This term is often colloquially and inaccurately referred to as development of a business. Some people use the term for a pretentious version of the term "sales representative". Now both are just a small aspect of business development (BDM). In subject literature, the term is often succinctly used as "business field/unit expansion".

But what exactly does this mean?

The Business Development is the interdisciplinary economic development of strategic business objectives. It comprises many targeted activities to preserve the aim of deducing new customers and retaining existing ones in current or future markets. It also entails all activities that prepare an organization to be marketable and competitively viable in the future e.g. the horizontal integration of a competitor or the vertical integration of a supply chain partner, the reassessment of the entire product line for profit contribution, determining price elasticity within a multi-channel sales environment, campaign evaluation management and so forth. On occasion, the BDM also orchestrates areas within the sales and marketing department (interdisciplinary coordination). Depending on the businesses segment or market environment, the BDM can be found in various organizational hierarchies.
As a general rule, the top management defines strategic objectives, whereas the BDM realizes those. The development of new products delegated to the R&D in order to meet future market demands, the foundation of branch-office setups in order to bypass barriers of trade as well as the acquisition of licenses or patents to boost “poor dogs” and substitute “cash cows” within the product life cycle. The acquisition of a competitor or the analysis of market sales opportunities are also part of BDM. In doing so, the obtained data can be used to optimize current markets (price-sales function) or to estimate the economic attractiveness of future markets. The BDM differs according to its sales market and business activity; it includes all necessary actions meant to increase the goodwill and economic potential for the success of a company. The objective is the commercialization of products and markets and the continued development and enhancement of sales potential. Indeed, event functional areas like sales, controlling, marketing, legal, and R&D are affected.