Job profile

Business Developer 

Business Developer  Job Profile

What is an Business Developer?

A Business Developer is responsible for driving the growth of the business by maintaining and creating relationships with customers, suppliers and other partners. 

You will need to be able to identify new business opportunities and possess communication skills to be able to close deals. This will help generate revenue, improve profitability and grow the business. 

 

You can identify these opportunities through thorough research, strategic planning and positioning your company appropriately in its market. You will be the face of the business and liable for building a reputable name for the company. You may work alone or be part of a wider team depending on the size of the company, but your role will work across multiple parts of the business. 

 

Business development will be needed across most, if not all sectors. You may choose to specialise in a certain sector, such as:

  • Construction 
  • Technology 
  • Finance
  • IT 
  • Manufacturing
  • Telecommunications
 

Alternatively, you may work across many different sectors, but with a specific focus on either B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer).

Responsibilities

As a business development manager, you’ll need to:

 

  • Research and identify new business opportunities – including new markets, growth areas, trends, customers, partnerships, products and services – or new ways of reaching existing markets
  • Seek out the appropriate contact in an organisation
  • Generate leads and cold call prospective customers
  • Meet with customers/clients face to face or over the phone
  • Foster and develop relationships with customers/clients
  • Understand the needs of your customers and be able to respond effectively with a plan of how to meet these
  • Think strategically – seeing the bigger picture and setting aims and objectives in order to develop and improve the business
  • Work strategically – carrying out necessary planning in order to implement operational changes
  • Draw up client contracts – depending on the size of the company, this task may be completed by someone else or agreements may not be as formal
  • Have a good understanding of the businesses products or services and be able to advise others about them
  • Ensure staff are on board throughout the organisation and understand the need for change and what is required of them
  • Train members of your team, arranging external training where appropriate
  • Discuss promotional strategy and activities with the marketing department
  • Liaise with the finance team, warehousing and logistics departments as appropriate
  • Seek ways of improving the way the business operates
  • Attend seminars, conferences and events where appropriate
  • Keep abreast of trends and changes in the business world.
 

If your business development role is more sales orientated, you may also:

 

  • Help to plan sales campaigns
  • Create a sales pipeline
  • Negotiate pricing with customers, and suppliers in some cases
  • Increase sales of the business
  • Carry out sales forecasts and analysis and present your findings to senior management/the board of directors
  • Develop the business sales and marketing strategy.

Salary

The starting salary as a graduate Business Developer will be between £22,000-and £25,000. When you reach mid-level with several years’ experience, you should expect to earn between £30,000-£60,000 depending on the sector that you specialise in. As you progress into a business management-director role, it’s possible to earn up to £80,000.

Salaries depend on the region, those in London and the South East will usually have higher average wage – it will also depend on the sector you work in. You may also be eligible for bonuses throughout the year. In some cases, you may be offered an ‘uncapped commission’ structure where the opportunities are in your hands.

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Business Developer is £30,479 per year in the United Kingdom.

Working hours and work location 

As a Business Developer, you should expect to work the usual 9-5pm working hours, Monday to Friday. You may also be required to work evenings if attending an event or conference, and typically in sales positions, you will be expected to be ‘on call’ for when clients or customers want to get in touch – especially if working across different time zones. You might have the option to work from home or have flexible working hours. 

What to expect

  • You’ll work in an office environment, but will frequently travel within the day for face-to-face meetings with customers and other business partners.
  • It can be challenging trying to create new business opportunities, in addition to the constant pressure of meeting or exceeding targets. However, business development is quite a creative role and can be very satisfying.
  • You may have the responsibility of managing a team and their output.
  • You’ll be expected to dress smartly, especially for meetings, though slightly more relaxed business casual attire may be acceptable at other times.
  • Depending on the type of business, overnight or overseas travel may be required.

Qualifications

You can easily work your way up in a Business Development role. If you have experience in sales – even if that is customer service – this will provide you with the basic skills needed for a career in Business Development. 

 

A degree is not essential for this role. A common route into business development is through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are available at all levels, there may also be an opportunity to do a business development apprenticeship while you are studying. This is a competitive industry with good prospects and rewards, therefore having a degree may make your application stand out. 

 

Degrees in business development or business management are the most relevant. Other relevant subjects include: 

  • Accountancy
  • Business studies
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • International relations
  • Marketing.

It’s also possible to move into a business development manager role from related jobs such as commercial manager, account manager, sales executive, business development executive and sales manager.

Skills

must have skills:
  • Tenacity and drive to seek new business and meet or exceed targets
  • An excellent telephone manner for making initial contact and for ongoing communication with customers and business associates
  • Interpersonal skills for building and developing relationships with clients
  • Written and verbal communication skills – needed for communicating with a range of people, both internally and externally, as well as presentation skills
  • IT skills, including the use of spreadsheets
  • Teamworking skills and a collaborative approach to work
  • Decision-making skills
  • The ability to multitask and prioritise your workload
  • Project management and organisational skills
  • The ability to motivate yourself and set your own goals
  • Negotiating skills
  • The ability to think strategically
  • The ability to analyse sales figures and write reports
  • A flexible approach to work with the ability to adapt to a fast-paced, ever-changing environment
  • Initiative and the confidence to start things from scratch.

Work experience

Looking for work experience can not only provide you with the basic skills to start your career in Business Development, but in some cases, it can lead to permanent employment. 

You can call local businesses or search online for relevant work experience opportunities. Any experience gained within sales, marketing or business administration will bolster your CV and skill set. 

Business development is a broad field, so there are many ways in which you can shape and develop your career according to your interests and ambition.

The ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) has details of a range of relevant business, management and leadership qualifications and apprenticeships.

Other qualifications, networking opportunities, information, support and career guidance are available through membership of professional bodies, such as:

Career prospects

As a Business Developer, you will be travelling across many towns and cities, across different companies and sectors.

Therefore, your journey and career progression are determined by you. If you choose to specialise in a particular sector where you can hone your skills, this may provide you with better career prospects.
You may be expected to manage a team once you become more experienced where you are responsible for delegating tasks and working across different cities and regions. These are usually KPI-driven roles, so you will need to be motivated and a good motivator for your team.
As you grow to a more senior level, there might be opportunities to work overseas. You may also want to provide consultancy services to a range of other companies offering strategic direction and advice – and work on your own terms.

Employers

There are lots of opportunities for Business Developers across the public, private and charity in a wide variety of businesses, organisations and sectors. 

Common types of employers include:

  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Education institutions
  • IT companies
  • Manufacturing firms, and any business involved in the sales of products or services
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Telecommunications and technology firms
  • The NHS and other healthcare providers.
 

You could end up working for the likes of: 

  • NSPCC
  • Apple
  • Heineken
  • Globaldata
  • Hays Specialist Recruitment

Related Courses

Business Development roles are open to graduates of all subjects. Some higher national diploma or degree subjects may be particularly relevant. Below are some of the courses on offer at that will help you get your foot in the door to the world of Business Development. 

  1. MSc Accounting and Finance 

This one-year, full-time course is aimed at those with a relevant academic background or professional experience who want to pursue a career in finance. 

The course further develops students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical and research skills. 

Other related courses
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