Outbound lead generation doesn’t just happen without salespeople actively reaching out to prospects. Therefore, there must be a role dedicated to contacting prospects and introducing them to your business. This role is often referred to as a Business Development Representative (BDR).
While BDR may be an entry-level sales role, these sales professionals play a significant part in the outbound lead generation process. In this blog, we’ll cover exactly what a BDR is, what they’re responsible for, and what skills they should obtain to be successful.
A BDR (short for Business Development Representative) is a sales professional who specializes in identifying and qualifying prospects in a company’s sales pipeline. They initiate contact to company decision-makers to introduce them to the products or services your business has to offer.
BDR is often an entry-level role in the outbound lead generation team. While they may be the new salespeople on the block, they play a crucial role in business growth and introduce new prospects in the sales pipeline so sales development representatives (SDRs) can secure sales meetings and sales or account executives can convert them into sales.
What Makes a BDR Different From an SDR?
While often used interchangeably, BDRs and SDRs have some notable differences.
BDRs typically focus on outbound prospecting, initiating contact with potential clients, and qualifying prospects. On the other hand, SDRs are responsible for following up with these qualified prospects to nurture the relationship between your company and their business and schedule high-converting sales meetings with decision-makers.
Additionally, SDRs are also tasked with following up with inbound leads that are generated through various marketing efforts. This includes digital channels like your website, social media, paid ads, and more. However, they can also be call-ins, contact form submissions, direct mail, etc. However they decide to enter the pipeline, they’re opting in the receive information about your company, and the SDR is tasked with following up to direct them to the sales team.
As a best practice, we recommend that SDRs be BDRs first. For more insight, read our blog here.
BDRs play a significant role in the outbound lead generation and appointment setting process. BDRs are incredibly impactful assets to your business growth strategy because:
- They take the initiative to actively reach out to prospects
- They are well-versed experts in sales prospecting
- They qualify prospects so your SDRs don’t chase poor leads
- They are metrics-driven and use data to consistently refine their strategies
BDRs are responsible for various components of outbound lead generation, including:
Researching Prospects in the Outbound Pipeline
BDRs are great detectives when it comes to identifying prospects. They consistently research, analyze prospect lists, and use prospecting databases to hunt down potential clients and integrate them into your outbound sales pipeline. It’s their job to keep it flowing with new prospects and they are always on the lookout for opportunities to spark conversations with decision-makers and drive business growth.
Actively Reaching Out to Potential Buyers
BDRs are the conversation starters between them and your business. They reach out to prospects through a variety of methods, including cold calling, cold emailing, and outreach social selling. Their goal here is to break the ice, introduce what your company has to offer, and lay the foundation for a good B2B relationship.
Qualifying Prospects Based on Your ICP
Once BDRs prospect and reach out to decision-makers, they’re tasked with qualifying them based on your company’s ideal client profile (ICP) and readiness to buy.
They ensure the prospect meets all your sales qualifiers, which could be the square footage of their commercial space, the number of employees they have, the amount of annual revenue generated, etc. However, this varies depending on your business’s needs.
Additionally, BDRs score leads based on where they’re at in the B2B sales funnel. This allows SDRs to gain a better idea of what they’re interested in and how ready they are to make a purchase, which plays a significant role in how quickly they go through the sales cycle. From this insight, SDRs know when to follow up and what kind of content they should be sent in order to boost engagement and establish trust with your business.
Providing SDRs and Sales With Market Insight
And last but not least, BDRs act as the bridge between marketing and sales, sharing valuable insights. They bring back intel on lead quality and how prospects are engaging with the initial conversation. This feedback loop helps both teams develop better strategies, ensuring that targeting and messaging hit the mark for better results.
At Abstrakt, we provide growing B2B businesses with a team of SDRs that cover both BDR and SDR tasks. Learn more about our outbound growth solution here.
In order to be a high-performing BDR, there’s a certain set of skills they must be proficient in to provide your business with positive results—both hard and soft skills.
First, business owners often think of and consider the hard skills that come with being an expert BDR. This includes basic knowledge of the sales industry, how to use leading sales tools and technologies, and how to use data to drive better results and gain more critical insight into the market.
While all these hard skills are incredibly important to be a successful BDR from the get-go, it’s also important to consider that this is an entry-level role. So more often than not, there aren’t a lot of BDRs that have a lot of professional experience under their belt. Luckily, these hard skills are all things that can be taught on-site. And if they have the necessary soft skills, they are more likely to learn these hard skills at a quicker rate.
As hard skills can be taught fairly quickly, it doesn’t come as easy as soft skills. To be a successful BDR, an individual must obtain a wide range of soft skills, including:
- Communication: Excellent verbal and written communication skills for effective outreach, rapport-building, and relationship nurturing. This includes communication with prospects as well as other outbound sales team members.
- Active Listening: The capacity to actively listen to prospects, understand their pain points, and tailor solutions accordingly is vital for positioning your company in a positive light. It emphasizes that you prioritize their needs first, rather than make a sale.
- Empathy: The ability to empathize with the prospect’s needs and concerns is vital for fostering trust and rapport. Empathetic BDRs are more likely to build strong relationships with prospects rather than push them away.
- Resilience: BDRs often face rejection, so resilience and a positive attitude are essential to bounce back and maintain motivation. The more resilient a BDR is with their outreach efforts, the more confident they eventually become in their role.
- Ambition: Even in the midst of rejection, successful BDRs must remain ambitious. This involves taking extra measures to learn how they can advance their sales skills.
- Time Management: Effective time management skills are needed to be able to juggle multiple tasks at once, prioritize high-priority leads, and meet monthly sales quotas.
- Adaptability: BDRs must be flexible to adapt to changing market conditions, customer needs, and evolving sales strategies. If a BDR isn’t adapting to the state of the industry and market, they’re putting the growth of your business behind competitors.
- Team Collaboration: BDRs often work closely with sales and marketing teams, so teamwork and collaboration skills are crucial to gaining feedback and making sure your outbound lead gen strategy is as strong as it can be.
- Problem-Solving: BDRs must have the capability to identify and address challenges creatively, finding solutions to keep leads moving through the sales funnel.
- Goal-Oriented: BDRs must strong drive to meet and exceed goals and quotas, with a focus on achieving results. If BDRs aren’t goal-oriented, they’re less likely to be motivated individuals overall, resulting in poor lead generation results.
For sales qualified leads to be generated through outbound lead generation, you must have BDRs to initiate contact with prospects and introduce them to the products or services your business has to offer.
Many small to medium-sized businesses make the mistake of assigning their sales execs BDR tasks, leaving risk for more leads to fall through the cracks. While this may save them money, it results in poor outbound lead generation performance. Luckily, there are outsourced lead generation companies out there that are able to provide growing businesses with outbound appointment setters (BDRs and SDRs), allowing them to achieve a predictable and sustainable business growth process for less than the cost of an in-house sales development team.
At Abstrakt, we offer growing businesses a full SDR team, including:
- SDRs (who tackle both BDR and SDR tasks)
- SDR Team Managers to track performance and motivate SDRs
- Sales Data Analysts to build and prioritize prospect lists
- Email Content Specialists to create and execute drip campaigns
- And more
And did we mention that you get all these business growth experts for less than the cost of an internal sales rep?
When you’re ready to outsource your sales development efforts to a trusted outbound lead generation provider, contact the growth experts at Abstrakt!