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What is Business Development?
Antonio Leone
, 10th July 2018
8 min read

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What are the different types of business development roles
  • Why and when is a business development role interesting to consultants and bankers
  • What are the goals of business development and how does it interact with the wider business
  • What makes a good business developer
  • Recommended readings and resources

What is Business Development?

“Business Development isn’t that err… Sales and Partnerships? No thanks, I’m interested in strategy roles”.

Confusing Business Development for only being sales and partnerships is a surprisingly common misconception. This partly owes to “Business Development” as a title being often used misleadingly by companies and traditional recruitment agencies to glamorise otherwise uninspiring pure sales opportunities.

Broadly speaking, Business Developers will have one or more of the following areas of responsibility:

  • Sales – executing deals for a product, good or service
  • Partnerships – sourcing and negotiating agreements with other businesses
  • Strategic growth – supporting a company’s corporate strategy, developing and implementing new growth strategies (new products, services, markets etc.)

In general, Business Development activities are targeted to grow the business — whether through a new client, a new partnership, or a new market.

Key Strategic Responsibilities of Business Development

Defining Business Capabilities

Process mapping a company’s core capabilities, their key messages and identifying any advantages they may have over competitors.

Identifying Valuable and Strategic Partnerships

Business Development roles involve conducting comprehensive market and competitor analysis to identify opportunities to create long-lasting value for an organisation with its customers, markets and relationships.

Recommending Business Development Strategies

Creating business development strategies and putting forward what you consider the best options to a company’s decision-makers is a key responsibility for Business Development professionals. This may include, making recommendations on whether to expand or not into a new market or segment based on specialised research and analysis, as well as market knowledge.

Internal Consulting and Lead Generation

Business Developers often find themselves providing internal consulting and cross-functional business support where required, assisting key decision-makers in executing a company’s overall corporate strategy. Importantly, they also contribute to lead generation activities by driving inorganic growth, M&A and corporate development initiatives.

Business Development Flow

Why is Business Development an interesting role for consultants and bankers?

Generally, the business development roles which Hiperpool members are interested in are those focused on strategic growth and/or partnerships, rather than sales. Here, the skills required to be successful align closely with the prized skill set possessed by consultants and bankers. These include:

Strong Analytical Skills

Strong analytical skills are essential for any Business Developer. These allow professionals to provide companies with a clear understanding of their core capabilities, benchmark the competition, and identify opportunities for growth.

Great collaboration and relationship building skills

As a Business Developer, you’ll be constantly reaching out to new people and working with different stakeholders. So, having the ability to quickly build credibility and trust with all levels in an organisation is a big asset. The strength of your relationship-building skills will be tested at times when you’re required to influence others and navigate through office politics to deliver real change.

Results Driven

At the end of the day, Business Development is a business support function dedicated to assisting the strategic implementation of growth opportunities. As such, a passion for working in a highly motivated and results-oriented environment is a motivational must-have. 

Excellent Communication Skills

To succeed in Business Development you’ll need to be an excellent communicator – able to interact internally and externally at all levels of seniority, put complex issues in simple terms, and present actionable recommendations. You’ll also be required to ensure the overall corporate strategy is clearly understood across business teams.

Intellectual Curiosity

Knowledge is power, and a hunger for knowledge is the secret to being a successful Business Developer. In this regard, it is not only essential that you know all about your company’s services and products, but also that you have the desire to find out everything there is to know about your competition – in order to design strategies to outperform them.

How to land a job in Business Development

Ready to dive into Business Development? Join Hiperpool and start receiving opportunities based on your experience, interests and career goals. Our technology combined with a human approach means we can promise not to spam you and send only relevant opportunities. Whether you’re actively looking for your next step or waiting for the perfect role we’re here to help you. Join today!

Recommended Reading and Resources


Looking to get into Business Development? Sign up to Hiperpool today and be the first to hear about exciting new roles and access exclusive resources along the way.

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