Business development manager

Business development managers find new customers, and persuade existing ones to buy extra services.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 5% more Business development manager jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll work in a variety of businesses across the public and private sectors, or for charities.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • researching organisations to find new customers and identify who makes the decisions
  • ‘cold calling’ to arrange meetings at customers’ premises
  • finding out what an organisation needs and working with a team to plan proposals and pricing
  • selling products and services to new and existing customers
  • negotiating with customers and building positive relationships
  • attending events and conferences
  • writing reports and making presentations to customers and senior management
  • identifying new methods and opportunities for sales campaigns
  • forecasting sales targets and making sure they’re met
  • delivering training to business developers and junior sales teams

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • graduate training scheme


You'll find a degree in business development or business management may give you useful background knowledge and help you get onto the graduate training programmes, which are run by some companies.Other useful subjects include:

  • accountancy
  • economics
  • international relations

Employers will also usually want you to have experience in sales, marketing or business management.

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree


You could study a college course in sales or business. If you've started work in a junior role, you could consider taking qualifications like:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Skills for Business: Sales and Marketing
  • Level 3 Award in Business Development Skills
  • Level 3 Certificate in Sales Management
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course


You can work towards this role by doing a business to business sales professional or retail leadership degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship


You could work your way up from a sales or marketing role.

Volunteering and experience

You could develop useful customer service and marketing skills by volunteering.

Do It has more information on voluntary opportunities in your area.

Direct application

You could apply directly to become a business development manager, as there are no formal entry requirements. Employers may ask for:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and IT
  • sales, marketing or business management experience
  • a degree in any subject

Other routes

Graduate training schemes are offered by some companies.

Further Information

In some jobs you could travel around the world to meet customers, so it may be helpful to speak a second language.

You could join the Institute of Sales Management and The Managing & Marketing Sales Association, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

£25,000 to £60,000

Starter salary: £25,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £50,000

There are often extra benefits like a company car or private health care.

These figures are a guide.


You’ll usually work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, although you may need to work longer hours to meet deadlines. 

Hours may also be longer when off-site at customers’ premises or at conferences.

Travel is often required and you’ll usually need a driving licence. You may be provided with a company car.

Standard business dress will be expected.

With experience, you could progress to senior development manager, business development executive or marketing director. 

You could also use your skills in sales, marketing and project management to move into other areas of business.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to sell products and services
  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • leadership skills
  • maths knowledge
  • customer service skills
  • business management skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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