Business Development Director

Oxford Policy Management (OPM)

Position description

Oxford Policy Management is an international development organisation with a vision for fair public policy that benefits both people and the planet. Our purpose is to improve lives through sustainable policy change.

OPM works closely with governments, donors, research institutions, and civil society organisations. We work in partnership with national decision makers to deliver diagnoses of policy problems and reform opportunities, to develop public policy, to support its implementation, and to evaluate its impact. We bring our global expertise together with local engagement to support governments in low-and-middle income countries implement impactful public policy that will bring about lasting change. We work collaboratively, with ambition, to help create positive impact at scale. We are proud of our well-founded excellent reputation for high-quality work and the trusted relationships we have built with our clients, partners, and stakeholders over many years.

The role of aid is becoming less important to many recipient countries. ‘Localisation’ in a mix of guises is becoming a more powerful driver of our work. Developing a strategic approach to what we do, and how we deliver our work, beyond our traditional ODA-funded project work requires a more consistent leadership focus.

At the same time, OPM is in a transition phase: from rebuilding conventional capability to win and deliver ODA-funded work towards a future with an ‘operating platform’, with established capability to deliver projects and programmes of work, for a mix of funders across a range of countries; and to develop and maintain new networks and relationships with partners and policy stakeholders, and across funders, in the countries where we work.

We have ambitious plans for growth, and for a further shift of the centre of gravity of the organisation away from our UK origins – while still remaining true to our Oxford University heritage.

Position Summary

The newly created Business Development Director position is an exciting opportunity for a commercially focused leader to drive further success in our business development and sales, in support of the delivery of OPM’s strategy for growth and the further diversification of our client base. The Business Development Director role will work alongside the Director of Growth and Strategy and the Director of Consulting to deliver shared strategic objectives and ambitious plans for growth.

This role leads OPM’s Client Offices, business acquisition, business development, communications, and key account management teams; ensuring that OPM’s investments in building business development and project acquisition capabilities sustain appropriate returns, with understanding of our evolving market position and shifts in our competitor landscape. They are responsible for further developing our capability to establish and maintain mutually fruitful business development relationships, including in relation to new funders, particularly key Foundation clients.

The Business Development Director provides ongoing support and direction to the teams under their leadership to further strengthen capabilities for effective business development and successful bidding and acquisition – in line with business objectives, requirements and company standards. They ensure that business development targets are met or exceeded and that strategies to enhance the company’s brand, reputation and recognition are successfully implemented.

As OPM’s Business Development Director your responsibilities will include:

Strategic alignment

  • Working closely with the CEO and Senior Management Team colleagues to develop and implement sales and business development strategies that align with overall business objectives.
  • Developing strong and effective working relationships with the Director of Consulting and Director of Growth and Strategy to deliver shared strategic objectives.
  • Leading the BD approach to funders including ODA donors, Foundations, and other emerging funders.

Sales and Business Development

  • Stewarding the systematic application of industry good practice in business development and bidding, including standardised processes, gates, and tools.
  • Taking responsibility for the priority pipeline of opportunities, driving strategic bid decision-making and overall division business development processes in line with OPM strategy and budget.
  • Sustaining market intelligence and insights: collating information on industry trends, innovations, relationships and partnerships, and preparing regular and ad-hoc reporting for bid teams and OPM leadership.
  • Ensuring local in-market business development activities are appropriately supported.
  • Establishing and nurture strategic partnerships to drive long-term business growth.
  • Delivering regular analytics for the SMT and Board on new business opportunities, pipeline, and business acquisition performance.


  • Taking the lead on major bidding activity.
  • Strengthening internal capacity for business development, including training and coaching for Bid writers, collating and expanding institutional knowledge and resources on technical design, and developing technical BD assets (e.g. developing templates for standard proposal sections).
  • Participating in proposal reviews and lessons learned debriefs identifying improvement opportunities for future proposals.
  • Establishing a network of partners, technical experts, and external consultants to support teaming strategies, key personnel recruitment, and actively contributing to writing successful proposals.

Client Relationship Management

Ensuring consistent and best in class client relationship management, using the Dynamics CE CRM system, to support strengthened relationships with key clients.

Commercial strategy

  • Overseeing pricing strategies and contract negotiations to optimise profitability and ensure that commercial agreements align with the company’s long-term objectives.
  • Providing training and support to enhance the commercial acumen of team members within the function and work with the relevant finance business partners to support broader commercial understanding to achieve strong commercial bids.
  • Regularly reviewing returns on investment in OPM’s positioning for key client markets.


Leading and mentoring the business development team to achieve revenue targets, develop client relationships and deliver wider management objectives.

Marketing and communications

Developing and implementing strategies to enhance the company’s brand and recognition within the market including:

  • Reputation management.
  • PR and crisis management.
  • Marketing: Positioning for growth against competitors and attracting new markets.
  • Brand management.
  • Driving value through social media.
  • Ensure a unified approach to market engagement and client relationship management.
  • Ensure appropriate marketing and engagement as appropriate supporting project communications.

Performance Metrics

  • Establishing and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) related to business development, client growth and diversification, and bidding activities.
  • Reporting regularly to the CEO and broader SMT on the progress of strategic initiatives and performance against targets
  • Continuing positive improvement of employee engagement survey results.




  • Bachelor’s degree with an Advanced Degree (e.g., Masters or PhD), or alternative, relevant professional experience.

Knowledge and experience

  • Strong leadership skills with proven experience in building, developing and leading a high-performing business development function.
  • A track record of successfully achieving revenue targets, and identifying and pursing strategic opportunities, within technical consulting or professional services organisations.
  • In-depth knowledge of market dynamics and trends within international development.
  • Experience leading external communications, including PR management and crisis management.
  • Successful application of marketing skills coupled with excellent negotiation and contract management skills.
  • Highly developed commercial acumen.
  • Strategic thinker – with the ability to align operational activities with broader business goals, in particular OPM’s purpose to have a positive impact on public policy.
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.
  • A collaborative approach to problem solving.
  • Experience in working with project management and technical advisors, as well as experience in establishing networks and partnerships to support teaming strategies and key personnel recruitment.
  • Expertise in the development of BD strategies for ODA funders including FCDO, USAID, DFAT, EU and/or other donors, including articulating theories of change, developing results frameworks, and constructing program strategy and activities.

Skills & Behaviours

  • A confident and visible leader, inspiring colleagues and clients with care and passion for their work; leading by example.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, dealing with challenging issues and communicating with internal and external senior management and key stakeholders.
  • Self-motivated and results oriented, able to set high standards for commercial performance.
  • Resilient and positive when faced with challenges and setbacks.
  • Exceptional communication skills with authority to a wide range of audiences. Able to explain complex business and technical concepts to audiences in an approachable way to influence and drive adaption.
  • Able to build trusted, productive relationships internally and externally. Works collaboratively and effectively with others to achieve common goals within immediate and wider teams, as well as across external networks, clients, and funders.
  • Balances multiple priorities by effective planning and delegating whilst retaining accountability to deliver to deadlines.
  • Aligns to OPM’s vales: we are ambitious, we have positive impact and together we make a difference.

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