No matter what industry you’re in, from retail to finance or marketing, a business development manager can help you to grow your business. This is because they’ll have sales skills and acumen to identify challenges and resolve them effectively.
But, before you hire a business development manager, you should work out if your business is ready for the change. Analyse your processes, employee structure and output against your annual growth targets.
Before you do anything you need to understand your company goals – these are the foundations they will build on for you. Whether that is hitting a sales target, onboarding 10 new clients or incorporating a new piece of technology; the right candidate can help you. A business development manager will be able to make a strategy that’ll steer you in the right direction towards achieving those important milestones.
In this blog, we will help you find out how to hire a business development manager with interview tips, credentials and places to conduct your candidate search. We’ve given it a retail industry focus, but most of the main competencies can transcend many industries if you have a foot in another camp.
What should a business development manager do?
To put it in simple terms, a business development manager is responsible for identifying the areas of improvement in order to drive sales and revenue. As their job title suggests, they’re responsible for growing the business. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, retail or finance, they’ll help you get more leads and contacts and, ultimately, take you on to the next level.
What skills do you need for business development?
There are certain skills that are required to successfully keep up with the pressures of this role. By screening their CVs and during the interview stage, you’ll be able to see if they have the key competencies. As well as having some experience, either directly or indirectly related to the job title, below are the generic attributes needed for a business development manager in the retail industry.
- Strong communication skills: this is one of the most important skills for a business development manager to have. They’ll need to convey ideas, challenges and solutions effectively to clients, contacts and colleagues. You’ll be able to tell if a candidate has this skill through how they present their ideas in the interview.
- Collaborative work ethic: projects work best when everyone involved can be an expert in their field. A development manager needs to bring the key players together. During the interview, ask the candidate to give you an example of how they successfully completed a collaborative project.
- Ability to lead: as well as having the ability to bring teams together and as this is a management role, they should be able to guide them towards targets and progression. Ask the candidate to give you some examples of how they would lead their peers. You could ask them what they think of their management style and see if they think they could improve in certain areas.
- Strategic thinking: with a forward-thinking attitude, they should be able to foresee potential problems and hurdles and work to understand how to fix them. A good way you can test this attribute is to present them with a fictional problem and see how they would go about resolving it.
- Sales experience: to drive business profit with ease, sales experience is essential in the retail industry. Whether it’s selling products to customers or ideas to clients and colleagues, a bad sales pitching style can be detrimental. To find out how well they can pitch, you could ask the candidate to prepare a presentation to present at the interview.
- Business and industry intelligence: successful problem solving comes with making and rectifying mistakes over years of experience in the industry. As well as the basic business theory, practical experience and knowledge on customer behaviour in retail is a must. You’ll be able to tell how much experience they have from assessing their credentials.
Anyone with these key business skills should, on paper, be successful within the job role. But, without the personal skills that help make an employee thrive in your business, they may fail. You should look at your company’s culture to work out the type of person who would flourish under your wing. For example, you may want them to be both analytical and creative, as it will help them solve problems and think quickly on the job. Hiring someone who is confident, ambitious and approachable will set them up to be a great asset.
Where to find the top business development managers
By knowing the key competencies for the job role you can get an idea of the type of candidate you want to find and the behaviours they will more than likely adopt. While standard recruiting techniques and job adverts might bear fruit, it’s worth thinking outside the box for this key position. With this, you’ll find it easier to know where to look to source the top business development talent.
Thinking generically, someone who is confident and has a wealth of knowledge will more than likely be speaking at industry events. Even if they’re not on the programme, they’ll have the passion to grow their knowledge of the industry. With networking ingrained in their ethos, these are the key players that should be easy to spot among a crowd. Depending on the event, they’ll be talking to as many relevant people they can. From potential customers at trade shows, tech experts at industry conferences and even competitors at networking events. Top development talent will use these types of events to their full advantage.
On social media, forums and thought leadership
Business development managers will generally have one eye on the industry. You may find them commenting in discussion boards, posting thought leadership pieces and following retail industry trends. Because of this, find them on community based social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re struggling to find the right candidate, you may want to add blog creation to your recruitment marketing strategy to help you reach out into this space. This will hopefully get attention from the right people and obtain some attraction in the industry.
If you’re ready to hire a business recruitment manager, here are some key takeaways to remember to help you get the best candidate through the door.
- Visit industry and networking events to get in touch with the key players who could turn into potential candidates.
- Participate in online forums and discussions to improve awareness of your recruitment brand.
- Tailor your interview to get the best out of the candidate and to find out if they’re capable of the role.
- To see if you’re ready to hire you should assess your processes to see where improvements could be made and define and refine your business vision.