A quick look around and you’ll get many definitions of ‘sales’.
They will include ‘Sales is activity related to selling or the amount of goods or services sold in a given time period’ and ‘A sale is a transaction between two parties where the buyer receives goods (tangible or intangible), services and/or assets in exchange for money’
What about ‘business development’?Is it the same?
Similar searches reveal ‘the activity of pursuing strategic opportunities for a particular business or organisation, for example by cultivating partnerships or other commercial relationships, or identifying new markets for its products or services.’
If you think sales and business development can be done by the same people and virtually are the same elements but with different clothes on….think again.
Put simply, the purpose of sales and selling is to sell directly to the end customer.
The function of business development is to work through partners to sell to the end customer.
So, selling can be described as a B2C enterprise, where your goods are purchased by and utilised by an end user.
Business Development Executives or Managers build their business through partnerships with others and so can be assumed to be B2B.
Are the skillsets the same?
Sales people tend to favour and develop skills like Product Knowledge, prospecting skills, rapport building, active listening, quality questioning, time management, objection handling, demonstration skills and closing techniques.
Business Development skills tend to edge toward excellent communication and IT skills, the ability to get on with people at all levels and influence them, strong problem-solving and creative skills, an ability to stay calm under pressure and keep to deadlines, strong sales and negotiation techniques, teamworking and leadership skills, attention to detail, creative thinking, analysis of the competitive environment, and many others.
Is there a crossover? Of course.
But the main areas of expertise for a business development team create business opportunities that may provide longer-term business and further strategic partnerships with companies that go further than simply selling them your products and services.
The potential for growth comes from analysing the business market with partners who can work with you to achieve greater market penetration than simply transactional selling.
So, by being aware where your energies need to be placed in developing business, you give yourself potential growth openings that will take your company further and find greater profitable markets.