Dear SMPS Fellows - Transitioning from Marketing to Business Development

Dear SMPS Fellows,


For someone who wants to transition from marketing into business development, what are some recommendations or first steps to doing so? How would one move from the masses to working with one?


I’ve been asked to comment on this topic many times.  I always respond first with a question: Why do you want to be a Business Developer?  After all, this is a career decision and one should carefully measure your desire for such a change. You should consider whether or not you prepared for life on the road, how well you handle rejection, or comfort level in engaging people you’ve not previously met. It may or may not be as glamorous as you think.  If you are still interested, here are a few suggestions:


  • Seek out a Mentor--There are plenty of folks in the industry more than willing to assist you, including those in the ranks of SMPS Fellows.  All you have to do is ask.
  • Use your network--Talk to others you may know who may have followed a similar path.
  • Take the initiative--Ask your boss if you can take on an assignment while still engaged in your current position.  Perhaps you can identify a client desired by your firm and assume the challenge of developing the relationship.
  • Take the full advantage of SMPS--There are many educational offerings you will find worthwhile, including the BD 101 class.


 In the end, making the transition from Marketing to BD is really about your willingness to put yourself in the position to succeed.  Your eagerness to learn and to “put yourself out there” will impress your superiors and likely reward you with the opportunity you seek. 


R. Timothy Barrick, FSMPS
Principal/Executive Vice President
RATIO Architects



Submit your burning questions to Your name will be kept anonymous and will not be published. Holly Bolton, FSMPS, CPSM, is the only person who will see the source of the questions submitted and will hold them in the strictest confidence.


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