Sales Skills That Every Business Development Pro Needs

BY Kathy Crosett
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There’s nothing like hiring a very connected business development professional who can help your sales take off. If you are seeking a hunter, you know you need an individual who isn’t afraid to go after new clients. You might also want a BDR who shares the work practices of other successful members on your team.

For example, you’re probably measuring your BDRs on their weekly activity such as writing emails and making calls. Increasingly, social media skills play a key part of the business development process, and some of your best BDRs know how to work connections through that channel. Individually, every BDR should be organized enough to maintain a book of business. And your BDRs must also be team players, especially in terms of working with your marketing people.

Sales Skills

Your sales skills assessment results may highlight a few candidates who look promising for the role. Specifically, your BDR candidates should be able to quickly assess a prospect and a situation to determine the likelihood of a deal happening now or in the near future. Reps who can sense that a prospect isn’t close to acting on purchasing a solution for another two or three years save sales organizations time and money.

Few people are born to excel in the role of BDR, but don’t get disheartened by that detail. You’ll be able to train the right individuals to lead the new business charge for your organization. To find these candidates, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the results of the psychometric assessments they take during the recruiting process. A candidate who has the right stuff will typically score higher than average on work traits such as coachability and collaboration and positivity.

Work Traits

Above all else, when you hire a person who will need additional skill development to succeed in a sales role, coachability is a critical factor. A rep who will accept guidance and suggestions from you can develop from a mediocre business development pro to a valuable asset.

There is also no substitute for curiosity as a work trait when it comes to optimizing output. Yet sales managers rank curiosity dead last (25%) in terms of 15 characteristics they’d like their reps to possess. Of course, they want a problem-​solver (68%) and a confident person (66%). However, the curious sales rep will likely succeed in a business development role. Asking questions, thinking about the prospect’s business situation, and imagining how your solution can improve outcomes for the prospect are key behaviors that eventually generate new revenue.

Good business development reps also possess a healthy amount of altruism. They genuinely want to help other people. A good BDR doesn’t lean too much toward completely surrendering to what a prospect wants. Otherwise, your profit margin will suffer. And they don’t hold back in a distrusting or suspicious style. That behavior will put off prospects.

Skills That Every Business Development Pro Needs

Sales organizations typically depend on both hunters and farmers to manage growth. While your farmers keep your current clients satisfied, your hunters seek out new prospects. When your business development pros have the right sales skills, motivations and work behavior, you’ll have no trouble reaching your goals.