Business Developer : The Ultimate Guide !

"Business Developer", "Commercial" or "Sales", learn all there is to know about the most sought-after positions…and the jobs that are best paid 💰


What is a Business Developer?  

What does a Business Developer do?

Other terms for Business Developer

The work of a Business Developer can vary

The Business Developer job description

The 5 essential qualities a Business Developer needs

Why become a junior Business Developer?

What is the salary of a Business Developer?

What is a typical career path for a Business Developer?

The training to become a Business Developer

Is it possible to become a Business Developer without a degree?

Improve your Business Developer CV

Business Developer wanted!

UK tech sector reaches $1 trillion valuation as Digital Minister Chris Philp announced this March, 2022! As companies grow and people can work from almost everywhere, the competition for the best sales talent has skyrocketed! 🚀 It is a known fact that Business Developer profile is in a fast growing demand!

It is clearly the most sought-after job ahead of recruitment specialists and data analyst positions...

Why? Because a Business Developer contributes directly to the growth of a company. The position carries a lot of value. A Biz Dev can receive up to 3 solicitations EACH WEEK on their LinkedIn account in a bid to hire them.

How to become a Business Developer in 2022? We gave the floor to Philippe Gillotin, an expert on various sales professions. Today he is a Sales Coach at iconoClass. Check him out!

What is a Business Developer?

«It's common to use this catch-all expression - Business Developer for everything and anything; but it's in fact associated with a very specific profession.» Philippe Gillotin

As the name suggests, this is the person in the company who drives sales.

It is someone who will be on the look-out for new opportunities and partnerships for the company. In many ways, the Business Developer is the guarantor of the company's economic development.

He is also capable of managing the sales cycle from lead generation to closing (the final stage until the contract is signed). And this same person will also usually ensure customer follow-up.

A prospect is a sales lead. It is someone who has expressed an interest in the product or service offered.

What does a Business Developer do?

From prospecting to closing

If we go into detail, one can say that the Business Developer is in charge of prospecting, i.e. finding prospects (potential customers).

He is responsible for signing contracts, finding, and supporting new customers.

Sales pitch

He is ultimately responsible for his sales pitch and his sales argument. He must work on developing the sales pitch.


He must have the ability to analyse the company's position within a market. He needs to be aware of growth levers: any ongoing projects in the company (investment and recruitment projects).


He must be good at implementing strategies. He will focus his day-to-day activities around the strategies he has fixed for himself, to achieve the desired results.

For example, this may be a content marketing strategy in close collaboration with the marketing department. In this case, he creates or has content created for him (blog articles, posts on social networks, white papers, etc.) to meet the expectations of his target audience.

He relies on key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate his results and adjust his strategies. In short, it involves strategic writing, contextual assessment, and growth analysis.

Other terms for Business Developer

We have mentioned several of them, such as commercial or sales. But you may come across others.


This is the most common term used for a Business Developer, but it has a broader meaning because it can include, for example, salespeople in car dealerships. The Business Developer on the other hand, is more associated with the corporate world or even start-ups.


Salesperson, also a very common term in companies, even for those without an international DNA.


This abbreviation, rather than a synonym, is very common. Biz Dev is quickly becoming the most widely used term. It's faster to pronounce!

Digital business developer

The term "Digital Business Developer" is less common. It is used to underline the fact that the Business Developer uses digital tools for his work, such as Walaaxy for prospecting or Calendly for arranging appointments.

There are dozens of terms for Business Developers. Companies sometimes get confused. Always remember to check the title of the proposed assignment.

The work of a Business Developer can vary

From one company to another, the work of a Business Developer will not be identical. The job of the Biz Dev actually depends on several things:

  • the company size,
  • the way in which the jobs are segmented,
  • the way in which the teams are organised.

In some companies the Business Developer will do a bit of everything (in the start-up world in particular): prospecting, negotiating, sales pitching, as well as handling objections and closing.

In scale-ups (hypergrowth start-ups) or in SMEs that are close to the size of large companies, there is segmentation: there are different teams.

  • The Sales Development Representative (SDR), will deal with prospecting.
  • The Business Development Representative (BDR)
  • The Account Executive or Account Managers
  • Inside Sales people manage the sales appointment part.
  • Account Managers.

An Account Manager is responsible for the financial development of his company. He is therefore a Biz Dev with specific assignments.

All these people are Business Developers with different missions. The tasks are detailed in the Business Developer's job description. So how do you know to which exact tasks you will be assigned when you are recruited as a Business Developer?

The Business Developer job description

Basically, when a company publishes a job description, it must include all the related tasks. For example, it should say: you will in charge of prospecting. Like this you will know that you will not be making sales appointments.

However, iconers are encouraged to ask the recruiter during job interviews about their future tasks to be sure about what will be expected of them.

Going beyond the Business Developer job description

During a job interview, the recruiter will ask the candidate questions. But the recruiter also appreciates it when candidates ask questions about their future tasks.

It demonstrates commitment and proactivity. It shows that the candidate is prepared to look beyond the job description.

It is therefore important to learn about the company. You can, for example, type the name of the company into Google and take a look under the "news" tab. This will give you more information about what's going on regarding the company.

Our students are taught about the value of asking questions. Ask for as much detail as possible about your daily tasks. We even go so far as recommending that they get in touch with people on LinkedIn who are working in the company they are targeting and ask them questions.

«I'm applying for a position as a Biz Dev in your company. Would you mind if we chat about it?»

Our students do just that. It works very well. "Can you tell me what your day-to-day job consists of?" This prepares them with the right questions and information to be even more credible during the interview.

To learn more about the Business Developer job description > Click here

Business Developer vs. salesperson

There is no real difference. Those who do make a distinction might say "a sales person is more someone who goes out into the field." But if you take a modern view, a Biz Dev does the same thing. It really depends on how the company structures the Business Developer's job and what product it sells.

For a product that is aimed at restaurant owners, it would for instance probably make sense to go and meet with the restaurant owners.

Business developer vs sales

Sales is a term that is very often used to refer to the people who meet with the client and present the solution. Those who sell.


For others, the salesperson is the one who makes the appointment and the Business Developer, the one who does the prospecting. But in truth, a Biz Dev can encompass all of those functions.

Business developer vs business analyst

The business analyst is also referred to as a Sales op. It is a person who does not sell, but who will analyse the KPIs linked to the Business Developers.

In the sales team, everyone has their own KPIs. For instance:

  • John has fairly low closing rates. But he has a relatively high rate of transforming prospection calls into actual sales appointments. 
  • Marcus, on the other hand, takes 2 days to process an incoming request and then transform it into a potential lead.
  • George has a retention rate that is very high.

The Business Analyst will observe their performance, compare them depending on the time of year and the state of the market; then he will offer recommendations in terms of strategy.

For example:

  • you should concentrate more on prospecting and cold calling in this or that period.
  • I think that right now you are not sending enough targeted prospecting emails.

 And he will implement sales strategies tailored to the teams to optimise their performance.

He has a more technical profile. He's like Robin to Batman.

The 5 essential qualities a Business Developer needs

This is a topic that will be covered during the course at iconoClass. We have done our best to condense these into 5 main qualities or skills that every good Business Developer should have.

Active listening

This may sound obvious, but at iconoClass we say: "A Business Developer has two ears and one mouth. This is so that he can listen twice as much as he speaks.

Long gone are the days of the sales rep who went door-to-door with his suitcase and presented his products whilst giving an endless monologue to try and sell.

Today, in modern sales and especially in B2B, what is important is to understand the needs and expectations of the prospect before proposing a solution.

This is where the concept of "non-selling" was born. After questioning a prospect, one may realise that he does not need our solution. In this case one leaves without selling anything.

As a salesperson, you have to ask a lot of questions. And no information should be overlooked.


The definition of resilience is the ability to recover from a strong mental or emotional shock.

It is about being able to bounce back from a failure.

« Today, I did a three-hour cold call session. I got 150 "no thanks". However, the 151st call will be a 'yes, I'm interested. »

It's the ability to keep going, to get back up.


We like this word at iconoClass. It means having a fighting spirit. It's about having the drive.

In the collective unconscious, we sometimes think of the salesperson as a shark. This is not the same thing as having the drive. A shark is someone who wants to crush people in his path. He wants to make money at all costs, putting aside moral values.

Being tenacious means telling yourself that you're going to succeed, that you're not going to give up.

« I'm going to prospect in a big way. I'm going to organise extensive call sessions. I won't give up anything. »

Being organised and methodical

There is so much to do between:

  •  prospecting for clients,
  • following up on your prospecting (those you have already contacted, who you need to contact again...),
  • the clients you need to meet,
  • the emails you need to send...

If we are not organised, we will get lost. And you won't be credible as a salesperson.

You need a good working method and a sense of organisation.

Business oriented

It's more of a mindset. Everything I do will be for the good of the company.

It's having a team spirit.

« I have a potential client. I will hand him over to a colleague. I won’t be the one to sell. I'm not going to do it. I will not get the bonus. But I helped make it happen. »

It's important to work in a team, to do things at times that I don't like or that are not in the scope of my duties: like handing out flyers. A business-oriented Biz Dev will do it, even if he doesn't like going out on the street.

All five skills can be learned and worked on. The important thing is to be motivated.

To discover the soft and hard skills of a Business Developer > click here !

Why become a junior Business Developer?

There is a shortage of 1 Million salespeople in the United Kingdom!

Business development is a profession short of the right people. If you are well trained and have the 5 essential qualities that we will look at closer next, you are almost certain to get a job.

Feeling useful

To challenge yourself and feel a sense of gratitude. To have a sense of purpose. To be responsible in one' s own way for the development of the company and the success of the project. And a good Biz Dev does just that.

Being in contact with other departments

This is a job that gives you the opportunity to be in contact with all the other departments in the company. If you're good, and if you do your job well, you'll have the opportunity to talk to many support teams in the company.

As a result, this will open up a lot of other jobs opportunities and make you conscious of a lot of things.

We encourage Biz Devs to talk to the communication and marketing department to understand how the company's solution is perceived and how this department promotes it. Or, if it is software related, to spend some time with the technical teams to understand how the product is developed.

By doing this, the Business Developer gains in credibility when making the sales pitch.

Personal development

To develop as a person. If you can apply the qualities of a Business Developer and apply them to yourself, it's a job that helps you grow personally. It teaches you not to dwell on everyday failures but to bounce back.

The salary

The salary should not be an aspect to be overlooked, even if it is not the sole source of motivation for everyone! It is taboo in France to talk about one's income, but it is a fact that this profession comes with a very good salary. 

And it is the performance of the individual that will determine the amount of the salary. The fixed salary is not huge, but the variables are very interesting. Of course, it takes a lot of hard work.

What is the salary of a Business Developer ?

The salary of a Business Developer depends on several criteria. Seniority, experience, sector, location...

Salary of a Junior Business Developer

The salary of a junior Business Developer ranges from £25,000 to £35,000 in base salary per year (with a variable / OTE component that can range from £38,000 to £45,000)

At iconoClass, the average salary of a junior iconer after training (after only 4 months) is £41k! With 98% recruitment rate at the end.

Business Development manager: the salary

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary of a Business Development manager is £41,663 gross per year.

For a Senior profile, the Business development manager has an average base salary of £56,096 gross per year.

And the interesting thing is that this profession offers enormous opportunities for development and earn a decent commission rates (OTE) on top of that salary (can be 25-50% of your base salary and more).

What is a typical career path for a Business Developer?

The career path of a Business Developer can unfold in different ways. The position can lead to management or team leadership roles.

Business developer manager

The stages are junior Business Developer, Senior Business Developer and then Head of Sales. This is a great opportunity for future development, as you start to take on new tasks: team management, recruiting new teams, etc.

The Business developer can also become Head of Sales (Commercial Director or Sales Director). But not everyone is attracted to management roles.

Key account manager

Very often, the objective of a Biz Dev is to become a Key Account manager, to manage the biggest clients. The ones that bring in the most money for the company.

But before climbing the ladder, how do you get your foot on the first step? How do you learn this profession?

The training to become a Business Developer

A 4-month intensive training course + a permanent contract at the end

Today, there are several ways to train to become a Business Developer. Why do students choose the iconoClass course?

To begin with, we don't do what everyone else does. We do things in a fun and practical way. There is 80% practical experience and 20% theory. The iconers have classes on Monday. The rest of the week is hands-on practical experience. This is how our students gain work experience.

We get to the heart of the matter. These days, a salesperson needs to know how to make a phone call, manage a sales meeting, know how to express himself and have a good attitude.

Our students are also attracted by the unique vibe.

We are serious without taking ourselves too seriously ;)

The program has been conceived in a very professional way. However, it is taught in a very relaxed manner.

The 4-month duration is neither too short nor too long. We didn't opt for a work-study or internship system, we opted for a short and intense course.

We have a hybrid approach to learning! Study 100% online while having the choice of using our icono-hub in central London or central Paris to be a part of the tribe! Collaborate, network and benefit from our events to enjoy the best of both worlds!

"We help people who wish to retrain to a new profession or who don't have a diploma to to expand their potential and help them become highly employable quickly!"

Our approach to Business Development

If you want to become a good Business Developer, we recommend being open-minded about yourself. This will help you understand others better, especially your potential clients.

The fundamentals of Business Development

Our training course includes all the fundamentals of Business Development.

One of our students' favourite modules is related to negotiation. We organise negotiation games. We encourage students to interact during role- playing that can last several hours, in order to fine-tune negotiation techniques.

Personal development

If you want to become a good Business Developer, we recommend being open-minded about yourself. This will help you understand others better, especially your potential customers.

Included is a course module to which our students always react in the same manner: "it's great that you thought of adding this". The module in question is about personal development. We offer an extensive program in parallel with the sales coaching all about personal development. And it’s extremely popular. 

The HR & Personal Branding

The iconers also get personalised support from our human resources professional. She helps orientate iconers towards the sales profession they want to work in, produces their video CVs, prepares them for interviews...      

But, is it necessary to have a degree to enter this profession?

Is it possible to become a Business Developer without a degree?

Yes, it is possible. That's why Marie Taquet (Forbes 30-under-30) created iconoClass.

Her idea: "to break the tradition of academic elitism".

You don't need a degree to become a Business Developer

The credo of iconoClass: "Only motivation counts!

Oumahani NDIAYE, Sales representative, POS Tribe @Sum Up

We are open to everyone. We give everyone a chance. You just have to pass the selection stages. But we don't care about the degree!

In one of our last graduation years, several students barely had their A-levels. 

Today they are working as Business Developers. And they are very good at it.

The important thing is to focus on the candidate's competencies rather than on their CV and schooling.

OK, but the CV is an important part of getting a job.

Improve your Business Developer CV

Our iconoClass' Sales coaches accompany iconers in writing their Business Developer CVs. Once their training course has ended, the CV is ready for send-out. iconoClass even produces video CVs for their students. Example in image👇🏼

What's more, the school has a network of relationships with many companies who come to recruit students at the end of the course. 98% of our students have been recruited since 2019.

Cover letter for a Business Developer

There is no longer a need to provide cover letters for Business Developers. You will get your chance to express your motivation in the initial email or the application email.

When you reply to an offer, this is where you mention why you are applying. The CV is then attached.

Business developer wanted !

Today, one of the major concerns of companies is to find Business Developers. Because they are a key element in the growth of an activity.

That’s why it is such a sought- after profile. You can become this rare pearl. And the beauty of it is that you don't even need a degree.

You can learn everything you need to know to be the pride of your future company.

The first step consists of a short 5-minute call to apply for the iconoClass training course. 👇🏼



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