Congratulations! You’ve passed the first hurdle – you’ve got the Business Development Manager (BDM) job! It’s the step up you’ve been craving, but this isn’t quite where it all ends though. The first few months on the job are the most critical, so making a good impression now you’re in the driving seat is something that’s in your hands.
You’re ultimately generating new customer revenue for your business – so you’re at the heart of the sales operation.
How to Hit the Ground Running as a New BDM
- Get Ahead of the Game
Make sure to understand every facet of your new employer and their brand – their values, how they speak and how they market themselves. Dive straight into the industry through reading and immerse yourself in relevant podcasts to get nuanced views. But the most important one is getting to know the products or services they offer. This is key to succeeding (and selling!). Remember this by the three Cs – customers, company, competitors. That means you also need to gather information on your customers and competitors as well as what the company is and stands for.
Get acquainted with the area surrounding the office and use your first few days to speak to as many people as you can – go to lunch with a different group of people each day and never pass on an opportunity to do after work activities!
- Keep a Track of Everything
The first few weeks are a whirlwind – fast paced onboarding, new information being thrown in all directions and so many new faces to remember names for, just to name a few. Keeping a notebook or a notes app on your phone or laptop handy makes the journey so much easier. After every day, try to reflect on what you’ve learnt and revisit your notes to see what you need to go back over and ask about the following day.
- Don’t be Afraid to Pick Everyone’s Brains
No doubt you’ll be jumping on calls with customers to get a feel for how the company interacts with customers and ratifies their challenges, but do the same. Set up calls with existing customers to learn from the horse’s mouth just what their challenges are and how the company is solving these.
Finding the company’s top performers and interviewing them will help you learn a nuanced view from the very people who tap into those customer challenges expertly well – get them to give you a picture of the ideal customer profile on top of the challenges too.
Here’s some more questions you can ask to get a full picture:
- What pitches work best for opening doors and to whom?
- What does the average buyer group look like?
- What are the most typical objections at each stage of the process?
- What tools and technologies are available to your and what do the top performers use?
- What have been the most successful marketing campaigns, and why?
- Which products and services have the greatest uptake?
- Which clients have churned and why?
- What case studies receive the most traction?
- Who are the happiest customers, and why?
- What is the policy around client entertainment?
- What is your total territory?
- Who are your competitors and what breakdown analysis has been done for these?
- What are the ‘lock outs’ i.e. what is the strategy for pushing them out of any deal?
To help you make the most of these conversations, devise questions for each internal department from your notes that you’ve made throughout the onboarding process.
- Embrace the Community
Join relevant groups and follow customers on Linkedin to be among others in the industry and take note of how they’re interacting and with whom – the 3rd point was about explicitly seeking information on the industry challenges and solutions but here you’re taking more of a watcher stance, implicitly looking to connect the dots.
But also interact with people within groups too – use it to leverage the relationships that’ll convert into sales later down the road.
What does the sales calendar look like internally? Is there anything that you can attend in your first 100 days to stand out and have some conversations?
- Crave Sales Interaction
Don’t be afraid to get on the phone to talk to prospects! If this sounds daunting, try ringing some low risk/low value prospects and pitch to them – that way you’re dipping your feet in the water with real challenges to solve.
Remember to map out the typical sales process from start to finish beforehand so you can identify any improvements and test these out. What can you outsource or automate for a better customer experience?
Ask for feedback from these sales interactions – brutal truths will help you learn. You’ll pick up on the language they use, how they qualify the investment and ROI in your products and how this is translated into sales and marketing.
- Ask Questions!
Practice makes perfect – practice your pitch until you can’t get it wrong anymore. Book in times for self review and reflection throughout your first 100 days and always look back on your notes!
There’s no such thing as a stupid question. And trust us, employers always expect new hires to have tons of questions, because they know how much they don’t know already. You can’t be expected to know everything in the first week, so ask away! That’s really the only way you’ll get unstuck.
Want to really hit the ground running? We have just the thing – we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to check off to become the best new hire they’ve ever seen. Our guide includes a PDF checklist and editable activity sheet to have handy.