sales development vs business development representatives

SDR vs BDR: What Is All This About

For businesses in any niche, there are a number of individual professionals with specialized expertise that help their respective businesses grow. Revenue Operations, also known as RevOps, is an umbrella term covering a wide range of these professionals that focus on handling leads, moving them along the business’s sales and marketing funnels, and nurturing high-quality leads for the best possible chance of a sale. Sales development representatives (SDRs) and business development representatives (BDRs) are two particularly important roles under RevOps. 

Sales development representatives and business development representatives are typically roles that are implemented in an early sales career and focus on generating new client leads. 

An SDR focuses on qualifying inbound leads, while a BDR focuses on prospecting outbound leads

In this quick guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about what BDR is, what SDR stands for in sales, and much more. Let’s start by breaking down the core definitions of BDR and SDR. 

Sales Development Representative vs Business Development Representative

Both SDR and BDR professionals focus on generating leads. For many businesses, these professionals are outsourced via a B2B lead generation agency or a B2B cold calling service. Outsourcing these professionals is often significantly less expensive than building an in-house team. 

What is a Business Development Representative (BDR)?

A business development representative, also known as a BDR, is a sales team member who takes on the responsibility of finding and prospecting outbound leads for an organization. BDRs work to pull in new and lucrative opportunities for the business across multiple channels and markets. These professionals will also take on the task of service development and boosting or maintaining business relationships that are already in place.

What is a Sales Development Representative (SDR)?

A sales development representative, also known as an SDR, will manage leads that have already found the brand, rather than going out to prospect potential leads. An SDR in sales is a vital professional to have for your brand, as their focus is on actually communicating with valuable prospects are turning them into paying customers. SDR marketing techniques will often include things like email communication, newsletter signups, social media communication, etc. Many leads that an SDR will nurture can also come from existing customer referrals as well.

For companies in general, leads that BDRs manage to generate will often end up being managed by the established SDRs. An SDR will then be tasked with determining which leads gathered by the BDR are the most likely to be profitable, or “high quality.” An SDR’s main task is to engage in lead scoring. Through this process, leads are rated according to how close they are to an actual sale. Typically, an SDR or whole company will have its own protocols in place to ensure that its lead scoring practices are as efficient as possible. The process of lead scoring is basically how an SDR can understand whether a prospective lead should be pushed further down the sales funnel or abandoned either temporarily or permanently to avoid wasting valuable resources.

What’s the Difference Between an SDR & BDR?

There are a number of differences between SDRs and BDRs, though both positions are very important when it comes to sales. Just as well, startups or very small companies will initially combine both roles into one. However, SDRs and BDRs have different use cases. Essentially, a business development representative is responsible for outbound prospecting for leads. A sales development representative, on the other hand, is responsible for the inbound qualification of leads.

It’s very important to properly distinguish these two different roles when building an effective sales team. Both roles call for different but necessary expertise and skill.

B2B SaaS Sales roles

SDRs and BDRs have a number of roles specific to B2B SaaS sales. These include the following:

BDR B2B SaaS Sales Roles

  • Investigate target market, which includes relevant businesses and entrepreneurs that could benefit from the SaaS product.
  • Maintain and manage CRM platforms and other marketing or prospecting tools.
  • Develop sales team cold calling scripts and other marketing materials for generating leads.
  • Generate sales qualified leads in large volume from partners like Salesforce or other SaaS-centered sources.
  • Provide support to business partners.
  • Organize potential events and provide content to get key business decision-makers interested.
  • Generate template quotes for potential leads.
  • Report to the company’s business development executive or channel manager.
  • Funnel leads to the established sales development representative.
  • All SDR responsibilities in conjunction with BDR responsibilities for smaller brands or startups.

SDR B2B SaaS Sales Roles

  • Research related to the regions and verticals that will help them build sales-qualified leads.
  • Develop strategies for communication, especially in terms of getting a lead’s key decision-maker to make a tangible action, preferably a sale.
  • Developing use cases for the SaaS product in the context of an individual high-quality lead.
  • Develop strategies for handling objections, script-writing for sales representatives on the team, and penning effective and proven call-to-actions.
  • Scheduling meetings with account executives or other decision-makers.
  • Determining which leads should be scored and which should be abandoned either permanently or until a later date for retargeting.
  • Determining which high-quality leads are the closest to a sale or the highest qualifying leads.

Sales Team Titles: SDR vs. BDR

With an understanding of what SDRs and BDRs actually do, which one is worth considering when building a sales or marketing team? The shortest answer would have to be “both.”

We’ve mentioned how many established companies and startups will opt to hire one professional as both an SDR and BDR. However, this is often difficult to sustain over time, as both positions have a substantial number of roles and responsibilities. The best option would be to prospect potential BDRs and SDRs that have experience or expertise in lead generation for your company’s industry or specific niche. With this contextual knowledge, both professionals will be able to work together to pull in a steady stream of highly qualified leads that will convert into customers.

Even when your business begins to scale and you are able to outsource a full sales and marketing team, you should still have both an SDR and BDR as key leads of those teams. While the roles and responsibilities for lead generation and cold calling will now be distributed, your SDR and BDR will serve as team leads and develop strategies for your ever-changing business and industry atmosphere.

Final Thoughts

Sales development representatives and business development representatives are very different positions, but they both work well off of one another. For business owners that want to get the most out of their lead generations, sales team, and marketing team, establishing a BDR and SDR is the key to success. Without such professionals in place, identifying potential prospects, lead generation, and customer acquisition can be very difficult to achieve.

How was our guide to SDR and BDR? Tell us how these roles have benefited your business in the comments below!

John Dubay

John Dubay is the Managing Partner at Leads at Scale, an outsourced sales support company that helps B2B companies generate well-qualified leads at scale, ready to be closed.

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