Richard Sherman – What is a Business Development Manager?
We spoke to Richard Sherman, our Business Development Manager (BDM) for the South-West and Wales to better understand the role of the BDM and what they do.
Richard joined MT Finance in 2018 after working for an independent mortgage advisor and trade finance company.
What is a Business Development Manager?
A business development manager is responsible for sales and generating new business for the company. There can be multiple BDMs in a company and they are usually the face of the sales department, often presenting the business to new partners, speaking to clients on the phone and liaising with partners.
In the case of MT Finance, our best source of enquiries and converted deals comes from brokers and intermediaries.
We can go find deals ourselves from different individuals, developers and investors, but brokers are far more experienced in packaging them and we do not want to create a conflict of interest by both going after the same customers.
What are the responsibilities of the Business Development Manager?
My main responsibility is to communicate with existing brokers and also find new brokers so that we can maintain a steady flow of good quality business.
You need to see if you are missing out on any opportunities, so you start exploring different sources of business too.
Maintaining strong relationships with brokers is of paramount importance. I need to ensure that our products are getting presented to the right kinds of customers and that brokers remain happy and incentivised too.
What does the average day involve?
A typical day starts very early in the morning, maybe if clients or partners have emailed you on the train or on their way to work.
It is not a 9 to 5 job, people are always looking for updates on deals or valuations and this can be early in the morning or last thing at night.
Sometimes I will have to leave super early to get to a meeting at 9am.
I will usually work remotely so either at home or when I have meetings, I will find a desk nearby to stay on top of things.
The job is very independent. I am mostly working on my own and am busy liaising with brokers and clients by email, phone or meeting them in person.
Most days I will be on the road and going to another client’s office for an hour meeting, so I could be preparing for things before and after.
What are the skills you need to be a Business Development Manager?
- Attention to detail
Communication is the most important skill in my job because I am constantly speaking to brokers and liaising between them and our in-house team. Being fast on emails and phone, whilst taking time to assess the situation is also key, rather than jumping the gun or being too quick with some details of the agreements.
I need to be able to present our business to new partners and be able to build up a relationship and keep in touch.
When there are deals going through, I need to present the information very clearly and not overpromise on any terms or deliveries. Especially with new partners and brokers, if the deal is not transparent and breaks down, they may not want to work with us in the future. So building confidence and trust with partners and having attention to detail are good skills to have.
Do you need any formal qualifications to be a Business Development Manager?
There are no formal qualifications required to be a BDM at university level, but it certainly helps to have experience in the industry you are working in.
I meet BDMs who range from their 20s to the 60s, but I do not think it is the first job that you can take straight out of college or university.
I benefitted from doing the legwork in my previous jobs at a mortgage advisor and invoice finance company and I feel I had to see the business at ground level to prepare me for the bigger responsibilities of being a BDM.
There are certain qualifications that can absolutely help such as proficiency in Excel and Word and I recently completely my CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) and this gives me a clearer understanding of how deals are structured.
Do you work on commission?
Some BDM roles will be commission-based with a salary. I work in a team of other BDMs and we have targets to reach each month. The months will vary, sometimes I will secure a lot of business and sometimes it is the others. We are very much a team.