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How to Hire A Business Development Manager

Woman business development manager and leader

Ever played Monopoly? If you have, you know that winning the game isn’t just about making money once. You need to keep that money coming in so that you can continue to grow. That’s what a winning business development manager does for your business. 

A talented business development team can change the fate of your business. All “rags to riches” stories are not just about passion and vision but also about the execution of critical decisions. Every entrepreneur needs to either be a good business development manager themselves or hire someone who is. A business isn’t just about acquisition of clients but also about scalability and sustainability. 

It’s important to learn about the role of business development to be able to hire the right people for the task.

What Should a Business Development Manager do?

What instantly comes to mind when we hear this designation is “revenue”. It’s true that a business development manager is responsible for generating revenue but it’s not only via their direct sales role.

They’re also responsible for improving various aspects of the business in order to ensure a smooth inflow of revenue from all possible channels.

They’re like the sailors of a ship who need to be intuitive as well as well-informed to be able to navigate through crisis situations and also take necessary risks to reach their destination. 

  • They explore new revenue models to create more opportunities for new business.
  • They’re good at networking and forming strong connections via whatever professional channels they can find – events, social networks, digital discussions, industry specific forums, etc.
  • A business development manager is also great at communicating with internal teams to offer new ideas that could help the business grow.
  • Business development teams are also the face of the company. They represent the business via participating in industry specific speeches, one on one client meetings and business pitches.
  • They’re also responsible for maintaining high standards for the business by bringing in big ticket clients that enhance the company’s portfolio and reputation.

That’s a lot of work right there. That’s also a lot of responsibility. Having said that, a business development team also has a lot of rewards in the form of incentives and commissions.

Since the role requires so many things to do, what are the skills that you should keep your eyes peeled for when on the lookout for a business development manager? Here’s a checklist that you can refer to.

Business Development Manager Skills

A woman business development manager with a chart

1. An Authoritative Personality

“Con me if you can!” That’s one statement I always used when I was in the field of business development. A business development manager is someone who is out there to influence people. They’re supposed to convince a client about how amazing their product or service is. As we know, clients aren’t always sitting ready to buy what you have on offer. Clients are notorious for the big fat “No” despite being in desperate need of something. 

If a business development manager gets easily intimidated instead of being able to maintain an authoritative personality, do you think they’ll be able to come up with rebuttals to client rejections? They’ll be easily fooled by “I don’t think I can afford it.” and won’t be able to dig opportunities hidden under those rejections.

2. The Master of Communication

If you can’t say it, you can’t do it. If the business development manager gets awkward with strangers at an event instead of smiling at them and saying “Hi there. I think I saw you at the last event too. Isn’t it great bumping into people from the same industry all the time? Let’s exchange cards and maybe discuss the seminar in detail sometime?”

Now, that statement worked for me so many times and I could build a database just like that. Good communication skills are very important. You can be missing out on hundreds of leads every day if your business development manager is too shy to hold a new conversation with a new person.

3. A Team Player

This one is a no-brainer because if your business development manager is aloof and likes to work by himself, they’ve failed at the point right above this one anyway.

A business development manager role has a lot to do with personal attributes. If they can’t work in teams, it’s a red flag. This will lead to them not being able to tell what they need from your internal teams to accomplish their goals. They will also not be able to work with external client teams on projects as well.

Make sure they’re humble too because if they’re arrogant and know-it-alls, they won’t be welcome for discussions in the company which will make them a solo player by default.

4. Strategy for Immortality

I know that is a hyperbole. No business is immortal – but never say die! An exceptional business development manager can actually make this happen. Remember the sailor analogy I made earlier? They need to be intuitive in addition to well-informed.

If they have a good amount of experience and are very well-versed with industry norms and evolution, they will be able to foresee not just the good that is to come but also all the challenges up ahead that could pose a problem to your business.

Having a hawk eye helps the business development manager to plan well in advance in order to navigate the challenges seamlessly and to bag the right opportunities at the right time.

5. YES (Sales)Man

When someone comes running to you saying “We’ve been waiting for your product since forever. Where have you been?” isn’t it music to your ears? It also is just an unrealistic dream because it doesn’t happen almost EVER. This is why we have people who can sell a pen to someone asking for a book and a whole new wardrobe to someone who came by the shop just to have a look.

This is linked to all of the above points, of course – but let’s mention one more important attribute. Actually, two. Patience and perseverance. I know, this sounds like a cheap motivational poster but if your business development manager doesn’t have the patience to wait, he won’t ever get business out of anyone because he quit too soon and hopped on to another and another and another before they could even think and give him a “yes”.

Also, if your business development manager is someone who dislikes following up with people who were pitched to some 3-4 months ago then you’re doomed. He will never be able to extract business from previous rejections because of lack of perseverance. They might’ve not wanted your products/services then but they could be looking for it now.

You need a business development manager who is a “Yes Man” for every opportunity and doesn’t take no for an answer from a client.

Business Development Manager Interview Questions

Business development manager woman interview

Remember they’re salesmen after all. In order to make the right decision, know that “All that glitters isn’t gold” and ask them all of these questions.

1. Which was Your Greatest Client Acquisition and Why?

This will help you understand their highest accomplishment that you can compare with the benchmark/targets you’ve set for the role in your company. Remember to ask them for proof/statistics/case study.

2. Sell Me an Amusement Park Ticket

Why an amusement park ticket? It has a very broad target audience. See if the business development manager is able to cover it all. Is the candidate innovative? Are they creative? Are they able to really sell it to you?

3. Define Growth

Sounds very simple but it isn’t. See if their answer matches your business goals. They should be able to tell you direct and indirect ways of transforming a business with quarterly/bi-annual/annual objectives and most importantly the “why” behind it. If it’s just that they “think” this will work, reject them. 

Your revenue model and growth doesn’t revolve around what they ‘think’. Are they able to justify it in a quantifiable way? Do they have any case study that can prove their model? If it is none of these, have they done that before and seen impressive results? It’s not wrong to experiment but not without testing it out on a small scale first and that too again needs to be based on something.

4. The Client Rejected Your Proposal 3 Times. What Will You Do?

This one can have various answers. The business development manager should be sharp enough to say they won’t pursue further because they’d rather spend time with the low hanging fruit. 

They should also be able to say that if the client is very important for the business, they will change the pitch after thorough research on competitors and on the client to understand what they like and what’s their pain point.

To be precise, they should be able to look at the question from various angles and provide many answers for each situation. This will show how strong they are with their strategic thinking. Otherwise, you’ll know they’re walking with their blinders on.

Hire a Remote Business Development Manager

Happy woman business development manager

Where do you think you will find this star business development manager? “The one” could be some 3000 miles away from you. Who knows? You don’t really have to pay for them to make the move to your country. Don’t worry. You only have to hire a remote business development manager because would you be okay paying to someone in your vicinity who is timid and a “No Man”? 

Invest in the best without making their location a challenge. The best remote business development managers are capable of working from anywhere and build global relationships with new business partners easily. It’s time to see your business grow and for that, it really is time to hire the best remote business development, manager. Let DistantJob do it for you.  

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Aneesha Kochar

Aneesha Kochar

Aneesha Kochar is a Content Marketer at DistantJob. She has been a freelance writer for more than a decade. An ocean of information along with many of her own experiences can be witnessed in her writing.