Case study

Business development manager — Alex Giddings

Alex gained a degree in business studies at the University of Plymouth. Find out how he secured his role as a business development manager for The Access Group

How did you get your job?

I bumped into a former colleague who had moved on to work for The Access Group. We had a brief chat, I wished him well and thought nothing of it until the next day, when the sales director of Access Healthcare contacted me. He invited me to have an interview for a sales role in his expanding team - the rest is history.

What's a typical day like as a business development manager?

Sales is all about consistency and progression, and while each day is varied and comes with its own challenges, my main goal is moving deals forward. Usually, each day consists of navigating through a prospective client's buying cycle, reviewing requirements, presenting solutions, resolving doubts, mitigating risks and demonstrating the value over costs. All of this involves typical sales activities such as calls, meetings, proposals, exploring functionality and ultimately, securing the contract for the business.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I really love the challenge that comes with the role. Each day I have to overcome a number of obstacles to keep up with the competitive nature of the industry. Problem solving is a core part of this job, and while it can be difficult, it's nice to be mentally challenged. You can't stand still in this industry and you need to continually review and evolve to be successful, and I enjoy doing this.

What are the challenges?

The care sector is very competitive, our clients have tight margins and have to see value in both the financial savings and quality of care delivered. This requires a lot of work at every stage of the process, along with a good understanding of the client's individual problems and the ability to explain how our software can fix them. Some sales cycles can be longer, deals have layers of complexity and negotiations can be protracted, so we need to build trust from the start.

In what way is your degree relevant?

Business studies gave me a great foundation for problem solving, which is crucial in this industry. In sales, you have to think laterally, be able to work as a team and adapt quickly to any situation. My degree, and ongoing development, helped me learn all of this and is the reason I am able to evolve now.

How has your role developed?

The Access Group's Health and Social Care division has grown significantly over the past few years and has brought with it new processes, systems and a wider team. Alongside all of this comes a number of new opportunities and challenges that help us learn new skills and refine existing ones.

While my title may have stayed the same during this time, my role is far more dynamic and exciting than it was when I started. Now, I have the opportunity to work on much more complicated deals and mentor new starters to get them up to speed.

How do I get into business development?

If you want to know whether you can succeed in sales, you first need to examine your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest about the areas you need to improve. You need to be proactive, if you stand still in business development you will be left behind.

Decide on what you want your end goal to be and set out a number of small achievable wins that will help you get there, then repeat this as many times as you need. There is no point trying to fake it, be yourself in a way that is natural to your own personality and be honest, then you will gain your customers’ trust.

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