- Requires creative, problem-solving and communication skills, as well as strong sales and negotiation techniques
- With experience, progress to senior development manager, business development executive or marketing director
- There are often extra benefits like a company car or private health care
As a business development manager, you'll work in a variety of businesses across the public and private sectors, or for charities. Your work could involve careful strategic planning and positioning in the appropriate markets, or enhancing the operation of the business, position or reputation in some way.
- Researching organisations to find new customers and identify who makes the decisions
- 'Cold calling' to arrange meetings at customers' premises
- Finding out what an organisation needs and working with a team to plan proposals and pricing
- Selling products and services to new and existing customers
- Negotiating with customers and building positive relationships
- Attending events and conferences
- Writing reports and making presentations to customers and senior management
- Identifying new methods and opportunities for sales campaigns
- Forecasting sales targets and making sure they're met
- Delivering training to business developers and junior sales teams
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. You will need access to suitable transport.
There are often extra benefits like a company car or private health care. Flexible working and working from home may be possible, but hours may also be longer when off-site at customers' premises or at conferences. Standard business dress will be expected.
A business development manager would be an ideal role for someone with creative problem-solving and communication skills, as well as strong sales and negotiation techniques.
There are no set entry requirements, but employers may ask for GCSEs or equivalent in Maths, English and IT, sales, marketing or business management experience, or a degree in any subject.
You'll find a degree in business development or business management may give you useful background knowledge and help you get onto the graduate training programmes, which are run by some companies. Other useful subjects include accountancy, economics and international relations. Employers will also usually want you to have experience in sales, marketing or business management.
You could also study a college course in sales or business. If you've started work in a junior role, you could consider taking qualifications like a Level 3 Award in Business Development Skills and Level 3 Certificate in Sales Management.
Alternatively, you can work towards this role by doing a business to business sales professional or retail leadership degree apprenticeship or you could also work your way up from a sales or marketing role.
You could develop useful customer service and marketing skills by volunteering which would help you enter this role. In some jobs you could travel around the world to meet customers, so it may also be helpful to speak a second language.
You could join the Institute of Sales Management and The Managing & Marketing Sales Association, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
With experience, you could progress to senior development manager, business development executive or marketing director. You could also use your skills in sales, marketing and project management to move into other areas of business, for example as a business analyst or consultant. You could choose to specialise in a particular sector, such as IT or healthcare, or in a particular area such as sales or marketing.