Guide: How To Become A Senior Business Development Manager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Making organisational decisions and building and maintaining strong professional connections are the major responsibilities of business development managers. A business development manager finds new business prospects, builds long-standing relationships with customers and guides lead generation and research to assist a company with expansion. A career as a business development manager can be a lucrative option for you if you are articulate and driven, with good business intelligence. In this article, we examine what a senior business development manager is, list their responsibilities and discuss how to become one.

What Is A Senior Business Development Manager?

Senior business development managers use extensive industry knowledge and heightened strategic planning abilities to assist businesses in making decisions that can promote growth and success. They create strategic plans, determine customer requirements and examine the commercial potential of products and services. A senior official in a business development manager role may coach staff, work with department leads, design assignments and maintain positive customer relations. Business development managers in senior roles often attend meetings, correspond with customers and staff and review paperwork relating to corporate decisions at various levels of the organisation.

Making business choices and forging and maintaining connections are a business development manager's major responsibilities. They research customer demands, negotiate during business discussions, create strategies to expand company operations and examine and approve decisions. This position requires professionals to meet deadlines consistently and delegate duties to colleagues and team members. Good interpersonal and communication skills help these professionals work well with both clients and staff members.

Related: What Is Business Development? Definition And Skills

How To Become A Senior Business Development Manager

Follow these steps to attain a senior position as a business development manager:

1. Pursue a formal degree

Most business development managers possess a bachelor's degree in business administration, communications, finance, marketing, accounting or a similar field, although there is no specific prerequisite to work as a business development manager. A master's degree can improve your employability and earning potential while raising your chances of securing a managerial position on a company's business development team. While a bachelor's degree can be sufficient for succeeding in this position, candidates may benefit greatly from pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

2. Find a mentor

A popular approach to learning about a certain job role involves occasionally talking to someone who is already working in that sector. Finding a mentor is one way to do this. Through your undergraduate or graduate degree programme, you might be able to initiate and maintain contact with experienced professionals in senior business development roles. You can also meet potential mentors by participating in networking events.

3. Gain relevant experience

You can gain initial experience by pursuing internship opportunities during your academic engagement or after you complete your studies. Entry-level business development positions typically require no prior experience. Prior experience in marketing, sales or technology can also transfer to a role as a business development manager. When you are ready to apply for full-time work opportunities, it can be helpful if you have a track record of exceeding sales objectives or revenue quotas.

4. Develop appropriate soft skills

You may require a few soft skills if you want to succeed as a business development manager. In this position, professionals are typically self-driven and are able to accomplish goals on their own with little guidance. Organising your work environment and resources, and managing your time effectively is essential in this role. Being an effective communicator is another essential ability because it enables you to work well with clients and coworkers.

Related: Importance of Soft Skills In The Workplace

5. Hone your technical skills

To be a successful business development manager, you not only require soft skills but also some extent of technical expertise. It is essential to develop an in-depth understanding of technologies, such as Customer Relationship Management) CRM software, databases, marketing materials and automation systems. Business presentation software and project management tools are further areas of specialisation for business development managers. Certifications can demonstrate to employers your commitment to working as a business development manager, even though they may not be mandatory.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions And Examples

Business Development Manager Duties And Responsibilities

Business development managers work in a range of sectors. Senior professionals in this role perform many of the same tasks across most sectors. These are some common responsibilities of professionals in a senior role in business development:

  • Assess brand recognition metrics, service experience variables, consumer drivers and service offers

  • Expand the scale of business operations, promote community outreach and meet sales targets

  • Pursue new business relationships and strengthen existing ones

  • Establish profitable, long-lasting commercial partnerships with other business leaders in the industry

  • Make contracts to guide the involvement of celebrities and brand ambassadors through television, print, internet or radio ads

  • Facilitate integration through strategic alliances and acquisitions that complement corporate business strategy

  • Create and put into action successful plans for sales, marketing and business growth, including acquiring and integrating market databases

  • Develop personal growth strategies for distributors and take part in their implementation to turn underperforming distributors into successful growing partners

  • Identify and target the most important business prospects

  • Collaborate with consumers to offer development teams feedback on new services and products

  • Work in close collaboration with legal professionals to draft contracts for new work partners and negotiate new partnerships and commercial alliances

  • Develop business growth plans, spot obstacles and guide a new venture from inception to completion

Related: What Does Business Development Associate Do?

Business Development Manager Skills

You may benefit from developing the following abilities as they can help you succeed as a business development manager:

Sales management

You may succeed in this position with basic sales abilities. A business development manager may be required to be skilled at locating and pursuing possibilities while being able to recognise members of a company's target demographic. The ability to establish rapport with potential clients or partners is a talent that business developers require.

Related: What's The Difference Between Sales And Business Development?

Communication skills

Business developers are required to have the confidence and clarity to communicate verbally and in writing and hear potential customers' opinions and concerns. A business development executive's duties include phoning potential clients, fostering long-term connections and providing useful information to other professionals working in a company. A business developer also negotiates, besides having good communication abilities. You can develop the capacity for original thought, empathy for others' needs and the ability to set priorities if you want to address negotiations effectively. Practising presentations and pitches can help you become more confident and enhance your communication abilities.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits


Business developers require some sales experience and they may also be required to comprehend the fundamentals of marketing and know how to use them in their work. The ultimate objective of both marketing and business development experts is to expand a company's influence and market share, even though their strategies may vary. Many business development professionals seek chances to collaborate with other vendors, to find direct customers to sell to. Having the ability to effectively promote a brand is important in this line of work.

Related: What Are The Elements Of The Marketing Mix? (With 7Ps)

Business intelligence

Gaining knowledge and a thorough comprehension of a market's operation are the goals of developing business intelligence. To acquire these talents for business growth, you can investigate the requirements of a company and track the performance of its competitors to generate a more comprehensive understanding of the target market. The size of the prospective market, changes affecting it and campaigns that get favourable reactions from particular market groups are all variables that professionals in this domain may monitor.

Related: What Is Business Intelligence? (With Techniques And Uses)

Analytical skills

While making a presentation for managers and executives, a professional in business development may monitor return on investments (ROI) and compile statistical reports to support their research. Depending on the sales cycle, organisational requirements and sector, business developers may analyse different metrics. Your ability to convey business progress effectively using facts and figures, to stakeholders and team members, can help you in growing professionally in this role.

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