Calvin MacLeod has recently joined us at Upfront as a Business Development Manager. We spoke to Calvin to find out what a ‘typical day’ is like, what is success – and what he most enjoys about Business Development.
Hi Calvin, what is your background?
I’m a Computing Graduate from the University of Portsmouth, where I received First Class Honors and McGraw Project prize for software engineering. I’ve also developed my own med-tech start up that has made it to the final of Solent Young Talent Start Up Competition. Prior to this, I’ve held a variety of sales roles.
Why did you decide on a career in business development?
I’ve always had a passion for developing businesses and products – which I have done with varying success! After graduating I wanted to progress with this and gain more experience in the industry and learn from other more established and fast growing businesses.
Business development is the perfect route to give me exposure to a wide range of sectors – and working with a fantastic range of innovative businesses, right at the sharp end.
What does your day to day look like?
We manage various clients at Upfront so I have to carefully plan each day. I spend the first part of my morning making sure all meetings are confirmed and everything is running smoothly. I then research potential prospects and keeping up to date on the latest industry insights.
I will then review all my client campaigns to track engagement and follow up on any interest, as well as any follow ups logged in my CRM. It is important to not only find new leads but keep in touch with existing ones to build a relationship with them. Business development isn’t a quick sale, it’s about building a relationship and a mutual opportunity for the client and the lead.
The most exciting part of my day happens in the afternoon. It’s time to call the leads I have been contacting via email. This is the opportunity for me to deliver a great pitch and offer them the value proposition of my client. If all goes well the main part of these calls is about discovering how my client can serve the needs of the prospect and this can go in any direction, so I really have to be prepared to discuss anything! I finish the day by reviewing the day’s activity and sending out subsequent emails to provide new contacts to follow up on the next day and updating my clients on progress and stories from the day.
What do you love most about the job and what is its most challenging aspect?
I love learning about new industries and the work of our clients, from creative social platforms to scientific research mobile applications. The challenging part is understanding the industry and the purpose of my clients sufficiently to be confident and comfortable talking to decision makers to then be able to identify and develop genuine new business opportunities.
What do you do in your free time?
I really enjoy food and drink, so I’m often trying to find new places to go with friends. On the weekends, I’m always on the go. I play golf, squash, football and even ice-skate, although currently I’m spending my spare time developing my own application.
What competencies do you think makes a good BDM?
1. A passion for business and what you are selling.
2. Adaptability and the drive to learn about varying industries
3. Being able to use your initiative to spot an opportunity from an insight, or challenge.
Do you enjoy a target driven environment – why?
Working in a target driven environment such as Upfront has given me the encouragement to develop and focus on delivering success for myself and my clients. Winning Business Development Manager of the month in my second month shows that in Business Development, with the right attitude, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.