Business Development Trends for 2022

by | Jan 19, 2022

Business development trends for 2022: all you need to know in order to adapt your business development strategy and stay ahead of your competition.

Business development is constantly changing, because markets and customers evolve fast. If you want to be ahead of your competition and establish yourself as a BD pro, you need to keep up with the latest trends.

We analyzed trends from the best sources out there and asked our community insights. The result is a shortlist of 10 top business development trends for 2022. Take the learnings, adapt them to your unique case and start winning more in business development.

Here is the list:

1 – Business development professional on the rise

2 – Multi-talented business development professionals

3 – Professionalization of business development

4 – Strenghtening human connections

5 – Taking advantage of online networking events

6 – Digitalization of business development

7 – Customer research is paramount for business development success

8 – Showing your authentic self

9 – Automating business development

10 – Adapting employer branding to business developers

Keep scrolling to know more details about the business development trends for 2022.

1 – Business development professionals on the rise

The first business development trend for 2022 is about the increase in demand for business development professionals. In October 2020 the World Economic Forum published a report where they mentioned business developers in the top 10 in-demand professionals for the future.

This is not something new, we observed an increase in the popularity of business development already since late 2019. When we started The BD School in 2019, the only way for business developers to connect was through inactive LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

Nowadays there are industry-specific as well as country-specific communities with the goal of connecting business development pros with each other.

The business development ecosystem, although still niche, is becoming more established and that’s a good thing. We need to strengthen the relations among all the stakeholders active in the field, to make sure we keep innovating and providing relevant information.

We are proud to be pioneers in the field and have built the first platform dedicated entirely to us in the field. And we are happy that many others followed our example and built other communities to connect business development pros.

2 – Multi-talented business development professionals

Of course, when something becomes popular, you also have to fight more to stay relevant.

There is a new set of skills that are now necessary to be great business developers. Among the ones that we recommend you work on are hard skills such as learning how to use modern software or tools.

Most tech-driven companies require business developers to be familiar with specific tools that save time and enhance results. Think about next-generation CRM systemssales acceleration tools, and automation tools.

In terms of soft skills, we suggest working on basic psychology to help you better connect with your stakeholders. A tool that can be particularly useful is the DISC Method that teaches you how different people work based on their personality styles.

In a world where personalization is king, you need to be able to read your customers and adapt your style to what they need.

3 – Professionalization of business development

In the same way, as you should develop new skills, you should also spend some time professionalizing your experience. With more and more people entering the field, companies are becoming more selective in their recruitment process.

Many of us in the field don’t have formal education in business development and mostly didn’t choose it as a career. Because business development is traditionally associated with learning in the field, we could all thrive and be successful relatively easily.

However, that won’t cut it anymore. The next generation of business development professionals is prepared, aware, and has the right knowledge to go one step further.

Becoming a professional in a specific field requires a lot of work and time. You need to be ready to learn and acquire new skills if you want to stay relevant in this field.

The reality is that with the learning on the job culture, the barrier to entry was pretty low. But this comes with a cost: there isn’t real career growth.

The majority of business developers have a lifetime of 6 to 9 months in the same company until they either quit or are let go. What happens at that point is that business developers keep moving sideways from company to company, never really growing to their next career step.

So if your ambition is to grow professionally and get solid financial rewards, you need to be recognized as a professional, grow professionally. Check this article to see how you can learn business development effectively and what actions you can take to be recognized as a professional.

the business development school - tools to learn business development

4 – Strengthening human connections

One major business development trend for 2022 has to do with loneliness. According to our partners, Trendwatching a third of the world’s adults reported feeling lonely in 2021 and suggest companies start focusing on this aspect.

Business development is largely based on building strong relationships, so this is a huge opportunity to provide valuable human connections to your stakeholders. This is the key to cutting through the noise and establishing yourself as a valuable relationship.

One way to achieve a deeper connection with your audience is to not only focus on the professional side of the relationship. If you are able to connect on a more human level and make people feel less lonely, you will gain trust and build growth opportunities.

We see brands trying to humanize themselves more and more often and we believe business developers can be a powerful asset to achieve this goal.

5 – Taking advantage of online networking events

The next trend is related to the previous one and it’s all about networking events. There’s a huge opportunity for business developers in the networking space to build genuine connections.

Of course, networking changed a lot over the last few years. It’s not always possible to meet in person, and you need to get used to networking online.

Online networking removes some important elements, like non-verbal communication or body language. On the other hand, it decreases the chance you’ll meet curious people that are at the event only for fun.

Choosing the right online events will help you find people that don’t want to waste time and are looking to build actual opportunities. This means you can achieve your goals much faster than it used to be with real-life events.

Besides, you should also consider attending events as speakers or even create your own events.

6  – Digitalization of business development

Another big business development trend for 2022 is the digitalization of our job. Since early 2020, our entire professional – and personal – life moved completely online.

It was one of the biggest challenges for business developers because it instantly wiped out conventional strategies and tactics for success.

All the things we used in our jobs like offline events, cold-calling, and in-person meetings were not possible anymore. This was a problem especially for those who don’t know how to use digital channels like LinkedIn for example.

According to Accenture, eighty percent of people who used more digital channels during the crisis say they will continue doing so in the future. As business developers, it’s your responsibility to adapt your style to the new habits and preferences of your audience.

7 – Customer research is paramount for BD success

To be able to connect efficiently with your audience, you need to re-learn all about your customers. Because in the last years, their preferences changed drastically and fast.

You must continuously run customer research, understand your customer’s new priorities and anticipate their needs. Having detailed information about your audience will supercharge your career and get you results much faster.

Having customer research will help you write better cold emails, have more meaningful conversations, and eventually, win more deals.

The digital world offers us unlimited possibilities when it comes to understanding our customers. The two hottest trends you should use are social listening and netnography.

Social listening is the practice of monitoring and analyzing social media conversations about a brand or industry. According to Statista, internet users spend on average almost two and a half hours on social media every day. So there is definitely a wealth of information you can get by simply observing your stakeholders.

That’s also the principle of netnography, a specific type of qualitative research that uses these online conversations as data.

Using these tools will help you craft detailed buyer personas and optimize every step of your business development job. Watch this webinar to build a step-by-step process to run customer research.

8 – Showing your authentic self

Among the business development trends for 2022, we must mention the need for authenticity. Being authentic is crucial for BD success because it helps us be consistent and therefore, gain the credibility of our audience.

According to Forbes, especially new generations have a need for authenticity which is a critical element in how they evaluate products and services.

This explains why for example influencers are so important in a brand strategy. Because they build trust and confidence about specific products or services.

Now, as a business developer, you are the one that has to get people excited about what you do. So why not become your company’s own influencer?

Start from yourself, define your values and decide how you want people to remember you. Then consistently share your expertise and let people know how you can help them achieve their goals.

9 – Automating business development

One big business development trend for 2022 is automation. That’s not such a new trend by itself, automation is now present in every aspect of our lives. And now it finally arrived also in business development.

Until now we had fancy CRMs that could help us keep track of our tasks. We have a complete and varied tech stack that can help us automate every step of the BD process. You can find software to automate your customer research, spot opportunities, and more, find emails, write emails, sending them!

In short, everything you do can be easily automated. While you automation won’t easily replace you, you must keep up with technology or you will lose your relevance.

​​10 – Adapting employer branding to business developers

A big business development trend for 2022 is related to the so-called Great resignation. Professionals across the globe are asking themselves about their life and leaving jobs that don’t fulfill them. Maybe to start their own!

Business development is a particular field. The talent market is saturated, there is a huge number of BD proessionals. This means, you need time to find good ones that are actually fit for your company.

In addition, the average turnover rate in business development between 6 and 9 months. So even when you find good ones, you might lose them relatively quickly.

One major reason why BDs leave is the misalignment between what they think is business development and what they actually end up doing. This causes frustration and lack of results which is costly for both the employer and employee.

In such environment, it’s key to to attract the right business developers by being honest about the tasks they will perform and how you will evaluate them.

One way to win the war for great BD talent is to create a Talent Value Proposition specific for business development positions. A Talent Value Proposition can help you identify the needs and wants on your candidates and communicate accordingly.

We regularly run workshops for companies who are looking to hire great business developers. If you’re one of them, get in touch with our team and we’ll set it up for you.

These were the top 10 business development trends for 2022. Make sure you embed them in your day to day job and start getting results.

Business development trends for 2022: all you need to know in order to adapt your business development strategy and stay ahead of your competition.

Business development is constantly changing, because markets and customers evolve fast. If you want to be ahead of your competition and establish yourself as a BD pro, you need to keep up with the latest trends.

We analyzed trends from the best sources out there and asked our community insights. The result is a shortlist of 10 top business development trends for 2022. Take the learnings, adapt them to your unique case and start winning more in business development.

Here is the list:

1 – Business development professional on the rise

2 – Multi-talented business development professionals

3 – Professionalization of business development

4 – Strenghtening human connections

5 – Taking advantage of online networking events

6 – Digitalization of business development

7 – Customer research is paramount for business development success

8 – Showing your authentic self

9 – Automating business development

10 – Adapting employer branding to business developers

Keep scrolling to know more details about the business development trends for 2022.

1 – Business development professionals on the rise

The first business development trend for 2022 is about the increase in demand for business development professionals. In October 2020 the World Economic Forum published a report where they mentioned business developers in the top 10 in-demand professionals for the future.

This is not something new, we observed an increase in the popularity of business development already since late 2019. When we started The BD School in 2019, the only way for business developers to connect was through inactive LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

Nowadays there are industry-specific as well as country-specific communities with the goal of connecting business development pros with each other.

The business development ecosystem, although still niche, is becoming more established and that’s a good thing. We need to strengthen the relations among all the stakeholders active in the field, to make sure we keep innovating and providing relevant information.

We are proud to be pioneers in the field and have built the first platform dedicated entirely to us in the field. And we are happy that many others followed our example and built other communities to connect business development pros.

2 – Multi-talented business development professionals

Of course, when something becomes popular, you also have to fight more to stay relevant.

There is a new set of skills that are now necessary to be great business developers. Among the ones that we recommend you work on are hard skills such as learning how to use modern software or tools.

Most tech-driven companies require business developers to be familiar with specific tools that save time and enhance results. Think about next-generation CRM systemssales acceleration tools, and automation tools.

In terms of soft skills, we suggest working on basic psychology to help you better connect with your stakeholders. A tool that can be particularly useful is the DISC Method that teaches you how different people work based on their personality styles.

In a world where personalization is king, you need to be able to read your customers and adapt your style to what they need.

3 – Professionalization of business development

In the same way, as you should develop new skills, you should also spend some time professionalizing your experience. With more and more people entering the field, companies are becoming more selective in their recruitment process.

Many of us in the field don’t have formal education in business development and mostly didn’t choose it as a career. Because business development is traditionally associated with learning in the field, we could all thrive and be successful relatively easily.

However, that won’t cut it anymore. The next generation of business development professionals is prepared, aware, and has the right knowledge to go one step further.

Becoming a professional in a specific field requires a lot of work and time. You need to be ready to learn and acquire new skills if you want to stay relevant in this field.

The reality is that with the learning on the job culture, the barrier to entry was pretty low. But this comes with a cost: there isn’t real career growth.

The majority of business developers have a lifetime of 6 to 9 months in the same company until they either quit or are let go. What happens at that point is that business developers keep moving sideways from company to company, never really growing to their next career step.

So if your ambition is to grow professionally and get solid financial rewards, you need to be recognized as a professional, grow professionally. Check this article to see how you can learn business development effectively and what actions you can take to be recognized as a professional.

the business development school - tools to learn business development

4 – Strengthening human connections

One major business development trend for 2022 has to do with loneliness. According to our partners, Trendwatching a third of the world’s adults reported feeling lonely in 2021 and suggest companies start focusing on this aspect.

Business development is largely based on building strong relationships, so this is a huge opportunity to provide valuable human connections to your stakeholders. This is the key to cutting through the noise and establishing yourself as a valuable relationship.

One way to achieve a deeper connection with your audience is to not only focus on the professional side of the relationship. If you are able to connect on a more human level and make people feel less lonely, you will gain trust and build growth opportunities.

We see brands trying to humanize themselves more and more often and we believe business developers can be a powerful asset to achieve this goal.

5 – Taking advantage of online networking events

The next trend is related to the previous one and it’s all about networking events. There’s a huge opportunity for business developers in the networking space to build genuine connections.

Of course, networking changed a lot over the last few years. It’s not always possible to meet in person, and you need to get used to networking online.

Online networking removes some important elements, like non-verbal communication or body language. On the other hand, it decreases the chance you’ll meet curious people that are at the event only for fun.

Choosing the right online events will help you find people that don’t want to waste time and are looking to build actual opportunities. This means you can achieve your goals much faster than it used to be with real-life events.

Besides, you should also consider attending events as speakers or even create your own events.

6  – Digitalization of business development

Another big business development trend for 2022 is the digitalization of our job. Since early 2020, our entire professional – and personal – life moved completely online.

It was one of the biggest challenges for business developers because it instantly wiped out conventional strategies and tactics for success.

All the things we used in our jobs like offline events, cold-calling, and in-person meetings were not possible anymore. This was a problem especially for those who don’t know how to use digital channels like LinkedIn for example.

According to Accenture, eighty percent of people who used more digital channels during the crisis say they will continue doing so in the future. As business developers, it’s your responsibility to adapt your style to the new habits and preferences of your audience.

7 – Customer research is paramount for BD success

To be able to connect efficiently with your audience, you need to re-learn all about your customers. Because in the last years, their preferences changed drastically and fast.

You must continuously run customer research, understand your customer’s new priorities and anticipate their needs. Having detailed information about your audience will supercharge your career and get you results much faster.

Having customer research will help you write better cold emails, have more meaningful conversations, and eventually, win more deals.

The digital world offers us unlimited possibilities when it comes to understanding our customers. The two hottest trends you should use are social listening and netnography.

Social listening is the practice of monitoring and analyzing social media conversations about a brand or industry. According to Statista, internet users spend on average almost two and a half hours on social media every day. So there is definitely a wealth of information you can get by simply observing your stakeholders.

That’s also the principle of netnography, a specific type of qualitative research that uses these online conversations as data.

Using these tools will help you craft detailed buyer personas and optimize every step of your business development job. Watch this webinar to build a step-by-step process to run customer research.

8 – Showing your authentic self

Among the business development trends for 2022, we must mention the need for authenticity. Being authentic is crucial for BD success because it helps us be consistent and therefore, gain the credibility of our audience.

According to Forbes, especially new generations have a need for authenticity which is a critical element in how they evaluate products and services.

This explains why for example influencers are so important in a brand strategy. Because they build trust and confidence about specific products or services.

Now, as a business developer, you are the one that has to get people excited about what you do. So why not become your company’s own influencer?

Start from yourself, define your values and decide how you want people to remember you. Then consistently share your expertise and let people know how you can help them achieve their goals.

9 – Automating business development

One big business development trend for 2022 is automation. That’s not such a new trend by itself, automation is now present in every aspect of our lives. And now it finally arrived also in business development.

Until now we had fancy CRMs that could help us keep track of our tasks. We have a complete and varied tech stack that can help us automate every step of the BD process. You can find software to automate your customer research, spot opportunities, and more, find emails, write emails, sending them!

In short, everything you do can be easily automated. While you automation won’t easily replace you, you must keep up with technology or you will lose your relevance.

​​10 – Adapting employer branding to business developers

A big business development trend for 2022 is related to the so-called Great resignation. Professionals across the globe are asking themselves about their life and leaving jobs that don’t fulfill them. Maybe to start their own!

Business development is a particular field. The talent market is saturated, there is a huge number of BD proessionals. This means, you need time to find good ones that are actually fit for your company.

In addition, the average turnover rate in business development between 6 and 9 months. So even when you find good ones, you might lose them relatively quickly.

One major reason why BDs leave is the misalignment between what they think is business development and what they actually end up doing. This causes frustration and lack of results which is costly for both the employer and employee.

In such environment, it’s key to to attract the right business developers by being honest about the tasks they will perform and how you will evaluate them.

One way to win the war for great BD talent is to create a Talent Value Proposition specific for business development positions. A Talent Value Proposition can help you identify the needs and wants on your candidates and communicate accordingly.

We regularly run workshops for companies who are looking to hire great business developers. If you’re one of them, get in touch with our team and we’ll set it up for you.

These were the top 10 business development trends for 2022. Make sure you embed them in your day to day job and start getting results.

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Author
Lucia Piseddu
Founder at The BD School
The thing I love the most in business development is its creative process. My job is to help people unleash their potential and become great at business development.
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