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Sunday, February 18, 2007

I recently posted a blog on Ecademy, "Are you a "Renaissance" Salesperson or "Coin-Operated Rep"?".

The blog looked at three different types of sales people identified by authors Mark Leslie & Charles A. Holloway in their article "The Sales Learning Curve" (excellent article by the way).

Comments on the blog evolved around the label we gives ourselves. Is it "Sales", "Business Development"... and what's the difference?

I've nearly always worked in a role with the "Sales" label. That is, I've been clearly responsible for selling directly to customers. However, when working in a management capacity, I was responsible for developing & managing indirect sales channels & partners. So, that's "business development", right?

My line on this used to be that business development is focused on growing business revenue through indirect routes, such as partnering, sales channels, joint-ventures, etc, whilst sales had the same objective but through direct customer engagement.

Today, this has become a little blurred when many companies (particularly consultancies) adopt the term "business development" to cover direct sales activity in a less, well, "sales-ey" way.

Wikipedia is always a good place to turn to. It's definition (at the time of this post) of Business Development is:

"Business Developmnet encompasses a number of techniques designed to grow an economic enterprise. Such techniques include, but are not limited to, assessments of marketing opportunities and target markets, intelligence gathering on customers and competitors, generating leads for possible sales, follow-up sales activity, formal proposal writing and business model design. Business development involves evaluating a business and then realizing its full potential, using such tools as marketing, sales, information management and customer service. For a sound company able to withstand competitors, business development never stops but is an ongoing process."

For me, this is right on the money.

That last sentence from Wikipedia sums it up for me, "for a sound company able to withstand competitors, business development never stops but is an ongoing process."

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Posted by: David Regler @ 11:46 am |   | Links to this post  

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