Often these two roles are misunderstood, confused and related to other roles but they are two distinct things despite being communicating with the commercial department. Vulgarly, many companies confuse the role of Export Manager and Business Developer with a mere commercial role but do not realize that the knowledge and notions necessary to carry out these two roles are much more complex and affect multiple company departments.
Going into detail, both the Export Manager and the Business Developer have the goal of increasing and expanding the business sphere of the company but they use different methodologies and knowledge.
The role of Export Manager is like a commercial figure that deals with foreign markets but this is the point of arrival, in the sense that an Export Manager has the goal of preparing and bringing a company abroad through various evaluations and strategic decisions. . In particular, an Export Manager, once he has learned all the information regarding the company and the products it sells, carries out market research to evaluate the attractiveness of each individual country in a given continent. It is easy to say that you want to sell abroad but there are about 200 countries in the world and it is unthinkable to approach them all together, it would take exorbitant economic investments, too many resources and a lot of time. For this, a skimming called attractiveness of countries is made taking into account various weighted variables that are relevant to the products, the country of origin and the company.
Having the report of the attractiveness of the countries in hand, we begin to collect all the information necessary to request certifications, fulfill all the requests of the country with possible preparation for the issuance of periodic reports.
Once the bureaucratic matters have been defined, we begin to think about which strategy to adopt to approach the chosen countries: direct approach to resellers, negotiation with distributors, acquisition and merger with local companies, creation of a commercial network, definition of assistance procedures .
On the basis of the strategic line to be adopted, all logistical assessments are then made and marketing plans are defined, which can range from site translation, creation of targeted campaigns, competitors analysis and participation in local trade fairs.
At this point, the company is ready to approach the identified countries and the whole negotiation process for the acquisition of customers and the creation of the commercial network begins with the help of the back office that deals with the generation of all the necessary commercial documents.
The professionist Temporary Export Manager performs all the analises and evaluations that an internal Export Manager would perform, and plus he form the internal company personnel to manage and continue with the approach to foreign markets.
Instead, the role of the Business Developer aims to increase the competitiveness of the company through improvements in the management process and studying new methodologies to approach the market. This figure relates to the legal, marketing, logistics and commercial departments.
This role can have very different approaches based on the companies it deals with because it can work on partnerships with organizations, institutions, trade associations or study new opportunities to exploit the corporate infrastructure in order to increase profitability or carry out analyzes market to explore new sectors or new target customers. Based on the strategic lines that will be followed, it will be necessary to deal with the legal department for the stipulation of new contracts and then with the marketing department to create promotional campaigns as well as the analysis of the competitors and new communication strategies for new projects.
All the work of the Business Developer benefits the commercial department as it increases the competitiveness and attractiveness of the company.
These new developments have no territorial limit but the Business Developer can work on any market. To carry out this work, you need to have a 360-degree view of the company to be able to evaluate the improvements to be made and to understand which are the opportunities in the market.
In the end, the roles of the Export Manager and the Business Developer can be very similar but we must be careful not to confuse the skills of one and the other and above all not to confuse them with those of the figures who cover purely commercial roles, i.e. of mere management of customers.