Position Spotlight - Business Development Manager.
We spoke with Business Development manager Denisa Kostolanyiova and she told us all about life on GetYourGuide’s Business Development team.
Can you give us a brief summary of what your job entails?
As a Business Development manager for online publishers, I take care of the whole sales pipeline. I generate leads, reach out to prospects, onboard them, help them use our affiliate booking tools, and optimize their performance over time. My job entails lots of diverse tasks, which can be exhausting, but that is also what makes it a very attractive and dynamic position. Within the Business Development team, my position is a hunter meaning I am in charge of bringing more partners on board as affiliates. I’m particularly responsible for our collaborations with online publishers; this channel includes bloggers, media houses, online city guides and mobile apps and is currently the fastest growing affiliate channel.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to work as a Business Development Manager?
I would advise them to self-reflect. Find out if you are a salesperson yourself and whether you like working as a salesperson. Business Development may seem like a fancy title, but the job is ultimately a sales job.
You go out there and hunt for new business opportunities, so you need to be confident enough to accept rejection, have strong negotiation skills, and the ability to find alternative solutions when encountering obstacles.
What does an average day in your role look like?
My day doesn’t have a set form; it is very diverse, which is why the job is really interesting. We are hunters: we’re looking for new partners and potential leads. A big part of your life in this job is pitching what you do to the outside world. We live by the rule that whether you are on or off the clock, you are still a salesperson in your personal life too.
We block certain times of the day during the week where we look for new leads and reach out to potential new partners. We also get lots of inbound requests, which can take some time during your day. We are also setting up calls, going to conferences, having meetings etc. For example, one day, you can sit at your desk and do lead generation. This equates to searching the internet for relevant travel-related websites and finding leads. The next day you could have meetings from first-thing in the morning to late afternoon. You might also have meetings with the different departments within the company to discuss setting up a new strategy, finding new ways to generate leads, or creating more efficient ways to reach out to potential partners.
No day is the same as the next, so it is definitely not your average sales job where you are constantly on the phone and always logging calls. We review at the end of each week how much progress we made, how effective we were, or whether we pushed for better performance of current partners etc. The amount of phone calls you make in a day isn’t a target of ours, so it really is up to you to decide what your day looks like. We then look at the end of the month or the end of a quarter whether you have achieved the targets, either individually or as part of the team.
How do you decide which online publishers to contact?
The online publishers we contact have to have relevant content, substantial traffic, and a good SEO position. The ideal prospect has to be relevant: writing about travel and top destinations. They should also have some substantial traffic. The more audience they have, the higher likelihood that they will get some good revenue with the GetYourGuide affiliate programme.
Again, our partners and publishers are very diverse. We are not looking at where a particular publisher is located, more what language in which they are writing. This is also how we divide our team a little bit at the moment. Because we are a German company we have quite a few partners and bloggers who write in German. English is our second biggest language and we have French and Spanish speakers too. We also want to target other languages, but we may only have a few partners speaking and writing in these languages. Expanding the team could also help us reach out to these bloggers who write in the various languages we cover on the GetYourGuide platform (ideally one of our 14 languages) that we currently don’t speak on the team.
What are you currently working on? Is there an issue you or your team is currently trying to solve?
Getting the word out globally is a current goal of ours. We set ourselves ambitious goals that we want to accomplish in terms of growth and recognition. Our reach has significantly improved since our team has grown and we are able to put more of our great ideas to the test. In order to grow even more are are working on improving some of the ways in which we communicate our affiliate services to the audience.
How would you describe your team in 4 words?
Talented, ambitious, committed, and dedicated.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
I have been with the Business Development team for a little over a year now and we have actually grown by three additional people since the beginning of 2017. To address what the change actually looks like, it’s not that all of a sudden I have more people around me, it’s more the tools we have available to do our job.
When I was working alone, it was quite challenging to address all of the requests coming from different sides. This still happens because not everyone has realised that with more people comes a stronger division of roles and responsibilities. I receive a lot of requests, which can be difficult. With every request, I have to understand the task and delegate to the appropriate person for the task. We are currently working on ensuring that our partners know our team has expanded, and who is the best person to contact within the team.
This also leads me to the fact that regarding lead generation, we are always trying to find the best way to process more effectively. We can always improve the way we generate leads, and so we constantly look for ways to innovate. We already have some tools in place that are making our lives easier, and as we are growing, we will continue to build more efficient ways to generate leads.
It is still a process, but it is kind of beautiful. We actually call ourselves a startup within a startup because we have the drive to grow, the vision of growth, and we are growing, but we also have obstacles to overcome. But, it is a really cool and gratifying experience to see how these challenges have turned into opportunities.
What working principles do you live by?
I think it is important to like what you do, so that you come to your desk everyday and smile. I personally smile all the time in my life. I am a very positive person and this trait actually helps me when going through some of the more challenging parts of the job (which don’t happen very often): when you face rejection, if someone tells you they don’t want to work with GetYourGuide as they already work with another company, when your day doesn’t go as planned etc., but the fact that we have amazing co-workers around us who are always there to support and make you smile really helps.
At the end of the day that would be my principle: smiling. The minute you smile on the phone, even though the other person can’t necessarily hear you, you can feel it. I love talking to people, and the moment I do that, I smile.