Understanding the Role of the Business Development Manager (BDM)
Essential tools at the BDM’s disposal for success and good leadership toward the team goals include a clear understanding of what IS and IS NOT their responsibility. The duties assigned to your BDM will determine whether you find daily, consistent, top performance and continued growth within the department.
Only through a clear understanding of the BDM’s role, execution of the duties, and fulfillment of all responsibilities, will you see consistent success and an ever-increasing amount of showroom traffic driven by these opportunities. First, let’s examine the several things that are the BDM’s responsibility.
Lead by example, set the pace
The BDM represents your dealership with pride and professionalism always. Pride and professionalism are not only shown, or displayed when communicating with people outside the dealership; it also extends to every member of the dealership staff, especially the BDC staff. The BDRs will do what they see, not what they hear – the BDM lights the fire within the BDRs, not under them.
In the case of a phone call that the BDR cannot close, when the call exceeds 4 or 5 minutes and is still unappointed, it needs to be turned over to the BDM in real time, so that the BDM may overcome the objection and close it. The BDM should convert it into a training opportunity by allowing the BDR to listen to the close.
Praise publicly, criticize privately
If there is something that a BDR does that affects the entire team directly, there should be somewhat of a public mention or acknowledgment in the department, this adds to BDR accountability. It also adds value to the team’s perception of the team unit versus diminishing that value. In other words, the BDRs have a responsibility to accountability both for themselves and for the team.
Establish a chain of command
The number one task of the BDRs is to drive traffic – don’t over-complicate their role. Establish a chain of command for calls, not leave them in the hands of the BDRs. The sooner the BDR hands off a call or situation that is more complicated than just establishing rapport, setting the appointment, or other appointment related duties, the better for all concerned.
Also, the BDC team members are not receptionists, and they’re not sales assistants. They sell appointments, they do not take calls from the sales staff regarding customers or leads, or direction as to how they should handle customers or leads either before or after a showroom visit. This practice, when it occurs repeatedly, is a great distraction in the BDC. You must customize your practices to your dealership.
Accountability & organization are key
For the BDM, organization and task completion are as easy as listing each task and checking it off as completed. Create a daily agenda for the BDM and a daily task list for the BDR. When working in an environment that is always busy and everyone is multi-tasking time management and task prioritization are critical.
Hold your BDM accountable with the following:
- End of day report/completed agenda as to tasks completed
- BDC Task List (team tasks)
- Daily reporting
- Hourly productivity updates (whiteboard pictures or digital account)
- Weekly meeting with whomever the BDM answers to discuss team and individual struggles/triumphs
- What steps are being taken to improve progress
- Daily reporting of call reviews to DP, GM, BDR, and trainer if applicable
Just as the BDM sets the pace for the BDRs, the GM or whomever, the BDM reports to must set the pace for the BDM and expect accountability.
What is NOT the responsibility of the BDM
It is a common practice to have the BDM take care of many tasks outside of the BDC. Tasks which may prevent them from moving essential BDC tasks from the “priority ladder”, overburdening them and taking them further away from their primary BDM goals. The more obstacles you place in the their path, the longer it will take and the more difficult it will become for the BDC team to meet that goal.
Hold your desk managers responsible for proper status, sourcing, and exit notes on the dashboard, or desk log for showroom traffic daily. Don’t have your BDM chasing people to get the information after the fact.
Marketing & Inventory Manager
Don’t have your BDM keeping up the website specials and inventory management online. They should not serve as the admin for the Facebook posts or other social media, other than to obtain lead information. Better yet, have your admin get the lead information to the BDM to work the lead.
The role of the Business Development Manager is to teach, coach, and lead the BDC team to greatness. It is not to spend hours on correcting data and process mistakes of the BDC team members. It all starts with the BDM. If you bog down your BDM with outside responsibilities, it is ultimately the quality of lead management and the BDC results that suffer. Make sure that the primary goal of the BDC is to drive showroom traffic, or to set appointments that show, and keep it simple.