Business development comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities within and between organizations. [2] It is a subset of the fields of business , commerce and organizational theory . Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organisation from customers , markets , and relationships . [3]


In the limited scholarly work available on the subject, business development is conceptualised as or related to discrete projects, specific modes of growth, and organisational units, activities, and practices. Sorensen integrates these different perspectives with insights from chairmen and managing directors , senior business developers, and venture capitalists from successful high-tech firms worldwide, which is adopted in the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management :

Business development is defined as the tasks and processes concerning analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities, and the support and monitoring of the implementation of growth opportunities, but doesn't include decisions on strategy and implementation of growth opportunities. [4]


In practice, the term business development and its actor, the business developer, have evolved into a large number of usages and applications. Today, the applications of business development and the business developer’s tasks across industries and countries, cover everything from IT-programmers, specialised engineers, advanced marketing or key account management activities, and sales and relations development for current and prospective customers. For this reason, it has been difficult to discern the unique features of the business development function and whether these activities are a source of profits..

Recent systematic research on the subject has outlined the contours of an emerging business development function with a unique role in the innovation management process. The business development function seems to be more matured in high-tech, and especially the pharma and biotech, industries. [5]

Business development had its origins in the Industrial Revolution .


The business developer is concerned with the analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities for the senior management or board of directors as well as the subsequent support and monitoring of its implementation . Both in the development phase and the implementation phase, the business developer collaborates and integrates the knowledge and feedback from the organization’s specialist functions, for example, research and development , production , marketing , and sales to guarantee that the organisation is capable of implementing the growth opportunity successfully. The business developers' tools to address the business development tasks are the business model answering "how do we make money" and its analytical backup and roadmap for implementation, the business plan .

Business development professionals frequently have had earlier experience in sales, financial services , investment banking or management consulting ; although a few find their route to this area by climbing the corporate ladder in functions like operations management . Skill sets and experience for business-development specialists most of the time consist of a mixture of the following (depending on the business requirements):

The "pipeline" refers to flow of potential clients which a company has started developing. Business-development staff assign to each potential client in the pipeline a percent chance of success, with projected sales-volumes attached. Planners can use the weighted average of all the potential clients in the pipeline to project staffing to manage the new activity when finalized. Enterprises most of the time support pipelines with a few kind of customer relationship management tool or database , either web-based solution or an in-house system . Sometimes business development specialists manage and analyse the data to produce sales management information . Such management of information could include:

  • reasons for wins/losses
  • progress of opportunities in relation to the sales process
  • top performing sales people/sales channels
  • sales of services/products

For larger and well-established companies, especially in technology-related industries, the term "business development" most often refers to setting up and managing strategic relationships and alliances with other, third-party companies. In these instances the companies might gearing (finance) each other's expertise , technologies or additional intellectual property to expand their capacities for identifying, researching, analysing and bringing to market new businesses and new products. Business-development focuses on implementation of the strategic business plan through equity financing, acquisition/divestiture of technologies, products, and companies, plus the establishment of strategic partnerships where appropriate.

Business development is to be thought of as a marketing tactic. The objectives include branding, expansion in markets, new user acquisition, and awareness. Notwithstanding the main function of Business Development is to utilise partners in selling to the right customers. Creating opportunities for value to be ongoing in the long-term is quite important. To be successful in Business Development the partnership must be built on strong relationships. [6]