Business development professionals help companies build strategic partnerships with other companies and increase revenue. The goals of business development managers may vary depending on the sector and employer. However, nearly all business development managers lead initiatives that touch upon strategic planning, marketing and sales. Some also work closely with engineers or provide technical knowledge during business planning. Similar to sales professionals, business development managers generate leads, manage customer and partner relationships and close deals.
A business development manager's primary duties include identifying customer markets, monitoring industry trends, conducting competitor analyses and crafting business plans. Some business development managers research companies for potential merger and acquisition opportunities. They work closely with sales and marketing directors and top executives to determine ideal market opportunities to pursue. Other duties include managing and creating materials for campaigns around product launches and events.
Students and professionals who wish to work in business development should first obtain a bachelor's degree, as this is the minimum educational requirement for most managerial jobs. A bachelor's degree in business administration, as well as a master's degree or MBA, boosts candidates’ credentials for business development manager roles. Once candidates have satisfied the minimum educational requirements, they build their work experience in finance, sales, marketing or business development. Future business development managers also hone their skills by taking jobs with consulting or investment banking firms. Acquiring and refining their work experience in these areas is one of the goals of business development professionals.
Because business development positions interface with different departments across an organization, candidates require a variety of skills to be successful on the job. In addition to having strong oral and written communication skills, candidates must be able to work well in teams and build relationships with employees at different levels in organizations. Business development managers should also be reliable, organized and trustworthy. For example, these professionals often work independently and must be able to carry out projects without direct supervision. Employers also look for candidates who are creative and proactive, since one of a business development manager’s tasks is to find and propose new market opportunities.
Business development managers fall under the category of sales, advertising, public relations and marketing managers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for these professionals will increase 13 percent through 2018. Business development managers should continue to build their work experience, as well as analytical, strategic planning and computer technology skills.
E-commerce and social networking websites will also prompt companies to seek professionals who can grow business partnerships using the latest Internet technologies. To increase salary and career growth potential, business development professionals can also pursue professional certifications or take continuing education courses to stay abreast of the latest trends in their industry.
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