Here's the Difference Between Sales & Business Development

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

Have you ever wondered what the difference between sales and business development is? It’s probably not something you think about often, but it might have crossed your mind. Though both sales and business development get your products and services into the right hands, they are two very different processes.

Understanding Sales vs Business Development

It can help to make sense of sales and business development by understanding their definitions.

  • Business development describes the activities that are used to help your company reach a new target market. Individuals in this role research and qualify leads before handing them off to the sales team. Business development reps aren’t responsible for closing leads, though they do tend to have goals for bringing in qualified prospects.

  • Sales refers to closing the deal. After receiving qualified leads from the business development team, sales reps are responsible for finishing the transaction. They are also in charge of showing off the product, answering questions or concerns and drafting proposals.

Why the Divide?

It’s clear that sales and business development have the same goal: to sell your products and services to the right people. So why does there need to be a line drawn between the two? There are a couple of reasons.

First, the sales process is best split because both parts need a lot of attention. Today’s consumers are savvy and not always easy to reach. Millennials, in particular, have been known to ignore paid ads and crave more engaging and personalized content. Acquiring customers takes a lot of touches. A simple ad placed in a magazine or on a billboard won’t cut it.

With today’s shoppers needing more nurturing, it makes sense to have one team handling the research and prospecting while the other closes the deals. Each team focuses on what they do best instead of splitting their time and experiencing less growth.

Second, business development and sales are divided to cut down on hiring costs. In order to thrive, your company needs strong sales reps, which aren’t always easy to find. Rather than hiring new salespeople year after year, you can transition your best performing business development reps into sales reps. These individuals will have spent time doing research on your target market and will be ready to sell.

It’s easy to get sales and business development mixed up, but they are two separate positions with unique roles and responsibilities. By making the distinction today, you can position your company for more success in the future.

 
About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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