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Who is the best in the business of business development? The BD100 returns

The BD100 2018 Winner, Photo by Marta Demartini

When it comes to the talent driving agency growth in the UK, the business development community has historically lacked the recognition and representation it deserves.

That all changed last year with the successful launch of The BD100 – an annual list highlighting the best creative agency business developers in the UK and published in association with The Drum. And it’s back for 2019!

Founded by Jody Osman (managing director of Upfront BD) and Richard McHardy (founder of The McHardy Collective), the ambition is to shine a light on the business development community, to highlight the great work of the people in that community and to champion the profession as a whole. These goals were achieved and surpassed at the first ever BD100 event hosted in partnership with The Drum last September.

Osman says: “A lot of agency culture is shaped around winning new business. Whether it’s winning the latest high-profile pitch or making it on to the latest agency league table. This doesn’t just happen by itself, so it’s great to be able to recognise the incredible job being done by business developers in agencies up and down the country.”

McHardy adds: "The positive and far-reaching reaction we had to the launch of The BD100 in 2018 taught us many things about the business development profession but some things stood out clearly: Business developers want to feel part of a wider BD community - they want to come together to share ideas and to help one another which is really positive. We also learned via senior agency representatives that there is a huge amount of respect, admiration and gratitude for the combined hours that business developers work to ensure that their agencies make a positive difference and continue to thrive in the toughest of times. Therefore, it's our passionate duty to make sure that The BD100 continues to be a beacon for business development excellence in 2019."

Fran Brook, new business and marketing director at Crispin Porter Bogusky and The BD100 Business Developer of The Year for 2018 sums up her thoughts: “The BD100 gets you access to the knowledge and expertise of your industry peers, and opens you up to great new opportunities. It really is a fantastic community to be a part of, and one that's essential for our specialism. I encourage anyone thinking of entering to get involved!”

The BD100 also aims to inspire and support emerging talent. The winner of The BD100 Rising Star award for 2018 who continues to rise rapidly through the ranks at M&C Saatchi is Lydia Smith who says: “It was a humbling experience to be singled out in front of such a high-calibre group of business developers. The BD100 is showcasing a network of individuals who share a specific set of skills and who can all learn from each other. The BD100 list isn't just important, it's essential.”

Speaking of The Drum's involvement in The BD100, founder of The Drum, Gordon Young says: “The BD100 is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the unsung heroes of the marketing industry - the very best businesses development professionals. The sort of people who not only deserve recognition, but our attention as we can all learn from the way they operate.”

This year’s BD100 list will once again be celebrated in partnership with The Drum’s Pitch Perfect event in September for a day focused around the profession of business development.

Nominations for The BD100 2019 are now live. Click here to register your nomination for this year’s BD100.