Crucial Difference Between Sales and Business Development

Crucial Difference Between Sales and Business Development



To be good at business development, you need to be a cock.


That’s the universal truth.


And no, you kinky devil. We didn’t have that in mind.


We are talking about roosters. They are perfect animals to describe business development.


But first, let us introduce Andrej Sušić, our guest in the latest Maoio Podcast episode. His experience and expertise helped to draw a line between sales and business development.


And that’s more important than ever. During difficult times, companies make hasty decisions and focus on sales. That doesn’t always bring results because the lack of sales shows that something isn’t good in other departments. Burning more resources on sales won’t fix the root of the problem. Andrej, Gio, and Filip have seen let’s-pray-this-works moves through their carriers.


In most cases, it’s better to be a cock than pray something works.


Who’s Andrej and Why His Opinion Matters


Andrej Sušić has been in business development specifically for the last 20 years. 

He’s a senior business development professional with experience in relationship building, market research, negotiation, and closing sales. He’s currently focused on marketing automation and e-commerce.


But let’s start this story about business development by revealing where Andrej developed business development skills. JGL, a big pharmaceutical company from Croatia, where Andrej learned from several mentors and coaches. He became a Regional Lead of Global Markets and tackled a difficult task.


The Middle East market doesn’t usually respond well to outsiders. However, Andrej managed to penetrate it in less than a year. He’s not in the same industry anymore, but he’s still in touch with some people he met there. That’s also a big part of development.


You should always be networking. And to network efficiently, check out what 2 experienced CEOs said about effortless networking.


Andrej is proud of his last project for PushPushGo, where he also successfully penetrated the cold market. They managed to get more than 40 clients in less than 10 months. Leads were great because they knew what to expect, how, and when. And this is the foundation of quality business development. Before we let you plunge into Andrej’s rich experience and knowledge, we need to make something clear.


Main Differences Between Business Development and Sales


You might still find yourself asking, “What is business development?”


The short answer would be: Business development is the combination of ideas, initiatives, and activities that help a business grow by increasing revenue, expanding business, increasing profitability, building strategic partnerships, and making strategic decisions.


Business development is part of business growth. We’d dare to say the essence.


Let’s compare that to the definition of sales.


A sale is a transaction between two or more parties in which goods or services are exchanged for money or other assets.


Business development is a much bigger term than sales. Yet, they are often confused with one another. While they may overlap in some areas, there are some key differences.


Andrej broke that down into 4 categories to make the differences obvious.


Sales Business Development
Focus Focused on selling specific products or services to customers Focused on identifying and developing new opportunities for growth and revenue
Goals Close deals and achieve revenue targets Identify and create new business opportunities and partnerships
Tactics Cold calling, emailing, and in-person meetings, etc. Use a variety of tactics, including networking, research, and analysis, to identify new opportunities
Relationship building Focus on building relationships with existing or potential customers Focus on building relationships with potential partners and stakeholders, such as investors, suppliers, and distributors


In summary, sales focus on selling a specific product or service to customers, while business development focuses on identifying and developing new opportunities for growth and revenue.


Business development is a massive term. To do it, you need to love it because it requires constant learning, testing, and planning. As a business development specialist, you need to be able to see the bigger picture in the market and the company you represent. And that brings us to the part you’ve been waiting for.


Let’s Add Some Cocks To the Story


If you’ve ever seen a flock of chickens with a rooster, you’ve seen one of the best business development specialists in the animal kingdom doing his magic.


Roosters can see everything. They can use one eye to monitor the sky and the other to watch over their ladies.


If you know anything about animals, you know that many have eyesight like that. But the difference between a chameleon and a rooster is in the motivation.


A chameleon can move its eyes however it wants, but they don’t serve anyone but him. On the other hand, the rooster’s vision protects and steers his entire flock. A rooster will even stand between the attacker and his ladies.


Yeah, cool. But how’s that related to business development?


Not so fast.


Let’s see what hens do while the rooster protects them.


If you visualize a flock of chickens, you’ll notice that they spend most of their time staring at the ground. Why? Because that’s where the food is (might be is the better term).


So chickens would be the sales department. They have a clear goal. They’re focused on only one thing – getting food. Depending on how deep you want this story to go, food can represent leads or conversions, but the difference between development and sales should be clear now.


Every department needs to work together, but the hierarchy is there for a reason. Companies with a sales department without business development never know if a hungry hawk is flying above their heads.


Without business development and detailed plans, companies risk everything. So it’s safe to say, “Even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain.” isn’t a good business strategy. And not having a plan is one of the biggest scaling mistakes. It’s like blinding your entire team on purpose. And that shows in the (lack of) results.


That makes business development a vital aspect of every business that wants to achieve steady, measurable, and planned growth. And when something is as important, it’s connected to many misconceptions.


Terrifying Misconceptions About Business Development


Nowadays, we get everything in less time than ever before. So some companies expect quick results after hiring business development specialists. And as everything is good, business development takes time.


Also, business development isn’t done once in 30 years.


It grows with the business. As Andrej said, business development has different roles at different stages of a company’s growth. That means you can’t stick to the proven strategy you used to grow a company from nothing forever. No matter how good something works, if you outgrow it, results will drop. That’s why Andrej’s definition of business development is so good. For him, business development is a missing link between marketing, sales, and partnerships.


Everyone needs to align short-term and long-term goals, strategies, etc. If everyone moves in the same direction, the combined force adds up, so the results show up sooner. Teams that function like that get a lot more done in much less time and rarely experience burnout. But if everyone tries to pull in a different direction, no one moves (or everyone moves in the wrong direction).


Another mistake people make while trying to establish partnerships is desperately trying to end on top. Such stuff destroys relationships before they bear real fruit. The goal of every partnership should be to achieve a win-win situation. Both sides need to win equally. 


There’s a nice quote from Hegel about friendship. It describes why every other type of partnership usually fails.


“Friendship can only exist between those who are equal in power.”


Everyone needs to work together – everyone needs to know what’s happening. Everyone must move toward the same goal. And that’s where business development sometimes acts like a peacemaker. Marketing and sales departments sometimes have a dog-cat relationship, so a business development team acts like a loving owner who calms both pets down.


The 0 Step – How to Start Business Development Activities


If you want to start with business development activities but don’t know where to start, let us help you. The most important step of every process is the step we like to call The 0 Step. If making the first move is step 1, planning that move (and EVERYTHING) that could come after it is The 0 Step. So before you do anything else.


  • Determine what you need – Revenue, awareness, presence, what’s the end goal.


Then, do the swot analysis. Research the market, customer profile, and source of sales.


Remember to engage the whole company. Business developers bring everyone together. They shift their focus to different departments and processes depending on the stage of the project.


Advice to Improve Business Development


If you’re already doing business development activities but want better results from your efforts – get back to The 0 Step. Plan everything again. Then hire professionals who fit your specific needs perfectly.


Here are some additional tips from Andrej that will improve your business development efforts:


  • Build relationships – That’s the key to success in business. Take the time to get to know the people you are working with, and make an effort to understand their needs and goals.


  • Understand your target market – This includes understanding the needs and challenges of your potential customers, as well as the competitive landscape and industry trends.


  • Develop a strong value proposition – To be successful in business development, you need to be able to communicate the value that your organization can bring to potential customers or partners. A strong value proposition highlights the benefits of working with your company.


  • Stay organized – Managing multiple business development projects at once can be challenging. Use tools like project management software and CRM systems to help you stay organized, track your progress and protect yourself from mistakes.



  • Keep learning – Stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices in business development. Attend conferences, read industry publications, and seek opportunities for professional development to improve your skills.


What Are the Daily Tasks of an Efficient Business Development Manager?


If you want to become a business developer because it seems like a ton of fun, don’t rush. Yes. It’s exciting and rewarding, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Remember that Andrej, one of the leading business development managers in the area, said that you must love that job to do it.


And to help you determine if that’s a career path you should pursue, we’ll share the daily tasks of a business development manager.


As expected, tasks vary depending on the specific industry and company. However, some general responsibilities include:


  • Identifying new business opportunities: Researching potential customers, partners, and markets to identify opportunities for growth and revenue.


  • Networking: Networking with potential partners, clients, and industry professionals to build relationships and generate leads.


  • Collaborating with internal teams: Business development managers may work closely with other departments, such as sales and marketing, to develop strategies and execute plans for pursuing new business opportunities.


  • Managing relationships with clients and partners – Maintaining regular communication, addressing issues or concerns, working to strengthen the relationship, etc.


  • Negotiating deals – Business development managers may be responsible for negotiating contracts and agreements with clients and partners.


  • Analyzing data – Using data and analytics to track the performance of current business development efforts and identify areas for improvement.


Overall, the main focus of a business development manager is to identify and develop new opportunities for growth and revenue for the company.


The Difference Between Good and Great Business Development Specialists


We’ll wrap this up by showing the difference between good and great business developers. Those who can read the market are good. Those who can anticipate changes in the market are great.


Anticipating changes – lets you be the first. That gets you more attention which in the end gets more sales and revenue. So it’s safe to say that the best sales team would underdeliver without a great business development specialist to help them see the opportunities before their competitors.


Andrej used the ban of cookies as an example. According to him, we’ll need to pay the audience for their data soon. Monetization of use will become common. Yet, at the moment, no one is talking about that. That was Andrej’s way to show, not tell, the difference between good and great.


We hope this article helped you to see the difference between business development and sales. Let’s say that sales serve business development, not the other way around.

And if you’d like to read another article full of tips from a great marketer, you’ll love everything in our Market-tested Marketing for Bootstrapped Founders with Višnja Željeznak.







Please select listing to show.