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Working in business development, you connect your company’s products and services to its customers
A sales, or business development as it is often referred to, job could be for you if you have stand-out communication skills, are business-minded and have a drive to succeed. Ultimately, as a business development professional your goal is to grow your company’s sales. Your ability to form meaningful relationships with customers and clients, suppliers and other stakeholders will be key to your success.
Working in business development, your role will fall into one of two categories: business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. Outside of this categorisation, you could find yourself working in a myriad of businesses: from pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, to publishing and media companies, or a technology firm.
You will need to have the following skills to be successful in a sales role:
Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
A proactive attitude that leads you to constantly take the initiative
An ability to achieve set sales targets
Refined influencing and negotiation skills
A resilient personality
Capacity to work flexibility with others to achieve common goals
A commercial sensibility and appreciation for what is required to close a sale
An ability to digest complex information and communicate it to others clearly
Your ultimate goal in business development is to grow your company’s sales.
More specifically, your responsibilities will include:
New business development - you will work to identify new areas of growth, including in adjacent markets and products or services, as well as improving the profitability of your existing markets
Account management - you will effectively manage your relationships with your customers to maximise revenue and profitability
Relationship building - you will engage your customers to understand their objectives and how your offerings can meet their needs
Sales strategy - you will work to develop a deep understanding of the markets in which you work, your existing and prospective customers and competitors, and the trends affecting each in order to develop effective sales strategies
You will also collaborate with your colleagues as required to enable you to refine sales processes, techniques and approaches.
When you start out in sales, you can expect to start on a salary of around AUD$50,000.
As you progress your business development career, you can expect to earn up to AUD$90,000 in subsequent years. If you move into a management position, you can expect your salary to be between AUD$100,000 and AUD$125,000 or more.
In addition to the above, it is common for you to also earn bonuses. The structure, amount and payment of bonuses to sales people varies between companies. You may also receive other benefits, such a car allowance. As always, it’s important that you understand the structure of your remuneration when discussing any potential job.
Note, this salary information is intended as a guide only.
Patterns of work
Your work week will typically follow a “normal” 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday cadence. You may, however, find yourself frequently travelling to clients and customers, so flexibility is required. Moreover, you could be required to attend conferences or other industry events, which may not fall within the usual work week.
Working in sales requires a genuine interest in the market within which you’re selling. If you choose to explore a career in a health-oriented market, for example health communication or medical publishing, or the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, you’ll need to be able to understand scientific concepts.
As an experienced sales professional with the healthcare industry, you’ll have demonstrable superior customer service skills that have enabled you to effectively engaged health professionals. Similarly, you’ll be able to point to how you have met sales objectives within the regulated health and pharmaceutical industries.
The training and development you’ll receive as a health-focussed sales representative is generally extensive. You’ll be exposed to training on sales techniques, disease states, and in-depth product and service knowledge. Constant innovation, scientific breakthroughs and a changing regulatory environment combine to present you with constantly evolving learning opportunities.
As a business development representative in the health industry, your clients will depend on the company you work for. That said, you can expect your customers to be a mix of pharmaceutical and medical device companies, medical and allied health practices, healthcare professionals, not for profit and non-government organisations, and allied industry bodies.