Skills & Expertise

What Does a Business Development Director Do?

Help drive your company forward with this multilayered sales role

Lots of companies have a business development director, including yours. And there are business development director openings on the job board. Yet you’re not sure what the position entails or if it’s the right job or ambition for you. Well, wonder no more.

We asked a couple business development directors to tell you all about the job. Check out what they had to say, and consider taking a chance on a profession that’s all about creating opportunity.

What exactly does a business development director do?

Whether the job is in television, tech or digital media, a business development director is responsible for driving a company’s business and increasing its revenue, identifying and developing new business opportunities and building and expanding the presence of the company and its brands.

A business development director also leads sales and client-relationship management, tracks new markets and emerging trends, recommends new products and services, proposes and develops new strategic partnerships, writes proposals and plans, and guides long-term objectives to meet business needs and requirements.

“It’s an all-encompassing role,” says Sajeel Qureshi, VP of business development at Computan, a marketing support organization with offices in Canada and the United States. Qureshi manages a sales team; oversees marketing campaigns to generate leads for the sales team; earns media placement to position the company as an expert in its discipline; and allocates and manages the sponsorship and pro-bono budgets.

What skills do you need?

Persistence, knowledge of the product or service you’re selling and communication skills are essential, and all equally important, says Tim Drudge, brand and business development manager at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indiana. “Without one of those skills, the others fail.”

Qureshi emphasizes the importance of communication skills. A business development director is one of the first points of contact someone has with the company, so it’s vitally important to be able to explain what the company does and how it can help in simple and digestible terms, he says, be it in person or via email.

You should also understand how to leverage technology to stay ahead of competitors. Knowing what software and automation platforms are available in your industry and picking the ones that best fit your organization are a must.

Who is a business development director’s boss?

This depends on the size of a company and its setup, though most business development directors report to a vice president or to the owners.

What do you need to get ahead in this position?

People skills. This includes effectively communicating with customers. Verbal communication is a lost art, says Drudge. “Not only does it lead to clear expectations, but it builds a longstanding relationship—and revenue—that can be counted upon year after year.”

How can you break into this field?

The career ladder to this lofty position usually starts with an entry-level job in sales or marketing. You don’t need a degree in a specific area before starting your climb, says Drudge, so long as you have top-notch people skills and an unrivaled passion for the products and services you’ll be selling.

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