What Does a Business Development Executive Do? (With Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

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.

Business development executives or BDEs are sales professionals who find new clients and help a business grow and expand. If you have a passion for building business relationships, it might be a suitable career for you. Learning more about the roles and responsibilities can help you excel in your workplace. In this article, we answer “What does a business development executive do?”, explore their salary and the skills required and outline the steps to become a successful BDE.

What does a business development executive do?

Business development executives help a company drive sales by sourcing new clients and convincing the existing customer base to make an additional purchase. These professionals focus on lead generation and prospect management. They help a company generate new business and ensure companies' longevity. Some of their common job responsibilities include:

  • familiarising with products and services offered by the company

  • building business relationships with new and existing customers

  • understanding customer's needs and recommending solutions based on it

  • creating and maintaining a list of prospective clients

  • negotiating with clients to help them move down the sales funnel

  • researching and making outbound calls to prospective clients

  • communicating with the sales team and business managers to keep and grow accounts

  • traveling to customer's site and attending trade shows to promote a company's products and services

  • conducting competitive marketing analysis to build a sales strategy to secure new business

  • updating and maintaining a customer database

Related: What Does a Business Development Manager Do? (With Salary)

What is the role of business development?

Business development refers to the strategies and actions to develop and implement growth strategies profitably. Usually, business development helps in increasing the value of a company. A BDE can bring the required change and help promote growth across departments. The role of business development is:

  • building important relationship

  • boosting revenue and lower costs

  • improving company's image

  • ensuring expansion in new markets

Related: What Is Business Development? Definition and Skills

Average salary of a business development executive

The average salary of a business development executive is ₹20,306 per month. The exact salary may vary depending upon a candidate's skills, experience, qualification and location. Some Indian cities pay a higher salary to BDE compared to others. For instance, the average salary in Mumbai is ₹24,137 per month, whereas the average salary in Pune is ₹19,798 per month.

Skills of a business development executive

Here are some essential skills to master for a successful career as a BDE:

Communication skills

One core skill required to excel in this career is your ability to communicate your ideas to others. Employers prefer candidates who can write clearly, speak confidently and listen carefully to potential clients. These sales professionals understand the client's requirements, break them down into theories, logically come up with solutions and communicate them to their clients. This requires excellent verbal communication skills.

Sales skills

To bring new clients, a BDE identifies the company's target audience and follows up with the opportunities. The ability to sell a company's product or services to potential clients requires excellent sales skills. They might perform activities like cold-calling or setting up potential meetings with clients to discuss opportunities.

Marketing skills

A BDE requires an understanding of basic principles of marketing to complete their job-specific duties. While they primarily focus on building relationships, they require marketing skills to promote their brand, understand competition, identify new target clients and gain in-depth knowledge of new markets. They also require marketing skills to generate awareness about their brand.

Organisational skills

Another important skill set of a BDE is the ability to organise meetings with potential clients. They organise meetings between clients and colleagues who convert these potential clients into customers. Business development executives may benefit from having excellent organisational skills as it helps them organise meetings and accordingly plan their work schedule.

Negotiation skills

Business development executives require excellent negotiation skills to negotiate a contract or price with current and prospective clients. While they may not be the ones who close a business deal, they generate leads and keep them interested until they reach the bottom of the sales funnel. For a successful negotiation, a BDE needs to understand the client's requirements and offer a solution.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a skill that helps business development executives to manage the work environment based on the client's requirement. It helps business development executives maintain a positive work and life balance that can help in improving their performance. Flexibility defines how a person can cope with changing situations and it can help find creative ways to solve problems.

Related: Business Strategy Components and Examples

What are the top three skills for a business development executive?

The top three skills for a BDE are:

  • sales skills

  • communication skills

  • marketing skills

How to become a business development executive

Here are five steps you can follow to start your career as a business development executive:

1. Complete your education

While there is no fixed requirement to become a BDE, companies often prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in business administration, management and related areas. Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) are two popular undergraduate degrees employers prefer. Though a master's degree is optional, many companies prefer hiring candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. MBA in marketing, finance, IT or operations can help you become a suitable candidate for a desirable BDE job.

2. Build necessary skills

An essential part of becoming a business development executive is learning and mastering skills commonly used in this role. As a major part of a BDEs workday revolves around interaction with customers, focus on building your soft skills. To sharpen your soft skills, enrol in online classes, attend seminars, or take part in internships. Focus on improving your communication and sales skills because it allows you to speak with customers and professionals at every level in the company.

3. Complete an internship

While pursuing your bachelor's and master's, complete an internship in the business development field. It is an excellent way to learn a job-specific skill set. Also, an internship would give you valuable work experience and make you abreast of the roles and responsibilities of this job role. You can pursue an internship in a business-related field to gain maximum exposure.

4. Find a mentor

To launch a successful career as a BDE and expand your professional network, consider hiring a mentor who has several years of experience in the business development field. Your mentor could be your former manager, colleague or other experienced professionals who can share their experience and provide guidance. A mentor can also help you connect with potential job opportunities.

5. Participate in job shadowing

Job shadowing is an excellent way to learn more about the duties, responsibilities, work environment and skills required to become a business development executive. Find someone in your network and accompany them to work for an hour or a day. Job shadowing gives you first-hand experience of how your typical day would look like in a BDE position.

6. Gain experience

After building your skill set through an internship or formal education, try to get an entry-level position as a BDE. You can start as a sales representative or in any other sales-related position and gradually move up to become a business development executive. Often, when hiring for a BDE position, employers give preference to candidates with some relevant experience.

Work environment of a BDE

Business development executives work in both retail and non-retail environments. While most BDEs work for 40 hours a week, they may spend additional hours after office or on weekends to complete their goals. Also, they may work in shifts depending on the project's requirements. These sales professionals usually do not work in silos and are an integral part of a company's sales and marketing department.

For those who like travelling and exploring new cities and countries, BDE is a suitable job because it requires frequent travel to meet a company's clients. These professionals may travel to international destinations based on the project's requirements.

Example business development executive job description

Here is an example of a business development executive's job description:

Our retail business is looking for an experienced, resilient, resourceful and empathic business development executive to develop and grow our business in existing markets. We are looking for an experienced professional with a solid track record of creating value and growing the customer base for similar organisations. Business development executives would also retain existing clients and encouraging them to purchase new or added products. Our ideal candidate is ready to solve the changing customer requirement and helps us retain and grow our customer base in new markets.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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