What Is Business Development? Business development is any activity that leverages customers, partners, relationships and other connections for long-term company value. Someone working in this area keeps their eyes open for ways they can help the business grow.

What Is Business Development?

What Is Business Development?

You hear the term “Biz Dev” or business development frequently on social media, but what does it mean exactly?

Business development is any activity that leverages customers, partners, relationships and other connections for long-term company value. Someone working in this area keeps their eyes open for ways they can help the business grow.

Depending on your company’s business model, the business development role sometimes gets lumped in with the rest of salespeople’s activities, but it should be its own distinct role with its own job description (example job description for a business developer). Part of the confusion comes from the fact that business development is a general term that has other meanings outside of the sales department. Some of the job duties also overlap with the marketing strategies or even customer service at times. However, your sales team benefits in many ways from having a dedicated business development focus.

“If you use the terms Business Development and Sales interchangeably, you’re doing it wrong.” – Andrew Dumont, Founder of Curious.vc 

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the different types of business development as well as some of the skills business developers need to be successful in driving new business using business development.

Sales vs. Business Development

First, let’s talk about the difference between sales and business development.

The primary difference between sales and business development is the stage of the buyer’s journey that they operate in. Business development happens early on in the sales funnel (sales funnels vs sales pipelines). The business development representatives are the ones who leverage lead generation strategies to discover likely sources for prospects. They devote a significant amount of their time to prospecting and the different types of business development discussed below. Once they bring in the leads, they also make sure that they’re qualified. At that point, they send things over to the sales team.

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Your salespeople come in at the bottom part of the sales funnel. They take these qualified leads and work on nurturing the relationship and moving them forward towards a purchase decision. Anything that involves closing the sale probably falls into their wheelhouse.

Types of Business Development

Business development activities come in many forms. Here are a few of the most prominent new sales or business strategies that can deliver value to your organization.

  • Specialized sales development: Close deals in specialized areas. Some prospects need to connect with a sales team member who has a deep understanding of their industry, market or niche. They receive a customized, hands-on approach and a lot of attention to get them to the sale.
  • Partnership management or strategic partnerships: Develop new partnerships between organizations. Your business can work with complementary businesses to expand your reach, product line, and services. Sales and business development professionals should always be searching for potential partners while they’re prospecting for potential clients.
  • New products to market: Launch a new product to the market to add to your existing portfolio, complement other products and boost interest in your offerings.
  • Corporate development: Acquiring companies, adding innovative technologies, or forming closer connections with partnering organizations can help a company quickly break into new markets, open new sales channels and fuel company growth.

Careers in Business Development

Here are a few of the most useful capabilities that business development talent can bring to the table:

  • Strong communication skills: The business development representative needs to leverage several channels to discover new long-term value opportunities, so verbal, written and in-person communication skills need to be top-notch. Whether they’re a company event or cold calling into a company, your business development team is typically your first contact with new customers and the end customer.
  • Understanding the ideal customer: In addition to having an understanding of your company’s products and services, business development representatives need to have a high-level understanding of their ideal customer, what market segments they operate in, and who is in your company’s current customer base. They need to discover whether a prospect is a good fit for your organization, and that starts at the very beginning of the sales funnel. Their prospecting efforts become more effective when their time is spent in the most efficient way possible.
  • Familiarity with your customer relationship management solution (CRM): You don’t want to end up with a lot of bad quality data in your CRM. Ideally, Biz Dev representatives have experience with the system you use or a similar one. This information can be the key to landing a high-value opportunity or acquisition.
  • Tenacity to keep digging until they find the critical decision makers: When digging for new business, you won’t always find the right people to talk to right away. When the opportunity could bring in significant value for your company, the team member needs to keep following up and figuring out who they need to talk to.
  • Ability to recognize opportunities that bring in long-term value: A Director never wants a new hire to spend a lot of time chasing leads that doesn’t do much for their company’s growth. Find a business development professional who can tell the difference between an exciting new opportunity and a waste of time.
  • Analytical mindset to analyze data in order to discover out of the box opportunities: Your organization has a lot of data that can guide the team member into discovering long-term value opportunities.

Whether you’re in a large enterprise corporation or a small business, you’ll typically want to add building out a business development team to your current business roadmap. Below you’ll find a few new ideas for business development job titles to consider when you first start your business development plan.

Business Development Job Titles 

  • Business development specialist
  • Business development representative
  • Business development consultant
  • Business development associate
  • Business development executive
  • Business development manager

So, whether you’re searching for innovative ways to drive business growth or you want to empower your sales team with better methods of generating higher quality leads, a stronger focus on business development is most likely the answer.

Are you looking for a way to increase account penetration at enterprise companies, reduce deal slippage, and simply close more deals? Schedule a demo of a Datahug platform and call your CFO to let them know that next quarter is going to be the turning point for your sales team.

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