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The Business development track
Business development managers are responsible for:
- Strategic decision-making
- Developing opportunities and partnerships for a business.
Not only do you need to be thinking strategically about growing the business, but you’ll need the ability to execute and connect with people in order to make an impact.
This track is a guide for those who want to become Business development managers. With this guide, you’ll know how to be better qualified for the job. We are always improving and updating the track with new material and content. Don’t hesitate to sign up for our newsletter at the end of this page, and stay updated.
Introduction to Business development
Business development at a glance
Business development is about developing opportunities to grow a business. Opportunities are typically found in the context of new partnerships, and discovering and tapping new markets. Foremost, a business developer need to have knowledge about the industry they work in. Having an overview of the industry dynamic, the tendencies, and be up to date with the players who shape the industry are all variables that will help you get a strategic overview.
A Business Development Manager must master project implementation and sales. Implementing a company’s strategy, creating new business relationships and strengthening new ones and exploring new market segments, is part of the daily workflow. A business developer gathers necessary resources to do so and to cultivate his network.
Business developers need a set of skills to be successful. We’ll cover many of them. In this track, no one else is responsible for your learning than you. In this course, you’ll:
1) Learn by doing. Do first, then look at the theory. It’s how you’ll learn the best and the fastest
2) Learn by yourself (create independence) and be self-reliant. You’re learning because you want to, not because someone tells you to-
3) Gain confidence! You’ll receive no diploma, but you’ll have a nice portfolio of skills to show. The market doesn’t need diplomas, it needs skills!
Note: This course is not a checklist, it’s a guide. It is made for complete beginners, but you are flexible to use it as you want.
Careers in Business development
With Business development expertise, you’ll be qualified for many jobs. It includes:
- Business development positions
- Business development team lead positions
- Business development manager
- Founder of your company
In business development you are the sole responsible for your personal growth. If you are successful in your job you’ll automatically be given more responsibilities. On the other side, if you don’t achieve your goals, you won’t have much job security.
Skills you’ll get
To be on the edge in a business development position, you need to master certain set of skills. Once you master them, you are on the way of becoming a great business development manager. Here are some of the skills we want you to acquire:
- Know how to deal with people
- Networking and interpersonal skills
- Sales skills, goal setting and knowing the sales funnel
- Art of negotiation
- Leadership and business skills
- Managing your time and getting things done
- Analytical, Excel
- Presentation, Powerpoint
Business development communities
Meetups — Check out the Biz dev and sales communities on Meetup.com. Get together with other business developer enthusiasts and learn from each other!
Facebook — Check in your network if anyone is talking about business development or is part in a group you could join.
LinkedIn — This group has 277,000 members. Join some groups in LinkedIn and share with other business developer enthusiast
- Assistant.to : schedule meeting easily
- Yesware // gmail canned response: Email template tools
- Grammarly: Grammar and spelling check
- Boomerang: Follow up with people who haven’t answered you
- Rapportive: Get Linkedin profiles and their email addresses right in your inbox
Organize and collaborate
- Google drive: Excel, Powerpoint, Word free online.
- Dropbox: Share files and get 2GB free storage
- Evernote: Workspace of your life’s work
Personal time management
Getting things done: Read the book!
If you want to join a startup or a digital company (most companies are getting digital), you should always stay updated about the latest news and trends. Here is a small list of blogs and tech news. I suggest you make your own research about sites in the industry that passionate you.
- The Verge: Technology, science, art and culture
- Wired: “Future technology trends”
- VentureBeat: News and perspective about tech innovations
- The Next Web: Internet technology, business and culture
- TechCrunch: Latest technology news and information
Re/ code: independent tech news
Here are some of the resources I use on a weekly basis:
- Growth Hackers: Crowdsource tips on growth
- Email sales template: 101 sales email template from this blog post
- Lynda: Online courses on any topic
- Edx.org: Free online courses from top universities
- Coursera: Free online courses
How to become a business development manager
Business development is for those who have a genuine passion for people. In order to succeed, even though it’s a skill you can learn, you need to enjoy interacting and persuading people.“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. – Vince Lombardi”.
Business development is about going the extra mile. If you interact with a client, you want to build a long- term relationship rather than make a quick and easy sale. In this track, we will provide book and online course references, and pair them with objectives so you’ll improve your chances to get hired.
#1 Read this book:
Yes, the book is almost a 100 years old. But the principles never die, we are still humans. David Carnegie explains the 9 principles that will change the way you interact with people.
#1 Read the book
#2 Learn about the 9 principles
#3 Apply themI’ve also listed 20 great business book worth reading if you consider becoming a business development manager. Find the list in Elearnhero’s blog.
#2 Sales class from Lynda
Sales classThrough Lynda
Once you’ve read the book, you should have a clear idea on the mindset you should have in order to be an effective salesperson. Jeff Bloomfield has been advising salespeople throughout his career and has precious insight about effective salespeople. The class lasts for 1 hour and will consolidate what you’ve learned in “How to Win Friends and Influence”.
#1 Take the class and make sure you understand the 4 principles.
#3 Practise selling something you care about
A business developer is an influencer. Whether it is to influence your team or convincing clients, you need to be able to convey emotions. Emotions is such an important aspect of business development. And it’s especially hard to convey emotions if you do not believe in what you are selling. You will not be able to sell if you cannot convey positive emotions. You will not create a great team and work dynamics if you cannot convey positive emotions!
If you don’t have much experience, then get involve in your local community. Maybe you can help your community raising funds for the school, the church, the red cross or whatever cause you care about. If you don’t have a community around you, you can find a job at a local restaurant. Practice giving your customers the best experience and practice suggesting more fancy meals in the menu.
#1 Find a product or service you care about and sell it.
#2 Use the selling techniques I list in this post.
#3 Get inspired by Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk. Remember that it is not about why you do it but why you do it.
#4 Public speaking class
You want to be confident when speaking to people. Whether you’re a business or a technical person, you need to understand who you are talking to, how you can relate to that person, and share something meaningful they will remember you for. I took this class from Lynda about public speaking. It will help you know how to communicate your ideas clearly.
#1 Go to networking events close to where you live (such as tech events) so that you can meet and connect with people that work in company’s that attracts you. On Meetup and Eventbrite you can find events nearby.
#2 Meet people and inspire them so they will remember you.
#3 Get them to refer you for a job in the company they work for.
Public speaking classThrough Lynda
Public speaking classClick here and get access to the Lynda course and get 14 day trial
#5 Negotiation skills
When it comes to long-term relationships, negotiation is not about squeezing the other person so one can get as much as possible. When someone feels like one has lost a negotiation, people will remember you for it! It’s about finding a mutual point of interest where both parties will benefit from one another. A good negotiation
In a good negotiation, both parties end up better than they did before negotiating. In the following course, the instructor goes through different negotiating techniques and describes the basis of a good negotiation. The instructor covers:
- The BATNA framework (best alternative to a common agreement), why and how you should use it to your advantage.
- Relationship building with the person you’re negotiating with.
- How stretch goals can help you be a better negotiator.
- Finally he also mentions some unconventional way of negotiating, like stretching the truth, using timing and sympathy to your advantage. Those methods are usually not advised but still mentioned in the course.
#1 Finish the course
#2 Read Getting to Yes written by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury.
#3 Negotiate at least one thing you buy every day.
Note: You might think that it is impossible to negotiate in an established retail store. The truth is that you can negotiate 80% of the time even in stores like Mc Donald or 4 seasons Hotel. There is always a way. Practising finding a solution will make your negotiating skills sharper.
#4 Write down the techniques that works best for you and how you can be better next time.
#6 Learn about cool browser extensions.
Working as a business development manager involves contacting important people in different organisations, and tell them about your services or products. There are different browser extensions that can help you automate some of your processes. They will make your job easier, faster and more efficient. In this post, I list browser extensions for Gmail to be used in a sales orientated business development position. They will help you in your sales funnel.
#1 If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, create one now.
#2 Update it regularly by for example listing the skills you learned in this course
#3 Try and install extensions I have listed in the browser extension post.
#7 Structure yourself and get things done!
The biggest problem today is the that your mind is emerged in a million things at the time. And you’ll probably be attacked by new stuff to do every day! To reduce stress, be effective and be able to do great work, you need a time management system that gives you peace of mind.
You must read Getting Things Done by David Allen. The book tells you that you have to get different things of your mind as they appear and put them in systems. This way, you can focus on the things you have to do in the moment. A magical book that will make your professional life into Stress-Free productivity.
#8 Analytical and number skills
Naturally, business development is not only about knowing how to talk to people. It requires creative thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills. You need to understand numbers, and for that, Excel is your best friend. If you can write down every action you took towards making a sale, you will be able to learn from your mistakes and improve your every step along the way. You’ll also be able to so many things such as analysing markets, financial analysis, market research. The best of Excel tools is Pivot tables..
“if you torture data long enough, it will confess” Ronald H Coase.
#1 Know how to use Excel and use it in you work. Great Excel tutorials can be found here.
#2 By now you have found a business development related job. Design a table of every step of your sales funnel.
#3 Learn everything about Pivot tables.
#9 Start applying for jobs
Make sure you learn about each company you’re applying for. Use the techniques listed in this track to reach out and talk to the right persons. Once you managed to get an email or a phone number, call that person. It will set you apart from everyone else applying.
There are two ways to talk to the right person in a company.
#1 is going to network events and getting to know one person from the company that can introduce you to the HR department, the CEO or other senior managers.
#2 is getting the HR manager or the CEO’s email or phone in order to reach out to that person directly. Also, make your research to know as much as possible about each company you’re applying for.
Knowing everything about the company you want to apply for is a huge time saver. First you’ll realize if you want to work for the company, second it will give you more opportunity to further set you apart from other applicants because you will have something relevant to say.
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