business development

Business Development: what makes a great Manager?

Continuing our popular series of the traits and attributes of high performers in the commercial world, today we focus on the business development manager which has become a critical role for many businesses in recent years.

Business Development: It All Starts Here… 

As we referred to last time for a company to thrive it needs to excel at sales and marketing. Marketing as we know helps to create demand whilst sales convert that demand. 

That being the case, to have a consistent sales pipeline that delivers profit it’s critical to have a great Business development team made up of successful business development managers.

Let’s explore several of the key traits we notice in the successful ones that cross our path:-

They work with the Long Term in Mind

As the name implies business development is all about the long-term development of business relationships rather than ‘just making the next transactional sales. An excellent B.D. the person is likely to be a great salesperson too; as the terms are often interchangeable. However, our experience of great business development people is they understand selling and account management at a whole new level. 

It’s about  the mindset of developing the account and planning for the long game rather than a quick win. 

They have a Growth Mindset

Excellent business development people are always looking at ways to improve their skills, abilities and knowledge.

They are the people who download the books, listen to podcasts and sign up for webinars in the evening to ensure they hone their skills. They will rarely leave the office bang on 5 and will continuously be asking you for feedback on how they can improve. 

Often if you have two business development people with the same skills and experience the one with the ‘can-do attitude will always win. Our minds are so powerful, and B.D. top performers know this. 

That is why they read the positive quotes, listen to upbeat podcasts and work on their attitude. The above traits to look out for will hopefully have given you many ideas on what to explore when you recruit your next business development star. 

They Have Exceptional Product Knowledge 

Whether it’s the latest high-tech machinery they are selling or a unique service; the Business Development Managers know their product!

They understand that knowledge is how they stand out to their potential ‘new’ clients. They want to be identified as a brand and product advocates because currently, they understand what difference that can make to developing their sales pipeline and how they ultimately build their accounts. 

They are Relationship Builders

Externally, they are aware that potential customers buy from people they know, like, and trust and who they ‘think’ can help them with a solution to their problem so they will work religiously in this regard to make the impression needed

Internally, they know that they need to use their relationship and rapport building skills to get all members of the business on side to collaborate so they can tap into their skillsets as and when they need to.

They Listen, Adapt And Ask Questions

A great business development person will take the time to understand the client’s individual needs and then tailor their offering to their circumstances. This helps them to develop exceptionally good negotiation and persuasion skills.

They never rely on generic ‘one size fits all’ sales pitches.  They do preliminary research, and then ask their client, seeking questions: what goals they might have, what obstacles stand in their way, or what would make their life easier?   

They’re also attuned to body language- to signs of discomfort or avoidance that inform them to back off, push forward or to take a different tack. 

They Are System And Process Driven 

This often surprises people, and yet systems work and are fundamental in a successful sales and business development process.

Structured systems and processes consistently implemented are relied upon and considered essential to help them manage and nurture their project goals for the business.

They Are Resilient and Focused 

In many leadership circles, resilience is the new buzzword. Not so in the B.D. stars vocabulary, they have understood resilience for years and the difference it makes to their performance. 

They don’t take rejection personally, instead of seeing it as a learning opportunity. They ask the client why they said no, and they look at where they could have communicated their offer in a different way.  

They are self-aware, so they analyze their strengths and development areas and seek feedback from others. When someone does reject their offer, they don’t just scratch that person from their list of leads; instead, they keep in contact. 

What Next? 

In summary, your business development team members are vital to your organizational growth.

Another article on this blog that may interests you:

 Business Coach Portrait