What is a business development manager and what do they do?
The overall goal of a business development manager is to help grow the business which employs them by identifying new opportunities and new clients. Business development work takes place across every sector, but key areas include finance, manufacturing and construction. However, you will find business development managers in education and healthcare too. Often you will see a distinction made between B2B and B2C work – B2B is business to business and B2C is business to consumer.
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How do you become a business development manager in the UK?
There is no single route into a career in business development. As a graduate, you might be able to apply for a graduate scheme in busines development, alternatively you might work in a related field undertaking similar work, allowing you to move into this role.
What qualifications are needed to become a business development manager?
While employers will expect good levels of English and maths – there are no set qualifications required in general and it is possible to move into this area without a degree from related roles in, for example, sales.
However, larger organisations, may recruit through graduate schemes and degrees with a business focus such as business studies, finance and marketing would be particularly relevant. However, if you have a degree in a different field – such as law, healthcare, education this could open opportunities in those sectors.
What skills do you need?
Certain core skills are essential in this role:
- Excellent interpersonal skills to engage with customers
- Confidence and ability to persuade as you’ll be contacting potential leads directly
- Excellent communication skills to pitch your proposals in a clear and engaging way
- Business acumen, commercial awareness and interest in developing businesses.
In addition to these core skills, a range of others may be needed including:
- Teamworking when working collectively within a larger organisation
- Excellent written skills, to produce materials, reports, etc
- Negotiation skills and the ability to make sound business decisions.
How much do business development managers get paid?
With such a varied role, varied employer base and such variations between the sectors in which business development managers work, it is hard to estimate a salary. Typical starting salaries would usually be in the region of £25,000. With experience, responsibility and a demonstrable track record, salaries increase significantly. In some sectors, more senior managers will be earning in excess of £60,000 and often roles will earn commission or bonus, which can make a significant difference. However, as noted, these will vary considerably.
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