As a Business Development Manager, you'll be responsible for building up a business through gaining new customers and accounts.
Your exact level of responsibility may vary widely, according to your experience and seniority. Having, said that, your routine work is likely to include:
Hours and Environment
- Following up new business opportunities and setting up meetings
- Planning and preparing presentations
- Establishing and maintaining working relationships
- Communicating new product developments to prospective clients
- Setting up call center support teams and claims handlers
- Overseeing the development of marketing literature
- Administering accounts and writing reports
- Providing management with market feedback.
You'll usually work office hours, Monday to Friday. Your job also involves traveling to visit clients and attending corporate entertainment events. You may be able to work part-time.
You'll generally have an office base, although may be able to work from home.
For the majority of jobs you'll need a driving license.Skills and Interests
A business development manager needs:
- Good business sense
- Understanding about their market and competitors' products
- Good communications skills, both writing and verbally
- To be self-motivated but able to work as part of a team
- Good organizational and time-management skills
- A positive attitude
- Good negotiation skills and persuasiveness
- Confidence presenting to large groups of people
- Initiative and enterprise
- To be an effective leader
- Trustworthiness and discretion when handling confidential information
- A smart appearance and professional manner
- To enjoy networking and meeting new people.
There are no defined routes for business development managers. Personal qualities, particularly the ability to communicate, plus sales experience and market knowledge, are more important than formal qualifications.
A number of companies have annual graduate programmes, which provide you with an overview of different business areas before you specialize. Typically, for these you'll need a 2:1 degree in any subject, although finance, marketing and business management may help most.
With GCSEs/S grades and A levels/H grades you could move into a business development role after working in sales.
In view of the confidence and negotiating skills needed for this job, which come from experience, mature entrants are often preferred.Training
Training is essentially completed on the job, observing and supporting colleagues. Larger firms provide structured learning, sometimes funding external courses in soft-selling skills and relationship management.
Other training options could include studying for a marketing or sales management qualification. Both the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) offer relevant part-time qualifications:
- CIM Certificate in Professional Sales
- CIM Advanced Certificate in Sales Management
- CIM Advanced Certificate in Key Account Management
- CIM Diploma in Professional Sales
- ISMM Level 2 Certificate in Sales and Marketing
- ISMM Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Sales and Marketing
- ISMM Level 5 Diploma in Strategic Sales.
Visit the CIM and ISSM websites for details.Opportunities
Many larger companies employ business development managers to build relationships and acquire more profitable business, with job opportunities nationwide.
Essentially, your promotion opportunities as a business development manager often depend on the success and profitability of your accounts. Once experienced, you could become a sales or area manager. This may require changing companies or relocating.
Alternatively, you may move into areas like marketing, training or compliance. The selling, negotiation and project management skills you will have gained are valued in many sectors of industry.Annual Income
These figures are a guide only.
- New entrants may earn around £12,000.
- With some experience you can earn between £25,000 and £45,000 a year.
- Very senior business development managers can earn £50,000 or more.
- Company cars or car allowances are sometimes provided.
- Other benefits can include company pensions, medical insurance, life assurance and discounted general insurance.