Business Development Interview Guide
From setting goals and developing plans for business and revenue growth to market research or GTM strategy, BizDev is a broad term. Similarly, preparation for these roles can be confusing and overwhelming. This guide will serve as a foundation for your success in cracking BizDev interviews!
In previous pieces, we’ve covered behavioral interviews, and offered a little insight into technical interviews. While BizDev/Growth internships have the potential to be technical, there is often a focus on one’s ability to scale initiatives from 0 to 1, and get creative with product feedback—desires which are reflected in typical BizDev interviews. What does preparing for this look like?
Remember this from our guide on behavioral interviews?
Demonstrating a lack of research regarding the company/role/team is the easiest way to bomb a behavioral interview. Conversely, having a deep and genuine understanding of the role, what it requires, and perhaps even the company mission is the easiest way to stand out.
The same holds true here. Start by researching the interviewer’s company and their product. For example, if you’re interviewing with a company who seeks to optimize recruiting using their free browser extension (totally not Simplify) download it! Interact with it!
A benefit of the nature of business development/growth is the fact that you can essentially do the job without having it. Be an active user, and offer tangible, impactful insight to the founding team (or hiring manager) during your interview. This (1) demonstrates your analytical capabilities and (2) shows them you care!
Executing the BizDev Interview
Having read through the above information on BizDev interviews, you’re (hopefully) armed with enough information to tackle behavioral interviews. Think of this next section as a way to parley the above information into a tangible result (i.e., how to tie it all together)!
BizDev interviews are all about demonstrated potential impact. As a rule of thumb, do what feel right/most comfortable to you—it generally yields the best results. The questions that may come your way will be broad in nature—good BizDev hires are GREAT generalist hires. Typical interviews may involve sales, customer success, or product questions. The rationale for this is the flexible scope of projects you might have to work on.
Questions we've seen in interviews
- Describe how you balance finding new customers with retaining existing ones.
- Describe a time when you lost a sale or client.
- What steps you do take to analyze trends and identify new opportunities?
- What is your management style?
- How do you assess the potential of a new customer segment?
- How do you go about analyzing competiton in the market?
For the sake of this guide, we’ll walk through a common question: GTM Strategy.
GTM Strategy Question
What is GTM strategy? A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan that details how an organization can engage with customers to convince them to buy their product or service and to gain a competitive advantage. A GTM strategy includes tactics related to pricing, sales and channels, the buying journey, new product or service launches, product rebranding or product introduction to a new market. Hiring managers might ask you to propose a GTM strategy for their product. Collapse the toggles below to learn a little more about GTM and how you might answer this question.
Some questions you can think about (or answer for yourself) to help identify target audience:
- Who are their customers?
- Which audience segments from within the market are they targeting?
- What messaging are they using?
- What marketing channels are they using to promote their products or services?
- How do they interact with and engage their customers?
- What do they do well and what could they do better?
- What are their pricing strategies?
Following logically from the last question, think about what the product/service the company offers is. Is it a SaaS product that’s popular with Gen Z? A hardtech startup that is coveted by the military community? In short, think about what the product is, and who would want to adopt it.
If you weren’t already starting to catch on, GTM strategy is intuitive, and can be logic-ed out. So logically, the next step is brand positioning. Why would a consumer select this product over competitors? For example, a candy company may differentiate their candy by improving the taste or using healthier ingredients.
Think about how you can capitalize on your target market’s tastes while also laying the foundation to capture additional market segments.
This is essentially the stage where one must consider the marketing funnel. How will you convert leads to users?
- Awareness. This stage is all about establishing trust and authority. A problem or need has cropped up and the person is looking into it. For example, someone looking to improve lead generation might Google “how to get more leads for my business.” You want your content (i.e. a blog post or a landing page) to show up in the search results when a customer begins looking for information related to their problem. You can do this by creating relevant content (we’ll get onto that soon) that gets people engaging with your brand and sharing information that turns them into leads.
- Interest. Once a person becomes a lead, they move down to the next part of the funnel. Now they’re finding out more about your company and the products you offer through emails, ebooks, webinars, blog posts or other informational content.
- Consideration. When a person has shown interest in your marketing materials they move onto the consideration stage and become a potential customer. Now, they can be sent information on specific products or services, case studies and offers like free trials and sign-up discounts.
Terms to know
Industry-speak, if you will—it’s important to familiarize yourself with these terms to some extent—they’re a concise and targeted way to describe phenomenon through BizDev and Corporate Finance, and is the jargon favored by most investors/teams.
CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money a company spends to get a new customer. It helps measure the return on investment of efforts to grow their clientele. CAC is calculated by adding the costs associated with converting prospects into customers (marketing, advertising, sales personnel, and more) and dividing that amount by the number of customers acquired.
LTV (Lifetime Value)
An estimate of the average revenue that a customer will generate throughout their lifespan as a customer. This 'worth' of a customer can help determine many economic decisions for a company including marketing budget, resources, profitability and forecasting. LTV = ARPU / Revenue or Customer churn.
ARPU (Average Revenue Per User)
ARPU = Total Revenue Generated During Period / Number of Users During Same Period. For example, let's say you generated $500 in revenue last month and had 1,000 active users. Your average revenue per user would be $0.05.
Revenue churn is the percentage of subscription dollars up for renewal that a company loses over a given period, or the ability to keep the contract value of existing customers. Along with customer churn, which measures logo retention, these two metrics provide a lens to view the health of a company's customer base.
MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue)
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is the predictable total revenue generated by your business from all the active subscriptions in a particular month. It includes recurring charges from discounts, coupons, and recurring add-ons, but excludes one-time fees.
With MRR you can assess the present financial health of the business and project the future earnings based on the active subscriptions.
ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue)
Defined as the value of the contracted recurring revenue components of your term subscriptions normalized to a one-year period. ARR is the less frequently used alternative normalization method of the two common ones, ARR and MRR. It is used almost exclusively in B2B subscription businesses.
These are a few examples to help you get an idea—find a more detailed list from our friends at Fundera here.
Now you're ready to tackle the Business Development Interview! After crafting a strong resume, you should be ready to apply. Business internships are usually fairly selective, so it's a good idea to apply to at least 10 to 15. Best of luck, you've got this!