BDR MEANING: BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVES

...it starts with doing research on new markets and trying to uncover new opportunities. It means trying to more accurately define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).  A BDR is usually split testing different scripts and sequences in a series of Build Measure Learn loops.  Being more accurate here is the key to success. Spray and pray is so passé.

What is a BDR (Business Development Rep)?

Dialing for dollars. Hand to hand combat. Cold calling. There’s a lot of phrases that describe what Business Development Reps do.  They take ice cold leads and turn them into warm ones. They set appointments for your Account Executives.  They are considered entry level sales warriors. They are the foot soldiers of capitalism in the world of B2B.  Get your gong ready.  Let’s hit some quotas.

 

SDR vs. BDR: Differences Explained

So if we are talking about BDRs, it’s worth asking, what is an SDR (sales development representative)? On the first page of Google search results for SDR vs. BDR you’ll find an article from the Sales Talent Agency. It states that SDRs focus on inbound and BDRs focus on outbound. You will also find an article by the Sales Enablement Collective that states BDRs focus on inbound and SDRs focus on outbound.  Absolute EXACT opposite definitions.  For the purposes of this article, I will call everything BDR. Like many companies, I do not really differentiate between the two (perhaps I should?).

 

The BDR’s Place in the Sales Funnel

The goal of having Business Development Representatives is to delegate a lot of the heavy lifting. They generate qualified leads and set appointments for your account executive(s). OK.  Fair enough.  Do not underestimate the importance of the role, however. Ideally your account executives specialize at closing sales.  “Closers” as they are called.  Not all companies separate the appointment setting team from the closing team.  It depends upon your Go To Market motion and your needs.

 

The Business Development Process

Business Development Reps learn the sales cycle and uncover who the key players are in the decision-making process.  From there they develop a highly customized client specific sales strategy.  This is what Account Based Marketing (ABM) attempts to mimic at scale, but is not able to do at such a one-to-one level. 

 

Where Do BDRs Provide Value?

BDRs work hand in hand with your marketing and sales team. They help fill the sales pipeline.  They take MQLs and turn them into SQLs.  They identify new business opportunities, make cold calls, and often are the first point of contact in the customer journey.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Needless to say, this is such an important role.

 

Outbound: Conducting Research & Lead Gen

At some companies BDRs focus on outbound prospecting. That means everything from cold calling to social selling in order to spark interest from outbound leads.  Usually, however, it starts with doing research on new markets and trying to uncover new opportunities. It means trying to more accurately define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).  Usually a BDR is split testing different scripts and sequences in a series of Build Measure Learn loops.  Being more accurate here is the key to success. Spray and pray is so passé.

 

Build Measure Learn Loops

 

Inbound: Leads vs. Relationships

At some companies BDRs may be more focused on handling inbound leads (prospective clients).  That means the BDR focuses on qualifying inbound leads, active listening and understanding pain points.  They need to take time talking to potential customers to better understand customer needs.  Many customer interview tactics are well covered in Google Ventures Sprint and Running Lean.

 

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KPIs for Your BDR Team

Lead Conversion Rate

In tracking the success of Business Development Representatives (BDRs), certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial. One significant KPI is the ‘Lead Conversion Rate,’ which measures the effectiveness of BDRs in converting leads into qualified opportunities. This is calculated by dividing the number of qualified leads by the total number of leads contacted, then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.

 

Appointment Setting Rate

Another important KPI is ‘Appointment Setting Rate,’ which assesses the BDR’s ability to schedule meetings with potential clients. It is calculated by dividing the number of appointments set by the number of calls or contacts made.

 

Cold Emails

When tracking emails, open rate, CTR and response rate are the most common to track.  Additionally, ‘Average Lead Response Time’ is a critical metric, reflecting the speed and efficiency of BDRs in responding to leads, usually measured in hours or minutes. Make sure you are clear with your BDRs in how they will be evaluated.  Water the plants you want to grow.

 

Developing Growth Opportunities

Once upon a time there were no outsourced appointment setting services. You could buy lead lists. Sure. And sometimes they had accurate contact information. Sometimes. You could find people to send you “qualified” leads, claiming they had made contact and interest was shown. Speaking from personal experience, there was never any interest in anything but getting off the phone. But times have changed.

 

Outsourcing BDRs

Now there are an abundance of outsourced appointment setting services. Yes, they can generate massive lead lists for you. However, they can also help you niche down, improve your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and your customer segmentation. They do this by split testing different scripts and sequences to see which ones are the most effective. All the info you can pass along to your full-time sales rep and incorporate into your process.

 

Skills and Qualities of a Successful Sales BDR

I spoke to Steve Burton, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at The Point Company, a global B2B lead gen company based in London.  In case you didn’t know, Steve is a record smashing, master ninja sales trainer with about 27,000+ followers on LinkedIn.  I asked him what he thought the top qualities and skills of a good BDR would be.  Here is what he said:

 

“Well, I have trained around 1,000+ SDRs and I tend to hire based in will and then train skill. I look for resilience and persistence, people who have had a job prior that’s hard holds them in good stead.  An eagerness to learn is helpful coupled with a competitive edge. People from a sporting background seem to do well as they are coachable and competitive and are comfortable taking direction. People who don’t place their perceived value based on their job do well.  My favourites are people with a chip on their shoulder who want to prove they can beat the people who got the breaks.”

 

Can I get an “A-men,” brothers and sisters?  It’s my favorite quote of the month.  Maybe the year: 

My favourites are people with a chip on their shoulder who want to prove they can beat the people who got the breaks.

Top BDR Agencies

So I’ve done a bunch of research on BDR Agencies. They won’t tell you their process, tech stack or even if most of their BDRs are native English speakers. That is, unless you spend an hour on the phone with them. Even more frustrating, they won’t tell you their pricing, minimum commitment term or expected results. Nowhere on their website. So I spent 10+ hours qualifying the top 10+ BDR Agencies I could find. I published the information they won’t on my website for free. Prices. Outcomes. Technology. Everything. You’re welcome!

 

FAQs & Summary: BDRs

Ultimately Business Development Representatives (BDRs) are key players in the sales and marketing teams of many organizations. As explained before, their role is to cultivate new business opportunities, often through cold calling, email outreach, and networking.  BDRs are responsible for the initial stages of the sales process, including lead generation and qualification. They are often the first impression a prospective client has of your company.  The set appointments for account executives.  They work closely with sales to create and implement growth strategies   They need strong communication skills and an understanding of customer needs.  They must be able to effectively articulate a company’s value proposition. They create momentum in the process of changing a lead into a relationship.

 

Ready to Book a Call?

Ready to talk about how a Fractional CMO can help your business?  Click the button below and schedule a free strategy session.

Author Bio

Benjamin Arritt

Benjamin Arritt

Global B2B sales & marketing executive that loves a fast-paced, customer-centric, high tech entrepreneurial environment. We help 50+ fractional CFOs and 93+ fractional CMOs find more work. Hire someone who has already done what you are trying to do. Follow me on X: @grokketship
BDR MEANING: On the phone

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