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The BD100 celebrates its fifth birthday – here’s what to expect

By Jody Osman, Group Director of Growth

Propeller Group


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October 10, 2022 | 6 min read

Nominations are open for The BD100, after announcing it is joining forces with the ALF Awards. Five years after co-founding The BD100, Jody Osman tells us why it’s important for employers to trust and back their teams – and why there has never been a better time to work in new business.


The BD100’s partnership with the ALF Awards means an even bigger platform to celebrate the best in new business / Image courtesy of Propeller Group

Business development (BD) is at the heart of all agencies – it is the driving force. But the landscape has become increasingly competitive over the last few years. Covid forced some new businesses to be put on hold, and it required perseverance and bravery to survive. However, the agencies that were resilient and stayed committed to identifying new opportunities were able to make significant gains.

Leading agencies cannot be content with standing still. The BD environment is constantly in flux. Flexibility is a valuable trait for any agency moving forward – the ability to pivot and adapt your offering is key to navigating toward what your clients want and need.

There are many challenges standing in the way of successful BD. Investing in, and subsequently implementing, new digital tools; attracting the best talent on the market; curating premium content. All are crucial, none are straightforward. And that is why it is vital that we dedicate time to celebrate those that thrive in the BD space.

What the BD100 stands for

BD can be a high-pressure role, and it is heavily depended upon to deliver results and work for the wider business. Professionals need to be given sufficient support to thrive, as well as the time needed to deliver success.

Winning new business is about the long game. Gaining clients and developing relationships – these don’t always happen overnight. But making clients understand this can be tricky. Best-in-class business development professionals must be able to manage expectations and push back against quick (and often unrealistic) demands.

Richard McHardy and I looked across the industry and quickly realized that it was in desperate need of more support and understanding. Access to a network of training, knowledge, content, meet-ups and awards – all of these were in short supply. We wanted to build a community where like-minded individuals could come together and celebrate one another’s achievements.

The BD100 is now preparing to celebrate its fifth anniversary. This is a landmark occasion, and we wanted to commemorate it in a unique way. That is why we’re preparing to launch The BD100 Hall of Fame. The membership will be exclusively reserved for those that have made it into The BD100 for five consecutive years. These individuals have revolutionized BD and serve as an inspiration to anyone trying to find their feet in the industry.

A moment of reflection

Before we launch into this year’s awards, it is important to acknowledge the astounding work of those that have previously been honored at The BD100. Our two most prestigious categories – Business Developer of the Year and Rising Star – have thrust incredible agencies and individuals into the spotlight.

Previous BD100 winners, including Fran Brook, Helen Lee, Bianca McLeish and Tracey Barber, have provided a shining inspiration to others. This has included generously giving back to the industry with advice, support and mentoring. Meanwhile, our Rising Stars – Lydia Smith, Alex Johnson, Alana Herington and Isabella Gelston – have all gone from strength to strength.

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Looking to the future

The BD100, just like the industry it celebrates, will never be stale. Embracing change is vital – and that is why we were so excited to secure a partnership with the ALF Awards. Its values and ethos are perfectly aligned with ours, and it will be a welcome addition to our BD family.

So now, it’s time that we turn to you – the BD community – to put your thinking hats on. The deadline for submitting your nominations for this year’s BD100 Awards is November 30.

Do you know someone whose work has been astounding and deserves recognition? Let us know here.

Agencies Business Leadership B2B Marketing

Content by The Drum Network member:

Propeller Group

Propeller Group is a Global B2B PR & Marketing Agency. We specialise in working with leading business across media, marketing and technology to deliver a joined-up...

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