Continuing our  popular series of the traits and attributes of high performers in the commercial world, today we focus on the business development manager which has become a critical role for many businesses in recent years.

Business Development: It All Starts Here...

As we referred to last time for a company to thrive it needs to excel at sales and marketing. Marketing  as we know helps to creates demand  whilst sales convert that demand. 

That being the case, to have a consistent sales pipeline that delivers profit it's critical to have a great Business development team made up of successful business development managers.  

Let’s explore several of the key traits we notice in the successful ones that cross our path:-


They work with the Long Term in Mind


Building Relationships


As the name implies business development is all about the long term development of business relationships rather than ‘just’ making the next transactional sales. An excellent B.D. person is likely to be a great salesperson too; as the terms are often interchangeable. However, our experience of great business development people is they understand selling and account management at a whole new level. 

It’s about  the mindset of developing the account and planning for the long game rather than a quick win. 


They have a Growth Mindset



Growth Mindset 2


Excellent business development people are always looking at ways to improve their skills, abilities and knowledge.

They are the people who download the books, listen to podcasts and sign up for webinars in the evening to ensure they hone their skills. They will rarely leave the office bang on 5 and will continuously be asking you for feedback on how they can improve. 

The growth mindset conversation was brought to the fore by Carol Dweck. In her groundbreaking million seller book, she shares the power of having a growth mindset and how important that is to our success. 

Often if you have two business development people with the same skills and experience the one with the ‘can do’ attitude will always win. Our minds are so powerful, and B.D. top performers know this. 

That is why they read the positive quotes, listen to upbeat podcasts and work on their attitude. The above traits to look out for will hopefully have given you many ideas on what to explore when you recruit your next business development star. 


They Have Exceptional Product Knowledge 


Product Knowledge


Whether it’s the latest high-tech machinery they are selling or a unique service; the Business Development Managers know their product!

They understand that knowledge is how they stand out to their potential ‘new’ clients. They want to be identified as brand and product advocates because currently they understand what difference that can make to developing their sales pipeline and how they ultimately build their accounts. 


They are Relationship Builders


Build Relationships


Externally, they are aware that potential customers buy from people they know, like, and trust and who they ‘think’ can help them with a solution to their problem so they will work religiously in this regard to make the impression needed

Internally, they know that they need to use their relationship and rapport building skills to get all members of the business on side to collaborate so they can tap into their skillsets as and when they need to.


They Listen, Adapt And Ask Questions

 Always Listen First


A great business development person will take the time to understand the client’s individual needs and then tailor their offering to their circumstances. This helps them to develop exceptionally good negotiation and persuasion skills.

They never rely on generic ‘one size fits all’ sales pitches.  They do preliminary research, and then ask their client, seeking questions: what goals they might have, what obstacles stand in their way, or what would make their life easier?   

They’re also attuned to body language- to signs of discomfort or avoidance that inform them to back off, push forward or to take a different tack. 


They Are System And Process Driven 


Process driven Approach


This often surprises people, and yet systems work and are fundamental in a successful sales and business development process.

Structured systems and processes  consistently implemented are relied upon and considered essential to help them manage and nurture their project goals for the business.


They Are Resilient and Focused 



In many leadership circles, resilience is the new buzz word. Not so in the B.D. stars vocabulary, they have understood resilience for years and the difference it makes to their performance. 

They don’t take rejection personally, instead seeing it as a learning opportunity. They ask the client why they said no, and they look at where they could have communicated their offer in a different way.  

They are self-aware, so they analyse their strengths and development areas and seek feedback from others. When someone does reject their offer, they don’t just scratch that person from their list of leads; instead, they keep in contact. 


What Next? 

In summary, your business development team members are vital to your organisational growth.

If you would like help recruiting for your next  business development or sales manager role from Lucy Walker Recruitment or you are looking to move to a growing organisation in the West Yorkshire Region do get in touch. Email us here. Or alternatively, call Leeds 0113 367 2880.  


About the Author: Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is the founder and Managing Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment.Lucy has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over 25 years in the profession