Sounds like a naive question at first, but when you think about it, BD takes on many different definitions, depending on the setting. This was a question presented by a colleague on the Global Business Development Network.
In the large corporate arena, such as Fortune 500 companies, the BD function tends to be clearly defined; it’s a function used primarily for licensing and acquistion transactions that support the company’s various business units. For example, when I was the strategy head for one of Bausch & Lomb’s divisions, the BD team would seek licensing and acquisition deals that were consistent with my division’s objectives.
In a mid- to small-business setting, however, I think that BD means many different things, although I think it most commonly means the pursuit of new customers (sales function) and channels of distribution.
Thoughts? What does BD mean in your industry?