What is Business Development?

Too often, I have encountered business managers hiring Sales people and classifying them as Business Developers. The same holds true when managers call their Sales people Marketing Professionals. Main reasons behind this misclassification are twofold: First, many people DO NOT understand what the differences are between sales, marketing, and business development. Second, organizations do not accurately recognize which of these functional areas need help to drive revenue and how they compliment each other. These misunderstandings of disciplines cause unrealistic expectations and failure to achieve goals.

Business Development (Biz-Dev) is often misunderstood. It is often times mistaken as purely a sales role and other times as a marketing initiative. Well, it is a little of both, but it is also much more. Understanding what Biz-Dev is and what it does can focus the strategic direction of an enterprise, which ultimately creates new opportunities. Biz-Dev can be sales oriented, but it also can act as an operational function to support sales. Biz-Dev supplements marketing, sales, operations, and management. All of these functions are dependent upon each other. Biz-Dev is part sales, part marketing, part strategy, part planning, and part management. Biz-Dev can also work on promotion of an enterprise or even relationship building functions.

Isn’t a business developer’s main job expected to generate sales? Isn’t the lifeblood of business driven by sales? Yes, the ultimate business goal of an enterprise is to gain and grow sales. Even non-profit organizations need to raise money to survive. Without sales there is no revenue, without revenue there is no working capital, no working capital means no sustainability, and so forth. However, all units in an organization affect the outcome of sales. A company must define its purpose and objectives within their business plan. Upper management must communicate directives to staff and control processes. Employees are accountable to perform duties within their unit of responsibility. All units must work cohesively with their output contributing to the common goal of the company. For example, marketing cannot initiate a promotional campaign without input from finance, otherwise budgets and production costs will soon run into chaos.

Simply said, Biz-Dev is management process that uses resources available to an organization and coordinates plan activities to achieve goals. Sometimes the goal is increased sales, but other times an organization needs improvement or aid in another part of its operation. Examples that are not exactly sales oriented include business planning, administrative refinement, market research, finance, general management, and more. The bottom line is Biz-Dev can perform multiple initiatives to achieve a goal that will improve a functional business process resulting in opportunity. Think of Biz-Dev as project management for sales.

Understanding the various roles Biz-Dev can perform will improve the focus of your enterprise and help achieve its goals.

Do You Get Lured by Business Development Jobs?

Business development is one of the vital segments in almost every business, these days. It can be considered an extended form of sales, but isn’t just getting leads to the business, but also emphasizes the expansion of a business in other ways. It is a balanced combination of strategy, marketing, and sales. Those employed as business development executives are involved in getting leads, negotiating & closing the deals besides maintaining cordial relationships with the clients. They serve as the link between the corporate partners and the organization.

Business development executives are involved in identifying the potential target market, new business opportunities and the new business partnership that they can benefit with, in the near future. They work towards expanding the company’s client base and corporate relationships to ultimately add to the revenue.

Where do they work?

The need to hire these professionals is now being realised by almost every business and industry. Those seeking jobs in business development can get into real estate, infrastructure, IT, digital marketing, telecom, and other sectors too. Some of the leading companies they can aim to work with are HCL Technologies, Cognizant Technology Solutions, and many others.

Who can qualify?

For those, who master the combination of communication and influential skills and do not wish to get into direct sales, business development is a viable career choice. To get started, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree in business administration. However, those who hail from other fields too can be considered for this job role.

Generally, the professionals having gained considerable experience in corporate sales are considered apt for this position. The prior sales experience even helps a professional aim for considerably higher salary than a fresher.

Skills to take you ahead

Business acumen:

It is one of the major skills that help a profession qualify for this job role. An understanding of how the market works and what are the essentials to keep the audiences interested in the product serve as the major skills for these jobs.

Communication:

The business development executives are involved in dealing with the customers, business partners, and other associates and for this, communication remains a desired skill.

Analytical Skills:

To analyse a situation and bring out the best of opportunities is what these professionals are desired for. They work to get business leads and even maintain the professional relationships with the associates so to ensure their satisfaction with the association.

Networking:

If networking is something you are best at, you can contribute well to the business.

Average Pay Scale

If you have prior experience in sales, you can make well in this profile. On the other hand, if you get started as a business development executive with no prior experience, the pay scale may not be too alluring. As per a global research firm, a business development professional in India earns Rs 242,480 per year. Experience remains a major factor for pay hike in this job.

Five Ways A Business Development Consulting Firm Can Help Your Business

For a small business owner, it may be challenging to get his or her company off the ground. Therefore, it may be necessary to enlist the services of a business development consulting firm. A consulting firm can help a new company figure out ways to expand and thrive in the marketplace. Here are five specific ways that a consulting firm can help your business thrive.

1) Target Your Customers Effectively

Do you know who your customers are? If you do know who your customers are, do you know how to reach them? A good consulting firm will show you what your customers need to hear before making a purchasing decision. From there, your business can devise a marketing plan that will convince customers that they need what your company has to offer.

2) Build An Online Presence

The Internet is an amazing marketing tool when used correctly. With proper guidance, your company can build a solid online presence that can be leveraged to increase sales and increase visibility for your products or services.

3) Develop Your Brand

A good brand can sell products all by itself. Therefore, it is important that your company has a strong brand that customers can identify with. If your company wants to be known for great customer service, offering 24 hour service to handle returns could be something that your business could offer. Another good idea would be to have a call center that is open around the clock to address customer complaints and concerns.

4) Learn How To Interact With Other Businesses

Other businesses in your area may want to promote their products in your store. In exchange, these businesses may be willing to promote your products in their store. For example, your lawn mower supply company may want to partner with a hardware store or a landscaping business to create a dynamic marketing initiative. Your lawn mowers could be promoted in the hardware store while your company helps to promote your local landscaping company.

5) Understand Where Opportunities For Growth Are

There are always opportunities for your company to grow. Whether it is expanding into other markets, targeting new customers or creating new products, sales should never stay stagnant. A consulting firm will be able to point out these opportunities to you well before you have thought of them. This will enable you to be the first company in your industry to enter a new market or to create a new product that customers desperately need. Typically, the company that is first to offer a product or service is the company that is associated with that product or service even after competitors offer something similar. This makes it easier to maintain a larger portion of the market share.

When used correctly, a consulting firm can be your best friend. You will have someone who you can turn to when you need advice or at a loss for ideas. The best part is that most consulting firms are staffed by people who have experience in the business world. This experience can be used to give your company a leg up on the competition.

Business Development Requires a Multitude of Skills

Business development is one of the functions that every company, from inception to exit, performs at one time or another. It’s also one of the most “unbounded” roles within a company. For some companies, business development means acquiring new customers. Others, it means raising capital. And, for yet another set of people, it means to build alliances and partnerships.

Whatever the term ultimately means to anyone, it is a function that clearly requires a multitude of skills. Let’s take for example, raising money. A business development person in a small startup company would be responsible for building relationships to raise venture capital and/or general financing for startup operations. Oftentimes, the reason this function falls under business development is because the business developer is building strategic partner relationships. Some of these strategic partners deem the relationship critical to grow new business opportunities. In that respect, the strategic partner will then invest money in return for an equity stake in the startup company.

In the case of building and managing partnerships, the business development team is often called Alliances. In this example, business development or Alliance is responsible for recruiting, managing, and supporting partner companies. In addition to this, the Alliances organization would also have a responsibility for driving a certain amount of revenue through the partners, as well. This alliance function essentially builds a core ecosystem around the host company. The ecosystem effectively allows the host company to be in more markets, capture certain geographic territories, or even drive more revenue than it could on its own.

Building joint ventures is also a form of business development activity. There are times when a company needs to work together on a specific business opportunity. The opportunity could be related to driving new business in a specific country or perhaps in a particular industry. The two companies would develop an operating agreement under which they will work together. Shared revenue and expenses, team alignment and sales targets are examples of agreements created as part of this joint venture relationship.

Driving sales is another function where business development is often categorized. This is especially true when a company is first starting off in business. Many small companies categorize their sales efforts as business development rather than sales. One of the reasons for this is because the territory is new or perhaps the product line is untested with customers. The business development group is responsible then for selling new business in an uncharted environment.

Corporate development is another function often interrelated with business development. In general, though, a corporate development function handles aspects of mergers and acquisitions for a company. Their role is to identify companies that have synergistic business models and would complement the host company. In many aspects, a corporate development officer for a company has similar skill sets and experience as all of the above organizational roles.

As one can ascertain, business development is a “catch-all” term that can encompass many different roles within an organization. That said, the skill set and experience for a business development executive is fairly broad. He/she must be versed in areas, such as building partnerships, strategy, technology, geographic markets, sales, and, of course, finance. In addition, understanding the specific industry in which the company operates is icing on the proverbial cake.

The business development executive is a key contributor to the success of a company. This individual, if used properly, can help create the very foundation on which a company operates.