Working in Sales and Business Development

This is a guest post writing by Inspiring Interns.

Quick fire quiz! Do you know the difference between sales and business development? The two share similarities, but ultimately they are two separate careers with their own perks and potential. Read on to find out what each has to offer and whether it’s right for you.


With starting salaries anywhere between £18k and £24k + commission, a job in this field gives ambitious graduates an opportunity to learn big and earn big. The abbreviation ‘OTE’ on job specifications highlights how much you can expect to earn if your sales are on target or exceed them. You will need to have confidence, charisma and communication skills to succeed in a sales role and it can be a good place to start your career. The transferable and business skills you can learn and the networking opportunities that form an integral part of selling could open doors for future employment in a variety of areas. Starting a career in sales will connect you with different people and you could find yourself specialising in marketing, account management, business development, events or promotions to name a few. Skills such as presenting and being able to work to a deadline and under pressure are great strings to add to your bow.

Business development

Similar to sales, internships and graduate jobs in “biz dev” are after people full of personality who are able to create partnerships and meaningful business relationships that they can maintain to secure further future business opportunities.

If you think a career in consulting or strategy might be for you, biz dev is a strong place to start. It also sits firmly on the line between sales and marketing, so executive or management positions in one of these industries could also be on the cards. Biz dev is concerned with acquiring new customers and selling these (and returning) customers a ‘product’. It focuses on market expansion, brand placement and industry awareness – all of which are primary concerns in the world of marketing. If you possess entrepreneurial spirit and are keen to get hands-on experience developing and growing a business, biz dev is an ideal choice. You could be in a start-up in Shoreditch’s Tech City or you could be working within a bigger corporation and learning from some key figures in the industry. If you’ve got fresh ideas and a willingness to learn and really get stuck in, there are lots of possibilities out there.

Take it further

Experience taking on roles in sales and biz dev will potentially open up doors to host of industries, offering a multitude of possible career paths. If you’re particularly passionate about a certain industry or role, it’s likely to have a sales and/or biz dev area that you could branch out into. Don’t stop here, make sure you do your research about the availability and requirements for positions and check out Inspiring Interns if you’re keen to be matched to relevant opportunities. Pioneers of the video CV, Inspiring Interns can help you inject a bit of personality into the process.

Do your research

Doing your research on the industry you’re applying to is a great way to impress potential employers so make sure you know your stuff! Find out more about the difference between sales and biz dev careers and find a wealth of information on careers in every sector including what you should be reading, the companies you should be looking at and how to apply via the National Careers Service. Employers will be looking for you to put your research and knowledge into practice in an interview situation, so make sure you read around the subject.


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