Business Development (BD) is an important function in every organization. But is it anything more than sales?
From the outside looking in, people perceive it as sales. This is understandable because they see one side of the position most of the time. People only see that associate with a table at the benefits fair, that account manager leaving his business card and donuts to the receptionist to get in touch with HR manger, or that representative who calls every week and leaves a voice-mail to the benefit director. This often leads to one thought, “sales”.
However, for those of you who work in or closely with colleagues in that department, you may have developed a better understanding of what business development truly is. Through your experiences, you've been able to perceive it from the inside looking out.
BD can be the “eyes and ears” for marketing. It helps to bring in new insight and perspectives to marketing. Often times, the business development and marketing departments work closely together to discuss different marketing strategies, products, and goals specific to a client type, demographic, or market segment. In many organizations, the two departments are combined and the business development associates report directly to the marketing manager or director.
BD also helps (to an extent) shape the face of your organization in the community. Often times, it drives where and how an organization gets involved with its community business partners. An organization will most likely sponsor events with clients that have been established through business development. In many instances, the BD associate who manages that business relationship follows through by attending and participating in the community event while representing his/her organization. This can involve anything from setting up an information table, presenting a speech, taking photos for press releases to help in marketing, to giving away prizes.
Essentially, business development is driving the everyday growth of an organization by establishing value through new and current relationships. It involves maximizing the potential of a relationship in many different ways. Not just through sales, but through understanding each client relationship, how it works, what works best, and how to use this information most effectively.
It’s more than sales. It is business development.
What else do you think BD consists of?