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Team17’s Benjamin Ellis on biz dev: What skills does it take to search out the next big indie hit?

Every month in Levelling Up, we bring you cherry picked advice to help you reach the next level in your career. This month, Benjamin Ellis, business development executive at Team17, tells us about the importance of a commercial mindset and an understanding of the business of games for his role

What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?

My job title is business development executive, which for myself is split into two areas: managing the accounts of the digital distributors and working as part of our product acquisition team. Depending on the time of year, my day-to-day workload can change quite significantly. Typically, I’m either speaking to developers, organising promotions with our partners, getting everything in place for game launches or organising our attendance of events. We’re a relatively small team so rather than having a very defined role you get the opportunity to involve yourself in many aspects of game publication. The variation is something that I really love about this role.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land this job?

There are no specific qualifications needed for the role but it’s very important to have a commercial mindset and a fundamental understanding of the business of sales. My time at university taught me great lessons in how to manage time, how to manage projects and how to collate information and make it presentable. Additionally, having spent almost ten years in business development and account management, I’ve managed to acquire a solid knowledge of areas such as sales, communication, organisation and workload management amongst other things. If you have a solid understanding of business development, coupled with a passion for video games, then you’re in a really good spot.

 

“Communication skills are vital, we spend a great deal of time speaking to people from all walks of life.”

 

If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?

The commercial team is still growing at Team17 so it’s important that anyone who joins is affable and can work well within a smaller team. Communication skills are also vital, we spend a great deal of time speaking to people from all over the world and from all walks of life so it’s important that a candidate should have the confidence and poise to be able to conduct face-to-face and phone conversations with CEOs, developers, platform holders or whoever it might be. It’s also crucial that you understand video games, how they’re developed and the people that buy them, as well as a good knowledge of Team17 and our values.

What opportunities are there for career progression?

I believe that if you’re in an industry that you’re passionate about, and you’re willing to learn, then the sky is the limit. There are several branching paths from business development, from working your way up within the department, to moving into licensing, to moving into more strategic roles and long-term business planning. There are also people I know that have found that their skillset is better served in another department and have moved into things like marketing. It’s an industry with a lot of options and plenty of people willing to learn.

Want to talk about your career and inspire people to follow the same path? Contact Marie Dealessandri at marie.dealessandri@biz-media.co.uk

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s senior staff writer, having joined the publication during its days as a weekly magazine. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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