path, be sure to also check the salary expectations for each one of these levels or positions. This will help you to ensure that your career in business development is aligned with your financial goals.
How Profitable is a Career in Business Development?
The standard base salary of a business development associate is ₹2,85,229 per annum. Your salary can change depending on the experience you have acquired and your location. For example, the standard base salary of a business development manager in Hyderabad is ₹4,74,911 per annum and the standard salary of a senior business development manager in Hyderabad is ₹7,11,151 per annum.
Salary figures show the data that is listed on online portals like Indeed salaries or Glassdoor at the time of writing. Salary may change depending on the recruiting organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background, and location.
Terms in Business Development
If you are looking for opportunities in the business development field, there are some terms that you may find in almost all jobs. Here are two most important terms to know if you are looking for a career in this field:
Sales pipeline refers to the expected revenue opportunities for the coming months or quarters and they are at what stage in the process of being sold to the clients. The sales pipeline helps you to understand the progress of the ongoing deals, starting with prospecting and closing with deal closure. Business development associates help the sales team to grow their potential sales by consistently maintaining the sales pipeline.
Target audience refers to the consumers or partners your company believes are suitable for their products or services. In business development, it is crucial to recognize the right companies, clients, or clients to save the resources, money, efforts, and time of the organization. To recognize the right target audience for your company, you may have to conduct market research or surveys, evaluate the type of consumers who visits your website, and look into sales channels or target partnerships.
How to Prepare For Business Development Interviews?
Once you have applied for a business development job, you can then focus on preparing your business development associate job interview questions. This is the opportunity for you to shine and show your employer the value you can bring to the company, showing them you all have the business development qualifications.
To give a successful interview, it’s vital to gather as much information as possible about the company. You will want to check out their website, social media pages, and any possible media coverage about them or anything like that.
Besides gathering information about the company, make sure to connect on LinkedIn with their employees in similar positions. The recruiter will always only show the bright side of the company, but you will get the real insights only from people doing your same job.
You can send them a personalized simple message like this asking them to give you insights to better understand the company.
Last, also check the reviews about the company on online platforms or review websites like Trustpilot or Glassdoor.
You can also have a checklist handy like the ones below:
- Read company mission
- Check the company history
- Read company products/services
- Watch interviews with relevant people (e.g. Founder, CEO)
- Connect with current employees
- Check customer reviews
- Check Glassdoor reviews
Don’t miss any of these steps, there isn’t anything more frustrating than a candidate who hasn’t prepared well for the interview. So don’t be lethargic and do your homework.
After doing your research, prepare for the common interview questions that you might get. There is a lot of material available online for the questions, get that and then rehearse the questions with a friend, colleague, or one of your mentors if you already have one.