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Business Developer – More Than Just a Title


So a software developer builds and designs software applications, and a website developer builds a website, but what does a business developer do? The simple answer will be that he develops businesses. Sounds like it’s just another fancy title for a business analyst right?

However, the business developer is more than just a title holder. He helps small businesses make smart decisions that will be more profitable for their growth. He is a salesperson, a business opportunity curator, a marketer, a sales closer, and a public relations officer all in one. Ideally, a business developer is whatever a brand needs him to be to grow – his job description is tailored to the particular brand. Let’s explore the typical business developer’s career, to know why every small business needs one.

What does a Business Developer do?

Business developers are tasked with helping brands access the best opportunities for their growth and recognition. In the course of carrying out his duties, he establishes and maintains corporate relationships with other organizations. His services are usually hired by a company or organization. A typical business developer’s responsibilities include:

  • Conducts market research and financial analysis for a business or company.
  • Creates and implements policies that will be beneficial for the company’s growth, based on the result of the analysis.
  • Reviews the company’s business plans and makes adjustments as necessary.
  • Develops strategies for profitable collaborations and partnerships.
  • Conducts extensive research to find high-profile clients.
  • Prepares and submits compelling proposals to prospective partners and clients.
  • Pitches the business ideas to potential partners, clients, and company shareholders.
  • Drafts contracts and negotiates favorable terms and conditions with clients and stakeholders.
  • Manages project teams, and keeps a track record of their progress to ensure that all the terms and conditions of the contract are duly observed.
  • Maintains the company’s relationship with clients and acts as the liaison officer with partners and sponsors.
  • Monitors the company’s growth via periodic staff evaluations and revenue examinations to make changes as needed, for better growth.
  • Predicts the right time for rebranding, and brainstorms ideas.
  • Works with the planning team to create a budget for better financial management.
  • Monitors the sales process, making adjustments to the company’s price rates as necessary.

The business developer’s goal is to increase the company’s revenue generation, customer engagement, and overall growth. He helps the company achieve its business goals, by giving expert advice on how to improve the organization’s products or services, and method of operation. Business developers are always on the lookout for business deals and contracts that will be beneficial to their company. They may often travel to other states to close these deals.

Skills and Qualifications Required for this Role

Skills include:

  1. Great oral and written communication skills.
  2. Customer service skills.
  3. Project management skills.
  4. Knowledge of how to close B2B (business to business) sales.
  5. Problem-solving skills.
  6. Conflict resolution skills
  7. Proficiency in the use of database systems, operating systems, spreadsheets, presentations, and data visualization software.
  8. Familiarity with the use of industry-specific equipment.
  9. Willingness to travel often for meetings, workshops, and other relevant events.
  10. Leadership skills
  11. Active Listening and Persuasive skills
  12. Experience working in a management job.
  13. Purpose-driven ability
  14. Experience in Supply-chain management and logistics.

Qualifications Include:

A business developer is expected to have a background in business administration, brand management, sales promotion, or even customer services. Certificate from diploma programs like Business Relationship Management may also replace a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. However, business developers may also receive training on the job, so they have better knowledge of industry-specific equipment, and the company’s values and work ethics.

What is the Difference between a Business Developer and a Business Analyst?

Although both job positions have the common goal to help the business grow, the business analyst’s focus is internal, while the business developer’s focus is on external relations. Where the business analyst works to create better work policies to encourage employee productivity and revenue generation, the business developer works to convert the company’s clients to returning customers and shareholders.

While the business analyst researches and brainstorms new ideas for the company’s operations, the business developer is always generating leads for patronage and scouting for collaboration deals and contracts. A typical day in the life of a business developer involves:

  • sending and replying to cold calls and e-mails
  • Attending meetings with the marketing and sales departments
  • Scheduling meetings with prospects and stakeholders
  • Brainstorming new project ideas or checking in on the ones already in the pipeline
  • Performing reviews on the company’s growth, business goals, and strategies.

When do you need a Business Developer?

The function of a business developer is specific to the problem he is trying to solve in a company. While most entrepreneurs prefer to start their business with the guidance of a business developer, some others wing it and only request the business developer’s services when they feel it is necessary. How do you know that your business needs the expert touch of a business developer? You perform a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is an evaluation of your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. If the result of your SWOT analysis points to any of these, hiring a business developer is non-negotiable.

1. Your business just went through a transition.

Most entrepreneurs start their business by trying out different lines of a trade before they niche down. Like with an individual switching career paths, businesses transitioning to a different line of trade also need guidance. If your business just went through (or is currently experiencing) a transition, it may be in your best interest to employ the services of a business developer, to make the process smoother and more satisfying.

2. The company is experiencing a downward growth trend

Is your company experiencing low sales and an even lower lead generation rate? Or is your growth stagnant – it’s not worse but you’re not any closer to achieving your business goals? Then it is time you trusted the expertise of a business developer.

A downward growth trend may be due to a bad business decision or a missed collaboration opportunity. Whatever the cause for a downward trend is, a business developer will conduct the necessary research to identify it and proffer possible solutions that can turn the curve the right way up.

3. Employees turnover is increasing due to job dissatisfaction

When employees feel like they are no longer growing in a company, they get dissatisfied with the job. This dissatisfaction will in turn provoke poor work productivity and hurt the company’s revenue generation. In times like that, the best solution is to improve the company’s growth so that there are more opportunities for the employees to grow as well.

4. The company recently expanded and you need more administrative help.

Every company’s dream is to grow and expand. However, when your business expands, you will need the expertise of a professional to grow it on your behalf because of the limited time at your disposal. This is where a business developer comes in handy.

5. You are about to make a major business decision.

Sometimes, a decision may sound smart to us but sound too high-risk to another ear with more expertise in that area. When making important business decisions, it may be helpful to consult the in-house business developer or contract a freelance one to review them. Business developers also come in handy when launching new project ideas, or gearing up for a rebranding.

Is Business Development a Lucrative Career Path?

The average business developer in Nigeria earns at least NGN500,000 monthly. The common pay range is between NGN240,000 to NGN850,000. The pay differs based on the kind of establishment hiring, the level of experience of the business developer, and the success rate. Business developers with a track record of accelerating an organization’s growth in little time are typically paid much more than those starting. Hence, based on the size of the pay envelope, this career path is indeed lucrative.

However, with a fat paycheck comes responsibilities and sacrifices. Business developers often have trouble maintaining a good work-life balance, because the role demands a lot of time. It requires the professional to be on the move often, leaving little time for him to attend to engagements that are not work-related.

He also has to stay up-to-date on marketing strategies and other business growth enhancement techniques. This means that learning is a never-ending process for him – if he is not working, he is at a seminar updating his knowledge. Moral of the story; business developers sacrifice a lot of their time to stay relevant and successful.

With the rise in the establishment of new businesses these days, however, it is safe to say that business developers will stay in demand for a long time. Hence, if this sounds like an appealing career path to you, start your transition – don’t sleep on it.

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Oputa Okwanuzor is a freelance writer skilled in the art of weaving words into stories for brand boost through copywriting, or make a soothing read using creative writing. In her free time, she loves to share personal development talks, fashion inspos and writing tricks on her blog.

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