Business Development versus Sales

Business Development versus Sales

A lot of people ask me about the difference between business development and sales. Are they the same position? Are they separate roles? In theory, business development and sales are interrelated, but fundamentally different. In reality, business development (or “biz dev”) can mean whatever a company or hiring manager defines it to mean. Why the confusion? There is a growing trend to use business development versus sales in the titles of direct sellers to make them less intimidating to customers. Effective? I will let you decide. IMHO customers are smart. A business development title combined with sales activity is still a seller in the customer’s mind. I would rather establish clarity of responsibility and accountability between the two functions.

Business development is focused on building relationships and opening doors for companies to create opportunities and generate revenue over the long-term (e.g., channel partnerships, strategic alliances, etc.). Business development most often does not carry a quota and is measured by strategic objectives (e.g., reseller agreements signed). In contrast, sales is tactically focused on closing revenue in the current month/quarter. Sales carries a revenue quota and is measured against the attainment of same. Enterprise software provides an example of how the two functions interrelate. Sales close deals with customers and business development create partnerships with consulting firms for implementation. While there are exceptions, below is a summary of the key distinctions. Hope this helps.

Business Development versus Sales

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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16 Responses to Business Development versus Sales

  1. Jay Armond says:

    This is a great and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you shared it.

    Like

  2. Yael Boscarino says:

    Excellent article. I have been thinking about the differences between these two functions lately.

    Like

  3. Clemente Andrion says:

    Helpful read.

    Like

  4. Kellie Lasasso says:

    Great post, exactly what I needed.|

    Like

  5. Norma Rushanan says:

    Great contrast between BD and sales, thanks for sharing.

    Like

  6. Velda Vieths says:

    You really made it so easy to understand the difference between business development and sales. I am looking forward for your next post.

    Like

  7. Willy Zehe says:

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    Like

  8. Keesha Berndsen says:

    Awesome site, good job!

    Like

  9. Cameron Stevenson says:

    I am enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Like

  10. Bill Anders says:

    I really like your blog … very nice.

    Like

  11. Rodney Bowline says:

    WONDERFUL post, thanks for share!

    Like

  12. Jason Song says:

    Wow, this is what I was looking for, great piece!

    Like

  13. David Reiner says:

    Thanks for writing this post. It was helpful, as I have been trying to understand the distinction between business development and sales. I understand it better now.

    Like

  14. Steffanie Fala says:

    Awesome post. So helpful!

    Like

  15. Blanche Bastyan says:

    Good job explaining the difference between business development and sales! I quite like the blog. You should do a bit more in promoting of it – there is some great stuff posted.

    Like

  16. Leonard Detienne says:

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    Like

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