Business Development Interview

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Business Development Interview

Business development is the "arm" of a sales team that focuses on identifying and developing new business opportunities. Business Development Representatives (BDRs) are often tasked with generating leads and qualifying prospects to pass on to the sales team to close. They do this through email outreach, social media messaging, cold calling, and other methods of prospecting. As such, they're often the first person on the team to interact with a prospect and are responsible for making a great first impression.

A business development interview should factor in the candidate's ability to create a positive first impression, perform cold outreach activities, develop relationships with potential clients, work well within a team and toward quarterly goals, and demonstrate mastery of the tools required for their role. And the best way to assess their skills is through interview questions.

Why Business Development Interview Questions?

Interview questions for a business development role are there to assess a candidate's proficiency in key areas like making a positive first impression, cold outreach, client relationship building, teamwork, goal achievement, and the mastery of vital outreach tools. These skills are required for a BDR as they impact interactions, lead generation, client conversion, team collaboration, and task efficiency. Questions designed to evaluate such skills provide insight into how the candidate will perform in the role and contribute to the company's success.

Entry-level business development interview questions will differ slightly from more senior levels, but the core topics remain the same. Since entry-level BDRs are probably fresh out of school, off an internship, or a sales boot camp, their interview questions should be focused on demonstrating a solid understanding of the key skills required to perform basic functions and be coachable as well as show potential to develop further with training and experience. On the other hand, senior business development candidates should have a proven track record in achieving goals, building relationships, and utilizing tools effectively.

Some common topics that may be covered in a business development interview include:

  • Familiarity with customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • Understanding of key performance indicators (KPIs) and how they relate to business development goals
  • Demonstrated ability to develop relationships with potential clients and nurture those relationships for future business opportunities
  • Experience working as part of a team and achieving team goals
  • Knowledge of industry trends and competition in the market
  • Proficiency in using social media tools like LinkedIn for prospecting and outreach
  • Ability to adapt to changing situations and think creatively to overcome challenges
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, with an emphasis on active listening and building rapport with clients
  • Familiarity with different sales techniques, such as consultative selling or solution selling
  • Capability to prioritize tasks and manage time effectively in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to handle rejection and maintain a positive attitude throughout the sales process.

If you're looking for a resource to provide questions for your BDR interviews, check out Pillar's interview questions library. We have over 1000 questions tailored to uncover candidate insights for your key roles. The questions can be added to our interview intelligence software with just a couple of clicks making interview prep a cinch!

Business Development Interview Questions

Business development has one goal, to drive new revenue opportunities - A.K.A leads to sales. To ensure each candidate is fully equipped before getting an offer most companies will put them through a comprehensive 5- to 6-step interview process specifically tailored to assess them. Often, the first interview will be a screening in which HR, a hiring manager, or a recruiter will ask the basic business development interview questions to ensure the candidate is qualified. Second, they may be asked to interview with a panel covering the skills, techniques, and tools the company used to generate new business. Some organizations include a case study or presentation step, requiring candidates to create and deliver a pitch on one of the company's products. A case study business development interview is where the hiring manager will give them an ideal customer profile (ICP) to create targeted outreach messaging for, a script to memorize, a CRM function to perform, or some other varied tasks involved in day-to-day prospecting and then analyze the results with a team or hiring manager.

For the final interviews, they may be asked to do a personality test like the Myers Briggs, Predictive Index, or 16Personalities. The reason for this is team fit. The hiring manager and team want to be sure the applicant will fit well into a culture where they can do great work and thrive. Behavioral interviews are also common, aiming to understand how candidates handle various situations they might encounter in the role.

Here are some sales and business development interview questions to get you started:

  • "How do you prioritize your tasks and manage your time effectively in a fast-paced environment? Do you have any systems or tools that you use?"
  • "Can you give an example of how you have utilized social media tools like LinkedIn for prospecting and outreach? Walk us through an example - what did you do and what were the results?"
  • "What is your experience with customer relationship management (CRM) software?"
  • "What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you think are most important for business development? How do they relate to the overall goals of the company?"
  • "Tell us about a time when you faced rejection during the sales process. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?"
  • "How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends and competition in the market? Give an example of how this knowledge has helped you in your role as a business development professional."
  • "Can you walk us through a successful relationship you have built with a potential client? How did you nurture that relationship and what was the outcome?"
  • "Can you walk us through an unsuccessful example as well?"
  • "How do you handle working as part of a team? Can you give an example of how your contribution helped achieve team goals?"
  • "What sales techniques are you most familiar and comfortable with? And how have they helped you reach targets and sales objectives?"

These questions are foundational to a business development candidate's ability to understand the role and perform well in it. There are many levels in "Biz Dev." As we mentioned earlier, the questions you ask an entry-level person are far different from those asked of a VP of business development.

VP of business development interview questions and answers should be more about rallying a team, training, coaching, and leadership. They should focus on the candidate's network, sales frameworks, and closing methodologies. For instance, if you asked a question like: "What sales framework do you use?" A good answer would be to describe how the candidate has used MEDDIC in the past. MEDDIC stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain points, and Champion. This is a common sales methodology that shows the company if they have a well-defined decision-making process. Again, you can access over 1000 of these types of questions in our interview questions library. Check out Pillar's interview intelligence to hear more.

Business Development Interview Questions With Answers

Preparing for a business development interview should be quite simple. Review the candidate's resume, LinkedIn profile, and any examples of their work in the past. Take note of their sales experience, any awards or achievements they have received, and their overall demeanor and communication style. This will give you an idea of what to expect during the interview and help guide your questions.

Here are some examples of business development interview questions with possible answers:

  • "How do you handle rejection during the sales process?"

Possible answer: "I understand that rejection is a natural part of the sales process and I don't take it personally. I use it as an opportunity to learn and improve my approach."

  • "How do you prioritize your tasks and manage your time effectively in a fast-paced environment?"

Possible answer: "I like to use a combination of tools, such as task lists, calendars, and project management software. This helps me stay organized and on top of my tasks and deadlines."

  • "Can you tell us about a time when you had to think outside the box to close a deal?"

Possible answer: "In my previous role, I had a potential client who was hesitant to commit. I suggested offering a free trial period and providing them with personalized support during that time. This helped build trust and ultimately made them a long-term client."

  • "How do you stay updated on industry trends and competition in the market?"

Possible answer: "I make sure to regularly attend industry events, read relevant publications, and stay connected with professionals in the field. This helps me understand the current landscape and identify potential growth opportunities."

In conclusion, preparing for business development interviews boils down to mastering the basics and assessing candidates on the brevity of their answers. You can view more business development interview tips in the ebooks & guides section on our blog or book your demo of our interview intelligence software to see how AI can help you uncover candidate insights that fuel better hiring decisions. Happy Hiring!