The Evolving World of Business Development

Posted by Richard Poulter on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Business development is the key to any company’s growth. But for many, business development seems a grey and vague area which leaves enquirers wondering what it actually entails. Here’s a brief introduction to business development, how it has changed over the years, and the skills a successful business development manager needs.

What is Business Development?

Some people may associate business development with sales, which – while related – isn’t typically part of a business development manager’s remit. Business development is more than selling your company – it is creating value by identifying, attracting, and acquiring new business. This is done by researching and pinpointing potential customers and developing relationships with them, as well as finding new markets for your services. 

How Has Business Development Evolved?

The way we do business has changed over the last 20 years. Nowadays, successful companies are those that focus on developing and nuturing long-term relationships with their existing customers, as well as attracting new ones. But customers are now harder to get, and they take more research and effort to connect with than they used to. The internet has given customers access to more information and potential solution providers than ever before, creating a customer base who are well-informed of their options and more sceptical of marketing. However, keeping in touch with customers is easier than ever before thanks to email, social media and smartphones. 

How Does Remuneration and Commission Work?

Business development managers are typically paid a salary, with either a bonus or commission structure based on the earnings made for the company – often called on-target or on-track earnings (OTE). The OTE is linked to reasonable performance targets, such as a certain number of new leads or new accounts generated. While it isn’t a guaranteed figure, the commission structure ensures that the business development manager is remunerated in line with what they’ve achieved – so the OTE can be significantly exceeded if they’ve smashed their targets. 

Traits of a Successful Business Development Manager for Construction

A successful business development manager is someone who knows the company and construction industry well and has the commercial knowledge to identify potential customers who are a good fit for the company’s services. They are creative and can think outside the box to help identify new opportunities for the business, whether in new markets or by adding additional services and improving marketing activities. They have excellent communication and people skills, as they establish relationships with new customers and nurture partnerships with existing clients. They also possess an ability to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and understand what a potential client needs and wants, which is backed up by thorough research. The rise of powerful and affordable technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, automated marketing platforms, social media and sales management tools means that they’ll also need to actively engage with digital tools to stay competitive and effective. 

Is Business Development the Job for You?

Maxim Recruitment is always on the lookout for talented individuals with a thirst to learn and a passion for successfully developing business and driving sales. Are you a bilingual business development/marketing manager who is keen to join our Hong Kong office? Ideally, you will have a technical or marketing background, a sound understanding of the roles we recruit for and – of course – excellent organisational and administration skills. You will play a key role in helping grow the Hong Kong office and develop strategic partnerships with employers in the Asia Pacific region. We reward very well for hard workers who deliver! To discuss this role further, please contact Richard Poulter on +852 5444 0094 or email your CV to  

About the Author

Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
I am responsible for the recruitment business in Hong Kong, Asia, and the Middle East. I was a civil engineer and project manager for 15 years before becoming a construction industry recruitment consultant in 2004. I am based in the Hong Kong office and specialise in placing professionals in engineering, project management, planning, HSEQ and risk.
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