What is Business Development?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Business development is a broad term applied to the process of strengthening ties with existing clients as well as cultivating customers in other sectors of the consumer market. The traditional barriers between sales, marketing, customer care, operations, and management are often crossed in order to promote this process of expansion on more than one level. This means that a specialist in the field must exhibit a degree of competence in many different areas in order to identify and capitalize on growth opportunities.

A business development specialist should have knowledge of all areas of a business.
A business development specialist should have knowledge of all areas of a business.

One of the foundational aspects of busdev, or business development, is to assess the current assets of the company as they relate to the maintenance and expansion of the business. To this end, a specialist will work closely with sales and marketing professionals to identify the degree of penetration already enjoyed by the company in various sectors of the consumer base.

Customer service reps can provide feedback from current clients to the business development specialist to help promote sales.
Customer service reps can provide feedback from current clients to the business development specialist to help promote sales.

At the same time, he or she will also work with customer care professionals to assess the feedback gathered from existing clients on the perception of the company and its products. This type of activity can often identify ways to refine current sales and marketing techniques in order to capture a wider share of consumers within sectors where the business already has a presence. At the same time, the addition of the data acquired through customer care contacts may help identify applications for the product line that are not promoted at present and could lead to capturing new markets if marketed properly.

It is important to note that the successful business development specialist is not focused only on making sales or keeping current customers happy. While those aspects are part of the overall picture, he or she will also be concerned with making the best use of the company's resources, refining the process and function of management and various departments, and addressing any legalities that must be observed as the company continues to move forward. In many organizations, this gives the specialist a wide range of authority to solicit information from anywhere within the corporate structure and to influence every aspect of company function.

The process can be applied to just about any corporate situation. Even companies that are small need this type of activity in order to remain stable and to achieve growth over time. Often, the inclusion of at least one person who is focused on development activity makes it possible to capture a view of the company that is hard for people with responsibility for specific functions with the organization to achieve without help.

Business development may take place by creating an arm or department of the corporation that carries out these functions. It is also possible to contract with a consultant in order to evaluate the company's current circumstances and identify strategies for future growth.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@ShadowGenius: One of my clients (I'm a marketing consultant for small business) uses extreme customer service strategies to market his business. He does very well with it. He sends out about 800 birthday wishes with a gift voucher every single month and people come and thank him for this for it all the time. No, he doesn't know who they are - he just smiles and says "you're welcome."

Yes, it's a machine designed to make him more money, but also that's not the point. The point is that they feel special. In a world where people are becoming less and less connected with each other, having one of your clients feel a bit special because he has taken the time to send them this thing still has some value. It's not "real," but for many people they will take what they can get!


I think politeness wins in every situation. I am talking about a business entity as a family. Imagine no one bowing down to the other? If politeness is making the money then why not adopt it?


@shadowgenius While I agree that to some extent your position in the corporate ladder can be based on people skills, it is also true that common politeness in business is not only conducive to better customer relations, but also a better overall work environment. If everyone was "real" all the time, coming in unshaven and unkempt with a rough attitude, would that convey a message about that person which would be helpful to the overall office ambience? Not likely. Being courteous and concerned speaks the best about a person to everyone around them.


It is entirely possible that the weight of responsibility placed upon one individual with such immense responsibility in customer relations can cause him or her to develop certain surefire strategies of being "winsome" and affable. A myriad of books have been published on this topic of being a good people person for the sake of money and leadership, and sometimes I worry that genuine care for the average Joe or Jane is being made into a synthetic corporate phenomenon. Many have come to see common politeness as nothing more than a moneymaking ruse.

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