Thanks to Venkatesh Adavi for sharing the gyaan on BD roles in IT.
Kind of activities under “Business Development”
1. Pre-sales: This is the starting position in a BD hierarchy. Bottom of the pyramid (BOP) in IT Business development, if you can call so The designations associated with this role can change from company to company (But predominantly it is “Business Analyst”). What do these guys do? They spend significant time in preparing RFI (Request for information), RFP (Request for Proposal) and RFQ (Request for Quotation). They also spend time in preparing “Presenations” of company’s offerings tailored to customers. To grow in to a sales position in IT, this is a pre-requisite. One has to undergo the “Pre-sales” experience. Later, when you become a “Sales” guy, you can understand the nitty-gritties of Pre-sales and can understand the deliverables that you receive from your pre-sales team. Travel to client location might sometimes be needed. Otherwise, work is based on offshore.
2. Business Development: Here, professionals would be identifying new business opportunities, modifying the service offerings according to the customer needs, etc., The border between this and pre-sales is very blurred. The kind of activities one would do under “Business Analyst” will change from company to company. Few companies clearly separate this role and Pre-sales.
3. Competitor Intelligence: Some companies offer such a role to gather ‘intelligence’ about competitors of the company. What offerings do they provide? What clients are they targetting at? What developments competitors are making? etc., These are ‘esoteric’ roles and are rarely offered.
4. Sales: Front-line selling: This is the pinnacle in Business Development. The most happening place. Some of the activities include Cold-calling customers, explaining your company’s offerings to clients, pursuading them to do business with your company, negotiating the deal and price etc., Most of the time, the local people will be recruited for these positions. Americans for US clients, Britons for UK, Europeans for Europe etc., These are the guys who will be influencing the clients to begin with. Once the client
has shown some interest, then the entire Sales team will be involved. The Sales team can be organized based on geography, vertical, business-offerings etc.,
Bottomline: Each company has its own definitions of roles. So it is absolutely imperative to clarify before you accept the offer.
What is the Career path?
Pre-sales –> Sales –> Group-sales/ Relationship manager (For large client accounts) –> Territory/Country/Regional manager –> Vice president/Senior Vice
president/Executive Vice president –> CXO!
Bottomline: The career path differs from company to company. It’s imperative that you clarify it.
What are the related functions?
This is important to understand because one has to know what are the functions one would interact with while at job.
Some known functions: Sales-support, Corporate marketing, Public Relations, Event management, Competitive intelligence, Consulting, Account management.
Bottomline: Understand how all these divisions work together.
What are the questions one should ask a recruiter?
- Career path
- Performance indicators and Evaluation process (On what basis one would be evaluated during appraisals for promotions and hikes)
- Salary structure (Fixed and variable components)
- Individual role/Team role
- Company’s strengths and competitors
- Type of deals preferred
- Future strategy
Since the sales in IT fall under “Business-to-Business”, the strategies are different from typical B2C sales & marketing.
The roles for MBAs in IT services companies is still evolving. Expect more refined roles in future…
Regarding the “Program manager” offered by Microsoft, the following link comprehensively explains the job function.
Steven Sinofsky’s insights
Chris Pratley’s insights
This is different from typical “Project manager” role in IT services company. No one will be reporting to you. But you have to ‘interact’ with Clients, Marketing team, Product managers, other Program managers, your development team, testing team, user interface team etc., Lots of communication involved in terms of convincing all the parties about your ideas. You have to draft the entire project plan. So only scheduling is involved and no resource allocation involved (no people management). Program manager is “Project manager” - “People management” + “Client interfacing”. You have to constantly identify ways of improving customer experience. In summary, you have to identify “needs”, convince involved “parties”, get approval, schedule the project and oversee it at broad level. After some experience, you can later move to Product management/Product planning/Sales & marketing team within Microsoft.