Beginning the Career
If you're interested in starting towards these new business development jobs, you should first have a good idea of where you are going to be starting out. Most of the time, you'll work your way up from a position in sales. In the sales department, your job will be basically the same: you'll be trying to secure new business for your employer. The only difference is that you'll be focused on working with potential clients assigned to you by those in management.
Eventually, you'll be able to move up to the position of sales manager, which will give you more control and greater responsibility. In some smaller firms, the sales manager might also be the business development account manager. When firms are larger, you'll need to keep striving for business development director jobs.
Regardless of whether or not you are in the lowest levels of the sales team or you've achieved the highest level of sales management, some aspects of the work environment are going to be the same. For example, you'll probably end up doing quite a bit of traveling. Although the area you may cover will vary depending on the size of your company, you will usually have to travel to surrounding areas by car or by plane to meet with clients and to conduct presentations. Once you reach the level of business development account manager, you'll have more control over which parts of the travel assignments you'll be responsible for. Of course, some accounts will simply be too important to entrust to lower ranked members of the sales team.
At the beginning of your career, you will be working in a shared space with the rest of the sales team. By the time you reach the top of your career in the department, though, you will undoubtedly have your own phone and, possibly, your own secretary. The majority of people involved in sales work more than forty hours a week, and that will be unlikely to change even as you move up the ladder.
Before you can reach the highest points in your career, however, you need to make sure that your qualifications are up to snuff. While a bachelor's degree in sales will get you in the door, you'll need a master's degree if you want to reach the higher levels. Having a background in sales, in business administration, marketing, or a similar field will help you get ready for the career you want.
Clearly, you'll be doing a lot of communicating with important people. That means your verbal and written communication skills need to be highly developed. Otherwise, you could end up not presenting a very professional image. You'll also need to feel comfortable working with computers because most sales teams use database programs to manage their contacts and leads. If you're not confident about how to use a database program, you may have a hard time keeping track of the leads and what next step to take to close a deal.
Another important skill you might want to keep in mind is learning a foreign language. Depending on where the company is based and with whom they do the most business, you could benefit from acquainting yourself with another culture and its language. For example, if your company does a lot of business in Mexico, you might want to learn Spanish as your second language to make communications with potential clients there easier.
Having all of these skills and educational achievements won't guarantee you an immediate upper level sales position. However, they will help you get into the company and will give you a tremendous advantage. Most of the positions in sales are filled through advancement. The good news is that even if you do reach a business development account management position, that might not be the highest point of your success. Many of the highest level executives come from sales departments.
Basics of the Career
The good news is that you're going to have good success at getting into the sales field. The field is expected to grow at a rate of about 12% through 2016. That growth plus an increase in retirements among people already holding those positions will make room for people like yourself who are coming into the industry and are looking to climb to the top.
Once you become a sales manager, you'll be able to bring home a comfortable six-figure salary in most places. However, your specific earnings will be determined by the size of your company, your sales area, and your industry.