The role of a Business Developer
In a company filled with engineers, software developers, and programmers, managerial roles play a rather important role. Some would have you believe that IT companies don’t require heavy managerial support, but the truth is far from this.
We’ve recently focused on improving the management of certain processes at Walter Code, and along with the additions made to our Human Potential Management, we’ve expanded our Business Development team, as well. These changes have helped us further strengthen the bond between our engineers and the clients by adding a few new links to the chain.
Business Development explained
Business development can be defined as the ideas, initiatives, and actions that assist a company to become more successful. Enhancing revenues, expanding the firm, increasing profitability through strategic partnerships, and making strategic business decisions are all examples of this.
A Business Developer’s primary task is to identify growth drivers that will aid in the expansion of a company. Most of the time, this means evaluating new markets for the goal of prospecting. A Business Developer seeks to attract potential clients by evaluating their problems, which provides long-term value.
A Business Developer accomplishes this by setting up meetings with prospects in order to pitch a service or product before presenting a sales proposal in the hopes of securing a contract.
While Business Developers are frequently in charge of a specific industry, allowing them to identify and contact relevant prospects and key players, they must also keep an eye out for other growth opportunities, such as communications or partnerships. In essence, Business Developers have to be alert at all times, making sure to always keep track of changes that might have a positive impact on the development of the company.
Companies’ reputations have become a major issue as they become more mindful of ethical activities and constantly monitor themselves to avoid attention. Ethical business practices are inextricably linked to a company’s reputation, making it critical to follow ethical rules if a firm wants to improve its image. In reality, businesses that grow rapidly and successfully have a tendency to treat all of their stakeholders with honesty, fairness, and service. To be deemed “ethical,” a firm must respond to the requirements of its customers while keeping their best interests in mind. It is critical for a firm to focus on unbiased business contacts and building lengthy relationships with its suppliers in order to build a solid reputation with them.
For both the corporation and its supplier, these partnerships can lead to mutually advantageous commercial arrangements. When it comes to the employees, they must consider their needs and encourage collaboration rather than ruthless rivalry. This ensures that the company’s most loyal and dedicated employees stay with the company for as long as feasible.
When a corporation is able to build solid relationships with each stakeholder personally and ethically, funding for further development can increase. This is founded on the reciprocation principle, which holds that in order for social change to occur, trust must be established between groups of people through mutually beneficial behaviors.
Business Development Activities
Sales, marketing, project management, product management, and vendor management are just a few of the departments involved in business development. There’s also a lot of networking, negotiating, forming alliances, and trying to save money. The business growth goals motivate and align all of these distinct departments and operations.
A rather practical example of the difference between the sales department and the influence of business developers on sales processes is the following article written by Venturi Tribe:
“Sales makes sure your business is running in the short term, business development reassures your business will survive and/or grow in the long term. While in sales it is all about closing product sales, business development is all about opening up new business opportunities for your company.”
To continue further, a company may have a successful product or service in one location. The business development team evaluates the possibility of additional expansion. It is determined that the product or service may be expanded to a new region, after all, due diligence, research, and studies.
Experienced Business developers are capable of leveraging more than one essential process within the company — connecting these various activities towards one goal, the expansion and further growth of the business, long-term. The position itself is quite influential within any company, but it brings great challenges, as well.
After discussing what Business Development is all about, let’s check in with our very own Business Developer — Deni Radović, and get his personal opinion. Deni recently joined our team and is already all hands on deck — scanning, investigating, and looking out for the best opportunities to take advantage of! Over 10 years of experience in the field have seen him taking on all sorts of different challenges, and it is our pleasure to have him involved in this interview.
Importance of a Business Developer in an IT company?
In general, this person typically focuses on four crucial functions:
· Maintaining relationships with existing clients
· Identifying new business and sales opportunities
· Working closely with the clients and internal tech teams in order to create and ensure business growth strategy
· Working on important projects which require special attention or more business-oriented actions and tasks
A business development professional is an important role in every organization, no matter its size and industry. Every organization needs to work on its constant growth, securing adequate resources, and defining long-term plans for its survival in fast-changing markets. This person, as a company representative, needs to define the proper structure which will communicate with all parts of the organization as well as with external clients and partners. Together, with all relevant departments, a business developer needs to be the initiator of various activities in order to reach the company’s business and strategic goals. This means the focus of the business developer’s time and energy should be to develop internal processes which will improve the company’s efficiency, and maintain the company’s external reputation by following the latest business and technology trends. Ultimately, a business developer’s days should be filled with tasks that support the title: ‘developing your business to its fullest potential, and this is the field where the importance of this role is being measured. In my opinion, a business developer can bring added value to the company, and with the constant and proactive approach with prominent social and communication skills, the end result can be very positive for both, internal organization and the clients. With business development, it’s your job not just to help the business grow, but to make sure it grows sustainably.
Further still, a Business Developer spreads his influence towards building trust between partners, listening to our clients, adding value, and solving their challenges.
The Path To Business Development
A typical career path in business development starts with an entry-level position as a sales and business development representative and climbs up the ladder to a manager role, with the possibility of eventually earning a spot in the highest management and leadership. Through this process, you’ll also gain valuable skills to take you to the next phase of your career, as long as you’re ready. Moving into a closing sales role as an Engagement Manager or Account Manager is a common next step for most sales and business development representatives. It usually takes years to develop your skills, face various client’s problems, communicate with different clients from different industries, complete complex projects, lead the teams, and most importantly to understand how the business is growing and what is the best way to help your existing and potential clients.
Part of growing up is learning more about your interests and trying new things to find out which career will be right for you. If you’re motivated, sharp, and interested in working with people, a career in business development might be a fit for you.
Just because there is a laid-out career path for business development, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to make that journey your own. If you take the time to develop your own skills and interests, there’s no doubt you’ll make the right choice when deciding whether business development is for you or not. One thing is for sure — a career in business development is challenging but can also be incredibly rewarding.
If you are looking to pursue a role in business development, there are several common skills you will need to develop. Setting personal goals to improve these skills can help you be more competitive and relevant for this role.
Here is the list of the skills I would like to emphasize:
1. Sales skills — While business development and sales roles serve different purposes, they share a few similar tasks and responsibilities. For this reason, basic sales skills can help you be successful in this role.
2. Negotiation skills — A business developer should be able to negotiate. While they might not be the ones closing the deal, they are responsible for generating leads and keeping them interested as they move through the sales funnel. To succeed in negotiations, you need to be able to think creatively, listen and understand the needs of others and prioritize properly.
3. Communication skills — Without strong communication skills, it will be difficult to achieve success in the world of business development. Business developers must be able to write and speak confidently and clearly, as well as listen to the responses and concerns of potential clients. The responsibilities of a business development executive include calling prospects, maintaining long-term relationships, and sharing valuable information with those involved in the business.
4. Project management skills — Developing a business is a large and complex project. Managing it closely is imperative to the overall success of a business developer. Some of the skills needed to be a great project manager carry over to the business development industry. These skills include more business knowledge, technical competencies, leadership methods, the ability to monitor and manage risk, skills for efficient team management, etc. The end goal is to help our partners to focus on what they do best by taking the burden of organizing and packaging our services and putting all our processes in place.
5. Other skills — Such as relevant knowledge in Finance, Legal, Collaboration, Research and strategy, Business growth, Marketing, etc., can take you wherever the organization needs support: sales, marketing, project management, management and operations, PR, or a blend of all these activities.
Challenges facing businesses?
We live in rapidly changing times, especially for businesses. Consequently, businesses have had to adapt to entirely new marketing channels (web and social), decide how to invest in, and compete on a global stage where slow-moving companies simply cannot survive.
This is why, in my opinion, some of the biggest challenges businesses face today are best met and addressed with qualified consultants. Bringing on a consultant helps an organization add the expertise and skills they need to address particular problems at particular times and can provide the best possible outcomes.
Here are some of the challenges that businesses face today:
1. Uncertainty about the future — Being able to predict customer trends, market trends, etc. is vital to a changing technological and economic climate. Being able to read and predict those all-important trends could be the difference between a bright future and a murky one.
2. Technology — As technologies change practically at the speed of light, companies need to innovate or be left behind — in case companies do not have internal resources and relevant technical competencies bringing Consultants in can be vital for integrating new technologies.
3. Knowing when to embrace change — An early disruptor or late to the game? Many companies usually don’t know how to determine when to embrace change and when to stay on the course. We are living in an era where change is the new normal. Preparing for and embracing that change by investing in the right kind of advice is the best way to meet these challenges head-on.
4. Competencies and recruiting the right talent — finding the right people and developing the right skills and competencies is the key to a sustainable future.
5. Regulation and compliance — As markets and technologies shift, so do rules and regulations. Companies must be ready and flexible enough to meet these scenarios by themselves or by bringing external help.
6. Maintaining quality customer relationships — If you have known your clients for years and have well-established relationships with them, it might not be a challenge for you to retain these customers. However, sometimes it can take effort to earn and maintain customer loyalty. Nowadays, when customers have a lot of options, you need to be there and to follow their needs more than ever.
Challenges facing business developers?
There’s no question that running a business comes with challenges. While some problems might be unique to a particular industry, others are extremely common, no matter what type of business you are meeting. Overcoming these problems can position your business for faster growth and stability. To put your business on the path to success, learn how to work through these business challenges:
1. Finding the right customers — The first step to solving this challenge is to narrow down your target customer segments. Conduct market research, find relevant prospects and start organizing your work which will bring added value to your future partners by defining your sales approach and business strategy.
2. Building trust and transparency with your partners
— Business Development is all about relationships. The best way to do it is to work with companies and people that you can build long-term relationships with, so you can work with them again and again. The client’s feedback is also very important and will help to build trust and improve the processes.
3. Sales process and definition of the project requirements — This is a very common problem for all kinds of clients. You simply need to find a way to deliver everything that you define during the sales process. By organizing additional sessions with the client in order to prepare and confirm requirements for development is a good foundation to make life easier for your development team.
4. Communication between the teams — It is crucial to define the communication channels and project tools in order to establish representative communication between the development team and the client’s team. The business developer’s role is also to be involved in the process and to be an extra connection between the teams and to make sure the process is going forward. Aligning the team in order to work towards shared goals — that’s the art of business development.
5. Time vs Budget — We all know that we need to develop a solution that is very cost-efficient for the client and good enough to provide desired user experience which will meet market demands. So, in this step, it is important to do what is right for the project having the overall time and budget in mind. The perfect results will have our partners focusing on their work, rather than wasting time leveraging time and money.
6. Time management — Managing your time appropriately can be difficult, and getting distracted with small tasks can take away your time which you need to spend working on company and business growth. One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is to identify the areas where you spend the most time each day, then explore ways to make these tasks more efficient.
IT companies heavily rely on engineers, data scientists, quality assurance engineers, etc. to do work on the projects. Managerial roles are there to support the “external” processes, with Business Development’s influence stretching even further.
The following blog post by HubSpot has a couple of steps of Business Development that go into further detail about the strengths of Business Development in companies.
“Business development is a crucial part of any successful company. It’s how you determine the best ways to boost revenue, identify your ideal prospects, generate more leads, and close more deals.
Think about how you can make a strong business development plan and ensure you have the right group of business development reps so you can begin growing your business today.”
Business Developers help bridge the gap between the requirements of partners and instructions towards the development team, by aligning the processes towards a common goal for both entities.
We, at Walter Code, recognize the importance of these managerial positions, and the roles they fulfill within the company. In today’s world, which is being more digitalized by the second, these managerial roles still play vital roles, linking processes, people, and resources. Helping to realize long-term growth, successfully, falls under their jurisdiction.
Special thanks to Deni for his contribution to this article!
Join the discussion, contact us through our social media with your own opinion on the relevance of Business Developers.