I find many people who think that business development, sales and marketing are all the same. There are key differences between these three functions:

In sales the goal is customer acquisition, like fishing: sometimes the fish catches the hook and you can bring it to the boat and sometimes – you miss, and then start again.

In business development, it’s about exponential revenue growth and building partnerships. Can you use a bigger boat and/or maybe a fishnet to catch more fish? Can you fish in another place, in order to have access to more fish? Are you working with the right professionals?

Sales and business development professionals have also different skill sets.

The typical salesperson is an opportunity seeker and is persistent in pursuing the goal. They need a clear path to victory.

Business development people build relationships and they are more suited to strategic thinking. They know how to create value propositions and realize that it takes time to build long-term mutually beneficial relationships.

As opposed to sales who work to reach specific tasks, business development focuses on the long game. They’re thinking about where the company is heading up the next several years and build the whole path which will bring the company a sustainable growth. Business development focuses on the processes which will grow revenue opportunities.

Marketing comes to complement the task of both sales and business development. The role of marketing is to identify target audience, consumers who need the product or service that the company offers. Strategic marketing decides how to communicate with the prospects and build marketing plans designed to lead to the consumer buying the product or service.

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