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A business development representative cultivates relationships with potential business clients of an organization. This job typically requires marketing experience and familiarity with a given industry to represent products and services effectively. A degree can help, but may not be required, depending on the job position. People interested in promotions within the business development department may find it advantageous to pursue higher education, as this can make them more competitive.
This member of a company’s personnel is very familiar with the range of products and services offered, along with the types of organizations they might be effective for. The business development representative works with marketing and development teams to collect demographic statistics, determining who the company is already reaching with sales. This allows personnel to determine where they should be investing energies to develop more professional contacts and potential clients. For example, a software program might be potentially useful for medical offices, but sales to the medical community could be low, highlighting an area of the market where the company should be more established.
The identification of companies and industries that might use a company’s offerings can be followed by outreach and the development of contacts. A business development representative may attend conferences and fairs to reach potential clients. In addition, sales calls and mailings can be part of the work, to start a line of communications with businesses that might want to start working with the company. When leads call back to indicate interest, the representative works with them to determine what they need and how the company could meet that need.
Increasing the customer base among business who might use a company’s products and services is an important part of the goal for a business development representative. This may be done by expanding into new demographics, capturing a larger part of the market share, and helping the company develop new products to appeal to customers. Being familiar with the company and competitors is often critical, as is a thorough understanding of the industry. Manufacturers of scientific instruments, for example, work with scientists and researchers who expect representatives to be knowledgeable about the nature of their work.
Several years of experience in customer service, marketing, and sales is usually necessary to become a business development representative. It is important to have excellent communication skills and the ability to adapt to a variety of situations. Skilled representatives can identify the communication style most preferred by a customer and shift their approach to make people feel at ease, which can increase the chance of opening a new account and developing a lasting relationship.