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Commercial Director vs Business Developer: which one do I need in my company?

The professional profiles Business Developer and Commercial Director can be confused if their purpose in the company is unknown.

The company's sales are stagnating and a new impulse is needed to continue growing. But, to achieve this take-off, is a change of Sales Director or a Business Developer to explore new paths necessary? There is often confusion about the functions of each of these professional profiles, the skills they must have to achieve this or their relationships with other members and areas of the company. Shall we find out a little more about what they can contribute?

Focused on sales or a transversal figure?

Of the two figures discussed in this article, the Sales Director is the most widespread and well-known in our country. It is part of the basic structure of each company: a good commercial area is essential for closing sales.

Therefore, every organization has a profile that leads the sales team, sets its objectives, guides the salespeople in achieving the goals to meet the quotas set, establishes the sales method and arguments and manages the portfolio of customers to be followed to pursue the closing of sales, in addition to other secondary functions. Thus, his responsibilities are focused, as we can see, directly on the sales team

On the other hand, a Business Developer is much more transversal. Their decisions will also affect other areas of the company, not only the purely commercial, such as the Marketing Department, a great ally to achieve more sales and visibility.

This is because their goal is to seek the growth of the organization, locating emerging business opportunities and finding new gaps in the market yet to be explored and covered by the company. Their scope of work, therefore, is much broader. Consequently, their decisions can affect as many areas as necessary to achieve their objectives. For this professional to achieve his mission, it is essential to understand his role perfectly and not to limit it, which would result in failure.

Strategy or execution?

Just as the tasks of the two profiles are different and affect different areas of the company, their main mission also changes based on all the functions we have reviewed. As we can derive from this, the Business Manager has the role of creating the strategy to be followed. In short: where and how can the company sell more? This professional will lay the foundations on which the other departments will act in order to make the plan a success.

On the contrary, the Commercial Director will be one of those department heads in charge of the commercial team executing the set strategy. Thus, he will make the members apply their best skills and strengths to carry it out. Only in this way, the work done by the Business Developer will materialize in more sales and, consequently, in a growth of the organization in new market niches. Periodic measurements can be a great tool for him: with them, he will be able to extract from the team its best potential to reach the expected goal.

Where are you looking: present or future? 

If the purpose changes, the temporality of his work is undoubtedly also different. In his task of guiding the sales team on the basis of the established strategy, the Sales Director has his sights set on the day-to-day. In this way, he can ensure that everything runs smoothly in order to achieve the expected sales. However, it is true that he or she will have a reference point in the periodic sales forecasts to ensure that, beyond the current month, medium-term objectives are met.

But the Business Developer does not focus on the details and, therefore, the present is too limited in his work. This professional looks to the future, sets the path to be followed, which is not covered in two days, or a month, or perhaps even a year. And he does so by observing the past, to learn what has worked, what has not, and how to apply this learning to the new journey the company is embarking on. This exploration requires a more analytical profile, to extract all the knowledge from previous experience and apply it to future developments. 



Firm: Borja Lanáquera
Associate Director