Why is the business development representative the most important position in your company?

Aug 8, 2022

Collin Stewart

Learn about business development representatives, what they are, what they do, how they compare to SDRs, and more!

Business development reps (BDRs) are an important part of your company’s growth strategy. They can generate new leads, qualify prospects, and bring in millions in revenue.

But what is a BDR and why do you need them? Let’s start with a few definitions.

What does BDR stand for?

The BDR meaning stands for Business Development Representative. 

What is a business development representative?

A BDR is a type of sales rep who specializes in outbound prospecting and generating qualified leads.

What does a business development representative do?

BDRs focus on tasks like cold calling, social media outreach, cold email, and networking. Their primary function is to generate and qualify cold leads, then nurture those leads into setting an appointment with an account executive (AE). 

Daily tasks of a BDR might include researching prospective customers, identifying the key decision-makers at a certain company, following up with leads, and performing cold outreach. 

SDR vs BDR

The terms SDR and BDR are often used interchangeably. Although the goal of both roles is to book sales meetings, SDRs focus more on qualifying inbound leads and generating repeat business, while BDRs handle outreach to cold leads. The titles are less important than ensuring you have team members who fulfill both roles. 

SDRs and BDRs are not responsible for closing deals. Instead, their function is to book a sales meeting where a more experienced salesperson (usually an AE) will take over.

How do BDRs impact ROI?

SDRs and BDRs are a customer’s first point of contact with your company and they play a critical role in moving leads through the pipeline. It doesn’t matter how skilled your AEs are at closing deals–without BDRs, they won’t have any deals to close. 

BDRs generate qualified opportunities for new business. According to Figment, BDRs convert around 40% of their leads into qualified sales opportunities, compared to 5% of non-specialized sales teams.

A skilled business development representative will increase both the quantity and quality of leads in your pipeline, generating more revenue in a shorter period of time.

In addition, BDRs free up the time of their higher-paid AE counterparts. They take the time to build a relationship with key decision-makers and qualify each lead so AEs don’t have to. This allows AEs to spend less time prospecting for new business and more time closing deals. 

With a more consistent pipeline and higher conversion rate, hiring BDRs can make a dramatic impact on your bottom line.

When to hire BDRs

Your first few sales hires will likely be full-cycle salespeople, handling everything from outreach to negotiation. But as your company grows, these salespeople will end up spending more and more of their time prospecting for new business instead of closing deals.

When this happens, it’s time to start building a dedicated BDR team. Let your senior salespeople focus on what they do best while BDRs take care of the prospecting. 

In today’s B2B market, it’s more difficult than ever to connect with prospects. BDRs are experts at cutting through the noise to reach potential leads, just as AEs are experts in closing the deal. As your company continues to scale, each sales role should become more specialized so every team member is focused on what they do best.

Building the right BDR team

BDRs are a vital part of your outbound sales team but it can take time to find the right people for the role. People who are naturally curious, empathetic, and strong researchers will thrive in this position.

Sales expert Bill Kiani recommends searching for candidates who are outgoing, resilient and have a positive attitude. These traits will help a BDR remain committed even as they face inevitable rejection through the cold calling process.

Most sales advice recommends hiring BDRs in pairs. Hiring two reps is a more effective test run, otherwise, the success or failure of your first BDR could be a fluke. You’ll also be able to make more informed decisions based on two sets of data rather than one.

Because the BDR role is typically an entry-level position, most candidates won’t have any sales experience. This makes it even more important to lock down your onboarding process. Make sure all news BDRs are fully equipped to succeed in the role with in-depth training, mentorship, and coaching support.

If you need help building your outbound sales team, reach out here to book a free discovery call. Our coaches can help you with hiring, training, onboarding, and more.

In this guide, we’re sharing everything you need to know about not only hiring great SDRs but also how to train them for success and retain your best talent long-term. Steal our exact interview process, use our proven job description template, and learn how to motivate your reps beyond monetary compensation. 

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