Before Hiring the Right Business Developer Ask these Questions

You may enjoy those exquisite coffee drinks at Starbucks. But do you know that bottled coffee drinks and other foods make up nearly 10% of Starbucks revenue? Have you ever wondered how these Frappuccinos are in the first place on store shelves?

You may enjoy those exquisite coffee drinks at Starbucks. But do you know that bottled coffee drinks and other foods make up nearly 10% of Starbucks revenue? Have you ever wondered how these Frappuccinos are in the first place on store shelves?

In fact, they are there as a result of a business development agreement. In 1994, Starbucks partnered with PepsiCo to distribute pre-packaged coffee products for PepsiCo and PepsiCo took the opportunity to tap into the non-alcoholic drinks market.

This situation may seem simple, but such a win-win deal requires the skills of great business development staff. Having the right business development talent is critical to the early stages of your business. If you want to grow your budding business, you need a business developer who has a clear vision and know-how.

Unless you are very fortunate, this person is unlikely to just walk around your office. Instead, you have to find candidates that fit your company’s vision and strategy, which means sketching out your partner strategy and thoroughly reviewing applicants.

Once you are ready to actively look for candidates, you may find yourself wondering what to ask. Previous joint venture experience or business strategy and networking skills are a broad area to consider when evaluating candidates. In addition, here are four specific questions you should ask. In my own business, each question helped me find people who can support my company’s growth.

1. “What business partnership deals have you secured in the past?”

The right candidate will know how to develop, maintain, and strengthen business partnership transactions. Ask about past experience in researching, negotiating and ending these transactions. You can also ask about the contract structure of the transaction, the trading industry, and the processes involved. The more specific, the better the information you receive.

With this question in mind, your ultimate goal is to analyze the candidate’s past experience and core skills for your company’s strategy. There are very few provisions for the development of large commercial partnerships, so suitable candidates should flourish in a vague work environment.

2. “Who’s on your business network?”

When interviewing candidates, we often ask where they work or what they do. Also, ask “who is on your business network?” Can help you analyze their strength. The ideal candidate should have great contact or know how to set up them.

For example, if you plan to work for 10 specific companies, ask how quickly your potential hires can reach the right people in these companies. Not all candidates can meet quickly with a vice president or marketing manager, so their goal is to hire people who are competent.

3. “Tell me about a time you created and successfully executed a business development strategy.”

In addition to providing a series of impressive contacts, your potential hiring should be strategic mind and determined. Developing business partnerships involves a great deal of behind-the-scenes work. If one business developer believes that making these deals mean only having a one coffee meeting with a chief executive and signing a contract, he or she may not be right for your business.

Tesla Motors and Panasonic, for example, are teamed up to build a giant factory to increase battery supply. This agreement, which is almost a year away, shows that even celebrities with entrepreneurial positions take the time to dig into the details of business partnerships.

4. “Can you talk tech in easy-to-understand ways?”

Although your candidate is not necessarily a technical rock star, he or she needs to be able to communicate with the various departments. If the job is technical, look for candidates that bridge the gap between the technological and non-technological worlds. The right people will be good at explaining technical concepts to non-technical people (and vice versa).

You may be at the cutting edge of your first true business partnership deal and having a great team member may mean the difference between protecting and losing that agreement. Define your strategy to begin reviewing candidates by analyzing core skills, assessing past experience and raising the right questions. By hiring the right people, you can accelerate your growth by maximizing the opportunities for close relationships.


  1. if you plan to target 10 specific companies for partnerships, ask your potential hire how quickly he or she could put you in touch with the appropriate people at those companies.

    Liked by 1 person

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