Business Development Executive Job Description
A business development executive is a senior manager tasked with the job of helping his or her business grow and therefore, they are high-level sales professionals.
Their priority is to assist their companies acquire new customers and sell additional products or services to existing ones; this means the role is a crucial one for any business with the ambition to expand or the necessity to diversify its clientele. It also means that effective business development managers are in high demand in nearly every job sector there is, including business-to-business, business-to-customer, and even non-profit organisations.
The Business Development Executives Working Environment
In the vast majority of cases, business development executives work in traditional office environments. They are expected to dress in professional business attire and work 9 am to 5 pm, occasionally putting in overtime hours to meet deadlines or sales quotas.
Because networking is critical in this position, business development managers must often travel to conferences, business meetings, and industry events. So, company cars are a standard bonus amongst business development executives, and business trips around the country or even around the world are an occasional necessity for many businesses.
Business development executives occupy senior roles at their organisations, they typically work according to their own initiative and have few superiors to answer to. In most companies, if the executive can deliver new clients and high sales volumes consistently, their day-to-day methods and schedules will be left largely up to them.
Business Development Responsibilities
A business development professional has three primary responsibilities:
- Identifying new sales leads
- Pitching products and/or services
- Maintaining fruitful relationships with existing customers
When it comes to generating leads, day-to-day duties typically include:
- Researching organisations and individuals online (especially on social media) to identify new leads and potential new markets
- Researching the needs of other companies and learning who makes decisions about purchasing
- Contacting potential clients via email or phone to establish rapport and set up meetings
- Planning and overseeing new marketing initiatives
- Attending conferences, meetings, and industry events
When it comes to the challenge of actually selling, other typical duties include:
- Preparing PowerPoint presentations and sales displays
- Contacting clients to inform them about new developments in the company’s products
- Developing quotes and proposals
- Negotiating and renegotiating by phone, email, and in person
- Developing sales goals for the team and ensuring they are met
- Training personnel and helping team members develop their skills
To keep healthy relationships with clients, this mostly requires socialisation. So from simple chats on the phone to lunches and events or conferences business development managers must be sure to keep their customers happy. Of course, as with all office jobs, documentation is also a big part of the work. Business development professionals are also obligated to write reports and provide feedback to upper management about what is and is not working.
Business Development Executive Skills
To be an effective business development executive, an individual must be:
- Socially adept
- Good with numbers
- Able to provide quality leadership to a large team of sales people
The skills you need to excel in this position include:
- Strong communication and IT fluency
- Creative talents and the ability to solve tough problems
- In-depth knowledge of the industry and its current events
- The ability to handle pressure and meet deadlines
- Skill in prioritizing and triaging obligations
- Attention to detail
- Excellent time management and organisation
Business Development Education and Career Development
Though there are rarely formal qualifications, many organisations require a degree from their applicants. For those hoping to eventually attain this position, business or math’s degrees are extremely beneficial, and may even help students acquire work through a graduate training program.
Many entrants, however, begin working as salespeople or marketers before being promoted, and there are also many apprenticeships available in the sector. For those in junior roles, additional Level 2 qualifications in Business Principles, Sales Management, and Marketing can help young professionals advance their careers much more rapidly than they otherwise would.
After gaining industry experience and familiarity with the sector, professionals can also boost their resumes by obtaining Level 3, 4, and 5 diplomas in sales and marketing courses. In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Marketing is an excellent resource for earning these advanced degrees.
Contracting Vs Permanent Positions
While both contracting and permanent in-house positions are available to business development executives, the latter is far more common in the workplace today. For those who can manage to make it work, freelance business development offers a host of advantages.
So if you are considering setting your sights on a contract-based career, here are some things to keep in mind:
Pros of Contracting
- Flexible scheduling and hours
- Option to work from home and/or remotely
- Ability to work in diverse industries and experience a wide variety of company cultures
- Freedom to choose and turn down projects
- The possibility of higher pay for those who are successful
- Complete independence and not having superiors to answer to
Cons of Contracting
- Irregular and inconsistent pay
- The necessity to do much more bookkeeping, invoicing, quoting, etc.
- Limited job security
- No team and a limited ability to delegate tasks to others
- The need to regularly acquire new clients
Business Development Challenges
Business development executives face a number of challenges in their work. These includes:
- Managing underperforming team members
- Suffering from downturns in the industry and/or economy
- Losing clients to superior competitors
- Responding to negative press about the company and/or products
- Dealing with customers unsatisfied with the quality of the product or service
Business Development Executive Salary
Salaries for business development executives vary with experience and level of responsibility. Starting positions typically pay about £26,000 annually, but rise to about £30-40k with several more years of experience. After promotions to upper executive positions, senior business development managers make upwards of £60,000.