7 Attributes of a Successful Business Development Exec

Firstly, what is a Business Development Executive? ‘Sales’, ‘Partnerships’, ‘Hustling’? I’m sure the ambiguity fills you with an overwhelming sense of uncertainty …

Don’t despair! Here at DigitalGrads, we have created a brand-new training programme especially for those of you hoping to pursue a career in Business Development *whatever it might entail*.
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So, let us get the job description down. Your responsibility as a Business Development Executive is –  quite simply – grow the business. There’s an elegance in this kind of simplicity, but ultimately this definition leaves you wanting more. Basically, you will create long-term value for an organization by building relationships with customers and markets to create opportunities for growth.

Now it’s difficult to see how one job role can encompass so much… stuff. For more advice, and greater clarity, click here for our Business Development training for definitions and tips for how to navigate the tricky world that is industry jargon.

Today, I just wanted to share with you the 7 most important attributes someone interested in business development will need to have. They are the things you will be assessed on during the application process so being aware of them before your interview might be just the thing to help secure that first job.

Think of examples from your previous experience to showcase your abilities and prove that you know your stuff!

1. Honesty

Now, if we’re being truthful, we all know we tend to slightly exaggerate when we talk about ourselves. That’s fine, dare we say ‘usual’.

However, in a sales environment this can transfer over onto telling porkie-pies about the product ability or the company to make them sound better.

There is simply no point in doing this to win a sale. If you promise a product which then doesn’t deliver, you’re not only threatening the relationships you’ve put time and effort into, but your credibility won’t hold.

For example, you wouldn’t continue to pay for Netflix each month if they advertised programmes not available on the site.

It’s the same for businesses. Honesty in a sales role is important, don’t promise something you cannot achieve!

2. Confidence

Confidence is key in a business development role.

Initially you need to be confident in the interview. You will be assessed on how confident you appear, so prepare and make sure you know your stuff. You also need to be confident talking on the phone and talking to people face-to-face.

People believe in confidence, and confidence engenders trust.

If you can speak confidently about the product or service you represent, people are more likely to trust you and thus more likely to make a sale.

Confidence + trust = sales!!!!

3. Energy

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean, downing as many red bulls as you can then chatting excitedly whilst running round the board room.

But rather, whether you can maintain levels of high energy. Are you still putting in as much energy in the afternoons as you do in the mornings?

Talking to people can be draining, so can you maintain a full day of sales admin and sales calls?

4. Your ability to build rapport

This is key. Again, like confidence, you want people to trust you. How quickly are you able to interact with someone on a personal level and get them to trust you? During your interview, you will be assessed on how quickly you can make people feel at ease.

Often this is a natural attribute rather than something you can learn. However, there are plenty of rapport-building techniques you can find online.

5. Listening

How good at listening are you? We’re talking active listening, rather than starring intently at someone but not hearing a word they say.

A really successful salesperson is not the person who chats exhaustedly, but rather the one who listens and responds professionally.

Repeat this mantra- silence is golden!

Listen to what is said and ask intelligent questions. If something needs clarifying – ask. Listening well shows the prospect that you care about what they have to say. Get to know them, almost as though they were your friends. Relationship building is the bread and butter for any future Business Developers.

Now for the more technical side of things…

6. Focus

Here we mean focus on the goals of your sales interactions!

Business development and sales is all about meeting or exceeding targets. A good sales exec will understand what their targets are both in terms of numeric and financial targets but also in terms of the goal of a sales interaction. Your manager may listen to your calls to establish whether you have a clear idea of the outcome of the call.

  • If it is an inbound call, the purpose may be to qualify the lead, rather than a hard sell.
  • If it is an outbound call, the purpose of the call may be to find the right person to speak to, establish rapport with them, introduce the company, and set up another time for a more detailed discussion or demo.

7. Your pitch delivery

Lastly, once you’ve demonstrated confidence, honesty, etc. then you will need to work on your pitch delivery. Your manager again will listen in for whether you can clearly articulate the company’s sales pitch.

Top tip – expect to have to learn the company’s sales pitch off-by-heart. Once you’ve learned more about the company and the market they operate in, you’ll be able to naturally tailor your pitch for whatever works best for you.

To summarize…

So, in a nutshell, these are the 7 attributes you need to be successful. From email templates and phone scripts to tracking sales and finalizing deals, make sure you complete our fully funded and brand-new Business Developer Training!

For more advice for how DigitalGrads can help you find that perfect graduate job, click here!

About post author

As a recent graduate from the University of Reading. I am currently working with DigitalGrads as their content and marketing intern.
Posted in Working in Tech Roles