How to find business developers

by | May 16, 2022

How can you find business developers? Read more about creating and using an employee value proposition to find the best talent.

A business developer plays a very important role in the growth of a company.

Business developers use their skills to build strategies and tactics that enable a business to meet its financial and non-financial targets.

But, there’s a lot of competition between companies to attract the best possible talent. And if you are a startup it’s even more complicated because you lack an important resource: competitive salaries.

There are 2 main reasons why good business developers are hard to find:

  1. Low barrier to entry: it’s not necessary to have a degree to become a business developer. This means the talent market is saturated with talent that’s not necessarily fit for business development.
  2. Lack of clarity: companies don’t always have clear expectations around business development. This means you might end up with the wrong person, executing the wrong strategies.

So how do you fix that?

You need to offer a 5-star experience to your potential employees from start to finish. This means that even before you promote your vacancy, you need to have a strong plan of action to maximize your chances to find the best business developers.

To make the process easier for you, we’ve created a guide that will help you create an attractive employee value proposition to find the best business development talent.

You will learn:

  1. What is an Employee Value Proposition
  2. Why you need an Employee Value Proposition
  3. Employee Value Proposition vs Employer Branding
  4. How to build good Employee Value Propositions
  5. Elements of the Employee Value Proposition
  6. How to find good business developers
  7. How to apply the BDs hierarchy of needs
  8. Business development job description
  9. Job portals to promote your vacancy
  10. Recruitment hacks

This will help you create a great work environment for your business development team.

1 – What is an Employee Value Proposition

One mistake companies make is to copy job descriptions they find online and directly promote their vacancies.

This is not the right way to attract business development talent.

Business development is a very broad field and your company has different needs than other companies out there. So you can’t just copy-paste a template and hope for the best.

Instead, you should build a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

So, what is it?

The Employee Value Proposition is an ecosystem of support, recognition, and values that an employer provides to employees to achieve their highest potential at work.

It’s a mix of culture, benefits, and characteristics provided to potential employees in return for their contribution. In short, it’s the intersection between what you expect from your BDs and what they expect from you.

2 – Why you need an employee value proposition

The Employee Value Proposition serves 4 main goals:

  1.   Attract the right talent
  2.   Align expectations
  3.   Retain talent
  4.   Save hidden costs

A well-structured employee value proposition helps you stay ahead of your competition because it helps you find talent that shares similar values and vision.

A study by Edelman states that 59% of respondents said they looked for companies that share similar values to them. So, a successful employee value proposition has to match their goals and values.

A great employee value proposition can make your company a desirable landing point for an employee. It helps build a progressive and modern workplace that job seekers will find attractive.

3 – Employee Value Proposition vs. Employer Branding

There are many differences between an employee value proposition and employer branding.

An employee value proposition is more internal, whereas employer branding is external.

For example, an employee value proposition is what engages and motivates your employees to work for you. On the other hand, an employer brand is what differentiates you from your competitors.

In practice, a job seeker will gather information about your company on news, social media, or job boards. So, having unique employer branding policies helps you create an appealing identity for candidates.

Further, if employees experience a positive work environment, they’re more likely to become advocates and help you attract more good talent.

In short, employer branding is your external identity. An employee value proposition is what you offer to your employees when they work for your company.

4 – How to build good Employee Value Propositions

You may be wondering how to create a successful employee value proposition.

First, it’s important to understand the employee’s perspective. As mentioned before, employees want to work for companies that share similar values with them.

So, it’s safe to say that we live in a purpose-driven world. A place where money is not the only motivating factor for job seekers anymore.

Employees want to work for an organization they believe in and where their well-being is not compromised.

But, purpose alone will not help you retain great talent. Because as much as values are important to attract like-minded, they don’t provide for more basic needs. For example, food, housing, or mental well-being.

When you create your value proposition you need to make an internal audit to really define your company DNA and take decisions on how you want to build your team.

5 – Elements of the Employee Value Proposition

The Employee Value Proposition includes 5 elements:

  1. Compensation
  2. Benefits
  3. Career development
  4. Work environment
  5. Company culture

Compensation is crucial so you need to make sure you offer a competitive salary. To make sure you stay competitive, benchmark your salary with your competitors. You can use tools like TalentUp or LinkedIn to see if your salary matches the market level.

If you’re in The Netherlands or looking for Dutch talent, have a look at our salary report. If you’re based in other European countries, you can consult this report.

Of course, if you’re a startup you probably can’t match the market benchmark. In this case, you can look at other benefits such as bonuses, incentive plans, or non-monetary rewards.

The second element is perks and we are not talking about free snacks. Your perks need to be unique and fitting to your values.

For example, if one of your values is personal growth, then you can offer a training budget. Or, if you promote a healthy lifestyle, you can offer personal training (if you’re based in Amsterdam, check Fitee, one of the startups we mentor in our program).

A good employee is usually someone that is ready to learn and grow. When you create your EVP think about ways you can help your talent constantly develop. Create clear career growth paths, sponsor courses, offer books, and so on.

Another important element is the work environment. This includes team relationships, office space, and employee health.

Last, you need to think about your company culture which includes the general atmosphere, structure, decision-making process, communication style, and performance management.

6 – How to find good business developers

We are obsessed with helping business developers find the right companies where they can add value and shine. So we surveyed our community asking them what they find more important in their job.

Their insights helped us build a tool that you can use to attract the right business developers.

We call it the Business Developer’s Hierarchy of Needs and is modeled after the well-known Maslow’s pyramid of needs.

This model identifies the basic needs that motivate people such as physiological needs, security, social needs, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

the business development school - business developer's hierarchy of needs

At the top of the pyramid, we find purpose which satisfies the need for self-actualization. This is the highest need and refers to the need to fulfill our own potential. It’s a powerful one, however, it’s not possible to fulfill this need if we don’t satisfy first all the other ones.

This means, that if all you have for your employees is a strong vision, you won’t be able to retain your talent.

7 – How to apply the BDs hierarchy of needs

So how do you use this pyramid?

The first basic need for the BDs we interviewed is good working conditions and culture. They consider it more important than compensation because it satisfies basic needs for safety and security.

Create a positive work culture, fostering collaboration and communication. Make sure to have clear performance management processes and that your team is aligned with your goals.

The second important element for BDs is compensation which appeals to other basic needs like buying food or affording housing. Providing a market-level salary will help but don’t forget you can create more creative compensation packages that include other benefits.

Third in the BD’s hierarchy of needs is the team. Having a supportive team satisfies the needs for belonging and love. According to Harvard Business Review, high belonging is linked to 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days.

Next in order of importance for business developers is personal growth. This satisfies the individual need for prestige and gives a feeling of accomplishment. Create clear career paths and offer learning opportunities.

Last, a purpose-driven company satisfies the need for self-fulfillment. Purpose will motivate your business development team to stay engaged and work towards a common good helping with employee retention.

8 – Business development job description

When writing a job description, you can use the hierarchy of needs to make sure you attract the right business developers.

A well-structured job description starts from the top of the pyramid going down to the last step. Start by stating your vision, this will appeal to the sense of purpose of the right BDs.

Then move down explaining what they will personally gain from working with you in terms of personal growth. Mention what makes your team special and then move on to explaining more about the job itself.

List the qualities you’d like your candidate to have and be clear about the responsibilities and tasks of the job.

After you’ve specified their responsibilities and qualities, mention what they’ll receive in return. For example, the salary they’ll receive for their contribution. Or if there’s flexibility in working hours. Also, the type of learning opportunities they’ll have access to as an employee.

Further, the feedback they’ll have from their manager, and the type of team activities they will engage in.

With these tips, you’ll create an effective job description that is attractive to candidates.

9 – Job portals to promote your vacancy

Once you prepare your job description, it’s important to know which job portals to use.

One of the most relevant platforms is LinkedIn. The platform allows users to promote their credentials. So, you have access to profiles that are relevant to the job position.

There are currently 12,427 job postings for business development on LinkedIn. So, to get the best talent out there, it’s important to have a great job posting description.

To write an effective job posting on LinkedIn, make sure it’s keyword-driven. Also, it should mention the compensation and benefits. Further, it should be mobile-friendly and discuss company culture.

Then, you can filter out candidates based on their location and role keyword. From this, you can continue by filtering results based on the level of education.

The second platform you can use is Careerjet. On the site, there are currently 11,726 vacancies for business development.

If you’re a startup based in The Netherlands you can use Techleap. Another example of a job portal in The Netherlands is Indeed. To date, there are 23,173 vacancies for business development on the site. 7,228 postings are for the role of business developer.

So, there’s quite some competition to attract great talent.

But, with a good job description and employee value proposition, you can increase the chances of hiring the best candidates.

10 – Recruitment hacks

Finding the right candidates is a challenge, so you need to open more channels than simply advertising on job portals.

One helpful strategy to find good business developers is to join communities, for example, LinkedIn groups or job specific communities.

You can use these communities to get visibility on your startup and connect with like-minded people.

In the case of LinkedIn groups, you can also directly outreach to interesting profiles.

LinkedIn is also a good place to share the vacancy with your current network. You can write an inspirational post about the job and share it with your network.

Moreover, you can send direct messages to people in your network asking to reshare your post and get visibility.

Last, join career-related events and present your company. You can consider creating an event as well or participating as a speaker.

To sum up, if you want to attract the right candidates you need to start by deciding what company you want to build first. Then make sure you communicate effectively and match the expectations of your candidates.

Are you looking for business development pros and struggling?

Book a session with our team and get personalized tips to find the best team.

How can you find business developers? Read more about creating and using an employee value proposition to find the best talent.

A business developer plays a very important role in the growth of a company.

Business developers use their skills to build strategies and tactics that enable a business to meet its financial and non-financial targets.

But, there’s a lot of competition between companies to attract the best possible talent. And if you are a startup it’s even more complicated because you lack an important resource: competitive salaries.

There are 2 main reasons why good business developers are hard to find:

  1. Low barrier to entry: it’s not necessary to have a degree to become a business developer. This means the talent market is saturated with talent that’s not necessarily fit for business development.
  2. Lack of clarity: companies don’t always have clear expectations around business development. This means you might end up with the wrong person, executing the wrong strategies.

So how do you fix that?

You need to offer a 5-star experience to your potential employees from start to finish. This means that even before you promote your vacancy, you need to have a strong plan of action to maximize your chances to find the best business developers.

To make the process easier for you, we’ve created a guide that will help you create an attractive employee value proposition to find the best business development talent.

You will learn:

  1. What is an Employee Value Proposition
  2. Why you need an Employee Value Proposition
  3. Employee Value Proposition vs Employer Branding
  4. How to build good Employee Value Propositions
  5. Elements of the Employee Value Proposition
  6. How to find good business developers
  7. How to apply the BDs hierarchy of needs
  8. Business development job description
  9. Job portals to promote your vacancy
  10. Recruitment hacks

This will help you create a great work environment for your business development team.

1 – What is an Employee Value Proposition

One mistake companies make is to copy job descriptions they find online and directly promote their vacancies.

This is not the right way to attract business development talent.

Business development is a very broad field and your company has different needs than other companies out there. So you can’t just copy-paste a template and hope for the best.

Instead, you should build a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

So, what is it?

The Employee Value Proposition is an ecosystem of support, recognition, and values that an employer provides to employees to achieve their highest potential at work.

It’s a mix of culture, benefits, and characteristics provided to potential employees in return for their contribution. In short, it’s the intersection between what you expect from your BDs and what they expect from you.

2 – Why you need an employee value proposition

The Employee Value Proposition serves 4 main goals:

  1.   Attract the right talent
  2.   Align expectations
  3.   Retain talent
  4.   Save hidden costs

A well-structured employee value proposition helps you stay ahead of your competition because it helps you find talent that shares similar values and vision.

A study by Edelman states that 59% of respondents said they looked for companies that share similar values to them. So, a successful employee value proposition has to match their goals and values.

A great employee value proposition can make your company a desirable landing point for an employee. It helps build a progressive and modern workplace that job seekers will find attractive.

3 – Employee Value Proposition vs. Employer Branding

There are many differences between an employee value proposition and employer branding.

An employee value proposition is more internal, whereas employer branding is external.

For example, an employee value proposition is what engages and motivates your employees to work for you. On the other hand, an employer brand is what differentiates you from your competitors.

In practice, a job seeker will gather information about your company on news, social media, or job boards. So, having unique employer branding policies helps you create an appealing identity for candidates.

Further, if employees experience a positive work environment, they’re more likely to become advocates and help you attract more good talent.

In short, employer branding is your external identity. An employee value proposition is what you offer to your employees when they work for your company.

4 – How to build good Employee Value Propositions

You may be wondering how to create a successful employee value proposition.

First, it’s important to understand the employee’s perspective. As mentioned before, employees want to work for companies that share similar values with them.

So, it’s safe to say that we live in a purpose-driven world. A place where money is not the only motivating factor for job seekers anymore.

Employees want to work for an organization they believe in and where their well-being is not compromised.

But, purpose alone will not help you retain great talent. Because as much as values are important to attract like-minded, they don’t provide for more basic needs. For example, food, housing, or mental well-being.

When you create your value proposition you need to make an internal audit to really define your company DNA and take decisions on how you want to build your team.

5 – Elements of the Employee Value Proposition

The Employee Value Proposition includes 5 elements:

  1. Compensation
  2. Benefits
  3. Career development
  4. Work environment
  5. Company culture

Compensation is crucial so you need to make sure you offer a competitive salary. To make sure you stay competitive, benchmark your salary with your competitors. You can use tools like TalentUp or LinkedIn to see if your salary matches the market level.

If you’re in The Netherlands or looking for Dutch talent, have a look at our salary report. If you’re based in other European countries, you can consult this report.

Of course, if you’re a startup you probably can’t match the market benchmark. In this case, you can look at other benefits such as bonuses, incentive plans, or non-monetary rewards.

The second element is perks and we are not talking about free snacks. Your perks need to be unique and fitting to your values.

For example, if one of your values is personal growth, then you can offer a training budget. Or, if you promote a healthy lifestyle, you can offer personal training (if you’re based in Amsterdam, check Fitee, one of the startups we mentor in our program).

A good employee is usually someone that is ready to learn and grow. When you create your EVP think about ways you can help your talent constantly develop. Create clear career growth paths, sponsor courses, offer books, and so on.

Another important element is the work environment. This includes team relationships, office space, and employee health.

Last, you need to think about your company culture which includes the general atmosphere, structure, decision-making process, communication style, and performance management.

6 – How to find good business developers

We are obsessed with helping business developers find the right companies where they can add value and shine. So we surveyed our community asking them what they find more important in their job.

Their insights helped us build a tool that you can use to attract the right business developers.

We call it the Business Developer’s Hierarchy of Needs and is modeled after the well-known Maslow’s pyramid of needs.

This model identifies the basic needs that motivate people such as physiological needs, security, social needs, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

the business development school - business developer's hierarchy of needs

At the top of the pyramid, we find purpose which satisfies the need for self-actualization. This is the highest need and refers to the need to fulfill our own potential. It’s a powerful one, however, it’s not possible to fulfill this need if we don’t satisfy first all the other ones.

This means, that if all you have for your employees is a strong vision, you won’t be able to retain your talent.

7 – How to apply the BDs hierarchy of needs

So how do you use this pyramid?

The first basic need for the BDs we interviewed is good working conditions and culture. They consider it more important than compensation because it satisfies basic needs for safety and security.

Create a positive work culture, fostering collaboration and communication. Make sure to have clear performance management processes and that your team is aligned with your goals.

The second important element for BDs is compensation which appeals to other basic needs like buying food or affording housing. Providing a market-level salary will help but don’t forget you can create more creative compensation packages that include other benefits.

Third in the BD’s hierarchy of needs is the team. Having a supportive team satisfies the needs for belonging and love. According to Harvard Business Review, high belonging is linked to 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days.

Next in order of importance for business developers is personal growth. This satisfies the individual need for prestige and gives a feeling of accomplishment. Create clear career paths and offer learning opportunities.

Last, a purpose-driven company satisfies the need for self-fulfillment. Purpose will motivate your business development team to stay engaged and work towards a common good helping with employee retention.

8 – Business development job description

When writing a job description, you can use the hierarchy of needs to make sure you attract the right business developers.

A well-structured job description starts from the top of the pyramid going down to the last step. Start by stating your vision, this will appeal to the sense of purpose of the right BDs.

Then move down explaining what they will personally gain from working with you in terms of personal growth. Mention what makes your team special and then move on to explaining more about the job itself.

List the qualities you’d like your candidate to have and be clear about the responsibilities and tasks of the job.

After you’ve specified their responsibilities and qualities, mention what they’ll receive in return. For example, the salary they’ll receive for their contribution. Or if there’s flexibility in working hours. Also, the type of learning opportunities they’ll have access to as an employee.

Further, the feedback they’ll have from their manager, and the type of team activities they will engage in.

With these tips, you’ll create an effective job description that is attractive to candidates.

9 – Job portals to promote your vacancy

Once you prepare your job description, it’s important to know which job portals to use.

One of the most relevant platforms is LinkedIn. The platform allows users to promote their credentials. So, you have access to profiles that are relevant to the job position.

There are currently 12,427 job postings for business development on LinkedIn. So, to get the best talent out there, it’s important to have a great job posting description.

To write an effective job posting on LinkedIn, make sure it’s keyword-driven. Also, it should mention the compensation and benefits. Further, it should be mobile-friendly and discuss company culture.

Then, you can filter out candidates based on their location and role keyword. From this, you can continue by filtering results based on the level of education.

The second platform you can use is Careerjet. On the site, there are currently 11,726 vacancies for business development.

If you’re a startup based in The Netherlands you can use Techleap. Another example of a job portal in The Netherlands is Indeed. To date, there are 23,173 vacancies for business development on the site. 7,228 postings are for the role of business developer.

So, there’s quite some competition to attract great talent.

But, with a good job description and employee value proposition, you can increase the chances of hiring the best candidates.

10 – Recruitment hacks

Finding the right candidates is a challenge, so you need to open more channels than simply advertising on job portals.

One helpful strategy to find good business developers is to join communities, for example, LinkedIn groups or job specific communities.

You can use these communities to get visibility on your startup and connect with like-minded people.

In the case of LinkedIn groups, you can also directly outreach to interesting profiles.

LinkedIn is also a good place to share the vacancy with your current network. You can write an inspirational post about the job and share it with your network.

Moreover, you can send direct messages to people in your network asking to reshare your post and get visibility.

Last, join career-related events and present your company. You can consider creating an event as well or participating as a speaker.

To sum up, if you want to attract the right candidates you need to start by deciding what company you want to build first. Then make sure you communicate effectively and match the expectations of your candidates.

Are you looking for business development pros and struggling?

Book a session with our team and get personalized tips to find the best team.

Sign up for weekly content, tips, and strategies on business development!

Author

Egzon Syla

Content Writer at The BD School

I’m a passionate storyteller who believes in the power of the written word. I like creating content that is relatable, honest and original to help you become a more successful business development pro.

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