A customer development manager is responsible for helping a company to understand what its customers expect and how the company can best serve existing customers and attract new ones. The two departments that this manager normally works are finance and marketing. He or she might sit with leads from each to discuss numbers regarding product sales, regional goals, and plans for growth. With representatives from finance, a customer development professional can learn how much a company is selling and where sales are taking place, while with marketing professionals, he or she can discuss advertising, branding, and overall company image.
People who become customer development managers often have degrees in fields such as marketing, management, or finance. In many cases, they also have graduate degrees. Aside from high levels of academic training, these professionals also tend to have years of experience marketing products in a particular field and making financial decisions that have a strong impact on a business's performance.
Aside from developing company image and analyzing the numbers with financial professionals, this individual might also work with sales departments. He or she is often concerned with the ways in which products are displayed in stores, online, and in other retail centers. The manager might also communicate with owners or managers of retail establishments to discuss options for attracting customers to his or her products.
The amount of communication a customer development manager has with customers depends largely on how large his or her company is. An individual who works for a small, local business, for example, might perform community outreach, speaking directly with clients to learn about their levels of satisfaction. For companies with national or global customer bases, a manager might instead concentrate on analyzing customer demographics. He or she, for example, might figure out which products or services are favored by individuals in certain regions, age groups, or income brackets.
In short, this individual usually is a high level professional who pays attention to customer feedback and considers how this information should affect all facets of a customer-oriented business. He or she might report his or her findings to executives and can make suggestions regarding branding and product improvements. As marketing and product development professionals introduce new items, brands, and aspects of company images, the manager observes how these changes affect customer perception.