The key role of a business development manager (BDM) is to source new strategic opportunities for the business, while building and maintaining relationships with referral partners, prospects and clients. But what does a ‘next level’ BDM look like? Tara Bradbury explains.
The role of a BDM can be many things, depending on the company structure.
Many businesses over-complicate the role and incorporate too many expectations and KPIs, leaving the BDM lost and uncertain as they fail to achieve expected targets.
To get the most out of your BDM you need to have a clear understanding of the difference between marketing, sales and business development.
Marketing attracts customers to the brand or business and is usually generated digitally and through various media outlets, such as print, TV, radio and online. Sales take the leads and convert them into business. Business development, on the other hand, works to seek and create new opportunities and leads, and build a strong growth pipeline.
Business development can help identify and execute new areas of business, new opportunities, new referral partners and new products. This is done typically through partnerships between another company and your BDM.
No matter what industry you operate in, the fundamentals for successfully employing a BDM are the same.
- In the interview, make sure you ask direct questions related to the role and what they know about the business.
- Talk with the team about the candidate; get feedback and support for the new team member.
- Once secured, ensure they have a detailed job description, key performance indicators and an understanding of the type of negotiation power they have when at the listing appointment.
- Ensure they know, understand and are 100 per cent passionate about the brand, team and fee structure they are promoting.
- If you have a sales team, help this process by creating the introduction.
- Provide feedback when the BDM comes in with a list of referral partners they would like to connect with. You don’t want them to be doing business with people you don’t know and trust.
- Lastly, have a strong accountability plan in place and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
These may all seem logical steps, but they can easily be missed when a manager just lets the BDM walk into the role with no guidance or accountability plan.
As a BDM, always start by focusing on how you can help them, not what they can do for you – and remember, the overall goal is to start building long-term, profitable relationships.
For example, if you were speaking with an accountant you could say, ‘I work with many prospects and clients who have tax-related questions and they normally call up around the middle of each year. I would love to be able to refer them to someone I know and trust, and would appreciate hearing a little more about your business and how you assist your property investment clients.’
You can also help each other stimulate referrals by running joint investor evenings, sharing articles on newsletters, websites and social media updates.
A good BDM will be super-proactive in passing on a referral – it’s a great way to show you’re listening to your clients’ wants and needs. If you want to be seen as the investment property specialist in your area, you need to start performing like one and be ready to share solutions.
The next-level BDM knows what it takes to stand out and be different, and won’t take no for an answer. They ensure they are devoting 100 per cent attention to the role, and are on the phone or in face-to-face meetings every day, with the goal of having at least one appraisal booked each day.