STEP 1: WHAT ARE Business Development JOBS ALL ABOUT?
- AKA: BD, BizDev
- Overview: BD is like sales without money. You work with other companies to form partnerships - but instead of closing a paid deal, the companies barter something valuable to each of them. For instance, early in Google’s existence, it did a BD deal with Yahoo! that made it the default search engine. In exchange for getting access to Yahoo’s millions of users, Google made Yahoo more effective for its customers.
- Example project: Partner with HBO to make sure that its original programming is available on the Apple TV at launch.
- What you do all day: Explore opportunities, build relationships, propose/close deals
- Roles: Business Development Manager/Representative
- What they look for: Candidates with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills
- Example job: Relationship Manager - Business Development, Apple Pay
STEP 2: WOULD YOU BE A GOOD FIT FOR Business Development?
Ask yourself if you'd love doing these kinds of things all day:
- Exploring the landscape of potential partners
- Building relationships
- Proposing partnerships that provide mutual value
- Negotiating and finalizing deals
- Managing relationships and deal implementation
If your answer is "Yes" to the majority of activities, you'd likely be a good fit for BizDev jobs.
STEP 3: WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED FOR Business Development JOBS?
For each major activity, I've listed the most common keywords from across dozens of job descriptions, as well as a sample resume bullet:
· Exploring the landscape of potential partners
o Keywords: identify partnership opportunities, prioritize partners, strategic analysis, partner with product and sales teams, evaluate opportunities, competitive landscape
o Sample Bullet: Conducted a competitive analysis of used car marketplace to identify weakness in the Midwestern market; led to partnership with the Midwest Dealers Association to remedy lack of inventory
· Building relationships
o Keywords: relationship-building skills, source, cultivate, and qualify opportunities, develop pipeline, working with executives, maintain relationships, provide thought leadership in the space
o Sample Bullet: Hosted popular event at annual developer's conference, generating 27 partnership leads
· Proposing partnerships that provide mutual value
o Keywords: write partnership specifications, structure partnerships, build frameworks, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, acquisitions, investments
o Sample Bullet: Structured partnership deal with main competitor to accelerate the growth of our sector without giving up competitive advantage
· Negotiating and finalizing deals
o Keywords: negotiate partnership terms, draft term sheets, deal acceleration, close deals, deal structures, remove roadblocks, secure buy-in
o Sample Bullet: Negotiated deal with Google that drove 100K new visits per month
· Managing relationships and deal implementation
o Keywords: deal execution, manage established partnerships, prevent churn, get partner feedback, monitor deal performance
o Sample Bullet: Successfully managed deal with City of San Francisco, ensuring renewal after first two-year contract
STEP 4: WHAT Business Development TRAINING DO YOU RECOMMEND?
If you want to brush up on any of these skills, check out Scott Britton's Business Development for Startups and Tech Companies course on Udemy. I like two things about this course in particular:
- It's comprehensive. It covers everything from high-level BizDev strategy all the way down to the nuts-and-bolts of how to find the exact right partner's email address.
- And it's also step-by-step. Scott literally walks you through every part of the relationship-building process in a way that lots of other people would just gloss over ("So I connected with this guy and then we did a deal...")