The BD100


Founded: 2017


New Business
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Business Development

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Meet our panelist - Rose Bentley

by Leiley Sanei

9 October 2019 9:21am

On the 20th November we will be hosting an all-star panel discussion as part of The BD100 event. Each panellist has extensive experience and success in Business Development and will be sharing their insight and perspective with the audience as we explore the future of business development.

In the run up to the event, we will be shining a spotlight on each of the panellists with a Q&A to give you a flavour of their background, industry thinking and why they decided to get involved in The BD100.

We are thrilled to have Rose Bentley, Director of Clients & Strategy at Propeller Group as part of our panel on the night. Rose’s career has spanned marcomms, management, business development and coaching across Europe, the US, The Middle East and India. Whilst Global Head of Business Development and Reputation at Wolff Olins, she drove new business conversion, launched their annual Global Brand Summit series and coached teams to engage, network and present more effectively.

Rose believes that “The BD100 is the one forum that celebrates the skills and smarts of the Business Development profession. Kingmakers rarely get the recognition of the Kings and Queens they create - yet they are one of the critical functions of the business”. We couldn’t agree more! Read more of Rose’s thoughts below and if you are a Kingmaker, make sure you are there on the night to be a part of this. You can buy your ticket here.

What is your business highlight of the year?

I joined Propeller a year ago from global brand consultancy Wolff Olins and my ambition for the businesses was to build our proposition to embrace PR, Content and Business Development. This focus was sharpened by Propeller taking a majority stake in Upfront Business Development and increasing client interest both in the UK and in the US. A year on, our expanded proposition has made a significant contribution to our growth on both sides of the Atlantic with much to look forward to next year. Pretty happy with this as a highlight.

What’s the secret to your success in business?

I tend to focus on what’s important before what’s urgent. And when you are building client relationships three things are important: chemistry - no matter how good you are , clients want to like working with you; emotional intelligence to not just accept things at face value and really read the room; and confidence: both in myself and helping to inspire confidence in others. It made the difference to helping double Wolff Olins’ conversion rate in the first year I worked there (and keep it that way); and since joining Propeller, it has helped build our existing client relationships as well as win new clients in new sectors.

How has business development changed your organisation?

It’s made us a lot more collaborative. One of the many things I learnt at my time at Wolff Olins was the power of the Hive Brain. At Propeller Group, we have been able to grow from our new proposition by both Propeller and Upfront teams being super-collaborative. As a result, our joint new business pipeline has grown exponentially alongside our individual pipelines.

Why do you support The BD100?

The BD100 is the one forum that celebrates the skills and smarts of the Business Development profession. Kingmakers rarely get the recognition of the Kings and Queens they create - yet they are one of the critical functions of the business. As BD is still sometimes talked about furtively and seen as ‘sales’, It doesn’t get the credit it deserves, not least within an agency itself. Others think new business just “drops in” on the agency. The best BD people make it look like that, but that is the result of constant long term effort. Incidentally I have no problem with the word ‘sales’. Selling is a skill we share with the best captains of industry.

Why is it important for business developers to get involved with The BD100?

If you don’t tell people about the impact you have had, no one else will. And the more BD professionals that shout about impact, the more the discipline will get the kudos it deserves and more smart, energetic people will join its ranks. As a result, BD100 has the potential to grow in stature and influence on a global stage.

How do you see business development changing in the next decade?

Fortune favours the brave. I would love to see BD professionals driving a more radical agenda that really builds on their company’s ambitions, rather than focus on short term quarterly sales targets.

Like the great brands we represent, the successful agency businesses are those that think long term, stick to their ambition and don’t drop their trousers when the going gets tough.

BD also needs to develop more of a marketing and entrepreneurial mindset by investing in developing ideas that create opportunities and inspiration for clients. For example our Dog ‘n’ Bone podcast was originally a toe in the water venture that has led to us making client podcasts.

What characteristics do you think makes a good business developer?

Emotional intelligence, perspective - and most importantly, fearless leadership. The ability to empathise and anticipate client needs cannot be underestimated (be interesting and interested), nor can keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs (like my old boss used to say, no one is going to die from our decisions). All this while understanding that the buck for winning new clients and developing existing ones stops with us.

What are you most looking forward to on the night of The BD100 2019?

I’m looking forward to hearing some great impact stories, catching up with friends and making some new ones. The BD100 is a powerful network - will be thrilling to see it at work.

Join us and Rose on 20th November at Atmosphere Venues to celebrate The BD100 2019!


new business
business development