10 Business Development Examples

February 22, 2024
10 Business Development Examples

Business development examples to show you different applications of business development. All the examples are based on real-life cases.

Business development is challenging and one of the reasons why is that there isn't just one way to do it. Every company does it differently and often you don't get a playbook that helps you in your day-to-day job.

That's exactly what happened to me. After working in business development for over 9 years, I was suddenly stuck when I was working for a SaaS company back in 2018.  

Everything I did didn't seem to work and get results. That's when I started looking for a way to get trained or learn how to do business development. I was unsuccessful and couldn't find any relevant resources. At that point, I decided to create it myself and that's why I started The BD School.

The first thing we did was surveying and interviewing hundreds of business development professionals. We wanted to understand what were the challenges and what was the general understanding of business development.

It turns out people had very different challenges, very different ways of working, and very different goals. So much so, that we identified as many as 101 different definitions of business development.

Our first challenge was to create a definition of business development.

New Definition of Business Development

Business development is a function within a company designed to find new business opportunities. More specifically the definition of business development is:

Business development is the strategic identification, analysis, and resolution of challenges within a company, aimed at creating sustainable and profitable growth opportunities.

As business developers your role is to uncover opportunities by proactively seeking and resolving issues and organizational problems, leading to innovative solutions that generate long-term value. Depending on the scope of your role in your specific company you might be looking at issues in your funnel for example, not having enough leads or conversions.

Or you might be looking at uncovering new customer needs and developing new value propositions to solve them. You might also be responsible for testing new markets and/or developing new products or services.

Depending on the size of the company different roles can take care of business development. For example, in small companies or startups typically the founder is also the business development manager. While in bigger companies there might be a specific department responsible for business development activities.

These 10 practical business development examples will give you ideas to enhance your career and become a valuable asset to your company.

10 Business Development Examples

Business development can take many different forms. The reason is that growth opportunities are hidden everywhere both inside and outside your company. Therefore you need to train your problem-solving skills. So you can look for areas of improvement or trends to leverage to generate long-term value.

But let's look at some practical business development examples. All the examples are real-life cases based on some of our students and personal experience.

Strategic Business Development

In business development examples, strategic business development is a must. Strategic Business Development is the process that helps you understand your ecosystem and find your place in the marketplace. The strategic business development process involves comprehensive market research, competitor analysis, and customer research.

Following this, you scrutinize your business, pinpointing areas for improvement and craft your business development roadmap for success. This plan might involve expanding your customer base, refining your products, or establishing partnerships with other companies.

Strategic business development in practice

Quirine is the former co-founder of the Dutch startup Dearly. She faced a pivotal challenge in securing capital during the early stages of her business in 2019. Enrolling in our business development course proved instrumental in overcoming this hurdle. The course began by assisting Quirine in constructing a robust business development plan. Delving into ecosystem analysis, market research, competitor assessment, and crafting value propositions. With the foundational groundwork laid, we shifted focus to formulate a comprehensive go-to-market strategy.

Quirine's role involved pinpointing effective channels to engage her audience and conducting experiments to validate her assumptions. Since Dearly is a consumer app, we identified PR as a vital channel. Quirine successfully secured features in local and national newspapers, as well as participating as a speaker at various events.

On top of that,  we worked on specific skills crucial for success. These included creative thinking, active listening, negotiation, problem-solving, and communication. These skills were not only pivotal in capturing the attention of potential investors but, more significantly, in attracting the right audience for her app. Through strategic planning and skill development, Quirine was able to fortify her startup's foundation and pave the way for securing essential funding.

Positioning your company

Another business development example is about the common challenge of repositioning a company. Repositioning involves giving your company a new and distinct identity in the eyes of your target audience. It's about creating a unique image and standing out from competitors.

Several reasons might lead you to consider repositioning:

  • You might want to work with different types of clients.
  • The market could be changing, requiring you to adapt.
  • New competitors may have entered the scene, and you want to differentiate yourself.
  • Your current setup might not be generating the revenue you need.

This process can be complex, with various challenges. For example, you have to overcome existing perceptions and associations that customers and stakeholders may have with your previous positioning. Shifting these established perceptions requires effective communication, strategic messaging, and consistent branding efforts. In this way, you can successfully convey the new positioning and value proposition.

Additionally, companies may face resistance from loyal customers who were attached to the previous brand image. This makes it even more crucial to navigate these transitions delicately to maintain customer loyalty while attracting new audiences.

Positioning in practice

Baptiste is a Project Manager at Sig_mund a software development company based in Canada. He transformed into a business developer to shift the company's focus from private enterprises to purpose-driven causes. The first step in our training involved analyzing industry trends and aligning the company's values with a new proposition for purpose-driven clients.

During the training, we emphasized networking and content creation to attract the right clientele. Today, the company exclusively operates with purpose-driven clients, showcasing a successful transformation through a comprehensive overhaul of its brand and value proposition.

Do you face a similar challenge in your company? Get in touch with our team and let's find the best training solution for you
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Strategic partnerships

Among business development examples we find strategic partnerships. Strategic partnerships involve teaming up with other businesses to achieve common goals and expand your reach. This process begins with identifying potential partners who complement your strengths and fill in your weaknesses. The goal is to create a collaboration that's more potent than what either company could achieve alone.

To start the partnership journey, you'll need to conduct thorough research on your potential allies, understanding their values, capabilities, and market presence. Your goal is to design a roadmap together, aligning your paths for mutual success.

There are many benefits to strategic partnerships – from sharing resources and knowledge to accessing new markets. These collaborations can open new doors for growth, innovation, and resilience.

Strategic partnerships in practice

CodeYourFuture (CYF) is one of our UK-based clients. They are a non-profit company aiming to empower individuals from deprived backgrounds by training them as web developers. They encountered some challenges in building partnerships with companies that could hire their trainees. Initially, CYF faced a misalignment in communicating its value during partner calls and that was preventing them from having good results.

To resolve this, the business development strategy focused on reshaping partnership calls. The emphasis was on soft skills, including questioning techniques and needs analysis, to foster a deeper understanding of partner expectations. This approach transformed CYF's communication style. We went from one-sided presentations to interactive and tailored conversations that aligned their offerings with partner companies' specific needs.

This strategic shift not only enhanced partner engagement. But it also fostered a more mutually beneficial understanding of CYF's value in the tech industry.

Check out The BD School course on Strategic Partnerships


Another exciting avenue in business development is internationalization, where your company spreads its wings and ventures into global markets. Picture your business as a local chef with a unique dish that everyone loves. The next logical step is to share that delicious recipe with people around the world.

Internationalization involves expanding your business beyond its home borders, tapping into new markets, and connecting with a diverse range of customers.

To embark on this journey, the first step is to conduct thorough market research in the target countries. Understanding cultural nuances, regulations, and local preferences becomes crucial to adapting your product or service for success in these new markets.

The business development strategy for internationalization doesn't just stop at reaching new customers. It also involves building partnerships with local businesses, distributors, or suppliers. This collaborative approach not only enhances your market presence but also fosters a deeper understanding of the diverse landscapes you enter.

Internationalization in practice

Babbel, a B2B language learning solutions provider, faced a challenge in expanding into the Italian market. Their usual approach needed adjustment to fit the local scene. Turning to The BD School for help, the focus was on crafting a tailored strategy for their B2B expansion.

The challenge centered on creating a strategy that resonated with the Italian audience. The BD School guided Babbel in identifying local channels and developing a customized plan. This involved moving beyond traditional cold emails and exploring diverse outreach methods better aligned with local preferences.

Applying business development principles, Babbel's team embraced a tailored approach, navigating local nuances and refining their outreach strategy. Diversifying channels beyond cold emails significantly boosted lead generation.

Product development

Other business development examples revolve around product development. This involves adapting and enhancing your offerings to meet your customers' changing needs. Think of your product like a tool; sometimes, it needs adjustments to stay useful. Product development means improving what you already have or creating something entirely new to stay competitive.

It starts by understanding your customers' needs and preferences. Through market research, customer feedback, and staying updated on industry trends, you can find opportunities for improvement or innovation.

The business development strategy for product development isn't just about creating something new. It's also about effectively bringing it to the market. This involves careful planning, marketing, and communication to ensure customers not only know about the improvements but are also excited to try them.

Product development in practice

One of our students, while working for a SaaS company, took the lead in innovating a new product to address customer challenges. During a call with a prospect, she learned that it would be impossible for the lead to become a customer. Switching to her software had a very high cost because there wasn't a way to automatically integrate data from their current software and that was a deal breaker.

The primary challenge was simplifying and automating this integration process to improve customer adoption.

The business development strategy began with extensive customer research. The BD School empowered her to collaborate with the product team, translating customer needs into actionable features for a seamless integration process.

Applying business development principles, she successfully advocated for product enhancements, aligning customer needs with the development process. This collaboration showcased how business development, internally applied, bridges the gap between customer expectations and product development. This can help you deliver a tailored solution that boosts customer satisfaction and product adoption.

Service development

Another example of business development is new service development. New service development involves identifying gaps in the market, understanding customer needs, and crafting services that offer unique solutions.

To begin this journey, thorough market research is essential. By gathering customer feedback and staying attuned to industry trends, you can pinpoint opportunities for service innovation. The business development strategy for new service development also involves effective communication, marketing, and positioning in the market.

Business development ensures that the innovative service is not only well-crafted but also effectively introduced to the market. This involves strategic planning, clear communication of the service's benefits, and targeted marketing to create awareness and generate excitement among potential customers.

In essence, in the context of new service development, business development is the catalyst that turns ideas into market-ready offerings, making your business a chef dishing out new and exciting services that cater to the dynamic tastes of your customers.

Service development in practice

One of our students, Silvia works for a tech marketplace that helps landlords find potential tenants. In discussions with clients, she noticed that many of her clients were spending a lot of time manually checking every tenant. Silvia spotted an opportunity and envisioned a service to improve efficiency, making it easier for landlords to find their perfect tenant.

She created a new service where her colleagues in customer service would take care of matching landlords to the right tenants. This new service became a win-win solution enabling her clients to save time and money on manual tasks. Moreover, it opened a profitable revenue stream for her own company which is now able to provide the very same service to all their clients.

Is your business stagnant and needs a strategy revamp? Check out our business development certification program

Sales development

Sales development is a crucial aspect of business development, focusing on the strategic expansion and management of customer relationships to drive revenue growth. It involves identifying potential leads, understanding their needs, and guiding them through the sales process.

To begin, comprehensive market research is essential to grasp customer preferences, industry trends, and potential opportunities for sales growth. The business development strategy for sales development goes beyond acquiring new customers; it emphasizes building and nurturing long-term relationships through effective communication, personalized engagement, and addressing customer needs.

In essence, sales development in business development is about systematically growing and maintaining customer connections to achieve sustained revenue growth and business success.

Sales development in practice

Anna, a Business Development Manager at a software company and a student of The BD School, faced a challenge in meeting sales quotas for one of her products. The existing cold outreach strategy wasn't delivering the desired results, prompting the need for a strategic shift.

The BD School's approach focused on enhancing Anna's sales development skills, emphasizing soft skills like communication and mindset, and incorporating alternative channels such as social selling. The training aimed to equip Anna with a more dynamic and strategic approach to engaging potential clients.

Applying business development principles, Anna adapted her cold outreach strategy based on the training received. The enhanced soft skills and strategic mindset allowed her to communicate more effectively, and the incorporation of social selling provided a more comprehensive approach. This strategic shift not only improved outreach efficiency but also contributed to more impactful engagements with potential clients.

Customer relationship management

Among relevant business development examples, we find customer relationship management (CRM). It involves understanding the unique needs of each customer, identifying areas for improvement or additional offerings, and cultivating these relationships to unlock new avenues for collaboration.

The business development strategy for CRM extends beyond maintaining existing relationships; it actively seeks to uncover latent opportunities within the current customer base. This involves personalized communication, addressing evolving customer needs, and staying attuned to industry trends to proactively suggest solutions that align with the customer's evolving requirements.

Customer relationship management in practice

Our client Trendwatching grappled with the challenge of transforming isolated service transactions into ongoing, revenue-generating relationships within a large customer base. Seeking a solution, they engaged The BD School to design a targeted business development strategy.

The primary hurdle was generating more value within existing accounts, leading to a focus on upskilling the Trendwatching team. The BD School's training refined the team's soft skills, emphasizing storytelling, questioning techniques, and needs analysis. This strategic emphasis aimed to empower the team to navigate client relationships adeptly, uncover latent needs, and craft compelling narratives.

The application of business development principles, centered on effective communication and client-centric approaches, proved instrumental. Consequently, the team successfully identified new opportunities within their customer base, transitioning from one-time transactions to sustained, revenue-generating partnerships. Business development can have a transformative impact in optimizing customer relationships and unlocking untapped potential within an existing client base.


Another business development example is innovation which allows companies to evolve and stay competitive in the marketplace. Innovation involves identifying gaps in the market, anticipating customer needs, and crafting solutions that set your business apart.

To embark on this innovation journey, you have to perform market research, gather customer feedback, study industry trends, and foster a culture of creativity. In this way, you can pinpoint opportunities for groundbreaking ideas and advancements.

The business development strategy for innovation extends beyond ideation. It includes strategic planning, effective implementation, marketing, and communication to ensure that your innovative ideas not only address current challenges but also resonate with your target audience.

Innovation in practice

Our client Saint-Gobain, sought a more streamlined and innovative business development approach. The primary challenge was the absence of a streamlined approach to business development that was hindering the integration of innovative strategies. Seeking to cultivate a more innovative mindset, Saint-Gobain embraced a comprehensive training program. We equipped the team with tools and approaches to foster creativity and strategic thinking.

The business development strategy involved a shift towards innovation. We focused on cultivating an open mindset to novel channels for a dynamic approach to revenue generation. Saint-Gobain applied business development principles by reshaping the team's mindset and integrating innovative tools. This strategic change aimed not only at immediate revenue growth but also at establishing sustainable processes adaptable to evolving market dynamics.


One of the last business development examples rotates around marketing. Marketing plays a pivotal role in shaping the narrative and visibility of your company. It involves understanding your target market, identifying unique selling propositions, and strategically positioning your offerings.

The business development strategy for marketing goes beyond traditional advertising; it encompasses building a brand narrative, creating engaging content, and fostering a connection with your audience. Marketing in business development is the art of storytelling. It requires a deep understanding of your audience, strategic planning, and creative communication to position your business as a compelling and memorable presence in the market.

Marketing in practice

In 2018, while working for a recruitment software SaaS company, I encountered challenges with traditional cold outreach methods for lead generation via email and LinkedIn. Recognizing the rising prominence of webinars, I proposed this innovative approach to the Head of Growth, overcoming initial resistance.

The existing cold outreach strategy was underperforming, necessitating a contemporary solution. My championing of webinars as a lead generation tool, backed by collaborative planning and execution, demonstrated the strategic application of business development. This shift showcased effective cross-functional teamwork and marked a substantial improvement in lead generation, with the webinar attracting 300 signups.

The initiative's success, exceeding expectations and directly converting one lead, emphasized the potential of webinars as a powerful tool within our business development strategy. This accomplishment prompted a shift towards more contemporary methods, showcasing the dynamic nature of business development in adapting to evolving trends.

Shape your approach with these business development examples

These 10 business development examples show how businesses can grow and overcome challenges. Whether it's changing how people see your company, using webinars to connect, or bringing innovation to established industries, business development is the key to growing your business.

By keeping up with what's happening in the market and finding new and smart solutions, you can learn from these examples to do well and keep growing.

If you're ready to take your business development career to the next level, join our business development course.

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