Business Development Manager Career

How to Become a Business Development Manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a Business Development Manager or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Business Development Manager, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Business Development Manager job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Business Development Manager

A business development manager helps a business grow by finding new opportunities, establishing relationships with clients, and researching leads. If you're articulate and self-motivated, you might want to consider a career as a business development manager. In this article, we cover the steps you should take to become a business development manager.

Obtain a degree in a field like business administration.

Even though there is no national requirement to become a business development manager, most companies seek employees who have a bachelor's degree in business administration, communications, finance, marketing, accounting, or a related field. Similarly, a master's degree isn't required, but having one can increase your value to potential employers and make you more likely to land a managerial role on the company's development team.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Business Development Manager?

82% of people working as a Business Development Manager earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Business Development Manager?

  • Integrator
  • AWS
  • Cloud Computing
  • Consulting
  • Business Units
  • CRM
  • Leadership
  • Exceptional Communication
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Business Development Manager in the United States.

Locate a mentor through your degree program.

Sometimes the best way to learn about a specific career path is to speak directly with someone already working in that field. One way to do this is to find a mentor. You might be able to find one through your undergraduate or graduate degree program. You could also attend networking sessions and connect with someone at those events.


Gain experience through entry-level business development positions.

When it comes to experience, you can gain it from a previous job or internship opportunity. For entry-level business development management jobs, previous work in this role might be recommended but not required. You might also be able to transfer experience in marketing, sales, or technology into a position as a business development manager because those positions allow you to focus on your communication and negotiation skills.


Develop appropriate soft skills, like self-motivation and reliability.

To excel as a business development manager, you must possess certain skills. You should be self-motivated and have the ability to reach specific targets with minimal supervision. It's best to have strong organizational skills as well because you will be tasked with managing your time and prioritizing important tasks. Another crucial skill is to be a strong communicator since you will work with customers and colleagues.


Hone your technical skills, learning things like CRM databases.

Not only do you need soft skills to work as a business development manager, but you also need technical skills. In-depth knowledge of software, including CRM databases and marketing automation platforms, is vital. Other areas of concentration include project management, customer relationship management, and business presentation software.


Earn certifications, such as Certified Sales Professional.

Although not necessary, certifications can be a powerful way to show employers how serious you are about working as a business development manager. Three of the more common certification options include the following:

  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP): This certificate, which is awarded by the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP), shows that you have strong communication skills and that you know how to maintain alignment with clients.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP): Project Management Institute (PMI) awards this certification, which signals that you have leadership experience and expertise.
  • Professional Certified Marketer (PCM): Issued by the American Marketing Association (AMA), the PCM designation has three separate designations in marketing, sales, and digital content. It proves that you're equipped to take on modern marketing challenges.

Business Development Manager Career Path

Business Development Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$103K - $183K /yrMost Likely Range
Learn More

Senior Business Development Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$179K - $315K /yrMost Likely Range
Learn More

Business Development Manager IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$144K - $248K /yrMost Likely Range
Learn More

Total Pay Trajectory

Business Development Manager Career Path

Business Development Manager I
Business Development Manager
Associate Manager of Business Development
Senior Business Development Manager
Business Development Manager Manager
Business Development Manager IV
Assistant Head Business Development Manager
Principal Business Development Manager
Assistant Director of Business Development
Associate Director of Business Development
Director of Business Development
Senior Director of Business
Are you paid fairly? Get a free, personalized salary estimate based on today's job market
Get Your Estimate

Related Careers in the Business Industry

Interested in other Business careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Business Development Manager skills. Discover some of the most common Business Development Manager career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Business Developer
13% skills overlap
10% transitioned to Business Developer