Should I hire a Business Development Director or Head of Sales?

Maybe both, maybe one person who can do both, maybe outsource business development, maybe a combination of the above?

There’s a lot of confusion about business development and sales. Many executives think they’re the same. I’m hoping to clarify some of the misconceptions regarding the role of business development and sales.

Let’s begin with what business development is NOT: sales, branding, marketing or public relations. Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization by establishing and nurturing relationships. The reason why confusion exists is that the “end game” for business development is to increase sales volume.

Typically individuals in business development do not, and cannot, make the sale since they do not set pricing, assemble the team or even do the final presentation. To close the deal you need to be able to negotiate, most business development professionals do not possess the authority.

Disconnect Number One: Someone is hired to do business development and is expected to perform usual sales activities. Here is where it gets fuzzy — remember all of the above activities have the same goal from different directions. Establishing and building strategic relationships is the long game – not asking for the sale, or chasing projects.

Disconnect Number Two: Some very successful business development professionals lose deals even though they have performed flawlessly. Identifying great connections for the companies they work for, pursuing relationships, establishing trust and finally delivering opportunities – only to have the next person in line have a misstep which causes the deal to fall apart.

Disconnect Number Three: Alignment of goals and expectations. I can sum this up with one word miscommunication. There is no action plan or clear growth goal – business cards are handed out and everyone hopes for the best.

A Possible Solution

Before making a hiring decision, start with research to better understand what the best connections look like to grow your business? Develop a targeted list so that all parties agree. The list becomes your “roadmap” for the best hire to bring you to a success in business development. I’ll follow up with more insights in our next growth series article.