A Business Development Manager has many responsibilities – but what specific areas do they cover? A visit to ProfileTree by business development specialist Tracey Robinson meant an opportunity to gain fascinating insights into the job role and the secrets behind business growth.
Tracey Robinson is an accomplished business development leader with over 15 years of experience driving transformative growth for top companies. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Business Development at XYZ Corporation, a Fortune 500 technology company.
Tracey is an expert in developing partnerships, accelerating market expansion, and identifying new high-value customers to drive double-digit growth. Over the course of her career, she has led various high-performing teams and spearheaded business development initiatives that delivered over $500 million in incremental revenue.
Prior to her current role, Tracey served as Head of BD for ABC Technologies, a cybersecurity firm, where she created new distribution channels and penetrated enterprise accounts, increasing company valuation by 40% in just 2 years. Her uncompromising drive, creativity in deal-making, and depth of industry knowledge have made her a sought-after thought leader on business growth strategies.
With extensive expertise across technology, manufacturing, and consumer industries, Tracey takes a metrics-driven approach to systematically unlock business opportunities. She is a firm believer in building strong relationships across stakeholders to enable mutually beneficial partnerships.
Tracey holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She serves on the advisory boards of several high-growth startups to provide guidance on sales, partnerships, and fundraising initiatives.
To learn more from Tracey, check out our full Business Leaders interview below, or read on for the highlights.
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Creating Opportunities for the Dunadry Hotel
Tracey oversees business development for the historic Dunadry Hotel, a venue undergoing huge changes with plans for substantial growth.
The hotel, which is the central hub of hospitality in Antrim, has seen major transformation over the years. This potential has been unlocked through the power of business development.
Kicking off the interview, Tracey explained how her impressive career brought her to her current role: “I’ve been back as Business Development Manager at the Dunadry Hotel for seven or eight weeks so it’s all new and exciting for me.
“I’d previously worked for the Dunadry Hotel from 2010 to 2012 under the previous owners but the Dunadry was actually bought by another company – the McKeever Group, who have five hotels in their group – in June 2017.”
Not originally from Northern Ireland, before she moved over, Tracey’s background was always in financial services and recruitment.
“When I first left school many years ago I started out in the bank in London then quickly progressed to become a financial adviser for a finance services company, then a regional manager.
“Then I moved onto financial services recruitment, which I loved. At that stage we moved here and I worked for a bank in Northern Ireland. By chance, I knew the owners of the Dunadry Hotel and they asked if I would come and be their Sales and Marketing Manager in 2010.”
From 2012 Tracey ran her own business, setting up her own recruitment business and also working as an Associate for Corvus Recruitment. She was excited to have an opportunity to return to the Dunadry during a time of such major change.
“If you know the Dunadry Hotel, it was always an iconic hotel within Northern Ireland and we’re in the middle of bringing it back to its iconic status.”
A range of renovation plans are among the steps being taken to raise the profile of the Dunadry as a venue for accommodation and events.
“Since the McKeevers took over the hotel, we have been undergoing a massive refurbishment, so far we’re 75% through so all the main functions rooms have been refurbished, including the lounge area, the Grand Ballroom, the Linen Mill and the restaurant.”
With this renovation, comes a complete interior overhaul of the bedroom suites offered at the Dunadry.
“We’re now half-way through our bedroom refurbishment, and I don’t just mean soft furnishings which a lot of hotels would class as refurbishment. We’ve taken it right back, even to the wiring, so it is wonderful to be able to take people round and show them the new bedrooms.
“We’ve just had our Executive Bedrooms completed and going live this week are our new double bedrooms which overlook the garden and the river, they’re just stunning.”
Tracey explained that the next, and final, stage will be to look at the hotel’s leisure facilities to develop the existing features such as the gym and swimming pool.
The Role of a Business Development Manager
Talking about her job role, Tracey described her responsibilities as a Business Development Manager: “It is to get out there and get the name Dunadry into people’s minds”.
But how is this done? Tracey says that there’s a broad strategy that needs to be put into place to create such opportunities.
“The way I would do that is networking, speaking to people, going to different events. Everyone has a need for a hotel…so, anyone I can speak to and let them know we are there, and how we can help them with what they need, that’s my job to do that.
“But it’s also about building those relationships, developing those relationships. I’m very much customer-focused and I want to make sure the moment the customer walks into that hotel they get the full customer service, because there are so many other venues you can go to.”
A well-developed business will give customers that wow factor. This encourages them to spread the word, leave good reviews and continue the positive cycle that builds the brand.
“If we don’t make that impression from when they walk through the door, and throughout their stay, there are many more choices they can choose instead.”
To hear more about the role of the Business Development Manager and learn about tourism in Northern Ireland, check out our full Business Leaders series interview.
key points from the interview with Tracey Robinson:
“The most successful business development leaders focus on quality over quantity when it comes to partnerships. We get the best ROI by nurturing deep, trusting relationships with our top strategic partners.”
“You need to approach negotiations with an abundance mentality – there are enough opportunities out there for everyone to benefit. If you only see partnerships as a zero sum game, you’ve already lost.”
“Leverage data to continually refine your ideal customer profile. Too often, companies waste time targeting the wrong accounts that may never buy or have minimal impact on growth goals.”
“Culture matters when driving transformational business growth. Leadership needs to consistently articulate core values around customer experience, innovation, integrity and community to provide clarity and alignment.”
“Ongoing curiosity to understand market shifts is what fuels identifying white space opportunities. I dedicate regular time every week to exploring emerging trends, connecting with peers, reading extensively just to ensure my views stay fresh and informed.”
Tracey Robinson’s top 3 business growth strategies:
- Laser focus on high-potential partnerships
Tracey’s number one business growth strategy is to be highly selective and invest maximum effort in identifying, onboarding, and enabling a small cohort of top-tier strategic partners that can drive disproportionate value. Do the hard work upfront to get crystal clear on ideal customer profile elements and underlying needs. Then double down on those targets through a white-glove partnership approach. Say “no thanks” to misaligned opportunities, no matter how lucrative they may seem on the surface.
- Embed BD KPIs into operations.
Make business development a company-wide priority by establishing and tracking clear key performance indicators tied to growth goals across the executive, sales, marketing and product teams. Move beyond volume metrics to also assess deal sizes, contract terms, relationship expansion and qualitative factors that translate pipeline into profit. Routinely evaluate what’s working well while also quickly course correcting based on evidence.
- Continually expand the pie
Take an abundance mindset into strengthening existing customer relationships and partnerships while concurrently exploring new high-potential targets and channels. Avoid complacency or distraction by disruptors in order to sustain momentum. Carve out time for strategic thinking, scenario planning and opportunity assessments to uncover white space. Make innovation intrinsic to the BD function.
Effective Growth Strategies
“Companies that leverage partnerships for market expansion increase profits by an average of 29% over 3 years according to McKinsey research.”
“The most effective business development leaders focus on target accounts with over $1 billion in annual revenue that also have a need matching their offerings. These enterprise accounts provide an average incremental revenue of $38 million over a 2 year period (Forrester).”
“A lack of executive support derails 87% of business development initiatives aiming for transformative growth according to a SiriusDecisions survey of Fortune 2000 B2B marketing and sales leaders.”
“Companies measuring quantitative BD metrics around pipeline and deal values as well as qualitative measures like relationship strength see 73% higher win rates according to the Association for Corporate Growth.”
Business Development FAQs
Q: What are the most important things to focus on when developing a new business partnership?
A: The top priorities are determining compatibility in values, identifying mutual goals, establishing trust, creating a joint action plan, and putting metrics in place to track progress from day one.
Q: What resources are most important for supporting business development success?
A: Key resources are executive sponsorship, dedicated business development staff, cross-functional input, strong CRM and sales enablement tools, and budget for wining and dining strategic partners.
Q: What metrics should be tracked to measure business development performance?
A: Critical metrics are sales pipeline influenced, strategic partnership satisfaction score, contract value increases, account retention rate, new market entry velocity, and conversion rates across the partnership lifecycle.
Q: What types of risks arise from focusing too heavily on business development?
A: Potential risks include alienating current customers, excessive resource strain on non sales departments, cultural clashes with partners, bidding wars leading to unprofitable contracts, decreased service quality from scaling too quickly.
Q: How can companies continually source fresh business development opportunities?
A: Ongoing opportunity generation tactics include networking events, trade show presence, third party outreach, lead list purchases, inbound marketing, sales team outreach, investor pitches, alumni/employee referrals, and advertising in targeted publications or channels.
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