Sales & Business Development

Everything you need to know to decide whether a career in Sales & Business Development is right for you.

The commercial teams play a key part in any business and is made up of a number of different people, all working together to find, win and keep new business.

The sales process starts by identifying key clients and doing the initial outreach to gauge their interest in your company. This is often done by a Sales Development Representative (SDR). Typically you will start your career as an SDR and your responsibilities include conducting research and finding prospects. Once you’ve identified an opportunity, you’ll reach out to these contacts to give them an overview of what your business does or what problem your product could solve, and sell the benefits of a follow-up meeting via phone, video, etc. to discuss further. In an SDR role, you could be making up to 50-100 outreach calls a day depending on the individual or company-wide targets! Once a meeting has been successfully booked, the Business Development Executive (BDE) or Business Development Manager (BDM) or Account Executive (AE) will attend the meeting, explain the value of the product and provide a demonstration with the aim of closing the deal.

Typically candidates with little or no sales experience will start as an SDR or Sales Executive. This role involves research, cold calling, marketing (LinkedIn posts, email sequences, video introductions etc.), and meeting bookings. Often this role will not involve closing deals however the skills required are the same - optimistic, resilient, confident, competitive.

**Business Development Executives (BDE) **tend to own the entire sales cycle, from first contact through to closing deals and building a long-term relationships. This means the role is varied and will give you exposure to things like; research and analysis, market mapping and creating a go-to-market plan, prospecting on the phone, email, and video, managing and closing deals as well as developing accounts.

Business Development Managers (BDM) tend to be more experienced than BDEs and will therefore take on larger market verticals (the size of the pool of clients you are going after) or larger clients. They will often have clients passed to them from SDRs so do less prospecting and more selling and negotiation.

Role titles can vary from business to business so make sure you read the job description and identify the area(s) of the sales cycle you would most like to focus on. In B2B (business-to-business) companies, once a customer has been onboarded, they will likely be passed to the Account Management or Customer Success teams. These teams will be responsible for supporting the customer, growing and developing accounts, up-selling, product optimisation (especially in SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses), and renewals. As you progress through the account management or customer success career paths and become more experienced, you will likely increase the value of the portfolio you are managing which could mean you take on more clients or higher value clients.

Sales Pathways

Have you ever wondered what a career in Sales could look like? Our Sales Pathway diagram guides you through the possible opportunities for progression.

Diagram showing career pathways for Sales & Business Development

Salary benchmark

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