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11 Tips to hire business development executives

Business development executives are top-level contributors to the company that seeks to secure new business from potential clients. They are responsible for identifying new business opportunities, building and maintaining client relationships, and negotiating and closing deals.

Hiring the right business development executive can be a game-changer for your company. Today’s article will discuss 11 tips to help you find the right business development executives

Who are business development executives?

Business development executives are professionals who work in the field of business development. Their role is to identify new business opportunities, build and maintain client relationships, and drive company growth. 

Business development executives' definition]

They’re responsible for researching and analyzing market trends, creating business expansion strategies, negotiating contracts, and collaborating with various departments within the organization to achieve sales targets and objectives. 

Business development executives often play a crucial role in developing and implementing business expansion plans and fostering long-term partnerships with key stakeholders.

Key roles of business development executive

A great and suitable business development manager can be a game-changer for a business. To find and hire the right candidate for this job position, the first and foremost thing that needs to be considered is to fully understand the key roles of business development specialists.

The key roles of a business development executive typically include:

  • Opportunities identification: Business development managers are responsible for identifying new business opportunities and potential markets for the company. They conduct market research, analyze industry trends, and identify areas where the company can expand and grow.
  • Generation leads: They are crucial in generating leads and acquiring new customers. This involves prospecting, networking, attending industry events, and leveraging various channels to identify and pursue potential clients.
  • Relationships building: Business development specialists build and nurture relationships with clients, partners, and stakeholders. They communicate effectively, establish rapport, and maintain long-term relationships to drive business growth and ensure client satisfaction.
  • Negotiation and Deal Closure: They lead negotiations and close deals with clients and partners. This includes negotiating contracts, pricing, and terms and ensuring mutually beneficial agreements that align with the company’s objectives.
  • Internal Teams Collaboration: Business managers work closely with cross-functional teams such as sales, marketing, and product development. They collaborate to align strategies, leverage internal resources, and ensure seamless execution of business development initiatives.
  • Strategy Development: They contribute to developing and implementing strategic plans to achieve business objectives. This involves analyzing market trends, competitive landscape, and customer needs to formulate effective strategies for business growth.
  • Market Expansion: Business specialists drive expansion efforts by exploring new geographies, launching new products or services, or targeting untapped customer segments. They assess market potential, develop market entry strategies, and execute plans for successful market expansion.
  • Relationship Management: They maintain ongoing relationships with key clients and partners, ensuring customer retention and fostering loyalty. They proactively address client needs, provide excellent customer service, and seek opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
  • Industry Networking: Business development executives actively participate in industry events, conferences, and networking activities to stay updated on industry trends, build connections, and identify potential business opportunities.
  • Performance Tracking and Reporting: They track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs), prepare reports, and present findings to management. They assess the effectiveness of business development strategies, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven recommendations for business growth.

These roles may vary depending on the specific industry, company size, and organizational structure.

 11 Tips to hire the right business development executive

Finding the right business development executive can be a daunting task. However, you can find the perfect candidate for your company with the right guidance and approach. 

Here are 11 tips to help you hire the right business development executive for your company:

1. Clearly define the role

A well-defined role ensures that both the hiring company and the potential candidate clearly understand the responsibilities, objectives, and expectations associated with the position. This alignment helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures the candidate’s skills, experience, and aspirations align with the role.

By clearly defining the role, the hiring company can develop specific criteria and qualifications for evaluating candidates. This enables a more efficient screening process, as recruiters can focus on candidates with the necessary skills, experience, and competencies for the role.

When the role is clearly defined, it becomes easier to communicate the job requirements and attract candidates with the desired qualifications and experience. A well-crafted job description that accurately reflects the role’s responsibilities and expectations will attract candidates who are genuinely interested in and qualified for the position.

2. Identify key competencies

Hiring managers can effectively evaluate candidates based on specific skills, knowledge, and attributes by identifying key competencies required for the role. This allows for a more targeted assessment, ensuring that candidates possess the essential capabilities to succeed in the business development role.

Additionally, key competencies are a guideline for matching candidates’ qualifications with the job requirements. Hiring managers can use these competencies to assess candidates’ experience, expertise, and abilities, ensuring a strong alignment between the candidate’s skill set and the demands of the business development executive role.

When hiring candidates with the key competencies required for the business development executive role, the likelihood of their success and effectiveness in the position increases. Competencies such as strong communication skills, strategic thinking, relationship-building, and negotiation abilities are essential for driving business growth and achieving sales targets.

 3. Review resumes and applications

Resumes and applications provide an initial snapshot of a candidate’s qualifications, experience, and skills. Reviewing these documents allows hiring managers to conduct an initial screening and narrow down the pool of applicants to those who meet the basic requirements of the business development executive role.

Reviewing work history and employment details in resumes and applications allows hiring managers to understand a candidate’s career progression, industry exposure, and level of responsibility in previous roles. This information provides insights into a candidate’s experience in sales, client management, business expansion, and other relevant areas.

Moreover, resumes and applications provide a basis for comparing and evaluating candidates against the job requirements and desired qualifications. This information is a valuable resource for decision-making during the candidate selection process.

 4. Conduct interviews

Interviews provide an opportunity to assess a candidate’s communication skills, including verbal articulation, listening abilities, and the ability to convey ideas and information effectively. Strong communication skills are vital for business development executives who need to interact with clients, negotiate deals, and build relationships.

It allows hiring managers to evaluate a candidate’s interpersonal skills, such as relationship-building, networking, and collaboration. Business development executives need to establish and maintain relationships with clients, partners, and internal teams, making interpersonal skills crucial for success.

Additionally, conducting Interviews can allow candidates to elaborate on their experience, accomplishments, and key projects mentioned in their resumes. This allows hiring managers to better understand a candidate’s past performance, their impact in previous roles, and their relevance to the business development executive position.

 5. Assess business development skills

Assessing business development skills helps ensure that candidates have the necessary competencies and expertise to excel in the role. This includes skills such as lead generation, sales strategy development, relationship-building, negotiation, market analysis, and client management. Assessing these skills ensures that candidates possess the specific capabilities needed to drive business growth and achieve sales targets.

Business development skills directly impact an executive’s ability to perform effectively. By evaluating these skills, hiring managers can assess a candidate’s track record of achieving results in previous business development roles. This provides insights into their ability to identify opportunities, close deals, and contribute to revenue generation.

When assessing business development skills, hiring managers can also evaluate a candidate’s innovation and entrepreneurial mindset. This helps identify individuals who are proactive, forward-thinking, and willing to take calculated risks to seize new opportunities and drive business growth.

6. Evaluate communication and relationship-building skills

Business development specialists are responsible for networking, establishing industry connections, and building relationships with potential clients, partners, and stakeholders. Effective communication and relationship-building skills enable them to foster connections, collaborate with others, and expand the company’s network.

Evaluating communication and relationship-building skills is a crucial step

Managers often collaborate with internal teams, such as marketing, product, and operations, to align strategies, deliver on client needs, and drive business growth. As a result, strong communication skills allow them to effectively communicate objectives, coordinate efforts, and foster collaboration across departments.

Most importantly, effective communication skills are crucial for negotiating deals, resolving conflicts, and reaching mutually beneficial agreements. Business development managers need to communicate persuasively, listen actively, and find win-win solutions to ensure successful negotiations and maintain positive relationships.

7. Check references

Reference checks allow for verifying a candidate’s qualifications, including their educational background, previous work experience, and job titles. This helps ensure that the candidate’s claims align with the information in their application and during the interview process.

Speaking with references provides an opportunity to validate a candidate’s performance in previous roles. Hiring managers can gain insights into candidates’ work ethic, ability to meet targets, professionalism, and overall organizational contributions. This helps assess the candidate’s potential for success in the business development executive role.

References can provide additional information about a candidate’s specific skills and abilities relevant to business development. Hiring managers can ask referees about the candidate’s communication skills, relationship-building abilities, negotiation prowess, strategic thinking, and other essential competencies required for the role. This helps validate the candidate’s claims and provides a well-rounded perspective on their capabilities.

8. Cultural fit

Cultural fit ensures the business development executive shares and aligns with the company’s values, mission, and vision. When there is alignment, the executive is more likely to embody and promote the organization’s core principles, which fosters a cohesive and unified work environment.

A business development specialist who fits well into the company culture is more likely to integrate smoothly into the existing team and work collaboratively with colleagues. This facilitates effective communication, cooperation, and coordination, enhancing productivity and teamwork.

Business development executives often need to build relationships with clients, partners, and stakeholders. For this reason, cultural fit plays a significant role in establishing rapport and understanding with diverse individuals, as shared values and norms can facilitate trust and effective communication. Clients and partners are more likely to connect and engage with an executive who aligns with their cultural expectations.

9. Track record and results

A candidate’s track record and results prove their ability to succeed in previous roles. By assessing their past performance, including revenue generation, successful deals closed, and business growth achieved, hiring managers can gauge their potential for driving similar results in the business development executive role.

Business development executives play a crucial role in driving revenue and business growth. By considering a candidate’s track record, hiring managers can evaluate their ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities, establish strategic partnerships, and drive sustainable growth for the organization.

Moreover, evaluating a candidate’s track record helps mitigate the risk of hiring an underperforming executive. By examining their past achievements, hiring managers can gain insights into their ability to consistently meet or exceed targets, manage sales pipelines effectively, and deliver on business development objectives.

10. Multiple perspectives

Multiple perspectives bring diverse expertise to the hiring process. Individuals from various departments, such as HR, business development, and senior leadership, may have different insights and considerations based on their specific roles and experiences. This diversity of expertise helps evaluate various aspects of the business development executive role.

Each person involved in the evaluation process may have different observations and perspectives on a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential. Engaging multiple perspectives reduces the likelihood of overlooking important information or potential red flags that could impact the candidate’s success in the role.

Different perspectives bring diversity to the hiring process

Different perspectives can shed light on different aspects of a candidate’s qualifications and potential. For example, perspectives from team members who will directly work with the business development executive can provide insights into cultural fit, collaboration skills, and team dynamics. 

Senior leaders may focus on strategic thinking, leadership potential, and alignment with organizational goals. Gathering these perspectives enables a more comprehensive assessment of the candidate.

11. Practical assessment

Practical assessments provide an opportunity to observe candidates applying their skills and knowledge in real-world scenarios relevant to the business development role. This allows hiring managers to assess candidates’ practical competence and problem-solving abilities in situations they are likely to encounter on the job.

Business development executives need to make informed decisions under pressure. Practical assessments allow candidates to showcase their decision-making abilities in a controlled environment. Hiring managers can assess candidates’ ability to analyze information, weigh options, and make effective decisions aligned with business objectives.

By incorporating practical assessments into the hiring process, organizations can gain valuable insights into a candidate’s practical skills, problem-solving abilities, decision-making capacity, adaptability, and communication skills. This helps select the right business development executive who can excel in real-world scenarios and contribute to the organization’s business development objectives.

 The cost of hiring a business development executive

According to Payscale, the base salary for a business development executive can range from $48k – $188k, with an average of $97k per year, depending on the factors mentioned above.  

Entry-level or junior business development roles may fall on the lower end of this range, while experienced executives or those working in high-demand industries may earn salaries on the higher end.

The income of a business development executive can vary depending on factors such as the industry, company size, geographical location, level of experience, and individual performance. In general, business development executives often have a combination of a base salary and performance-based incentives such as commissions, bonuses, or profit-sharing. The compensation structure may differ between companies and industries.

Many business development executives have performance-based incentives tied to achieving sales targets or bringing in new clients. Commissions and bonuses can significantly increase overall income. Commissions are typically a percentage of the revenue generated from closed deals or sales, while bonuses may be awarded based on meeting specific performance metrics or achieving milestones.

In some cases, business development managers may have the opportunity to receive profit-sharing or equity in the company. This can provide additional income based on the company’s overall success and profitability.

It’s important to note that the income range provided is a general estimate and can vary significantly based on individual circumstances and the specific company and industry. Additionally, executives with more experience, expertise, and a successful track record may command higher salaries and incentives.


In conclusion, the business development executive plays an essential role in the growth of a business, and hiring the right candidate will boost the business’s development. We hope the 11 tips above will be useful for you and your business!

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A data-driven marketing leader with over 10 years of experience in the ecommerce industry. Summer leverages her deep understanding of customer behavior and market trends to develop strategic marketing campaigns that drive brand awareness, customer acquisition, and ultimately, sales growth for our company.
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