Hiring Business Development Managers

Things to Avoid While Hiring Business Development Managers

Published on December 1st, 2022


Imagine this !! You hire a business development manager who instead of skyrocketing your sales numbers pushes it down into the gutters.

This can be bad for your business and the team as a whole.

However, a great business development manager will understand your company’s requirements and plan strategically.

But first….

Who are Business Development Managers?

Business Development Managers (BDMs) are strategic people who take care of a company’s sales and marketing. They work towards the growth of the business by creating new sales leads, developing new business opportunities, training and motivating their team, and building relationships with new and existing clients. 

In sales lingo, a BDM pushes a prospective customer into a signed customer in the sales funnel. Business development managers need to be flexible and responsive to changing business needs, and capable of taking calculated risks in order to succeed.

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Skills of a Business Development Manager

A business development manager should possess an entire range of skill sets to successfully develop a business. But the most important ones have been listed below

  • Communication Skills

Any candidate involved in sales or marketing should have amazing communication skills because they have to coordinate with a lot of people to gather and exchange information.

If you are someone who is hiring for the position of business development manager at your organisation, make sure that the applicant is an effective listener, talker, and storyteller.

  • Leadership Skills

A business development manager should be a leader who can motivate and guide people to work towards their goals and targets. You can make use of pre-employment skill assessment platforms to test your candidate on all these skills. 

  • Prior Industry Experience

Experience is the greatest teacher. Think about how your candidate approaches problems with solutions. Your company development manager needs to be able to fix errors and address any underlying problems. 

Encourage the candidate to discuss how they overcame obstacles and hurdles in previous organisations. This is a reliable indicator of how well-versed they are in business management.

These are only a few of the skills required for the position. A company development manager needs to have strong practical skills in addition to hard skills.

Because the job requires a lot of creative and original ideas for improvement, consider hiring someone who is analytical as well as creative. You should also think about whether the candidate can fit into the culture of your business and has the same goals as you.

Apart from all these skills, a business development manager should

  • Understand People’s Buying Patterns and Trends

According to a report by Curata, up to 57% of customers make up their minds before even contacting a vendor. With the increasing trend of the internet, the customer is more educated than ever and a salesperson should be able to gauge their client’s thought process by talking to them.

Professionals in business development must be knowledgeable about techniques that will enable them to gain a buyer's trust and progress the customer through the sales cycle.

  • Ask Questions and Listen Intently

A business development manager should ask questions and listen intently to the customer to understand their issues and then present their product to the client in a tailored form. 

A prospective client will already be well-educated about your agency, so the strategy here should be to listen to their requirements and not bore the client with already-known information. 

  • Set Annual Goals and Develop Action Plans

A top skill that a business development manager should possess is the ability to set goals for the team and the company. They should develop an action plan on how the company can proceed with their sales strategies in the coming year. 

  • Possess a High Curiosity Quotient

A candidate can be trained with technical skills and other requirements and qualifications of the job but you can never train an applicant to be curious. 

Sales is a highly dynamic and competitive industry that requires business development managers to be at their A-game all the time. A curious, eager-to-learn, and willing-to-adapt to new methodologies candidate will be a gem for your company. 

  • Set Realistic Expectations for the Customers

A business development manager should be skilled at managing expectations with prospects so that your company can go above and beyond them. This might be the delivery date of a proposal (promising "tomorrow" when it generally takes your team three days to produce one is unacceptable) or providing a realistic account of what it will be like to work with your firm. 

To help prospective clients understand what it will be like to work with your team and whether your points of view align, this person must be able to effectively explain your agency's values, personality, and culture.

  • Be able to Build a Brand

Business development professionals must be able to not only define their brand but also influence changes in the company's sales and marketing strategies. This can be done by creating an ideal client profile, identifying which clients are a good fit (and which are not), marketing the company, changing hiring and recruiting procedures, and even pricing the product to reflect its value.

Have an understanding of the Agency Business

The individual in charge of business development should be able to advise clients on both marketing and business decisions. They should be well-versed in general business strategies, executive-relevant financial indicators, leader-relevant concerns and challenges, customer acquisition and retention, and customer acquisition and retention. 

They must be viewed as a resource for business advice who, using the services provided by your company, may assist the client in resolving business issues.

Roles & Responsibilities of a Business Development Manager

  • Identifying opportunities in target markets for your organisation’s products and services
  • Generating leads through cold calling prospective clients or networking at trade shows
  • Developing and nurturing relationships with key customer accounts
  • Keeping up with the latest industry developments, including market positioning of corporate competitors
  • Assessing client needs and the company’s ability to meet those needs
  • Following up with new leads and referrals generated from the sales team
  • Preparing status reports on goals
  • Using customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Salesforce, to manage interactions

Salary Trends of a Business Development Manager

The salary range of a business development manager has increased by upto 8% in the last 5 years. The job growth of the profile has been projected to increase by upto 8% from 2018 to 2028.

Almost 300,000 people are working as business development managers in the USA and there are 215,309 openings currently in the country. 

The average salary of a business development manager is 100k/year. There is a tiny difference in the range of salary between the men and women from 107k to 102k per year. 

Business Development Manager Interview Questions

Asking the right questions can give you an insight into the hard skills, behavioural skills and soft skills of the candidate. Some examples of the questions that you can refer to next time when you are interviewing a business development manager include

  • Tell us about your experience in developing marketing and sales plans.
  • What would you do if a customer was interested in a product or feature you couldn’t offer or that didn’t yet exist?
  • Describe a moment when you negotiated a deal. What was the outcome?
  • Explain why any two things would be better off working together as you look around the room.
  • What inspires you to do your work?
  • If you lacked any of the resources required to finish your responsibilities, how would you proceed?

Things to Avoid While Hiring Business Development Managers

Every candidate who appears for the interview will be well prepared and showcase themselves as the right fit for the job. However, it is you who has to be crafty and look for things that might be not suitable for the job role.

Here is a point-by-point list of the things that are not appropriate for a business development manager

  • Good at selling, bad in follow-throughs: Many applicants are great at selling but bad in follow-throughs, they can’t get to close a deal easily. 
  • Reference checks are the only way to weed these folks out because they are excellent salespeople but lack substance. Technical founders vastly overrate pure charisma. Don't fall for someone's charm and friendliness alone.
  • Disorganised and unstructured: Disorganised employees are bad at improvisation, do not follow-up, act impulsively and as a result cause pointless meetings and internal strife. 
  • Leak value: These candidates lack moral values and are hell bent on selling the product at any cost without thinking about the other side. 
  • Do not value company’s resources: Bad business people do not value company’s resources and funds and take advantage by giving out extra discounts and deals and do not care about the company policy.
  • Outsource excessively: Such type of people become overly reliant on other sectors and casually dismiss customer complaints as “legal problems” or “finance problems”. They also tend to hide away from technical concepts. A good business development manager would iron these details out.
  • Networking for their personal gain: Some business development professionals could utilise their position as gatekeepers to gain an advantage for themselves. By being too lenient with a deal so that the partner likes them, they may forge relationships at the expense of the business. Or, instead of working, they may continually network at outside shindigs and on panels to establish their own reputations.
  • Display a cowboy mentality: Without consulting or getting consent from their peers, some business people will go ahead and make a deal or mention terms to a third party that cannot be changed.
  • Overly emotional: A person who has a lot of ups and downs in their moods and is unable to control their emotions might be a bad fit for the job role. 

Final Thoughts

The sales sector is booming and the job profile of a business development manager is going to be in great demand in the near future. 

A good business development manager can take your company places while a bad one sinks you in great losses.

It is upon you to hire the person who is befitting your needs. Try to avoid the external charisma and enigma of the candidate and dive into the skills and assessment details of the person.

Follow these tips for a smooth hiring process.

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Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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