Top 10 challenges of business development managers

July 25, 2022
Career growth
Top 10 challenges of business development managers

What are the main challenges of business development managers? Here are the top 10 challenges that business development managers face in their work.

Business development managers play a vital role in the success of a business. They work towards creating sustainable and profitable companies through various financial and sales initiatives.

Some of the main responsibilities of a business development manager include researching and planning growth opportunities, lead generation, cold outreach, networking, meeting with clients, and so on.

In short, as a business development pro, you are expected to be able to do many different things. It’s definitely a rewarding job, but it comes with many challenges.

Business development managers don’t have all the answers. But with proper training, organizational skills, and strategies, you can succeed in your job.

We interviewed thousands of business development pros to understand what was the most difficult part of our job. The results are very interesting and you can find part of it below.

Keep on reading to find out the top 10 challenges of business development managers!

  1. Lack of training and structure
  2. Demotivation
  3. Time management
  4. Forming and maintaining relationships
  5. Finding the right leads
  6. Problem-solving
  7. Adaptability to change
  8. Generating new growth opportunities
  9. Meeting targets
  10. Facing rejection

Challenge #1: Lack of training and structure

The first challenge that the majority of business development managers face is the lack of training and structure.

Some companies don’t spend much time providing the right training for business development managers.

What this does is that you don’t really know how to structure your job properly and how to prioritize the many responsibilities you have.

Of course, this has an impact on your performance because, without structure, it’s almost impossible to have consistency in your activities.

If you're looking for training for your business development team, book a call with our team.

We customize entirely the content of the training to make sure it's aligned with your strategic goals.

Challenge #2: Demotivation

Business development managers have to complete a diverse set of tasks on a daily basis. But, sometimes the results simply aren’t there. This can lead you to feel demotivated.

Whenever this happens, remind yourself that business development doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and years to see your plans and strategies come to fruition. So, remember to stay motivated and not lose sight of the end goals.

Focus on the bigger picture of things without losing the meaning and purpose behind your work.


Challenge #3: Time management

As a business development manager, time management is important. Now, I’m not referring only to how you divide the time for each task you have to do during the day. But, to learn to embrace change and keep up with it.

If your strategies worked a couple of months ago, it doesn’t mean they will still prove successful. Your industry is constantly changing, so you have to be aware of what goes on and apply relevant growth strategies in response.

Ensure you stay informed in terms of your competition and how they’re positioned in the market.

So, it’s useful to clearly define your priorities and what to focus on. This will help you spend your time on what works best and manage your time more wisely.

Task prioritization remains a familiar problem for many business development managers. So, it’s important to learn how to manage the time you spend on each task.

If you need some help improving your time management skills, consider joining our 5-week live training.

Soft skills - including time management - are one of the core modules of the training designed to make you a more effective BD Pro.



Challenge #4: Forming and maintaining relationships

Another common challenge for a business development manager is forming relationships with clients and maintaining them.

Good communication skills are vital to achieving your goals. You’ll often have to attend important meetings, so it’s important to know how to establish long-lasting rapport with your clients.

Dress professionally, be polite, ensure you know your company’s products and services in-depth, and be an attentive listener throughout your interactions.

Then, work on nurturing those relationships so that your clients see the value of your business and remain happy with what you provide.

Challenge #5: Finding the right leads

It can be challenging for business development managers to find relevant leads. You may end up contacting hundreds of people a day and not see any positive results in return.

Your cold emails may have a great value proposition, but they may still be irrelevant to the lead you’re reaching out to.

What you can do to avoid this is to filter out the leads that can bring revenue for your business from those that won’t.

Have a look at your current list of leads. Are they still working in the same industry? Are they based in the same location? Or do they still have enough available revenue to continue buying from your business?

Spend time contacting leads that can bring results for your business. And avoid those that won’t help you move your business forward.



Challenge #6: Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills are a must-have for a business development manager to succeed in their role. Growing a business isn’t a process of witnessing only positive outcomes from the work that you do.

From time to time, there’ll be crises you have to manage and problems you need to fix.

Being able to work well under pressure and transform problems into opportunities can set you apart and make you a successful business development pro.

Challenge #7: Adaptability to change

Success in business development doesn’t happen if you follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Because every business works differently, and each one of us has different strengths and weaknesses.

Moreover, all your stakeholders have their own likes and dislikes. It’s important to adapt your approach in order to maximize your chances of success.

Last, things in business development change very quickly. It’s important you stay agile and able to tackle every circumstance.

Challenge #8: Generating new growth opportunities

As a BD Pro, you are responsible to find new growth opportunities and this is just one of the many challenges of business development managers.

It’s difficult to define what makes an opportunity and it’s even more complicated to create your own. Especially if you’re just starting or don’t have proper guidance in your work.

In order to be able to spot opportunities, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s happening in your ecosystem.

It can be beneficial to look at past success stories and identify what made that opportunity possible.

For the rest, you just need to be patient because most of us learn with experience.

Challenge #9: Meeting targets

One of the main challenges of business development managers is not achieving targets.

Sometimes this happens because our companies set unrealistic goals. At other times, it’s because we don’t put enough effort into our activities.

Most often though, this happens because we lack persistence. We face a lot of rejection and this can demotivate us; pushing us to quit when we don’t see the desired outcome.

It’s important to review your targets on a monthly or even weekly basis to make sure they’re still relevant.

If not, adjust them accordingly or review your strategies to accomplish them.

Challenge #10: Facing rejection

Another main challenge a business development manager faces is rejection. Especially if you’re new to business development, you might face rejection very often.

But, don’t let that stop you from prospecting.

Business development is never a linear process. There will be No’s and Yes’ from time to time.

However, instead of feeling down about it, try to come up with solutions and strive to improve your approach to prospects.

Rejection is part of a business development career. So, you should always use failure to learn and grow from it.

Want to achieve success as a business development manager and minimize your problems?

Join our business development course and take your career to the next level!

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