Why do most people struggle to answer these business development manager interview questions? We share tips and sample answers.
Every profession in the world has its own unique skills. And when it comes to business development managers, they must be able to demonstrate their expertise by accurately responding to business development manager interview questions. But these questions are not easy to answer, at least to most people.
Business development as a function is crucial to any business because they help get clients who generate revenue for a company.
I had a chat with Fuzu's Senior Business Development Manager, Alex Matuku to find out about which interview questions most BDMs struggle with. Alex has been working in the business development industry for 5+ years and has interviewed many candidates for BDM roles. Secondly, as a seasoned business development professional, he has also sat through various interviews as an interviewee.
These are the insights he offered:
What strategies will you employ in your role?
Often, as Alex was sharing, many candidates show up to business development manager interviews with very magnificent profiles. Their goal is to bedazzle the panel and get the job. But when they’re asked about the different strategies they’ll apply, they cook all manner of answers.
“Many candidates don’t have a commanding knowledge of the different industries that exist. They also don’t research exhaustively on the industry that they’re getting into. Therefore, when they encounter questions about specific industries and products the answers are not forthcoming,” said Alex.
As a business development manager, you should have a firm grip on the company, its product, and the industry that they’re in so that you can formulate effective strategies to bring business and revenue. You also need to know how and where you’ll reach your target clientele and maintain the relationships thereafter.
Illustrate how you’ve worked well with teams in the past
Alex says that many business development interviewees stumble when it comes to teamwork and team collaboration. BDMs get a commission for every successful close, that’s why they tend to hold their cards close to their chest.
“I've noted that most BDM interviewees wouldn't be willing to share a decision maker contacts on a deal that their colleague is struggling with, even if the success of the company depends on it because they want to close the deal themselves. As a result, many struggle with being team players or answering business development manager interview questions that deal with teamwork and team collaboration,” noted the senior BDM.
How do you work with the different business development metrics?
In the world of business development, you’ll have to deal with different metrics such as lead qualification, cash, invoices, and many others. One of the areas that business development manager interview questions target is an interviewee’s capacity and knowledge of the key metrics one needs to fulfil.
As someone who has interviewed hundreds of BDM candidates, Alex says that many falter when they’re asked that question and fail to answer sufficiently.
What have you learned from your past mistakes and failures?
Mr. Matuku says that failure is inevitable in this field because no one is perfect. However, how the person handles failure really matters. When asked about their past failures and mistakes, many candidates don’t give honest answers.
“A business development manager should show the lessons that they carried from their previous failures. We always look out for how this person views themselves. Do they understand the failure that they experienced? How have they worked on it? Additionally, we want to evaluate if they found the source of the solution to their failure. These various measures distinguish between successful candidates and those who fail during interviews,” notes Alex.
How have you grown in your career since you started working?
Business development as a career, in Alex’s words, is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. A stellar business development manager needs to be consistent in their craft. You need to show how you have been on the sales grind in your career when you encounter business development manager interview questions.
There are two key components that you need to have. First, you should foster and handle high-level stakeholder conversations with high-value clients. Secondly, you should consistently convert leads to revenue for the different companies you work in.
When interviewers ask you questions such as “How has your career prepared you in the area of sales?” you won’t mumble insufficient answers that lack substance. As is often the case with unprepared candidates.
The toughest business manager interview question encountered
I asked Alex which was the toughest business development manager interview question that he has ever struggled with in his exemplary career.
“The toughest question that I’ve ever encountered in my career is how much revenue will you bring to the company? I struggled with these questions because different companies have different expectations and realities. If a company’s expenses amount to $ 4.5 million for instance and I say that I’ll be bringing $ 5 million they’ll make only $ 500,000. Or if the average deal size for the company is $5,000 and the total cost to acquire a single client is $4,000 (including the BDM's commission), then the company only makes $1,000
Secondly, when you quote a high number you raise expectations from your employer. Therefore, if you fail to meet those expectations, there is a conflict or you end up losing your job for low performance,” said Alex.
My engagement with Alex made me realize how important confidence is for people in business development. So, practice and practice some more.