What is a senior business development manager (With skills)

Updated 18 September 2023

The senior business development manager role is a challenging and rewarding career for individuals with strong analytic, strategic and leadership skills. Senior business development managers are the key to building relationships and seeking the right opportunities that support the success of a business. Learning about the position, experience requirements and skills can help you find a job in a competitive market. In this article, we explore the role's daily responsibilities and the steps you can take to increase your chances of getting a job.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What is a senior business development manager?

A senior business development manager is a business executive responsible for driving the growth and profitability of a company by identifying and pursuing new business opportunities. The role involves creating and implementing business development strategies for new products and services, identifying market trends and opportunities and building and maintaining relationships with key clients. Senior business development managers typically work in various industries and sectors, such as technology, finance, healthcare and professional services.

Related: What does a business process manager do? (Including skills)

Find senior business development manager jobs

Role and responsibilities

The role and responsibilities of the position may vary depending on the company and industry you work with, but they generally include the following:

Creating and implementing business development strategies

One of their fundamental responsibilities involves creating and implementing business development strategies. This task involves identifying new business opportunities and creating plans to help the organisation capitalise on them. Here are some steps to take when performing this responsibility:

  • Conduct research: The first step is to research potential opportunities. This process may involve analysing industry trends, reviewing competitor activity and researching potential markets.

  • Identify target markets: Once you identify the available opportunities. determine the target markets for the organisation's products or services. This step involves market segmentation analysis to identify the most profitable customer segments.

  • Create a plan: With a fundamental understanding of your target markets, create a plan to engage them. Develop marketing campaigns and sales strategies and create partnerships with other organisations.

  • Set goals: Set goals and objectives to measure the success of your business development strategy. Your goals may include sales targets, market share acquisition and other key performance indicators.

  • Implement strategies: Once you have a plan and goals, implement the strategy. Work with other departments, such as marketing or sales, to ensure you execute the plan effectively.

  • Monitor progress: Monitor your progress against the goals and objectives. Analyse your sales data, conduct further customer research and watch competitor activity so you can adjust your strategy and ensure it remains effective long term.

Related: Business development director job description (With example)

Building and maintaining relationships with clients

Building and maintaining relationships with clients is essential for identifying new business opportunities and building brand loyalty. Strong relationships can help you secure ongoing partnerships and trust. To begin a positive relationship, learn about the client. Gather information about their business, needs and priorities so you can assess their goals and objectives. With this information, you can provide the best service possible.

Additionally, learn to communicate effectively, provide value and be proactive. Contact clients regularly, provide new insights and ideas and seek opportunities to collaborate. Ensure you follow through on your commitments and promises to build trust and ensure a lasting relationship.

Analysing market trends and competitor activity

Analysing market trends and competitor activity is critical for senior business development managers because it helps them understand the current market landscape. It helps them recognise emerging trends and monitor competitor activity, so they can make strategic decisions. First, understand your competitors and gather data. Review industry reports, conduct research and analyse sales numbers.

Once you collect the data, identify the trends in the market. Look at the changes in customer behaviour, emerging technologies or shifts in the competitive landscape. Monitor competitors to learn their strategies, products and services. Watch their pricing, marketing campaigns and product launches to identify insights and opportunities.

Leading and managing a team

Senior managers lead other business development specialists and ensure they comply with relevant policies and regulations. They provide guidance, support and mentoring to help their teams achieve objectives. The first step in leading and managing a strong team is to recruit and train the right people. Recruit candidates with demonstrable skills and experience. Provide advanced training and development opportunities to help them succeed. In addition, setting realistic goals and objectives fosters a positive attitude. Ensure you provide constructive feedback and coaching to encourage them.

Developing and managing budgets

Before you can create a budget, it's vital to have a clear understanding of the organisation's financial goals. Analyse the financial reports and identify areas for investment and cost-cutting. Remember to involve the relevant team members in the budget development discussion, including other members of senior management, department heads and finance staff. This collaboration helps ensure everyone can voice their opinions about the budget, so it can reflect the priorities of the whole organisation.

Related: What does a business development manager do in their role?

Business development manager skills

Business development managers require various skills to be effective in their roles. Some key skills include the following:

  • Sales and negotiation: Business development managers have strong sales and negotiation skills to close deals and win new business.

  • Strategic thinking: They know how to develop and implement long-term strategic plans that drive business growth.

  • Analytical thinking: Business development managers use their analytical skills to recognise patterns in market trends, competitor activity and customer data to identify growth opportunities.

  • Communication and interpersonal awareness: Effective communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for building and maintaining relationships with clients.

  • Leadership: Business development managers often lead teams of sales and business development experts, so strong leadership skills help them maintain order and efficiency.

  • Time management and organisation: Business development managers often have multiple projects with various deadlines, so they use their time management skills to prioritise their workload effectively.

  • Financial management: They know how to develop and manage budgets and understand financial statements and metrics.

  • Adaptability and resilience: Business development managers are adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges and changes in the business environment.

Read more: 8 essential business manager skills

Job requirements

The specific job requirements for the position may vary depending on the company and industry, but typically, they include the following:


For this position, many employers expect candidates to have a bachelor's degree in business, marketing or a related field. Some employers may prefer a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or a related field. These qualifications help to provide you with a deep understanding of the industry or sector, teach you beneficial sales and negotiation skills and provide the ability to develop and implement long-term strategic plans that drive business growth.

Related: Business development manager interview questions (Plus tips)

Previous work experience

Many recruitment managers expect potential employees to have several years of experience in business development or sales, preferably in a leadership role. These roles are a great way for you to gain industry-specific knowledge and transferable skills. Experience may include sales, marketing, business administration or a related subject, such as experience developing and implementing strategic plans, managing sales teams, negotiating and closing deals. They may also look for candidates who can analyse market trends and data and maintain professional relationships.

Related: 37 business manager interview questions and answers


Several certifications can help demonstrate your expertise and enhance your job prospects. Some of these certifications are as follows:

  • Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) certification: The CIM offers various certifications in marketing and business development, including the CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing and the CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing.

  • Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP) certification: The ISP offers a certification in professional sales, which covers areas such as sales strategy, negotiation and relationship building.

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): While not specific to business development, PMP certification from the Project Management Institute can demonstrate expertise in project management which is often an important component of business development initiatives.


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