14 Business Development Skills For Success | Skillslab (2023)

As a business development professional, you have to evaluate the performance of the company and find ways to improve it.

Such improvements are possible through strategies like building and maintaining better relationships with your business partners and looking for more opportunities in other areas.

Maintaining growth in a competitive market is a challenging task; hence, business development professionals must have the necessary skills and expertise for the job.

To convert new leads into customers, you have to keep your skills up to date, understand the trends in your market and improve business effectiveness. Here is a list of the top skills that every business development expert should have.

🎥 Watch Now: pros and cons of outsourcing your business development

Table Of Contents

  • Business Development Skills
    • 1. Communication Skills
    • 2. Sales Skills
    • 3. Marketing Skills
    • 4. Business Intelligence
    • 5. Project Management Skills
    • 6. Negotiation Skills
    • 7. Strategic Skills
    • 8. Computer Skills
    • 9. Analytical Skills
    • 10. Goal–Focus
    • 11. Organisational Skills
    • 12. People Skills
    • 13. Creative Thinking
    • 14. Collaboration Skills
  • Conclusion

Business Development Skills

1. Communication Skills

Communication skill is a vital requirement in the field of business development.

The professionals should have the ability to write and speak clearly and confidently. As a business development professional, you have to be an excellent listener to capture valuable feedback from customers.

Business development managers must find prospective customers, maintain long –term business relationships and forward the necessary information to stakeholders.

Excellent communication skills are a boost to winning during negotiations as well as maintaining a close relationship with leads even if they haven’t closed a deal yet.

The prospective customers will only move through the funnel if you keep them interested through your communication and selling skills.

One way of improving communication skills is through presentation practice that will boost your confidence. Confidence is a boost to your communication skills as it gives potential customers a sense of trust. The best communication style must be genuine as a way of building trust with your partners.

2. Sales Skills

One way of improving your business is by growing your customer base. Business development professionals have to identify potential customers and come up with follow up strategies.

They are also required to go an extra mile of building a strong relationship with potential partners and prospective customers.

A business development strategy can improve sales through activities such as cold-calling or planning one-on-one meetings to sell your business opportunities to prospective customers.

The growth of a business is dependent on the acquisition of new customers. Every business developer has to scale down the numbers to those with a higher possibility of buying the deal.

Business developers are also required to work closely with the sales department to encourage more qualified sales as a way of increasing the number of successful deals. The sales team will present the product to the customer and negotiate for the best deal.

It is important to note that the business development professionals don’t close deals even after taking part in the sales process. The responsibility of converting the prospects into customers is left to the sales team. The business development professionals and the sales team must collaborate to streamline the sales process and improve the business sales success rate.

3. Marketing Skills

The Business Development department also works closely with the marketing department for the success of the business. A business development professional must understand the necessary marketing skills and apply them in their day to day roles.

Both the marketing department and the business development teams have the same goal of growing the business; however, the approaches may be different.

In small companies, the business developer may be required to perform some tasks related to the marketing department as such companies may not have the resources to incorporate a full marketing team.

Such tasks include expanding the market, promoting the brand and create product awareness. Business developers are more focused on forming partnerships rather than marketing new products to customers.

4. Business Intelligence

As a business development professional, you have to go beyond your business and understand how competitors and the market is performing. To gain such understanding, the business development experts must conduct thorough research, collect data and also analyse it.

Proper data analysis is an effective way of understanding your market and knowing the market segment that best suits your product.

Business intelligence provides relevant information about the market, such as its size, the competitors and possible changes in the market. Such knowledge is very crucial in ensuring that the business stays updated with the relevant statistics about market trends.

Data collection and analysis is also a part of business intelligence. Most of the business data that benefit business developers include the size of the market, possible changes affecting the market, and the types of campaigns that successfully impact the market positively.

Ways of improving your business intelligence skills as a business development professional include research, data collection, and analysing the target market.

5. Project Management Skills

Project management has a considerable impact on the success of a business development professional. Business development should be viewed as a large project.

Some of the skills that you need as a business developer are related to project management. The skills that cut across these two fields include leadership skills, risk management and monitoring and team management. Team management is crucial when managing a project because you cannot perform all the tasks alone.

Every business has a focus to meet their development goals. To achieve these goals, they must have access to the best professionals that will drive the development agenda and exploit their growth potential.

As a business developer, you have to support your team, evaluate their performance and also resolve any possible conflicts.

6. Negotiation Skills

As part of business development, you have to convince others to do something that was not in their plans. Negotiation skills are essential for business development. Good negotiation skills ensure that you get a higher client conversion rate.

For better negotiations, a business development professional must be diplomatic and know the customer needs. Excellent negotiation skills are beneficial in resolving customer related conflicts, a better understanding of clients and partners and relationship building.

As a business developer, you will be negotiating on behalf of the company, meaning you have to ensure that the terms agreed upon are favourable to your organisation.

To convince prospective customers, you have to be ethical and find ways of earning their trust. Good negotiation skills are also focused on winning the hearts and minds of prospects through tactical means.

Communication skills bring the candidates on board, but excellent negotiation skills ensure that the prospects will be in the business for long.

7. Strategic Skills

Strategy is a key factor in business development goals.

As a business development professional, you have to forecast for months and years ahead. A proper strategy will depend on your prioritising capability and the use of research to better understand the situation.

The strategic skills will enable a business benchmark the competition and come up with strategies to keep it ahead of others.

Business development professionals have the role of coming up with strategies that will enable them to build trust with the customer and move the prospects from the initial stage of just buying and selling to a more beneficial state of partnership.

8. Computer Skills

Every employee in today’s business set up must have the necessary computer skills. You may not be required to have IT or programming skills as a business developer, but you must have the skills needed for daily operations.

Most business communications, analysis and research, are done using computers in this digital era, meaning you have to understand the basic programs.

Some of the basic computer programs include the Microsoft office applications needed for routine documentation needs as well as email for communication.

Computer illiterate employees are less efficient and may not meet the needs of the employer. Customers also not trust your capability to keep up with the ever-changing business world if you cannot work with computers.

Apart from the necessary Microsoft Office skills, a business development manager must also be in a position to work well with the CRM software.

9. Analytical Skills

A business development manager must have an analytical mind to reach for potential. You need to analyse the market research and sales data to identify possible opportunities.

A business development professional also has to differentiate the opportunities that make commercial sense and pursue them. A business can lose time and money by investing in non-profitable projects that cost more to run than what they bring in.

One function of a business development manager is to track the company’s returns on investment and gather data to support the findings when presenting the information to the executives.

As a developer, you can track different metrics depending on the sales cycle and the needs of your company. Some of the standard measurements include revenue, the number of completed deals as well as the number of sales pipeline achieved. The business development team must show the effect of their influence on the sales pipeline delivered.

To identify profitable opportunities, the business development team must understand the market through aggressive data collection and analysis.

The team must be up-to-date with the latest trends in the market from which they will identify possible risks as well as opportunities that can put the company ahead of the competition.

10. Goal–Focus

New business is always about strategies and goals.

As a business development professional, you must work with goals and targets to pursue long term plans. Good business developers know the importance of goals and a plan to reaching them.

A goal provides the direction while the plan acts as in giving the clarity on what needs to be done to achieve the set goals.

Proper goals and plans are also a tool used for the support needed.

The business development professionals can present their goals and plans to the leadership and use the facts to request for the required resources, the laid down plans are also a guide to the sales team that works closely with the business development team.

Every business development person must be in a position to set their own expectations and come up with plans to meet them.

11. Organisational Skills

As a business development expert, you will have to work with the other departments in the organisation and also report to the top-level management. The modern business set up is result-based, meaning tight deadlines are a common work norm, yet you still have to develop the sluggish prospects that take longer to mature.

Good organisational skills enable this professional to balance all the duties and responsibilities bestowed upon them. They have to organise the workloads of the related teams and also manage their team for visible results.

12. People Skills

Every business deals with a more significant percentage of people skills than management skills. People skills include factors such as individual contribution to the growth of the company, handling disputes and teamwork.

The most beneficial quality in people skill is listening carefully to others before you talk and respecting those with an opposing view. A competent business development professionals take the available opportunities to talk and present to others the best they can offer.

13. Creative Thinking

Creative thinking can boost a business development’s ability to identify new opportunities as well as ways of developing the existing opportunities. Creative thinking is a skill that every business development professionals should have as the competition market becomes more complicated.

You can train the professionals in areas such as sales techniques and marketing, but you cannot teach them to be creative. Creativity is a natural skill that can be harnessed to provide value of the company by building a stronger relationship and finding better opportunities.

14. Collaboration Skills

Collaboration is also a part of Business development skills.

As a development professional, you will not work alone.

You will have to work with others from inside and outside the organisation. Good collaboration skills enable people to build relationships, solve conflicts, influence others and overcome office politics to get things done.


Skills for business development is a new term in business, but it requires a person with the best skills for the best resorts. A business development professional is an all-round individual needed to collaborate with the rest of the organisation to take it to the next level.

These professionals mostly work with the sales department and most importantly, with the marketing department where the business development skills are paramount in ensuring success.

The above list is some of the skills for business development that an employer should look for when hiring a business development professional.


14 Business Development Skills For Success | Skillslab? ›

In the simplest terms, business development can be summarized as the ideas, initiatives, and activities that help make a business better. This includes increasing revenues, growth in terms of business expansion, increasing profitability by building strategic partnerships, and making strategic business decisions.

What skills are important for business development? ›

10 Business Development Skills you need
  • Communication Skills. Communication is a crucial business development skill as they need to communicate with clients, stakeholders, and customers. ...
  • Goal Focused. ...
  • Negotiation Skills. ...
  • Project Management Skills. ...
  • Strategic Skills. ...
  • Computer Skills. ...
  • Business Intelligence Skills. ...
  • Sales.
Dec 8, 2021

What is successful business development? ›

In the simplest terms, business development can be summarized as the ideas, initiatives, and activities that help make a business better. This includes increasing revenues, growth in terms of business expansion, increasing profitability by building strategic partnerships, and making strategic business decisions.

What is business development and what are the top 3 skills? ›

The top three skills for a business development executive are sales skills, communication skills, and business acumen. The core responsibility of a business developer is growing a business, and these three skills are the critical skills needed to make this happen.

How can I improve my business development skills? ›

20 Business Development Tips to Get you More Business
  1. Define growth targets annually and review them monthly. ...
  2. Look at each of your market segments. ...
  3. Understand why customers buy from you. ...
  4. Work out where your customers go for information. ...
  5. What can you do yourself and what needs specialist skills? ...
  6. Make a plan.

What 3 business skills would you like to learn or improve? ›

These business skills are essential
  • Financial management. Being able to effectively manage your finances is critical. ...
  • Marketing, sales and customer service. ...
  • Communication and negotiation. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Project management and planning. ...
  • Delegation and time management. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Networking.

What are soft skills in business development? ›

Soft skills include attributes and personality traits that help employees interact with others and succeed in the workplace. Examples of soft skills include the ability to communicate with prospective clients, mentor your co-workers, lead a team, negotiate a contract, follow instructions, and get a job done on time.

What are the 5 keys of business success? ›

As a reminder, the 5 Key Success Factors are:
  • Strategic Focus (Leadership, Management, Planning)
  • People (Personnel, Staff, Learning, Development)
  • Operations (Processes, Work)
  • Marketing (Customer Relations, Sales, Responsiveness)
  • Finances (Assets, Facilities, Equipment)
Apr 1, 2015

What are 5 things that make a business successful? ›

Here's what they shared.
  • Willingness to take chances. Business owners who are willing to take chances tend to achieve more than those who play it safe. ...
  • Unique value. ...
  • Tenacity. ...
  • Customer-centric approach. ...
  • Good marketing. ...
  • Strong vision. ...
  • Passionate leaders. ...
  • Empowered employees.
Feb 2, 2021

What are the five key success for a business? ›

The five critical success factors are strategic focus, people, operations, marketing, and finances.

What are 4 business development strategies? ›

The four growth strategies
  • Market penetration. The aim of this strategy is to increase sales of existing products or services on existing markets, and thus to increase your market share. ...
  • Market development. ...
  • Product development. ...
  • Diversification.

What are the core elements of business development? ›

These three core elements of business development are 1) Customers, 2) Markets and 3) Relationships.

What are the top 3 skill development priorities? ›

In general, you should focus on three types of skill areas: functional, self-management and special knowledge skills. In this post, we'll explore why these skills are so important and reveal how they can benefit your career.

What makes you a good fit for business development role? ›

To be successful in this role, they must be able to identify potential customers, build relationships, and close deals. They must also have a strong understanding of their company's products or services and be able to articulate the value proposition to potential customers.

What is a strong business acumen? ›

In short, a person with strong business acumen skills understands various aspects of a business and how it's run can make competent decisions based on this knowledge. Business acumen skills are highly sought after by employers, especially when hiring individuals for leadership positions.

What 3 skills would you like to improve? ›

Examples of skills you may discuss wanting to improve may relate to:
  • Communication.
  • Computers.
  • Mediation.
  • Mentoring or coaching.
  • Networking.
  • Presenting or public speaking.
  • Technical duties.
  • Time management.
Mar 16, 2023

What are the hottest skills every business professional needs today? ›

Critical thinking, problem-solving, resilience, active learning, and a whole bunch of interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills will be essential for the future workforce.
Interpersonal skills in demand
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Mental flexibility. ...
  • Building relationships. ...
  • Teamwork effectiveness.
Feb 2, 2023

What are the 7 essential soft skills? ›

7 essential soft skills in demand
  • Teamwork. With effective teamwork, teams are more productive, deadlines are met, relationships with your team members are stronger and knowledge is shared. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Interpersonal.

What is the top #1 soft skill in business? ›

Communication. Communication is the ability to convey or share ideas and feelings effectively and it's among the top soft skills employers require across all fields. The most common communication skills are: Verbal communication.

What are 5 soft skills? ›

Soft skills make or break the hiring decision

If they can't communicate, be engaged, participate fully, think critically or demonstrate leadership, it doesn't matter how technically qualified they are. They won't have a long-term future at my company.

What are the 7 C's of business success? ›

The book provides a helpful toolkit on ability & behaviour for achieving goals in life and business, and uses the simple framework of the 7 Cs: clear Conception, Confidence, Concentrated effort, Consistency, Commitment, Character, and Capacity to enjoy the process.

What are the 7 C's of success? ›

Tom Morris calls the following "The Seven C's of Success": a clear conception of what we want, a strong confidence that we can attain that goal, concentration on what it will take to achieve it, consistent pursuit of our goal, an emotional commitment to the value of our goal, good character that guides us along the way ...

What are the 4 P's for success in business? ›

When those moments happen, they can be even harder to overcome if certain fundamental principles aren't in place. I believe that the foundation of success lies within the four P's: Purpose, passion, perseverance, and positivity.

What are the 6 keys to success? ›

The six keys to success are:
  • Mental toughness.
  • Hunger to achieve.
  • People skills.
  • Sports and life knowledge.
  • Breaking barriers.
  • Planning for success.

What are the top 3 keys for success? ›

Irrespective of what “Success” means to each, what has been clearly understood that there are three key elements of success. They are - Clarity of Purpose, Growth Mindset, and Courage. Without purpose, it is hard to have a clear direction. It is important to know what you want and what you are striving for.

What are the 7 business strategies? ›

Once you've developed your marketing strategy, there is a "Seven P Formula" you should use to continually evaluate and reevaluate your business activities. These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people.

What are the 5 stages of strategy development? ›

The five stages of the process are goal-setting, analysis, strategy formation, strategy implementation and strategy monitoring.

What are the 3 steps development strategy? ›

To consistently reach this goal, follow these three steps:
  • Target an attractive market segment.
  • Understand and prioritize customer needs (in this market segment).
  • Develop a solution that meets customer needs (in this market segment).
Feb 7, 2022

What are the 6 components of successful business plan? ›

It needs to be a serious business document with the following six elements.
  • Executive summary. ...
  • Description and bios of your leadership/executive team. ...
  • Description of your product(s) or service(s) ...
  • Market/competitive analysis. ...
  • Financials (how much cash you need and when you'll pay it back) ...
  • Marketing plan.

What are the seven 7 significant elements of the business plan? ›

Seven Elements of a Business Plan. According to Investopida.com and Nerd Wallet, most business plan templates include seven elements: an executive summary, company description, products and services, market analysis, marketing strategy, financials, and budget.

What are the 8 components of business? ›

  • The executive summary. ...
  • A description of the business. ...
  • The market(s) the business will operate in. ...
  • A SWOT analysis. ...
  • The management team and personnel. ...
  • The products or services offered. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Let's talk money: A financial plan.
Feb 18, 2022

What are the three C's of career development? ›

if you want to be successful, focus on the three Cs: confidence, competence and connections. Whether you're at the beginning of your journey, or ready to take your next bold step, you might be preoccupied with the same question that plagues all of us: what can I do to turn this into a success?

What are 3 goals for development at work? ›

Consider choosing one of these common personal development goals: Improve your time management. Develop emotional intelligence. Cultivate resilience.

How do I develop myself professionally? ›

Follow these steps to improve yourself professionally:
  1. Read often.
  2. Adopt a new hobby.
  3. Sign up for a training session.
  4. Identify in-demand skills.
  5. Try a new schedule.
  6. Commit to an exercise routine.
  7. Set big goals.
  8. Change your mindset.
Mar 29, 2023

What makes you a unique business development person? ›

A great business development person will take the time to understand the client's individual needs and then tailor their offering to their circumstances. This helps them to develop exceptionally good negotiation and persuasion skills. They never rely on generic 'one size fits all' sales pitches.

What makes a good head of business development? ›

For this position, you need at least a bachelor's degree in business administration or a relevant field. You must have prior experience in a related position. You must possess communication, leadership, listening, presentation, problem-solving, decision-making, and negotiation skills.

How do you answer why you'd be a good fit at a company? ›

How to answer “why are you a great match for this role?”
  1. Highlight your relevant accomplishments. ...
  2. Emphasize your unique skill-set. ...
  3. Explain your personality and work ethic. ...
  4. Practice, but don't memorize word for word. ...
  5. Keep your answer concise. ...
  6. Use the most relevant examples. ...
  7. Focus on the value you have to offer.

What is one word for business acumen? ›

Business acumen, also known as business savviness, business sense and business understanding, is keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation (risks and opportunities) in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome.

How do you demonstrate strong business acumen? ›

Strong Business Acumen Example #1:

Those people who can take a good idea and translate that into the economic value of that idea, to the company. And not just being able to frame the idea in the financial and business implications of that idea, but also how to tactically drive that idea forward to execution.

How do you build strong business acumen? ›

Ten steps to develop business acumen:
  1. Understand the financial statements: ...
  2. Listen to the company's earnings call: ...
  3. When the CEO or CFO speaks to the company, get a sense of what that means for you: ...
  4. Find a mentor: ...
  5. Read: ...
  6. Pay attention to industry news and business: ...
  7. Take advantage of education opportunities:
Mar 9, 2023

What skills are required for BDM role? ›

what are the top 5 skills needed to become a successful business development manager in the facilities management sector?
  • Communication and interpersonal skills. ...
  • Negotiation skills. ...
  • Research and strategy. ...
  • Business intelligence. ...
  • Networking.
Mar 28, 2023

What are soft and hard skills for business development? ›

Hard skills are those that can be easily defined, taught, and measured. They are necessary to be able to perform your job. While soft skills are related to how you work and interact with your colleagues, clients, or partners. They are related to your personality and they are not necessarily tight to one specific job.

What skills are required for business development coordinator? ›

Business Development Coordinator Duties and Responsibilities

Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Ability to prioritise and manage workload. Ability to work independently and as part of a team. Strong networking skills.

What is the personality of a BDM? ›

The average Business Development Manager tends to be objective and direct, favoring straightforward facts over ambiguous emotions. The average Business Development Manager tends to be an objective thinker who prioritizes accuracy and results.

What makes a good business development representative? ›

Good BDRs will use the resources around them and work with marketing to develop their outreach and messaging. Understanding buyer intent data, different channels, copywriting, video creation, digital marketing, and event marketing all helps you reach your customers and get your message seen.

What are the key responsibilities of business development specialist? ›

Identifies new business opportunities and clients for a company, identifies new products, services and lines of business, and develops marketing and sales strategies to help grow a company's business.

What are the top 3 important soft skills? ›

Top 10 Soft Skills Employers Love (For Any Profession)
  • Time management.
  • Communication.
  • Adaptability.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Teamwork.
  • Creativity.
  • Leadership.
  • Interpersonal skills.
Mar 21, 2023

What are 5 hard skills and soft skills? ›

Hard skills are related to specific technical knowledge and training while soft skills are personality traits such as leadership, communication or time management.
  • Integrity.
  • Dependability.
  • Effective communication. 4.Open-mindedness.
  • Teamwork.
  • Creativity.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Adaptability.
Mar 10, 2023

What are the five most important soft skills? ›

Consider how you can develop or improve these five soft skills while working outside of your chosen field:
  • Effective communication. Working in any industry affords the opportunity to improve your communication skills. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Influencing without authority. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • . . .
Feb 28, 2023


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