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7 min read

Business Development Manager Interview Questions: Key Skills & Tips

Global hiring

Author

Shannon Hodgen

Published

October 18, 2023

Last Update

June 29, 2024

Table of Contents

1. Tell me about your experience in business development.

2. How do you strategize and prioritize your business development efforts?

3. How do you approach building and maintaining relationships with clients?

4. How do you identify and evaluate potential business opportunities?

5. How do you leverage digital marketing strategies in your business development efforts?

6. How do you handle rejection or setbacks in business development?

7. How do you stay updated with industry trends and changes?

8. Can you provide an example of a successful business development project you led?

9. How do you manage and prioritize your business development pipeline?

10. How do you collaborate with internal teams to drive business development initiatives?

11. How do you evaluate the success of your business development initiatives?

12. How do you handle competing priorities and deadlines?

13. How do you handle objections or challenges in the sales process?

14. How do you approach networking and building relationships with potential clients?

15. How do you handle data analysis to inform your business development strategies?

Next steps

Business development managers (BDM) play a crucial role in driving growth and profitability for an organization. They are responsible for identifying and creating new business opportunities, building and maintaining relationships with clients, and developing effective strategies to meet organizational goals. As businesses continue to expand and compete in the global market, the demand for skilled business development managers is expected to grow.

Key facts and data
  • Average salary (pay): The median salary for a mid-level business development manager in the US is $59,787 (USD) per year, according to anonymous salary data provided to Deel.
  • Industry growth: The business development industry is anticipated to experience significant growth in the coming years, with a projected business development specialist job growth rate of 10% by 2028.
  • Typical entry-level education: Most business development manager positions require a bachelor's degree in business administration, marketing, or a related field. However, some companies may consider candidates with relevant experience or an associate degree.
  • Employment change (2022-2032): As organizations strive to expand their markets and increase revenue, the demand for skilled business development managers is expected to remain strong. This growth can be attributed to the need for professionals who can identify and seize new business opportunities.
  • Growth trends: The role of a business development manager is evolving alongside advancements in technology and changes in the global business landscape. The ability to leverage digital marketing strategies, analyze market trends, and adapt to an increasingly competitive market are becoming essential skills for business development managers.

Review these interview questions for business development managers to prepare for the hiring process and identify the strongest candidates. These examples can also be tailored for entry-level business development interview questions (and answers).

1. Tell me about your experience in business development.

Aim: Assess the candidate's overall experience and expertise in business development.

Key skills assessed: Strategic thinking, sales and negotiation, relationship building.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate a track record of identifying and seizing business opportunities, negotiating deals, and fostering strong relationships with clients. They should also highlight their ability to develop and execute effective sales strategies. 

Example answer

“I have over five years of experience in business development, where I successfully identified and developed new business opportunities in the XYZ industry. I have a proven track record of negotiating and closing deals, resulting in a 20% increase in revenue for my previous company. Additionally, I prioritize building long-term relationships with clients, which has led to a 30% increase in client retention."

2. How do you strategize and prioritize your business development efforts?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's ability to develop effective strategies and prioritize tasks.

Key skills assessed: Strategic planning, time management, goal-setting.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to analyze market trends, set measurable goals, and create action plans to achieve those goals. They should also highlight their ability to prioritize tasks based on potential impact and return on investment.

Example answer

"When strategizing my business development efforts, I first analyze market trends and identify potential areas for growth. I then set specific and measurable goals, such as increasing market share by 15% within the next quarter. To prioritize my efforts, I assess the potential impact and return on investment of each opportunity and focus on those with the highest potential for success."

3. How do you approach building and maintaining relationships with clients?

Aim: Assess the candidate's relationship-building skills and customer-centric approach.

Key skills assessed: Communication, relationship building, customer service.

What to look for

Look for candidates who prioritize building strong relationships with clients, understand the importance of effective communication, and have a customer-centric approach. They should also demonstrate their ability to anticipate client needs and provide excellent customer service.

Example answer

"Building and maintaining relationships with clients is a top priority for me. I believe in open and transparent communication, actively listening to clients' needs, and providing tailored solutions. I also make it a point to regularly check in with clients, not only to address any concerns but also to identify new opportunities for collaboration. By consistently providing excellent customer service, I have been able to build long-term partnerships with key clients."

4. How do you identify and evaluate potential business opportunities?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's ability to identify and evaluate potential business opportunities.

Key skills assessed: Market research, analytical skills, business acumen.

What to look for

Look for candidates who demonstrate their ability to conduct thorough market research, analyze industry trends, and evaluate the potential for success. They should also highlight their ability to think creatively and identify opportunities that align with the company's goals and capabilities.

Example answer

"To identify potential business opportunities, I stay informed about industry trends and conduct thorough market research. This allows me to identify gaps in the market or areas where our company can differentiate itself. I also pay attention to competitor analysis and identify areas where we can outperform our competitors. By leveraging my analytical skills and business acumen, I can evaluate the potential for success and determine if an opportunity aligns with our company's goals and capabilities."

5. How do you leverage digital marketing strategies in your business development efforts?

Aim: Assess the candidate's knowledge and experience in leveraging digital marketing strategies.

Key skills assessed: Digital marketing, online lead generation, data analysis.

What to look for

Look for candidates who are familiar with digital marketing platforms and strategies such as SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing. They should be able to demonstrate how they have effectively utilized these strategies to generate leads and drive business growth. Additionally, candidates who can analyze data and make data-driven decisions are highly valuable.

Example answer

"Digital marketing is an essential component of business development. I have experience leveraging SEO strategies to improve our website's visibility and generate organic traffic. I have also used social media marketing and content marketing to engage with potential clients and build brand awareness. By analyzing data and tracking key metrics, such as conversion rates and cost per acquisition, I can make data-driven decisions to optimize our digital marketing efforts and drive business growth."

6. How do you handle rejection or setbacks in business development?

Aim: Assess the candidate's resilience and ability to bounce back from setbacks.

Key skills assessed: Resilience, problem-solving, adaptability.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to handle rejection or challenges with a positive mindset, adapt their approach, and problem-solve. They should also show their willingness to learn from failures and continuously improve.

Example answer

"In business development, rejection and setbacks are common, but I see them as opportunities for growth. When faced with a challenge, I take the time to analyze what went wrong and identify areas for improvement. I then adapt my approach and find alternative solutions to overcome the hurdle. By embracing a positive mindset and continuously learning from failures, I have been able to turn setbacks into valuable learning experiences and achieve even greater success."

Aim: Assess the candidate's commitment to professional growth and staying informed.

Key skills assessed: Industry knowledge, continuous learning, networking.

What to look for

Look for candidates who demonstrate their commitment to staying updated with industry trends through continuous learning, attending industry events, and networking with other professionals. They should also highlight their ability to apply industry knowledge to their business development efforts.

Example answer

"Staying updated with industry trends is crucial for business development professionals. I regularly attend industry conferences and webinars to learn about the latest advancements, consumer behaviors, and market trends. I also network with other professionals in the field and participate in industry forums. By staying informed, I can apply my industry knowledge to identify new business opportunities and adapt our strategies to meet changing market demands."

8. Can you provide an example of a successful business development project you led?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's ability to lead and execute successful business development projects.

Key skills assessed: Leadership, project management, results-oriented.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can provide a specific example of a successful business development project they led. They should highlight their ability to set goals, develop a strategic plan, allocate resources effectively, and achieve measurable results.

Example answer

"In my previous role, I led a business development project that aimed to expand our client base in the healthcare industry. I developed a comprehensive strategy that included identifying key stakeholders, conducting market research, and tailoring our offerings to meet their needs. I also collaborated with our marketing team to develop targeted campaigns and utilized data analytics to track our progress. As a result of this project, we successfully signed contracts with five major healthcare providers, leading to a 40% increase in revenue within six months."

9. How do you manage and prioritize your business development pipeline?

Aim: Assess the candidate's ability to manage multiple opportunities and prioritize effectively.

Key skills assessed: Pipeline management, organization, attention to detail.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to manage a business development pipeline effectively. They should be able to showcase their organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to prioritize opportunities based on potential value and probability of closure.

Example answer

"I manage my business development pipeline by utilizing a CRM system to track and prioritize opportunities. I ensure that each opportunity is properly categorized and assigned a probability of closure based on the stage of the sales process. I regularly review and update the pipeline, focusing on opportunities with the highest potential value and probability of closure. This allows me to allocate my time and resources effectively and maximize my chances of success."

10. How do you collaborate with internal teams to drive business development initiatives?

Aim: Assess the candidate's ability to collaborate and work cross-functionally.

Key skills assessed: Collaboration, communication, relationship building.

What to look for

When selecting interview questions for business development managers, include a few that focus on collaboration and cross-functional work. Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to collaborate effectively with internal teams such as marketing, sales, and product development. They should highlight their communication skills, relationship-building abilities, and their experience in aligning cross-functional efforts to achieve business development goals.

Example answer

“Collaboration with internal teams is key to driving successful business development initiatives. I actively communicate with teams such as marketing, sales, and product development to align our efforts and leverage each team's expertise. By fostering strong relationships, sharing insights, and setting clear objectives, we can work together toward achieving our business development goals. For example, in my previous role, I collaborated with the marketing team to develop targeted campaigns that effectively generated leads and supported our business development efforts."

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11. How do you evaluate the success of your business development initiatives?

Aim: Assess the candidate's ability to measure and evaluate the success of business development initiatives.

Key skills assessed: Data analysis, goal-setting, reporting.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to define key performance indicators (KPIs), track metrics, and use data analysis to evaluate the success of their business development initiatives. They should also highlight their experience in reporting and presenting results to relevant stakeholders.

Example answer

“I define KPIs based on the goals of each initiative, such as revenue generated, new client acquisitions, or market share growth. I track relevant metrics and analyze the data to measure the progress and impact of each initiative. By regularly reporting and presenting these results to stakeholders, we can assess the success of our business development efforts and make data-driven decisions for future strategies."

12. How do you handle competing priorities and deadlines?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's ability to manage competing priorities and work under tight deadlines.

Key skills assessed: Time management, prioritization, adaptability.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage competing priorities and work under pressure. They should showcase their time management skills, ability to prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency, and their adaptability in adjusting their plans as needed.

Example answer

"In a fast-paced business development role, I prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency, ensuring that critical deadlines are met. I am comfortable adjusting my plans as needed and communicating with stakeholders to manage expectations. By staying organized, managing my time effectively, and being adaptable, I can consistently deliver results under tight deadlines."

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13. How do you handle objections or challenges in the sales process?

Aim: Assess the candidate's ability to overcome objections and navigate challenges in the sales process.

Key skills assessed: Problem-solving, sales techniques, resilience.

What to look for

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to navigate objections and challenges in the sales process. They should showcase their problem-solving skills, knowledge of sales techniques, and their resilience in dealing with rejection or setbacks.

Example answer

"Objections and challenges are a natural part of the sales process. When faced with objections, I actively listen to understand the concern and address it effectively. I leverage my knowledge of sales techniques, such as providing additional information or offering alternative solutions, to overcome objections. I am also resilient in the face of rejection and view it as an opportunity to further understand the client's needs and refine my approach. By maintaining a positive attitude, problem-solving mindset, and perseverance, I have been able to overcome challenges and achieve successful sales outcomes."

14. How do you approach networking and building relationships with potential clients?

Aim: Assess the candidate's networking skills and ability to build relationships with potential clients.

Key skills assessed: Networking, relationship building, communication.

What to look for

Look for candidates who demonstrate their networking skills and their ability to build relationships with potential clients. They should showcase their communication skills, active listening abilities, and their ability to understand and address potential clients' needs.

Example answer

"Networking is a key aspect of business development, and I approach it with a genuine focus on building meaningful relationships. I attend industry events, participate in professional organizations, and proactively reach out to potential clients. In my interactions, I prioritize active listening to understand their needs and challenges. By demonstrating how our solutions can address their pain points, I can build trust and strong relationships. Additionally, I believe in maintaining regular communication to nurture these relationships and provide ongoing value."

15. How do you handle data analysis to inform your business development strategies?

Aim: Assess the candidate's ability to leverage data analysis to inform business development strategies.

Key skills assessed: Data analysis, strategic thinking, decision-making.

What to look for 

Look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to analyze data and derive actionable insights. They should highlight their experience in using data to inform their business development strategies, make strategic decisions, and optimize their efforts for better results.

Example answer

“Data analysis is a powerful tool in informing business development strategies. I gather and analyze data from various sources, such as CRM systems, customer feedback, and market research. By identifying trends and patterns, I gain insights into customer preferences, market opportunities, and potential areas for improvement. This allows me to make data-driven decisions, develop targeted strategies, and optimize our efforts for better results. For example, by analyzing customer data, I identified a specific customer segment with untapped potential and developed a tailored marketing campaign that resulted in a 30% increase in conversions."

Next steps

By drafting business development manager interview questions and answers, recruiters can identify clear expectations and benchmarks before they assess candidates.

The BDM interview questions provided in this article were chosen for their ability to help recruiters identify top candidates who can drive growth and profitability for their organization. If you’re looking for business development internship interview questions (or business development trainee interview questions), customize the examples to focus on candidates’ education and knowledge instead of practical experience.

Candidates, on the other hand, can study these interview questions for business development to stand out and demonstrate their abilities in strategic thinking, sales and negotiation, relationship building, market research, digital marketing, resilience, collaboration, data analysis, and more.

Additional resources
  • Job Description Templates: Promote open roles quickly and easily—just customize and post.
  • Get Hired Hub: Where global employers and talent can connect and begin working together.
  • Hiring Top Tech Talent Guide: Learn how to streamline your developer recruitment process with tested practices and expert tips from OfferZen and Deel.

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