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Sales & marketing

Business development manager

Business development managers build relationships with customers, suppliers and partners. They help businesses grow and improve.

Annual Salary

£26,000 to £64,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings; attending events or appointments

4%
Future employment

There will be 4% more Business development manager jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • research organisations to find new customers
  • 'cold call' to arrange meetings at customers' premises
  • find out what an organisation needs and plan proposals and pricing
  • sell products and services to new and existing customers
  • negotiate with customers and build positive relationships
  • attend events and conferences
  • write reports and make presentations to customers and senior management
  • identify new methods and opportunities for sales campaigns
  • forecast sales targets and make sure they're met
  • run training for business developers and junior sales teams

Working environment

You could work at a client's business or in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • a graduate training scheme
University

You can get into this career by doing a degree. Most degree subjects are acceptable though relevant subjects include:

  • business management
  • business development
  • accountancy
  • economics
  • international relations

Employers will also usually want you to have experience in sales, marketing or business management. Work experience, internships or year in industry placements can help you gain commercial skills.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could study a college course in sales or business. If you've started work in a junior role, you could think about taking qualifications like:

  • Level 3 Award in Business Development Skills
  • Level 3 Certificate in Sales and Account Management

Entry requirements
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can gain useful skills and work towards this role through apprenticeships like:

  • business to business sales professional degree apprenticeship
  • retail leadership degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could work your way up from a sales or marketing role by taking further training on the job.

Direct application

You could apply directly to become a business development manager, as there are no formal entry requirements. Employers may ask for:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and IT
  • sales, marketing or business management experience
  • a degree in any subject

Other routes

Graduate training schemes are offered by some companies and organisations. You'll need a degree or postgraduate qualification to apply.

More information

Career tips

In some jobs you'll have to travel overseas to meet customers, so it may be helpful to speak a second language.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the The Managing & Marketing Sales Association, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

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Your career path will depend on the sector that you work in.

With experience, you could progress to roles like senior development manager, business development executive or marketing director.

You could specialise in business development within a specific sector like manufacturing or healthcare.

You could also use your skills in sales, marketing and project management to move into other roles, for example as a business analyst.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to sell products and services
  • business management skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • persuading skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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