By Nsim Team
A career as a business development officer could be a great fit for you if you have a passion for sales, market analysis and building professional relationships.
This field offers the chance to work in an office but get out of it frequently, the ability to forge relationships with a variety of stakeholders, great pay, and plenty of room for career advancement.
So, if you'd like to know more about the ins and outs of this field then read on; we’ll fill you in on what you would be doing for a living, how much you could earn, and what you’ll need to break into this profession!
As a business development officer, you would be responsible for helping your organization grow. You would do so by finding, analyzing and evaluating new business opportunities.
New opportunities could mean new markets, new partnerships with other businesses, acquisitions or mergers with other businesses, finding new ways to reach existing markets, or offering new products or services to better meet the needs of existing markets.
Once your research, analysis and evaluation are complete, you would then be responsible for creating and executing strategies to exploit these opportunities to create revenue.
Although your duties as a business development officer can vary from job to job, you could expect to perform duties similar to those described below, no matter where you work:
• Prepare feasibility studies, business plans, marketing strategies and financing proposals
• Develop portfolio of marketing materials
• Cultivate a sustainable supply of high qualified leads to create predictable revenue
• Establish distribution channels to get your product or service to market
• Supervise and support the activities of the business development team
• Maintain business development databases using Microsoft Excel and other software
• Build and leverage relationships to facilitate opportunities
• Support marketing activities such as trade shows, direct mailings, cold calling and others
• Ensure appropriate business/commercial licenses are in place
• Present progress reports to executive management and other stakeholders
Employers often look for a bachelor’s degree in an area related to business (such as marketing, business administration, management, etc.). Some may accept a diploma or certificate in business, while others will look for an MBA, or other graduate degree.
Some employers may hire you without formal education, or if your education is in a non-business field, provided you have sufficient professional experience.
In order to be effective in your career as a business development officer, you need to have a certain set of skills, which includes:
• A good working knowledge of business plans, marketing plans, feasibility studies, short and long term strategic plans and related documents
• Excellent understanding of financial information, specifically related to funding requirements
• Able to recognize opportunities for synergistic, co-branded offerings
• Able to strategically assess business development opportunities
• Strong sales and negotiation skills
• Excellent research skills, database management skills
• Proficiency with Office software, such as Microsoft Excel
• The ability to ‘cold call’
• Strong public speaking skills, and ability to clearly communicate with clients, stakeholders and partners
A very wide range of businesses, in virtually any sector, could potentially employ you: from accountancy to recruitment, and from education to manufacturing.
You might also find work with non-profit organizations, as they employ business development officers to increase their profile and their market share of fundraising.
If working for a non-profit, your title likely wouldn’t be ‘business development officer’. It would probably be ‘development associate’, or ‘fundraiser’.
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