The interview is a key step in the hiring process for business development managers, whose primary responsibility is to grow a business by making connections and building relationships. Through a face-to-face interview, the hiring manager can assess how the candidate holds themselves and their level of confidence with the tasks associated with the position.
Walking into an interview for a business development manager position requires thoughtful preparation. In this article, we share 34 common interview questions that are asked of business development managers. We also include suggestions for how to respond to a few of the most common business development manager interview questions as well as sample answers to give you ideas of how you should frame your own responses.
Related: How to Prepare for an Interview
These questions help an interview understand your personality and background.
- What motivates you in your work?
- What is your educational background? What did you most enjoy about school?
- Why do you enjoy business development?
- What do you enjoy the most and least about teamwork?
- What qualities do you think make someone a good salesperson?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?
- What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
- What's your favorite book?
- Tell me what your ideal work environment looks like.
Questions about experience and background
These questions are designed to help the interview learn more about your background and whether you're qualified to complete the tasks associated with the position.
- How has your background prepared you for sales?
- Have you ever had to sell a product you didn't believe in?
- What's the most satisfying deal you've achieved?
- How do you use technology in your job?
- Describe the process you follow for business development.
- What are the sales techniques you've used in the past? Which do you find to be the most effective? Which were the least effective?
- Have you ever trained junior staff?
- Tell me what business intelligence tools or systems you've worked with.
- Explain to me a time you did not meet your goal.
- What makes you the most qualified person for this job?
These questions help the interviewer gain a more in-depth experience regarding the strategies you've used in the past and your leadership style.
- What would you do if one of your prospects was continually finding excuses to avoid you?
- What would you do if you found out that one of your customers was testing out one of our competitor's products?
- If you had to sell our product, what are two questions you would ask to understand the needs of potential buyers?
- What do you think are the three most important factors when evaluating a deal?
- Describe a situation in which you've had to improvise.
- How do you measure success?
- How do you turn a lead into a long-term relationship? How do you decide which leads are worth pursuing?
- Pick something in this room and then sell me on it.
- How do you sell unpopular ideas to people?
- Tell me about a time you used analysis to make a business-critical decision. Walk me through that analysis and outcome.
Interview questions with sample answers
Here are some common interview questions that business development managers are often asked along with suggestions to guide your responses and sample answers.
Describe how you balance finding new customers with retaining existing ones.
This question is designed to help the interviewer assess your task management skills. It will also help them evaluate how successful you are at managing multiple relationships for business development. Nothing you do as a business development manager should be random. You should always have a fully developed plan for how you are going to manage multiple relationships. A great response to this question will show that you are methodical in how you maintain relationships while finding new customers.
Example: "I am entirely dependent on the company's CMS and a calendar for balancing my time. Each time I speak to a client or prospect, I enter the details of that conversation into the CMS and schedule a date and time in my calendar when I want to follow up with them. I also block out time every day on my calendar for when I'm going to be reaching out to new potential prospects, and then I put that information into the CMS and schedule follow-ups in the calendar. By taking those steps after every touch and systemizing my process, no client or prospect is even forgotten."
Describe a time when you lost a sale or client.
This question is designed to assess how well you can handle rejection. A great answer discusses a specific situation in which you lost a sale or client, what you learned from the experience and what you did differently moving forward. Touch only briefly on what caused you to lose the sale or client and move quickly on to what you learned from the experience.
Example: "We once lost a client because we weren't communicating with them properly. Unfortunately, weeks went by and no one spoke to the client or updated them on the status of their project. When that happened, we sat down as a team and created a plan for who would perform status updates and when those would occur. We also had a person who was responsible for making sure those happened to ensure none were overlooked, particularly for active projects. We took responsibility for the error, apologized, created a system to ensure it never happened again and moved forward."
What steps you do take to analyze trends and identify new opportunities?
The company wants to hire a candidate who is committed to continually monitoring for new markets to stay on top of all potential new opportunities. This question assesses whether a candidate is forward-thinking and can identify innovative growth opportunities. Your answer should demonstrate evidence that you're well-informed, committed to looking for innovative, forward-thinking opportunities and are always monitoring emerging trends.
Example: "While the majority of my day is spent on developing new relationships and nurturing relationships with my current clients, I block out an hour every morning to review industry news and publications and research future possibilities to see what new and interesting opportunities could be emerging."
What is your management style?
Because this is a management role, the interviewer needs to assess how you plan to grow and develop a team. A good answer also covers how you delegate responsibilities. A great answer includes specific strategies you've used in the past to develop a team.
Example: "I believe one of the most important parts of growing a team is making sure each member understands their roles and knows they can depend on each other. I am also a big believer in real-time feedback. If you make a mistake, you should know it immediately. Constructive criticism is integral to success for team members and I believe this should be done regularly, not just when it's time for an annual or bi-annual review."