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Business Development – Who is eligible for the function?

Looking at the requirements of Business Development function, following profile is preferable for the position.

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Medical Affairs

It is true that BD does not function in isolation. It is team work where Marketing advises on the marketing potential, Sales looks at the business potential, Regulatory will look at the regulatory requirements, Medical reviews the clinical information and management takes the final decision. However, initial search and exploration is done by the BD person and she/he has to have eye for the right products.

Where to go to find the products or services?

There are several ways and forums available for BD.

In today’s time, internet offers the biggest opportunity for initial search. There are websites which connect the sellers and buyers. ( and more. There are dedicated forums such as Europlx ( which are held couple of times a year and connect businesses one on one.

A very popular and most well-known forum is CPhI ( CPhI events are held around the world. The biggest is CPhI Worldwide which is held every year in October/November and rotates between Frankfurt, Paris and Madrid (2018 is Madrid). In addition, there is CPhI China which is organized in Shanghai China in June every year. CPhI events are held in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, India, Brazil and adding more locations. Having attended several CPhI events, I can tell first hand that these are worth attending. Of course, these events get bigger every year.

Close to home, there is Arab Health Dubai ( , an annual event which has grown rapidly in the last ten years. The exhibitors from around the world come to exhibit here; the number of visitors also swells every year.

There are many more such events happening in the world which facilitate networking between sellers and buyers, be it products or services.

In addition, there are innumerable regional events which are held in most of the countries, including Pakistan, which offer networking opportunities to pharma industry.

Due to ever-growing size of events, it is impossible to cover the entire exhibition. And why should anyone walk around the entire event? There is a specific agenda to attend and aimless wandering is not included in it.

I would like to share a few tips on attending these events which will help you to get maximum benefit for your business/organization.

  1. Start early. The exhibitor details are available well before the event. Study the list and shortlist opportunities of your interest. It will also help you to decide whether to attend or not. If you plan to attend, you will have ample time to get the approvals and get travel logistics in order.
  2. Communicate with exhibitors. Event time is very busy time. Everyone gets together for three days and must make the most of it. In any larger event, it would be a bad practice to walk up to any stall and try to network. It also reflects poorly on you and your business. Start communication with exhibitors of interest; send your profile and make early assessment.
  3. Set up appointments. As mentioned above, no serious company will have time to talk to you if you do not have appointment. For setting appointments, do consider the following.
    1. The events are spread over multiple halls. There is plenty of walking involved. Alongside the list of exhibitors, the layout plan is also shown on the event website. You can see where your interests are located. It is better to club appointments in one hall together to avoid running around unnecessarily. It will save you time and help you avoid getting over-tired.
    2. Try to finish your appointments during the first two days of event. Third day should be kept free to have a look around. You may find something which might have been added late or skipped your initial scouring.
    3. Third/last day should also be kept free to have follow up meetings with the most interesting opportunities. You can set up for the last day meeting during your meetings on the first two days.
  4. Prepare well. Preparation is very important. Following points may help in better preparation.
    1. Carry plenty of visiting cards to share. It is bad to say ‘sorry, I finished my cards’. The visiting cards are kept safe and used in later communication.
    2. Carry enough company profiles if you wish to share these.
    3. Carry a trolley bag which you can roll with you throughout exhibition and keep all materials that you collect from there.
    4. Never carry a shoulder bag. It will become a big burden very quickly and make you very tired.
    5. Choose decent, formal/smart casual clothes. Jeans and tee-shirts are not a good idea.
    6. Choose comfortable shoes. You will walk several kilometers during the exhibition and uncomfortable shoes would be a curse.
  5. Present well. Do make preparation about what you would present about your company. You represent a business and you showcase it from this side, just like the exhibitors showcase their businesses from the other side.
  6. Follow up. Keep all the business cards that you collected from the exhibition and send a follow up email in general. For most interesting ones, you will have to follow more. Remember, you were the only one interested. There were many others and if you slack, someone else will take it.

In Summary, the networking events are time for extra hard work. These must not be taken as leisurely events to just peep and poke around.

To be Continued……

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