The vexing question of every Sales Manager and Business Development Manager who is newly appointed is this: “What am I supposed to do and not do”?

Managing sales and developing business at the same time can be a nightmare for a large organization. Each role is a humungous task in itself. Combining the both together and expecting one person to handle both is not only practically difficult but also inefficient. Small business owners may not agree to this as more often than not they have just one person who wears both these hats, and they find it cost-efficient too. That may work out initially for a start-up or a mom and pop store, but in the long run, when the business grows to attain maximum scalability the firm must segregate the two tasks and appoint a Sales Manager as well as a Business Development Manager to perform two different kinds of jobs. Often the difficulty in doing so arises because of the ambiguity in the roles played by both employees who hold different titles. Business owners and managers themselves are confused as to what they are supposed to do.

The roles that are unique to a Business Development Manager are the following:

  • Building the right product-market mix
  • Determining whether the product meets the need of the client
  • Expanding the reach of the goods to increase revenue
  • Recommending timely adjustments to products
  • Improving products to fill customer requirements
  • Informing clients about new developments in the products
  • Dealing with prospects unsatisfied with the products
  • Responding to negative press about the products
  • Pitching goods and services in new market segments
  • Studying the competitive landscape in the industry
  • Forming strategic partnerships with other businesses
  • Segmenting the target customer market
  • Prioritizing market segments or key accounts
  • Identifying various routes to market
  • Creating strategies to expand company’s current markets
  • Researching markets to find new ones
  • Planning and overseeing new market initiatives
  • Attending conferences, meetings, and industry events
  • Researching companies to hunt leads
  • Exploring, prospecting, and qualifying leads
  • Researching who makes decisions about purchasing
  • Determining whether a lead is ready to buy
  • Bringing in enough qualified leads to generate business
  • Attracting customers to the front door of the building
  • Maintaining fruitful relationships with existing customers
  • Contacting potential customers to establish rapport
  • Investigating if the price matches the ideal buyer’s affordability
  • Negotiating prices with manufacturers and distributors
  • Developing quotes and proposals to new partners
  • Identifying new opportunities and methods for sales campaigns
  • Generating demand and maximizing sales
  • Writing reports and providing feedback to upper management
  • Creating high-level vision and developing relevant strategies
  • Understanding the fundamental drivers of the business
  • Making wise decisions in pursuit of long-term value
  • Determining when and where to scale the business
  • Gathering data to validate paths to achieve business goals
  • Identifying and executing new areas of business
  • Weighing how changes affect the entire company
  • Identifying signals that promise greater opportunity
  • Assessing trade-offs between opportunities vs. risks
  • Generating new channels to reach customers
  • Producing long-term growth and profitability
  • Planning operations and strategic marketing with top executives
  • Coordinating with departments for new account setups

The roles that are explicit to a Sales Manager are the following:

  • Demonstrating the product features
  • Overseeing the distribution of products
  • Maintaining appropriate inventory levels
  • Gauging customer’s product preferences
  • Monitoring market trends to tweak sales efforts
  • Weighing how changes affect sales territories
  • Taking deals across the finish lines
  • Selling the product to the identified customer
  • Convincing customer to go from the door to cash register
  • Up-selling and cross-selling to existing clients
  • Offering post-purchase service and support
  • Resolving customer complaints regarding sales and service
  • Optimizing existing channel to reach more customers
  • Selling to customers in new territories
  • Explaining price breakdowns to prospective customers
  • Informing payment terms to end-users
  • Developing pricing schedules and rates
  • Developing promotional ideas and materials
  • Determining discounts and special pricing plans
  • Tracking sales team metrics and reporting to leadership
  • Implementing sales plans based on company policies
  • Developing sales strategy to achieve organizational goals
  • Preparing and approving budgets and expenditures
  • Coordinating and monitoring online sales activities
  • Meeting business revenue targets
  • Focusing exclusively on driving revenue
  • Following up on business leads on a regular basis
  • Investigating lost sales and customer accounts
  • Tracking, interpreting and collating sales figures
  • Maintaining data and records for future reference
  • Formulating sales policies and procedures
  • Executing and measuring sales plan
  • Hiring, training and leading sales professionals
  • Managing team of sales staff and assign territories
  • Developing field sales action plans
  • Collaborating with IT to improve the sales technology
  • Developing direct sales techniques for the sales force
  • Creating incentives for representatives
  • Generating ideas for sales motivational initiatives
  • Executing measures when performance deviates
  • Advising representatives on ways to improve performance
  • Demonstrating excellent team-building skills
  • Transforming sales team into a high-performing one
  • Determining ways to streamline and improve the sales process
  • Keeping up to date with products and competitors

Business Development Manager is responsible for creating long-term value for the business while a Sales Manager is supposed to maximize sales. A good analogy is thus: A Business Development Manager gets the customer to the door, and a Sales Manager takes the customer from the door to the cash register. A Business Development Manager who is busy looking over the competitive landscape to spot trends and opportunities does not have time to service the clients. It is the job of the Sales Manager to take care of the prospect. Hence the separation between the two roles.
Photo Credit: Olu Eletu