So you want to be a BD Manager?

So, you want to be a Business Development Manager?

Published on 3rd June 2019

I meet a lot of Business Development Executives and Senior Executives in my job and most tell me they have the ambition to become a Manager at some point in their career.

But how do you take that step up from Executive to BD Manager?

Large vs small firms

The size and type of firm you are working for will often play a large part in determining the skill set required to progress from one level to the next.

Larger firms will inevitably have more specialist roles within their BD and Marketing teams which will require you to have in-depth knowledge of a specific function, such as CRM, PR or events.

Smaller firms typically have smaller teams, so their business development and marketing professionals are more likely to be generalists and are required to have broader skills and knowledge.

What are the key skills required to become a BD Manager?

It is worth noting that, regardless of the size of firm you work for, it takes both a mixture of technical capabilities and the right interpersonal skills to progress to Manager level.

Below are some of the key skills hiring managers typically look for in a Business Development Manager:

Technical capability and demonstration of being able to achieve results

Write down and keep track of your current achievements as it is important to be able to demonstrate the impact you have made and the results that you have generated. By having clear examples, this will show your managers your capability and track record.

Being able to come up with sound strategies to help deliver business objectives

As an Executive, you’ll usually be involved in implementing the strategy rather than coming up with it. However, in order to progress, it is important to understand the strategic aims of the business and to ask your Manager if you can get more involved in the planning process.

Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings and bring your own ideas to the table to demonstrate confidence in your own abilities to deliver.

Working independently

Demonstrating that you can take charge of your own workload and work independently will show your manager how trustworthy and capable you are in getting on with tasks and using your own initiative. 

Advanced communication skills

Strong communication skills are key in any Business Development role, but even more so when you get to Manager level. Being able to be clear and develop strong relationships with your colleagues, stakeholders and partners is an important skill to develop.

Taking the lead on a project

Showing willingness and volunteering to take the lead on projects will help you develop key skills such as project management, prioritisation, organisation and delegation, all of which will serve you well as a manager. Make sure that you keep track of your plans and strategies that you have conducted, especially if they are successful.

In summary, it may sound obvious, but the key difference between a BD Executive position and a BD Manager role is management!

So, whether it be managing business development processes or team management, exposing yourself to opportunities where you can gain further skills in each area will arm you with the ammunition you need to secure the next promotion and achieve your goal of becoming a Business Development Manager!

Do you want to become a BD or Marketing Manager in the near future? 

Ambition recently ran an event aimed exclusively at Marketing and BD Executives / Senior Executives working in Professional Services firms who want to progress to Management. 

We were joined by a panel of Marketing & BD Senior Managers from Professional Services firms who will shared their advice and top tips to help you get that next promotion. We compiled all of this information into a comprehensive guide.

Click here to get your copy >


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What's the difference between a BD / Marketing Executive and a Manager?