Business development manager

Business development managers are senior sales people who create opportunities for business growth.

What does a business development manager do?

This role involves finding new customers and persuading existing ones to buy extra services. If you’re interested in sales and building relationships, this job could be ideal for you.

Business development managers work in a variety of businesses across the public and private sectors, or for charities. For example, in manufacturing you might work to secure new production contracts, whereas in education you may look to forge closer links between colleges and employers to provide more places for apprentices. Duties can vary depending on your role, but are likely to involve:

  • researching organisations to find new customers and identify who makes the decisions
  • ‘cold calling’ to arrange meetings at customers’ premises
  • finding out what an organisation needs and work with a team to plan proposals and pricing
  • selling products and services to new and existing customers
  • negotiating with customers and build positive relationships
  • going to events and conferences to gain information on market trends and competitors
  • writing reports and make presentations to customers and senior management
  • identifying new methods and opportunities for sales campaigns
  • forecasting sales targets and make sure they’re met
  • delivering training to business developers and junior sales teams within your organisation

If you work for a charity, you’ll be responsible for securing statutory funding and increasing the number and amount of donations. You’ll also improve awareness of your charity and widen its influence.

What do I need to do to become a business development manager?

In this job you’ll need excellent communication and IT skills. You’ll also need to work to deadlines and have an understanding of how businesses operate.

To get into this job, you'll need a good standard of education, including maths, English and IT. Some employers may ask for a degree. Experience of sales or marketing is usually required. It may also be possible to start in a junior role and work your way up.

Employers will also usually want you to have experience in sales, marketing or business management. 

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • IT
  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Vocational route

  • Level 2 certificate in business principles for sales professionals
  • Level 2 diploma in skills for business: sales and marketing
  • Level 2 certificate in sales management
  • Level 2 award in sales targets

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

There are opportunities to work in a wide range of businesses, from accountancy to recruitment, and from education to manufacturing. Charities also employ business development managers to increase their profile and their market share of fundraising.      

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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