The hardest part of closing a deal is finding one. It's why every great sales team needs a connector — someone who identifies prospects and warms them up with outreach and networking.
This person is a business development representative (BDR). They identify new leads, qualify them, and connect them with the right people on your team.
Here, we'll dive more into the role of a BDR, the skills necessary to do the job, and their impact on a sales team.
What is a Business Development Representative?
A business development representative (BDR) is responsible for identifying and qualifying prospects. They use a variety of tactics, including cold calls, cold emails, networking, and social selling.
Ultimately, the role of a BDR is to identify and qualify leads – making them the first point of contact for potential customers.
Once a lead indicates interest — such as requesting a demo or responding to an email — a BDR will connect the prospect to someone more senior on the team, like an account executive. In some cases, a BDR will conduct a discovery call to qualify leads before moving to the next step.
BDRs tend to be young professionals looking to start a career in sales and are willing to grind to catch leads. Let's learn more about what they do during a typical day.
What does a Business Development Representative do?
BDRs are responsible for three main outcomes:
- Identify new leads.
- Qualify them.
- Connect them to senior sales members.
They do this in a number of ways — let's walk through the five fundamental ones:
1. Research new markets.
BDRs are often responsible for finding untapped, potentially lucrative markets. They do this by drawing on customer personas and behavioral data. They also take an in-depth look at competitors to find new opportunities
2. Lead generation.
BDRs also analyze customer data and build prospect lists. While this step is less than glamorous, it's critical in the long run — after all, a BDR's success relies on the quality of their prospects.
3. Perform cold outreach.
BDRs try to capture outbound leads (prospects who show interest in a product or service but haven't made a purchase yet). This type of lead requires "cold outreach," namely cold calls and emails.
The goal is to initiate exploratory conversations with prospects and suss out if they'd be a good fit for your offerings. While this type of outreach is harder than warm outreach (when you have some relationship with the prospect), there’s a larger pool of leads to capture.
With all this talk about outreach, it's no surprise that most BDRs are "people" people. Fittingly, they often generate leads by networking. As master networkers, they're adept at kick-starting conversations, building relationships, and developing trust.
5. Social Selling.
An effective BDR knows how important it is to meet people where they are — and more often than not, they're on social media.
Using these channels, BDRs can position themselves as authorities in their spaces and show their industry expertise. They're also strategic — determining which platforms to use and the right time of day to use them.
To learn more about BDRs, check out this helpful guide to see some sample job descriptions.
BDR vs. SDR
Business Development Representatives (BDRs) are often confused with Sales Development Representatives (SDRs).
In fact, the two terms have become almost interchangeable in the sales world — especially for smaller companies where these roles are often combined into one. Yet, there are big distinctions.
A sales development representative (SDR) is responsible for qualifying inbound leads — ones who have previously engaged with the SDR's company or offerings.
An SDR determines which leads are likely to be profitable through activities like lead scoring.
A business development representative (BDR) is responsible for outbound lead prospecting. This entails creating prospecting lists, defining territories, and finding new markets and channels — all tasks unique to this role.
That said, both of these roles do not close deals — they only serve to start conversations, qualify leads, and connect them with more senior salespeople.
Back to You
Being a BDR is an exciting — and sometimes challenging — role. After all, it's up to you to get the sales conversation rolling. When done right, you can guide your leads through the sales pipeline and impact your organization's growth.