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Business development manager
As a business development manager, you'll identify new business opportunities in order to generate revenue, improve profitability and help the business grow
Your work can involve careful strategic planning and positioning in the appropriate markets, or enhancing the operation of the business, position or reputation in some way.
You may have a single role in the organisation or lead a team of staff. Your work will often reach across all areas of the business.
Types of business management
Business development can be applied to almost all types of business, but you may choose to specialise in a certain sector, such as:
Alternatively, you may work across many different businesses, but with a specific focus on either:
- B2B (business to business)
- B2C (business to consumer).
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 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.
- Your starting salary as a graduate business development manager will be in the region of £25,000 to £28,000.
- At mid-management level with several years' experience, you can expect to earn between £30,000 and £60,000, depending on the region and sector you work in.
- As a senior business development manager or business director, it's possible to earn around £80,000.
Salaries are affected by regional variances, and pay is generally higher in London and the South East. The sector you work in is also a determining factor.
It's common for bonuses to be paid and these can be very large, sometimes matching your annual salary. Some jobs will be advertised with 'uncapped commission'. Jobs are often advertised with a basic salary and a higher on-target earnings (OTE) figure. Other benefits may include a pension, healthcare scheme membership and company car.
You'll usually work a regular 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday week, though you may on occasion have to work longer to meet a project deadline or when attending an event or conference.
Flexible working and working from home may be possible.
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.
A degree is not essential for this role and some business development managers work their way up through an organisation, gaining experience in a sales or marketing role and undertaking work-based training.
Another increasingly common route into business development management is through an apprenticeship, combining work with part-time study. Apprenticeships are available at various levels, including degree-level.
As it's a competitive role with good prospects, many entrants do have a degree, and a degree is essential if you wish to apply for a place on a graduate training scheme.
Degrees in business development or business management are the most relevant. Other relevant subjects include:
- business studies
- international relations
A postgraduate degree is not a requirement for this career.
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.
You'll need to have:
- 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.
The ability to speak a foreign language is an asset if you're dealing with overseas clients.
A full driving licence is a requirement for many roles.
Work experience is important and can in some cases lead to permanent employment.
There may be opportunities on your degree to take a year out in industry or to do a shorter work placement. If your course doesn't include a placement, try contacting local businesses to ask for work experience opportunities.
Part-time or vacation work in a business that has a focus on business development and management is particularly useful, but any experience gained within sales, marketing or business administration will be good for your CV and skill set. It will also show future employers that you're serious about your career choice.
Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.
Business development managers are employed across the public, private and charity sectors, in all types of businesses and organisations.
Employers tend to be larger companies that can dedicate time and resources towards developing their business. In smaller companies, business development is usually carried out as a smaller function within a broader mix of responsibilities.
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.
Look for job vacancies at:
- CW Jobs (IT-related jobs)
- Engineering Jobs
As well as sector specific job websites, national newspapers and general online job boards and job websites also advertise vacancies.
Check the jobs pages of the websites of any companies and organisations you're interested in, as current vacancies will usually be advertised there.
Recruitment agencies such as Reed and Michael Page also advertise business development manager jobs.
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.
Much of your training will be on the job but there are also a huge number of relevant courses available, such as Level 2 and Level 3 courses in business principles, sales and marketing and sales management.
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:
- Institute of Sales Management (ISM)
- The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
It's possible to switch between employers and sectors, perhaps specialising further, or moving to a larger organisation with a broader remit or international connections.
Ultimately, progression will be determined by your personal drive and aims. There's no specific structure, but you'll find many opportunities for gaining increased responsibility and, with it, an increase in salary.
Business management is carried out across many sectors, in most towns and cities and within many different types of organisation. As a result, there are many possibilities for career development.
You could choose to specialise in a particular sector, such as IT or healthcare, or in a particular area such as sales or marketing.
You may progress to the role of senior business development manager, perhaps being responsible for a bigger team or department, with higher targets. With enough experience, you could reach director level.
Working overseas is possible if you work for an international company. You may have the option of travelling and working for short periods in the overseas divisions of your company, or you could apply for a permanent overseas transfer or to a new company.
There are also opportunities to move into consultancy work, providing advice to a range of companies. You may also consider setting up your own business development consultancy.
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Home / Online Master’s Degree Programs / Online Master’s in Management and Leadership / Careers in Management and Leadership / Business Development Manager Responsibilities
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Those interested in helping businesses develop long-term relationships with clients may be drawn to a career in business development. Business development managers play a crucial role in the success of an organization. These professionals generate new sales leads, negotiate client pricing, and forecast sales revenue, all to support one of the most important business development manager responsibilities — helping organizations maximize their profits.
Business development managers must evaluate current sales performance and identify ways an organization can expand and grow. Consequently, this career is an ideal choice for those who are self-motivated, goal-oriented, and commission-driven. Students seeking a career in business development should start by building the knowledge and skills they’ll need to be successful. Earning an advanced degree, such as Maryville University’s online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership , can prepare graduates for business development manager positions in a variety of fields.
Work Settings for Business Development Managers
Most business development managers work full time, Monday through Friday, but their work environments may vary. Some business development managers work in an office, some work entirely from home, and others split their time between the two. In addition, professionals in this field often travel for conferences, conventions, and client meetings.
Business development managers work in a number of industries, including:
- Software and hardware
- Financial services
What Do Business Development Managers Do?
Although the responsibilities of a business development manager may vary by industry, many day-to-day duties are uniform. Some of those include:
- Setting goals and developing plans for business and revenue growth
- Researching, planning, and implementing new target market initiatives
- Researching prospective accounts in target markets
- Pursuing leads and moving them through the sales cycle
- Developing quotes and proposals for prospective clients
- Setting goals for the business development team and developing strategies to meet those goals
- Training business development staff
- Attending conferences and industry events
Fundamental Skills for Business Development Managers
Aspiring business development managers need a variety of hard and soft skills. Examples include communication, organizational, time-management, and technical and computer skills, as well as drive and self-motivation.
- Communication skills: Business development managers must be able to communicate with clients of all backgrounds and educational levels. Well-developed written and verbal communication skills are must-haves for professionals who work in this field.
- Organizational skills: Professionals who choose this career path must be comfortable juggling numerous clients, on- and off-site meetings, and deadlines. Individuals who are highly organized are best equipped to manage the many parts of the job and keep client proposals and other tasks on track.
- Time -management skills: Business development managers must understand how to prioritize their time. Individuals who work in this field must be comfortable managing a calendar and adjusting their schedule as needed.
- Technical and computer skills: Most organizations use a sales content management system (CMS) to track leads and client calls and document where each prospect is in the sales cycle. Aspiring business development managers must have basic technical and computer skills.
- Drive and self-motivation: The most successful business development managers are goal-oriented and commission-driven. Professionals who have drive and motivation will push themselves to succeed.
Salary Range for Business Development Managers
PayScale reports the median salary for business development managers in July 2020 was around $73,000. Earners in the bottom 10% of the salary range made around $45,000, while those in the top 10% made around $122,000. Most compensation packages for business development managers consist of a base salary plus commission.
In addition to a business development manager’s responsibilities, other factors impacting earnings include the industry, the geographic location of the job, and the employee’s level of experience. It should also be noted that individuals who have earned an advanced degree, such as an online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership , may receive additional compensation.
Your Path Toward a Career as a Business Development Manager Starts at Maryville
Professionals looking to take their career to the next level may find that earning an advanced degree, such as Maryville University’s online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership , can help them achieve their goal. This dynamic program is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in business while developing their problem-solving, critical-thinking, and leadership skills. The curriculum includes classes in business ethics, project management, leadership, and management policies as well as courses for specialized concentrations.
Are you ready to take the first brave step toward a career as a business development manager? Learn how Maryville’s online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership program can help prepare you for the job you want.
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Indeed, Learn About Being a Business Development Manager
PayScale, Average Business Development Manager Salary
Robert Half, Business Development Manager Job Description Guide
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sales Managers
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Business development manager
Business development managers are responsible for driving business growth within a company. They develop a network of contacts to attract new clients, research new market opportunities and oversee growth projects, making sales projections and forecasting revenue, in line with projected income.
Typical hours per week.
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- What will you do?
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Career path and progression
How to become a business development manager.
While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a business development manager, there are several routes you could take to help you pursue this career. You could complete a university or college course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.
You should explore these routes to becoming a business development manager, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.
You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.
You could complete an undergraduate degree in business development, business management, economics or accountancy, to develop your knowledge and become qualified for a career as a business development manager.
Some construction companies run graduate schemes to help you gain the necessary work experience to become a business development manager after your studies.
Find out what the entry requirements are where you live .
- Equivalent entry requirements explained
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While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a business development manager, having GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths and English at grade 4 or above would be beneficial for anyone considering this as a career, as the role requires a good standard of numeracy and literacy.
You could also undertake a college course in sales or business, to prepare you for becoming a business development manager.
If you are already working in a junior business management role, you could improve your knowledge by completing a Level 2 or Level 3 award in business development or sales.
- Find a course near you
You could complete a degree apprenticeship in sales or business development to help you become a business development manager.
An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.
- Find an apprenticeship near you
- Guide to apprenticeships
If you’re considering a job as a business development manager, you could apply to begin your career as an assistant or trainee within a construction company. As you become more experienced, your employer might offer training to help you progress in the role.
If you already hold GCSEs or A levels (or equivalent), or a degree, and have proven experience in sales or business management, you may be able to apply to an employer directly for a role as a business development manager.
Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a business development manager. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.
- Find out more about work experience
Desirable skills which will be helpful for anyone looking to become a business development manager include:
- A drive to seek new business
- Excellent telephone skills
- Strong verbal and written communication
- Good IT skills
- Initiative and good decision-making skills
- Project management skills
- Strong organisational skills
- Strategic and analytical thinking skills
- Ability to write reports.
To become a business development manager, you could complete a:
- Level 2 Skills for Business (Sales and Marketing) NVQ
- Degree apprenticeship in sales or business development
- Level 2 Skills for Business (Sales and Marketing) SVQ
What does a business development manager do?
Business development managers are primarily responsible for driving business growth, and duties vary on a day-to-day basis. Typical responsibilities include:
- Creating development plans and forecasting sales targets and growth projections
- Identifying market opportunities through meetings, networking and other channels
- Meeting existing and potential clients and building positive relationships
- Liaising with colleagues to develop sales and marketing strategies
- Preparing financial projections and sales targets
- Attending events such as exhibitions and conferences
- Preparing sales presentations and participating in sales meetings
- Producing reports for management
- Training business developers and sales colleagues
- Working in a client’s business or in an office.
How much could you earn as a business development manager?
The expected salary for a business development manager varies as you become more experienced.
- Newly trained business development managers can earn £28,000 - £30,000
- Trained business development managers with some experience can earn £30,000 - £45,000
- Senior, chartered or master business development managers can earn £45,000 - £70,000.*
Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.
* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources
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Check out the latest business development manager vacancies:
As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.
As a business development manager in the construction industry, you could progress into a role as a bid writer, and take on responsibility for preparing and writing commercial documents needed by companies to win new contracts.
As your experience and skills grow, you could move into a senior management role as a construction director and monitor all the work taking place on building projects.
- Bid manager This Go Construct Bid Manager job description tells you everything you need to know about how to become a Bid Manager within the construction industry.
- Construction director As head of construction, the construction director is responsible for planning & managing all construction projects. Learn more about the job description here.
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- Current role Business development manager Construction Business Development Managers have a range of duties. From developi... Read more More information - Business development manager
- Current role Bid manager This Go Construct Bid Manager job description tells you everything you need to k... Read more More information - Bid manager
- Current role Construction director As head of construction, the construction director is responsible for planning &... Read more More information - Construction director
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- Job Descriptions
- Sales Job Descriptions
Business Development Manager Job Description
The business development manager (BDM) is often the first point of contact a new potential client will have with a business when they are seeking information on the products and services the company provides. The BDM also responds to RFP's, tenders, and develops sales in new sales territories.
Business Development Manager Job Description Template
Due to a promotion in our team, we are hiring another business development manager to take over a mix of existing accounts and new sales territory. To excel in this role you should be an active listener, have a compelling sales personality, and a hunger to chase and close new business from cold calls and inbound warm leads.
Business Development Manager Responsibilities:
- Contacting potential clients to establish rapport and arrange meetings.
- Planning and overseeing new marketing initiatives.
- Researching organizations and individuals to find new opportunities.
- Increasing the value of current customers while attracting new ones.
- Finding and developing new markets and improving sales.
- Attending conferences, meetings, and industry events.
- Developing quotes and proposals for clients.
- Developing goals for the development team and business growth and ensuring they are met.
- Training personnel and helping team members develop their skills.
Business Development Manager Requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing or related field.
- Experience in sales, marketing or related field.
- Strong communication skills and IT fluency.
- Ability to manage complex projects and multi-task.
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Ability to flourish with minimal guidance, be proactive, and handle uncertainty.
- Proficient in Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
- Comfortable using a computer for various tasks.
Business Development Manager FAQ:
What is a business development manager.
The business development manager, or BDM, informs others about company products and services and acts as the point of contact for new clients and their assigned existing clients. To create a job listing, simply add your business development manager duties to our business development manager job description sample and start attracting top talent today.
Can I customize your business development manager description?
When you post a business development manager job, you should include details about the qualifications, skills, and qualities your company is looking for. Feel free to edit or add to any section of our business development manager job description example to get a listing that works for your company.
What do I need to include in my business development manager job posting?
When you advertise a business development job, you should provide applicants with more information about the business development manager duties and responsibilities they will handle and the qualities and skills they will need to be successful. Try adding your company’s specific needs to our business development manager job description template to help applicants learn more about the role at your company.
Do you have interview questions for business development managers?
We have interview questions to go with all of our job descriptions.
Sales associate job description, sales manager job description, sales representative job description, account executive job description, sales representative interview questions, accounting coordinator interview questions, account executive interview questions.
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What Does a Business Development Manager Do?
A business development manager works in strategic planning, sales management, and prospecting for new clients to help grow an organization.
If you’re interested in strategic planning, setting and reaching goals, and working with people inside and outside of your organization, then you may be interested in a career as a business development manager. As a member of the sales team, you’ll help identify leads, offer proposals to new clients, and build relationships with customers and co-workers alike. Business development is crucial to the growth of an organization.
What is a business development manager?
Business development managers, sometimes abbreviated BDMs, are key members of the go-to-market (GTM) team. They are responsible for building lists of sales leads, then pitching to these prospects to build the company’s client list. In sales lingo, they help move people from the top of the sales funnel to the goal of being a signed customer. The business development role uses many business skills, including strategic planning, project management, and successful negotiation.
Tasks and responsibilities
While the role will vary depending on the company and the industry, you might expect your tasks to include:
Identifying opportunities in target markets for your organization’s products and services
Generating leads through cold calling prospective clients or networking at trade shows
Developing and nurturing relationships with key customer accounts
Keeping up with the latest industry developments, including market positioning of corporate competitors
Assessing client needs and the company’s ability to meet those needs
Following up with new leads and referrals generated from the sales team
Preparing status reports on goals
Using customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Salesforce, to manage interactions
Successful business development managers often move into more senior business development and sales management roles.
Why pursue a career as a business development manager?
A career as a business development manager is good for someone who is outgoing, interested in sales strategies, and enjoys working with people. Good business development managers love the challenge of prospecting and accept rejection with grace. They view each “no” as putting them a step closer to a “yes.” They also enjoy being part of a team that works to build and execute a business growth strategy.
Business development manager salary
According to job site Glassdoor , business development managers in the United States make an average salary of $83,119 per year (January 2022) [ 1 ]. Salaries can vary depending on the industry, location, and amount of experience you have.
How to become a business development manager
Follow these 5 steps to become a business development manager.
1. Acquire a foundational education.
Many business development managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field, while some have a master’s degree. Business degree coursework can provide foundational knowledge of decision-making, data analysis, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Additional coursework in communication, marketing, and psychology can introduce you to important concepts related to the “people element” of business development.
Ready to advance your business education and gain career-ready skills? Check out the online iMBA program with specializations in financial management and digital marketing.
2. Gain relevant experience.
It helps to have experience with the selling process. For example, as an entry-level retail sales associate, your responsibilities might include guiding customers through their purchase decision all the way to the point of sale. As an outside sales representative position, your responsibilities might include reaching out to prospects, demonstrating products, and securing new customer accounts.
Other key areas of experience include strategic planning, business management, and successful negotiation.
To supplement hands-on experience and learn advanced sales concepts and approaches, consider taking a course. For example, the Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process specialization is a great way to understand customers better and deliver winning sales pitches.
3. Develop technical skills.
Technical skills that can lead to success as a business development manager include project management , navigating Microsoft 365 , and conducting search engine research .
With businesses’ increasing need for secure information systems and robust use of data to guide decisions, you may find that specialized training in cybersecurity and data analytics gives you an edge as a business development manager.
In addition, mastering customer relationship management (CRM) software can prepare you for a business development manager position, especially in larger organizations.
Want to learn CRM? The Salesforce Sales Operations Professional Certificate is a great way to learn how to manage teams, develop sales pipelines, and close deals effectively.
4. Enhance your resume.
As you gain experience, skills, and education, it’s important to update your resume continually. Scour business development manager job listings to find out what companies are looking for. Highlight the qualifications that match job requirements and feature them prominently on your resume.
Use action verbs to describe tasks you performed in previous roles, and when possible, emphasize any quantifiable outcomes.
5. Find your first business development manager position.
With qualifications and an updated resume in hand, the next step is to begin applying for business development manager jobs you’re interested in. Which ones will contribute to the lifestyle you desire? In which of these positions will you get to work on projects and tasks that excite you? What do you admire about the companies who are posting business development manager job openings?
As recruiters and hiring managers reach out to you to schedule interviews with companies, take time to improve your interviewing skills. You’ll want to be able to answer behavioral questions effectively using the STAR method, as well as prepare to ask your interviewer insightful questions, so that you can make the best decision for your career.
Get started in business
If you’re interested in a job as a business development professional, start by building job-ready skills through the Salesforce Sales Development Professional Certificate on Coursera—no degree or previous experience required.
Alternatively, explore whether the field is right for you (or continue developing core skills) through the Business Strategy Specialization from the University of Virginia or Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills from the University of Michigan.
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1. Glassdoor. “ Salary: Business Development Manager , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/business-development-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,28.htm.” Accessed January 24, 2022.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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