Business development combines sales and skills in managing relationships in order to create growth and new business for a company. It is often linked very closely to marketing. For example, the business development team may work with the marketing department to identify a new market for the company's products or services. While the marketing department concentrates on developing suitable marketing materials, members of business development are responsible for identifying and working with business partners in that market. The business development executive works as a relatively junior member of the business development team.
A key part of the business development executive's role is based on research. She uses the media and various market sector reports to identify market trends and, potentially, new opportunities. If she or her manager is going to meet a prospective new client or partner, she will research the organization and, where possible, the individuals she will be meeting. It is also her responsibility to identify events, such as conferences and exhibitions, at which the company should have a presence.
The business development executive creates new leads for the company either by making cold calls over the telephone or by meeting new people at industry events. She may have a target number of new business contacts to make when attending an event. Sometimes she may have picked out beforehand specific people she wants to meet. Once she has made initial contact, it is her responsibility to make follow-up calls and develop the relationship.
A large part of any business development executive's role is preparing and making presentations. These may be general presentations about the company or more specific presentations focusing on particular products or ideas. Members of the business development team will also seek opportunities to speak at industry conferences or other relevant business-focused events.
The key characteristic of business development is that it is about creating long-term relationships that deliver long-term benefits to the business. This means that, as well as creating new opportunities and relationships, the business development executive must nurture the contacts she has already made. She does this by organizing regular update meetings and telephone calls. In addition, she may make informal contacts, such as forwarding a press article that she thinks her contact will find interesting.
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