What is a Business Development Representative (BDR)?

BDRs build your outbound sales pipeline.
Business development representative cover image
BDRs or Business Development Representatives are vital members of a company's sales team. They are the first point of contact with potential customers. BDRs play an essential role in the sales process by prospecting, qualifying, and scheduling appointments for the sales team.

A Business Development Representative (BDR) is a sales representative that focuses on generating qualified prospects via cold email, cold calling, social selling, and networking. A BDR is sometimes known as a Sales Development Representative and is an initial point of contact for potential clients.

Business Development Representatives can be hired in-house or outsourced to a specialized sales outsourcing company.

This article will explore the role of a BDR in prospecting leads and more. Additionally, we'll look at how hiring a BDR works and whether in-house hiring or outsourcing is the right choice.

What Being a Business Development Representative Involves
The Role of a BDR in Prospecting Leads
How BDRs Book Meetings With Potential Customers
How BDRs Contribute In the Short and Long Term
How to Get a Business Development Representative
Outsourcing BDR Services

What Does Being a BDR Involve?

BDRs use various tools to reach out to potential customers, including cold emailing, cold calling, social selling, and networking. The goal of these activities is to generate qualified prospects that the sales team can then follow up with.

They reach out to potential customers to introduce them to the company's products or services.

Once they establish a connection, they attempt to qualify the lead to determine if there is a fit between the customer's needs and what the company has to offer. The job of a Business Development Representative is important but can also be challenging.

BDRs have many responsibilities, including:

  • Prospecting for new leads
  • Generating leads through methods such as cold emailing, cold calling, social selling, and networking
  • Qualifying leads to determine whether they are a good fit for the company's products or services
  • Scheduling appointments for the sales team

The job of a BDR is to develop relationships with potential customers and set up meetings for more senior members of the sales team. As such, they need to be good at communicating and building rapport. BDRs also need to be organized and efficient to keep track of their pipeline and progress through the sales process.

Business development professionals are in charge of increasing a customer base. They utilize prospecting approaches to discover prospects and begin the first contact with them.

To be successful in this role, BDRs must have excellent communication skills and build relationships quickly. They must also be comfortable with rejection and be able to handle multiple rejections on a daily basis.

The Role of a BDR In Prospecting Leads

The process of finding potential consumers, locating them, and generating a base of leads with the goal of converting them into paying customers is known as prospecting.

Prospecting is a part of lead generation, which is the practice of converting people who have never expressed interest in your brand to expressing such interest. A prospect, therefore, is someone who perhaps has never had any interaction with your brand. A lead, however, is a former prospect who has 1) interacted with your brand and 2) expressed some interest in the solution you have to offer.

Prospecting is often one of the most important aspects of any sales-driven organization. It's also usually one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks that salespeople face on a daily basis.

There are many different ways to prospect for new leads, but it all starts with identifying your target market and understanding their needs. Once you know what you're selling and who you're selling it to, you can begin using various methods to find potential customers and start building relationships with them.

A common way to begin the prospecting process is building something called a customer profile. A customer profile is what it sounds like: a list of characteristics that deem someone to be a good fit as your customer.

An example of building a customer profile comes from our work with a Silicon Valley startup in the work productivity space. This startup sells software that makes it easier for employees to context-switch between external meetings.

As you can imagine, the first question our BDRs asked themselves with the customer was this: which type of employee has so many external meetings per week that they need a tool to help them quickly context-switch? We found that the answer is workers in customer success and account management.

However, having decades of combined sales experience on the team means that we were able to filter for more important items; they included seniority, industry, company size, and more.

So the final version of the first customer profile our BDRs made looked something like below.

  • Position Titles: VP of Customer Success, Head of Account Management
  • Employee Count: 201 - 500 people
  • Industries: Internet, Computer Software
  • Locations: California, New York, Washington, Massachusetts

Building out rock-solid customer profiles is the first step to being an excellent BDR.
Attributes of a customer profile infographic
The next step BDRs have to do in the prospecting process is configure and execute the actual outbound messaging. We will discuss that more in the next section of the article.

Zooming past that, some of the prospects will turn into "leads", meaning that they are prospects who expressed marginal to great interest in the business the BDR is working for.

However, it's important for BDRs to do lead qualification.

Lead qualification entails examining characteristics of leads and seeing whether or not it's worth it for your sales team to have a conversation with those leads.

While it's always exciting for anyone to fill out your contact form - or merely express interest in your business - that doesn't necessarily mean that they are an ideal customer. It might be the case that a business replies to a BDR's email sequence expressing interest, but that business is not a good fit for multiple reasons: the lead might not be in your business's desired deal-size range, they might have a low lifetime value if they did become a customer, etc.

At the same time, there are several reasons why BDRs decide that the lead qualifies, even if those reasons aren't clear interest. A good example of this is when a lead is not eager about being a customer but wants to learn more about your product. In fact, learning more about your product or service - as opposed to enthusiasm for it - is a common reason why prospects turn into leads and book meetings with businesses.

There are instances where lead qualification involves a back-and-forth between the Business Development Representative and the lead.

They may ask questions about the lead's needs or what they are looking for in a product or service. They may also try to find out how much money the lead has budgeted for this type of purchase, though that question is more appropriate for meetings (depending on who you ask). If it seems like there is a potential fit, BDRs will set up a meeting for the next step in the sales process.

Prospecting for Business Development Representatives means generating new leads and qualifying them to determine if they're a good fit for the company's products or services.

The Role of a BDR In Setting Up Meetings With Potential Customers

Prospecting isn't the only part of a BDR's job. Business Development Representatives need to use their knowledge and tools for setting up meetings with potential customers.

Setting up meetings can be a difficult task, but BDRs are experts at it.

Here are some methods that BDRs use for engaging with prospects to convert them into leads.

  • Cold Emailing - BDRs use cold emailing to reach out to potential customers and introduce them to the company's products or services. They send a message that is relevant to the customer and provides value so that they are more likely to respond.
  • Cold Calling - Cold calling involves contacting potential customers who may not be familiar with the company or its products. BDRs need to be prepared for objections and have effective rebuttals ready.
  • Social Selling - Social selling is the process of using social media platforms to identify potential leads and connect with them. This method allows BDRs to build relationships with potential clients before reaching out to them directly.
Responsibilities of BDRs infographic
The Business Development Representative needs to re-engage with prospects in an appropriate and convincing manner in order to convert them into leads.

It's common for BDRs and others on sales teams to only reach out to prospects via a few touches, but the problem is that most prospects won't respond until after several touches.

This is due to different reasons and most of those reasons are outside of the BDR's control. Prospects might be too busy to respond to your email - let alone book a meeting with you; they might have never seen your email because it was marked as spam or because they have too many emails to check.

It's the job of the Business Development Representative to optimize what's in their control, and those things are the pitch, the quality of their pitch, and the number of times they reach out to prospects.

It's common for our BDRs to perform something called a resequence campaign. A resequence campaign is exactly what it sounds like: a targeted effort to reach out to prospects that haven't converted into a lead.

To effectively run resequence campaigns, BDRs need to be aware of where every prospect is in their journey. This is why tracking prospects as much as possible is imperative. The best BDRs keep track of the number of times a prospect has been reached out to, the number of times a prospect has opened an email, and more.

The reason why a resequence campaign run may not be successful is that the Business Development Representative did not do a good job at tracking prospects; consequently, the prospect is receiving an email or a phone call that is irrelevant to where they stand.

An example of this is a BDR sending an email to a prospect that starts with "I know you've read my emails before but hear me out on why you need X." That statement is not relevant if the prospect hasn't opened a single one of that BDR's previous emails to them.

This example could've been avoided if the BDR kept track of that prospect's email open rates.

As a recap, BDRs need to be organized to book meetings with potential customers. It's difficult to run email, cold call, and social selling campaigns when the BDR doesn't keep track of where the prospect sits in their journey.

By keeping track of their pipeline, BDRs can ensure that they work on the most promising leads and progress towards their sales goals.

How Do BDRs Contribute to Sales In the Short and Long Term?

Business Development Representatives can make a drastic difference in a company's sales. They can affect the company's sales in both the short and long term in different ways.

In the short term, BDRs help the sales team increase the amount of potential customers in the pipeline. In the long term, your business can close more deals and make more revenue because of the BDR's contribution to that pipeline.

Furthermore, they qualify leads so that only those who are ideal customers move further in the buying cycle. Ideal customers for most businesses means customers who truly need your product and service and would have a larger lifetime value than others.

Therefore, the Business Development Representative's contribution is indispensable for any company.

How to Get a BDR

When it comes to hiring a Business Development Representative, companies have the option of either hiring in-house or outsourcing to a specialized sales outsourcing company.

To hire a Business Development Representative in-house, the company needs to have enough resources in terms of budget and manpower. The company also needs to have a good system in place for tracking the progress of the BDR and providing them with adequate training. It can take several months for companies to go from making their BDR hire to seeing results because of this.

Using an outsourcing company is a good option for companies that don't have the resources to hire in-house. Outsourcing sales development companies have experience in hiring and training BDRs, so they will be able to provide your company with folks who are qualified and capable of doing the job.

Outsourcing BDR Services

There are many benefits to outsourcing BDR services. It is usually more cost-effective than hiring in-house staff. This is because you only need to pay for the service when you need it, and there are no additional costs such as employee benefits or training.

When you outsource BDR services, you have access to a team of experienced professionals that can provide support when needed.

Outsourced BDRs can give you results as soon as the first week.


Business Development Representatives play a crucial role on the sales team. They generate leads so that you can close more deals.

There are several benefits to outsourcing BDR services, including cost-effectiveness and access to a team of experienced professionals.

When considering whether to outsource or hire an in-house BDR, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. In general, outsourcing is more efficient than hiring an in-house representative.

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