Who is the best business development and/or carrier sales person you know in mobile & why are they great?

July 19, 2010 by Lisa Oshima | Consulting, Developers, Mobile, Monetization

With millions of mobile apps out there, and (it seems) a decreasing number of mobile pre-load opportunities, it’s getting increasingly difficult for independent software vendors (ISVs) and web companies to gain traction with mobile operators and OEMs.  Beyond putting your on the app store and investing in adequate marketing to attract users to your app online, if you’re a serious mobile development company, one of the best ways to gain traction for your mobile application is to hire a well-connected, heavy hitting mobile business developer who can navigate the complex mobile ecosystem – driving distribution deals with mobile operators, OEMs, and other partners.
Friends regularly ask me to recommend outstanding business development people who can ‘hit the ground running’ and get distribution deals done quickly with operators and OEMs.  In the last two weeks alone, several friends at promising mobile start-ups have asked me to recommend a great carrier sales / BD people to drive their business… In each case, I explain that great BD candidates- especially those that are connected to high-level decision makers at mobile operators are hard to find…

  • Finding outstanding carrier sales/ business developments people is difficult…Your best bet is to poach someone from another company.   The best BD people in the mobile space are usually employed and well compensated with cash, equity, and benefits. Getting them to leave their current job is difficult, but worth it for the right fit.  Also, there are a lot of great BD consultants out there, but great BD consultants don’t come cheap.
  • Many of the candidates out there that claim to be mobile “experts” aren’t… When screening candidates for mobile BD positions, look for specific examples of sales/BD success and specific carrier names
  • When someone says they “drove deals with operators,” it can mean a lot of different things… At the interview stage, it’s important to assess how good the candidates relationships are with key decision makers. Get references.  Talk to those decision-makers, and ask them how they enjoyed working with the candidate and validate that the deal described in the resume was real.
  • Relationships are the key to business development success in mobile. Hire someone who has an engaging demeanor and strong relationships with operators, OEMs, or your key partners.  In ISV / Operator / OEM business development, things get done more quickly between friends and/or colleagues that enjoy working with each other and there is a feeling that you’re driving mutual benefit/value for each other.  Be wary of candidates that can’t describe who they know at your key target companies and/or candidates that come from a company that has a bad reputation among your target audience (i.e. a failed start-up that left an OEM or operator stranded).
  • If you’re unable to find a great candidate within a week or two, be prepared to pay for a seasoned contract recruiter with strong mobile experience to help you.  Find out who they’ve worked with, who they’ve placed, and talk to a few of their clients before agreeing to work together.

Since I know a handful of companies that are looking for full-time carrier sales/ business development talent at the moment, I thought it would be useful to poll my readers… Who is the best carrier sales/ business development person you’ve worked with and what makes them successful?  Post your thoughts as a comment below.

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