What's it Like to Work as a Business Development Officer?

Updated December 2023

There are so many career paths students can pursue after earning a business diploma. Accounting, office administration, marketing, client services, human resources, sales...even starting your own business.

Where does business development fit into the equation?

Business development officers play a key role in helping companies attract new clients, maintain positive relationships with existing customers, and plan new growth strategies.

This role falls somewhere in the middle of marketing and sales—in fact, many business development officers are employed by advertising, market research, and marketing firms.

What exactly does this position entail, and would it be a good fit for you after business college? Let's take a look.


Your responsibilities in an entry-level business development role

If you're hired as an entry-level business development officer, associate, or representative, your main responsibility will be to help bring in new clients. This might include researching new potential markets, reaching out to prospects to pitch products and services, and building a database of new leads and industry partners.

Up front, it's important to know that this position requires strong sales skills. Your everyday duties will include tasks like:

  • Contacting new leads by phone, email, or online marketing channels
  • Doing in-person sales visits
  • Checking in with current clients to ensure they are satisfied, and to update them on new products or services
  • Researching and identifying new target markets
  • Meeting monthly sales targets
  • Helping to create marketing/sales materials (like product pitches and presentations)
  • Responding to questions from potential new customers, and dealing with complaints or problems related to existing clients

Business development officers sometimes have to travel to attend networking events, check in with clients, or make pitches to new prospects.


Skills match: what it takes to succeed in business development

Like all sales-related roles, business development jobs are highly results-oriented and often come with a certain amount of pressure. For example, you'll need to hustle to meet sales targets on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. And you'll need to work hard to keep your client base happy, ensuring all questions or problems are addressed right away.

This is the ideal role for a self-motivated, goal-driven person who loves high-energy work and a good challenge. Other key skills for business development officers include:

  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Superior writing and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent customer service techniques (diplomatic, friendly, great with people, and can adapt their communication style to different audiences and situations)
  • The ability to interpret marketing and sales charts, figures, data, and metrics (comfortable working with numbers and stats)
  • An understanding of digital communications (can conduct online research, is familiar with social media networking)
  • Excellent teamwork skills, but can also work independently
  • Computer skills (Microsoft Office suite, marketing automation software)

Entry-level roles will include training on sales techniques and relevant computer software, so even if you don't have much sales experience, you can still apply to junior positions.

After gaining several years of successful business development experience, you can become eligible for business development manager roles—where you would design and oversee strategy and hire, train, and supervise junior officers.


AVERAGE salary for business development Professionals in canada

The Government of Canada Job Bank says those just starting out in business development after college can expect to earn roughly $46,000. The median salary is approximately $87,000—which may include bonuses or sales commissions.

There is definitely strong earning potential in this business career path, provided you have the right skillset and a strong drive to succeed.


interested in learning about other job options after business training?

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