Business Development Representative

What is a Business Development Representative (BDR)?

A business development representative (BDR) is solely responsible for generating new opportunities for your business. Often BDRs are the first point of contact for any potential customer.

BDRs are usually seen making cold calls, sending cold emails, and sometimes can lead discovery calls with potential prospects to better understand their needs.

However, the main goal of a business development representative is to book sales meetings and pass them over to the account executives (AEs) who in turn convert the prospect to a customer.

What Does a Business Development Representative Do?

Business development representatives are usually responsible for -

  • Generating new leads

  • Lead Qualification

  • Handing qualified leads to account executives (AEs)

Usually a business development function is established when inbound leads generated by digital marketing fails to suffice. Business development representatives are deployed to interact with potential buyers. There are 6 key steps involved -

  1. Research: BDRs dive into new and untapped markets and channels to search for ideal customers. They arm themselves with ideal customer profiles your organization had built, retrospective behavioral data and other insights to identify and target leads that will convert to potential customers.

  2. Lead Generation: Business development representatives are primarily tasked with generating building lists which acts as reservoirs of leads that account executives can potentially chase after.

  3. Cold Calling: One of the biggest superpowers of business development representatives is to engage with potential leads. They reign their power by using this effectively to generate new leads.

  4. Cold Emailing: This is another tactic that business development representatives employ to generate opportunities. They develop and craft their email campaigns that inevitably generate new leads.

  5. Social Selling: In the 21st century, social media plays a key role in making or breaking a business. A great BDR knows that staying active on the right social media platforms can help them generate a ton of leads. A lot of your ideal customers are active on social media and interacting with them in the right manner and outreach can allow BDRs to generate valid leads.

  6. Networking: Apart from using the above mentioned online mediums, BDRs often use networking as an effective tool to generate leads. Nothing beats a face-to-face relationship they cultivate which often leads to trust which in turn drives more leads.

How is a business development representative different from a sales development representative?

At most companies these two terms (sales and business development representatives) have the same job description and the terms are used interchangeably. However, at other companies they have distinct differences in the way they serve in the overall sales function. We will focus on the latter here.

A sales development representative (SDR) is responsible for generating business opportunities by qualifying inbound leads generated. Whereas, a business development representative (BDR) is tasked with generating business opportunities by using cold calls, cold emails, social selling and networking (outbound leads).

In such companies where the clear distinction between SDRs and BDRs is present, SDRs are often entry-level positions. Once sales development representatives have gained experience and confidence in handling warm leads, they can move on to become business development representatives.

What Skills Does a Business Development Representative Need to Succeed?

While there are a ton of skills a BDR should possess to be successful at their job, the most important one is how they react in the face of rejection. A BDRs biggest asset is their “resilience” without which it is hard to survive in the world of sales.

Apart from that here are few other soft skills they should posses-

  1. Creativity: Since BDRs are often part of the outbound lead generation process, they need to come up with creative methods to engage with their prospects. Even if it is sending a cold email to prospects, they could use creative methods that would create a spark of interest.

  2. Adaptability: BDRs engage with prospects from different walks of life and work. Being able to think on their feet will often save them a lot of trouble. A BDR should be able to change tracks when encountering road blocks during conversations with a prospect.

  3. Listening Actively: Business development representatives often spend a majority of their time talking and interacting with prospects. A great BDR should be capable of reading in between the lines to see what exactly the prospect is trying to communicate. Those who are able to do this well, are able to gain the trust of their prospects and can establish a connection with them.

  4. Patience: Being a BDR requires an immense amount of patience. The job is designed in such a way that there is so much waiting involved. No prospect is going to immediately convert to a lead with just a single cold call or email. There is a lot of push and pull involved and BDRs who patiently wait are the ones who generate results.

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