We spent some time catching up with Rebecca Roy, one of our Business Development Managers, to find out a little bit more about the role and what challenges she faces on a day to day basis.
Hi Rebecca, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us and giving us an insight into your world. Let’s start with an overview of what your job entails.
Well the simple answer to the question, “What does a Business Development Manager do?” is drive business growth into the company. While there’s a misconception that it’s all about selling in reality what we do is relationship building, and that’s particularly true in the payroll industry. The ability to gain the trust of our potential customers before they actually sign on the dotted line, matters so much as we’re speaking about a 6-12 month buying cycle, if not longer. That’s why building trust and relationships is so important as our work is about people and finding solutions, it’s not a purely sales focus approach. At activpayroll that’s the main way we differentiate ourselves from our competitors, we see it as a process where they are buying from us as people, and not just a faceless product or tech solution.
How did you get into business development?
In all honesty I sort of fell into it, I mean does anyone actually mean to get into sales?! [laughs] For me I was working in a large hotel chain and in my role there I found that there were some aspects of selling and upselling which I really enjoyed. My manager at the time identified my talent in the area of business development and suggested that I focus my energies in that area. It seemed like a great suggestion and so I worked hard to build up experience and was fortunate enough to participate in a sales academy programme. And while I hadn’t had any direct sales experience, I guess I was lucky in that my background in spa management meant relationship building was always really important.
How do you start your day?
Some days it feels like there’s no real start or stop. As we are a global business, I’ll sometimes have a 3am meeting with a potential customer. One constant though is that whatever time I start work it’s with a very large coffee while I check the enquiries inbox. The best thing is that no day is the same, I love the variety and the flexibility that business development has to offer.
Do you have set tasks that need done every day/week?
Not really, I could go straight into an intro or sale demo call one day or be picking up client requests the next. There’s no set structure to any day but there is always lots of admin to do! What is true though is that you need to be confident in your abilities to plan your own schedule as it’s important to know your priorities and deadlines.
I can honestly say there’s never a boring day as I love the freedom and reactiveness of the job. It calls for someone who’s not too rigid, that can be flexible enough to fit into whatever comes along.
Is there anything that can either make or break your day?
Running out of caffeine! Seriously though so much can change we need to think on our feet and be able to react and mitigate any problems. You can’t dwell on the negative you have to use it as an opportunity to learn lessons and move on.
No-one wins 100% of the business that they pitch for because not every potential customer will be the right fit for us, or us for them. We pride ourselves on our honesty at activpayroll, and always try to not over promise. It’s important to us that we are a good match!
What’s your favourite thing about your role?
I love the fact that every day is different and really relish the diversity. We speak to so many different types of people from so many different countries and in different parts of the business. Nothing beats being able to help people and see their reactions when you can offer them the perfect solution.
How has hybrid working benefited you in your role?
On a professional level it’s great as I don’t work a traditional 9-5. I can be in a meeting at 7am so working from home means I benefit from not having to factor in travel time. Personally, it works in my favour too as it means when I’m finished for the day I’m already at home. This is especially important as I have a young child and it gives me more precious time with him.
However it’s also great to have the opportunity to go into the office as face to face is often the best approach when it comes to meeting customers– nothing beats the personal touch.
When you’re not at work how do you like to spend your time?
The most important thing for me is spending time with family and friends. My priority is my little boy, so we spend lots of time at soft play centres and meeting up with friends. Basically we spend the weekends together having fun!
What advice would you give anyone looking to get into your industry?
If you think you’d be suited to Business Development I’d say, take the leap. You definitely need to be a jack of all trades, you need to know your industry and have a good understanding of IT. Wherever you work remember that change is part and parcel of any business, so you need to love learning and be prepared to keep up to date with all the latest innovations. But when all is said and done it’s about relationships so if you’re a people person go for it.
My philosophy is simple, people buy from people - never forget that and you won’t go far wrong!
Thank you for your time. It’s been great finding out more about business development and the importance you place on building relationships to find the perfect solution for your customers.