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The Best Business Development Books for All Skill Levels

Business development is a rather broad concept and it involves strategic planning, forging lasting relationships, and venturing into new markets. In essence, business development executives actively seek opportunities to create long-term value for their company.

But business development always comes with some risk, be it financial, strategic, or legal. As a professional, you need to know how to determine, analyze, and mitigate various risk factors.

Needless to say, today’s business world is increasingly demanding. This is why it’s important to stay well-informed and get the latest insights from business development books.

Quick Look: The Best Business Development Books

  • What, Exactly, Is Business Development: A Primer on Getting Deals Doneby Scott Pollack – Get this book
  • How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services by Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher – Get this book
  • Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective by Hans Eibe Sorensen – Get this book
  • Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish – Get this book
  • Business Development for the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry by Martin Austin – Get this book
  • Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development and Marketing by Deborah Brightman Farone – Get this book
  • Pitching and Closing: Everything You Need to Know About Business Development, Partnerships, and Making Deals that Matter by Alexander Taub and Ellen DaSliva – Get this book
  • The Sumo Advantage: Leveraging Business Development to Team with Heavyweights and Grow in Any Economy by Bernie Brenner – Get this book
  • The Consultant’s Big Book of Organization Development Tools: 50 Reproducible Intervention Tools to Help Solve Your Clients’ Problems by Mel Silberman – Get this book

What You Should Look for in a Business Development Book

Several aspects affect the quality of a business development book. The author should be a respected expert with years of experience working on various business development projects. The book should also provide you with applicable knowledge that fits your area of expertise.

The following sections take a closer look at how to gauge if a business development book is the right choice for you.

Experienced author

When it comes to the author, you should take some time to check his or her credentials. A simple Google search is usually enough to understand if the author is worth your attention.

The best authors have an impressive business development track record, working with high-ranking companies/brands.

Target audience

It shouldn’t be hard for you to find a great business development book, even if you are just starting out in the industry. On the other hand, there are books written for professionals who want to take their current expertise to the next level. The best option for you depends on your industry as well as your knowledge levels.

Theory vs. practice

Some economics books and business books include business development theory. But books that focus solely on business development are usually the better choice, as they offer detailed guidelines and include both theory and practice.

They should feature real-world examples and case studies to outline certain business development concepts and challenges. Additionally, you should opt for books that outline actionable steps that can be applied to different business scenarios.

Our Picks for the Best Business Development Books

We’ve compiled a list of great business development books following the criteria described in the previous sections. These books come from some of the most reputable professionals, and they fit different levels of expertise.

1. What, Exactly, Is Business Development: A Primer on Getting Deals Done by Scott Pollack

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? Beginners
  • Price: On sale

Pollack draws from more than 15 years of experience with companies like American Express to create one of the best development books for beginners.

First, he presents you with a clear definition of business development and the responsibilities that come with it. Next, you learn about the 4 basic functions of the industry and you get to know proven business development strategies.

Finally, Pollock provides examples of business development tactics to show you how the concepts work in action.

Get this book

2. How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services by Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? Advanced learners
  • Price: On sale

Today’s business world is moving towards the service industries, which brings about a unique set of challenges. How Clients Buy addresses those challenges and focuses on scaling up sales.

The book features 20 chapters that teach you to create value for the clients and build lasting relationships. It provides a diagnostic tool to troubleshoot potential sales-related problems.

Plus, it offers advice about the mindset that allows you to expand a business. Interestingly, the authors argue that all business is local, starting with the Silk Road and culminating in online businesses.

Get this book

3. Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective by Hans Eibe Sorensen

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? All levels
  • Price: On sale

This book deals with fundamental notions like the definition of business development, as well as professional roles and responsibilities. You also learn the main characteristics of a well-executed business development plan.

More importantly, Sorensen makes a clear distinction between this area of expertise and strategic marketing or management.

He provides you with the tools you need to make informed decisions and perform strategic analyses. Each new concept is explained by taking a closer look at the real-world implications.

Get this book

4. Business Development: A Practical Guide for the Small Professional Services Firm by Sherran S. Spurlock

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? Advanced learners
  • Price: On sale

Spurlock has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and business development. She utilizes the experience to create a concise guidebook, rich in actionable steps and informative examples.

The topics cover everything from basic principles to working with the government. The book also teaches you how to network, create a business development plan, and ensure client loyalty.

The author also covers presentation skills, online marketing, and time management.

Get this book

5. Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? All levels
  • Price: On sale

Verne Harnish is the founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and his award-winning book teaches you how to grow a business. You’ll learn how to find the right people, create a winning strategy, and put it all into action.

The book offers in-depth knowledge about cash flow, increasing profitability, and the main pillars of finance.

Get this book

6. Business Development for the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry by Martin Austin

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? Advanced learners
  • Price: On sale

Pharmaceutics and biotechnology is a multi-billion dollar industry with numerous local and global prospects, be it through intellectual property rights, collaborations, or mergers.

This book teaches you how to effectively plan a portfolio according to existing market demands.

You gain an in-depth knowledge of segmentation, SWOT, and gap analysis. The author also details all the nuances of searching for new business opportunities, and he dedicates a chapter to assessing different types of value.

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7. Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development and Marketing by Deborah Brightman Farone

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? Intermediate to advanced learners
  • Price: On sale

This book focuses on scaling up a legal business. It provides real-world examples of best business development practices for large and single-practitioner law firms.

The author focuses on the importance of leadership and creating lasting client relationships. You’ll learn how to build rapport and promote growth through compensation, company culture, and professional coaching.

What’s more, Brightman Farone offers advice on using new technologies to gain a competitive edge. She also teaches you to utilize AI to improve legal business processes.

Get this book

8. Pitching and Closing: Everything You Need to Know About Business Development, Partnerships, and Making Deals that Matter by Alexander Taub and Ellen DaSliva

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? All levels
  • Price: On sale

Pitching and Closing provides you with the actionable steps you need in order to master the art of business development. The book offers examples from various industries and it teaches you to create beneficial strategic alliances.

Special attention is paid to seeking new deals, transforming rejections into opportunities, and pitching products.

On top of that, you learn about introduction etiquette and the proper way to reach out to potential prospects. Finally, this book informs you about the core metrics that determine the direction of your business development efforts.

Get this book

9. The Sumo Advantage: Leveraging Business Development to Team with Heavyweights and Grow in Any Economy by Bernie Brenner

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? All levels
  • Price: On sale

The Sumo Advantage is short, to the point, and it’s rich in tips you can immediately apply. Overall, the book focuses on forging strategic partnerships to boost a company’s sales and reach.

But it also teaches you about negotiation tactics and four different aspects of effective business development. The author, Bernie Brenner, cofounded TrueCar Inc. and works as the head of business development for his company.

Get this book

10. The Consultant’s Big Book of Organization Development Tools: 50 Reproducible Intervention Tools to Help Solve Your Clients’ Problems by Mel Silberman

Source: Amazon.com
  • Who’s it for? Intermediate to advanced learners
  • Price: On sale

This book takes an all-encompassing approach to business development. It gives you an overview of the inner structure of a company and helps you improve leadership and team skills.

It offers clear steps to do strategic management and planning, allowing you to create an actionable mission statement. There is also a section which deals with merger problems and how to overcome any resistance to change.

Get this book

Finding the Best Business Development Books

If executed correctly, business development strategies can significantly increase a company’s reach and revenue. The books in this list feature some of the best tactics to ensure your company is moving in the right direction.

If you want to learn about how to apply these skills to grow your own wealth, our selection of personal finance books or best strategy books are a good place to start.

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