What, Exactly, Is Business Development?

Jens Sørensen Aug 05 2015 6 AM | 3 min read

Me and my colleagues in's Business Development team have the easiest and hardest job in the world. On the one hand, all we have to do is start conversations and know our stuff when they get rolling. In turn, convincing our counterparts at leading advertisers and media agencies around the world to start those conversations with us is far from straightforward, as it lies in our remit to provide the motivation for them to do so, not theirs.

Motivation lies in each of us as individuals - it's a defining aspect of our being that drives us forward every day. It's important to remain humble to the fact that every individual has his or her own motivations in life and at work, which surface in everyone's day-to-day in various ways. Sure, in general, motivations in business are simple in that everyone wants less costs and more results. But once you start breaking through the basic superficialities that are the aforementioned obvious points, things get more complicated, more nuanced.

Guessing the motivations of our potential partners is often relatively risky business. It's something we can get better at constantly, and toss into the mix partly, but guesswork can never be the majority of the mix in trying to build a relationship. Thus, as a team, we're geared to listen. Yes, we have a story to tell to get the ball rolling but, after that, we listen.

We aim to provide our counterparts the motivation to engage in a conversation by listening, so that in time our motivations in progressing as leaders in digital marketing will have the chance to become fully aligned on both sides of the table. Often, once the conversation has started, it turns out that we're already quite aligned and we can get straight to work - a digital marketing match made in heaven. But, equally often, we hear very well justified thoughts that we need to take into account to be able to serve according to expectations. We listen, keep listening, and work in the background to be able to come back to the conversation and see if we're heading in the right direction. To make sure we keep listening after the relationship has started, Smartly never has any minimum contract periods - it's easier to get out of working with us than it is to get out of a marriage. Probably a good thing, but we know that in business this isn't always the case.

Being geared to listen, instead of babble Salesish, means we think of our work from a completely different starting point than the traditional Business Development team. As a company, we serve our clientele directly via our expert Account Managers and our blisteringly good Engineering team who build the product we all work on. Thus, Business Development is concerned about bringing our Account Managers more and better quality relationships, where motivations are aligned and sparks can fly - think of the Taylor Swift song from Fearless. We're concerned about bringing feedback to our Engineering team, so they know what to build so that they can help in doing their part to make sure the sparks fly in the ensuing relationships. They're so hooked on the feedback that, a lot of the time, our Lead Developers will join the meeting with us. To listen.

All of this can only be done by being geared to listen. So, if you hear from us, or have thought about reaching out, then don't hesitate to start the conversation with us.

We'll tell you a story, but then we'll listen.

Ps. If you think you're a good listener, check out our available positions.

   Creative Testing Playbook Finding the Winning Creative Concepts CHECK IT NOW
Jens Sørensen

Read Next