Business Development is a busy role – fast-paced, demanding and stakeholder heavy it can often be all consuming and actually aligning yourself to your firms’ overarching aims can be something that is lost in the day to day doing of your role.
As a BD Executive or Senior Executive this can be acceptable, these are often reactive roles, working alongside other team members that are more experienced and delegating work. Sometimes you will get the chance to support a certain area of the business in a more proactive way, setting plans or agendas – this is the opportunity to show your true value to the firm – and pit yourself as ready for that promotion to Manager.
How do I get this opportunity?
Take a step back from your current workload and really think what you should be focussing on? Have you asked enough questions about your day to day tasks? Have you analysed the opportunity in this – for the business and for you? This does not mean being ‘above’ the more administrative parts of your job – but it does mean questioning those giving you work – whether they be more senior members of your team or fee earners – about the true reason behind the activity – what are they looking to gain from the activity? Then providing them with insight if you do think that it could be done in a different way to achieve better results.
Another really easy thing to do is put your hand up for additional project work or to cover colleagues for any leave they have booked. Shadowing can also help you to truly understand what it means to be a BD Manager. At certain parts of the year (around the time they do their yearly plans) ask to shadow or offer to be a sounding board for their ideas for the year. Come up with helpful, non-destructive, comments and they will thank you as well as seeing you as capable of taking on more.
Research your market well. If you’re in a supportive role – perhaps you might not be aligned to any particular business unit or you are but you’re not the only person in this area, really get to know the sector(s) you’re targeting – this could mean reading specific industry news, getting alerts on your phone, following specific target companies on twitter – anything that will make you more knowledgeable – and more passionate about your area.If you’re service/practice area aligned then improve your knowledge of the services your fee-earners can offer – befriend them, find out what each piece of work really entails and why they think they are better than other competitors in their market, both personally and as a brand.
Do you want to become a BD or Marketing Manager in the near future?
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