The number of adverts that I see for a business development manager, or a relationship manager in the papers and on job boards I find to be amazing. It would seem that every company has something to develop; even my local butchers spent half an hour telling me how there has been no free range chickens sold in this area for the last 20 years. Now he may be right, but it does not solve my problem. I tend to eat very little meat nowadays as it is so damn hard to tell where it came from, how was it kept, what it was feed etc… Was it allowed to wander around outside? Has it been properly hung etc? Of all the businesses, that I can think of my butchers would do very well with some product development.
I cannot think of any reason at all why do not think for the life of me that our butchers is going to employ a thirtyish looking business developer, dressed in a suit to explain his products to the customer. This is something the head chopper feels he can do perfectly well. How much more custom would he get? At presently he is the only butchers in the village… Developing a relationship with your customers is difficult, especially in a highly competitive world as the one we live in, where every corner you turn there is somebody ready to quote a better price, do it faster, guarantee for it longer.
Why would anybody want to employ somebody just to go and talk to potential customers? Well the truth is they may not want to just that. But if there was that golden touch business developer who could go out and bring back the golden eggs, with the use of his or her persuasion, then you have got a foot in the door and you would have been able to open the box to much greater business and all for less than 40,000 a year. Surly though, the true role of a business developer will always remain with the MD. You may have many skills in your organisation , from people that can program computers underwater, to scientist who know how to calculate rockets landing on the moon but if you cannot get the money to pay you staff, you will all have go home.
It is possible that business developers have the most to lose from Web 2.0. as their means to and end is generally undefined. Imagine having something tangible for a process for business development. Web 2.0 can document that process. Not just for one customer but for all customers providing a backup and a status report, from the start of a product, to customer interest, to selling products, to customer feedback.