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There's No Place for Snake Oil in B2B Business Development

By Shane Davies

While it’s often hard to define the edges of the BDM role in complex business markets, spotting a successful BDM  is easy. They’re leading the company toward strong revenue growth, quality clients, successful partnerships and a bright future.

Business Development in business to business (B2B) markets may indeed be about figuring out how to sell more to customers and finding new customers, but that’s over simplifying things.

The general consensus is that the role of the modern business development manager (BDM) is to create long-term value from customers, markets and relationships. But in this hyperconnected world defining the Business Development role is not clear cut. In a world in constant change today’s BDM needs to be one part strategist, one part marketer and one part sales professional.

So what should you expect from a BDM if you're operating in a business market? It comes down to three broad capabilities:

BDM’s are thinkers

BDM’s are strategic thinkers.

Business development is a combination of strategic analysis, marketing and sales with the objective to grow a company’s business by establishing new partnerships and increasing sales from existing accounts.  This often means developing a revenue growth plan which draws directly from the revenue objective outlined in your company’s broader strategic plan.

This means BDM’s need to be good at evaluating a business from a broad-scale perspective, understanding markets and competitive position and then determining what the best approaches are in terms of marketing, customer service, management and sales.

BDM’s are doers

BDM’s make things happen.

All successful BDM’s need to develop and implement action plans that grow revenue. They need to ‘get out of the office’ and exploit opportunities to bring in more revenue.

The modern BDM also recognises the need to leverage technologies that supercharge the capture and conversion of leads into sales. They make the most of  marketing automation platforms, lead generation and nurturing programs as well as CRM systems to track prospective clients online through their buying process. This effectively allows the BDM to eliminate wasted time and focus like a guided missile on those opportunities that are real prospects.

BDM’s are value connectors

BDM’s create value by making connections.

Great BDM’s have a 6th sense for identifying opportunities where others can’t see they exist, both immediately and in the future. Modern BDM’s can see hidden opportunity in connecting people, ideas and opportunities.

In a lot of cases the successful BDM can connect the dots in order for others to see the opportunity from inside their own organisations and within the teams of potential partners.

A final thought

The modern BDM is far more than a professional salesperson. Today’s  b2b BDM needs to be just as much a strategist as alchemist and action hero, which is probably the reasons there are very few university courses offering a Bachelors degree in Business Development.

TOPICS Business Development & Sales

Shane Davies

About Shane Davies

Shane Davies is a digital marketing strategy expert. He helps B2B companies win the work they should be winning. He lives in Cottesloe, Western Australia with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on or LinkedIn or or Google+

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