The Complete Guide to Business Development Representatives (BDRs)

Cold calling. Lead gen. Non-stop outreach. Business development isn’t for the faint of heart.

But do you really know what BDRs do day-to-day and why they’re invaluable to revenue growth?

Grab some coffee and read on as we decode the often misunderstood role of these critical prospecting superheroes.

Page Contents

What is a Business Development Representative (BDR)?

A business development representative (BDR) plays a critical role in driving new sales opportunities and revenue growth for organizations. But what exactly does a BDR do? Let’s start with a clear definition of this sales role along with an overview of how it differs from similar positions.

Defining the BDR Role

A business development representative, often abbreviated as BDR, is an entry-level sales position focused primarily on identifying, qualifying, and generating new business leads through outbound prospecting.

While they don’t actually close deals, BDRs specialize in sourcing potential new accounts, initiating contact, building relationships, and ultimately passing qualified opportunities to account executives to progress further down the sales pipeline.

In essence, BDRs hunt for net-new business opportunities by reaching out to prospects who are not already within a company’s existing marketing funnel. Their goal is to expand the pool of potential customers.

Common responsibilities and activities for a business development rep include:

  • Researching and analyzing potential new target markets or industries to expand into
  • Identifying contacts at companies that fit the ideal customer profile
  • Building lead lists for outbound campaigns across channels like phone, email, social media
  • Conducting high-volume cold outreach to generate interest and spark conversations
  • Qualifying leads and assessing fit alignment through discovery calls
  • Networking online and at in-person events to build connections
  • Maintaining organized lead records in the CRM and tracking campaign data
  • Reporting on prospecting progress and results to sales management

While BDRs often collaborate closely with marketing teams, they operate as part of the broader sales organization with sales-focused goals and metrics tied to pipeline growth through new prospecting channels.

How BDRs Differ from SDRs

Given the similarities of their acronyms, business development representatives are often confused with sales development representatives (SDRs). However, these two sales roles actually have some distinct differences:

Business Development Rep (BDR)Sales Development Rep (SDR)
Focuses on outbound prospectingFocuses on inbound leads
Hunts for net-new opportunitiesQualifies existing marketing leads
Expands total addressable marketAccelerates sales funnel velocity
Grows overall pipeline sizeImproves sales funnel conversion rates
New account-based activitiesExisting opportunity progression
BDR vs SDR – Key Differences

While there is some overlap in activities, the primary difference comes down to new outbound prospecting vs. existing inbound lead follow-up.

SDRs take leads already in the pipeline like website visitors, content downloaders, etc. and try to connect with them quickly to advance them to later funnel stages.

BDRs procure brand new contacts outside of existing channels through proactive outreach, social selling, events, referrals and other tactics.

Of course, companies may blend these responsibilities based on business needs and sales maturity. But in general, BDRs are focused on net-new lead generation, while SDRs accelerate progression of current prospects.

Core Responsibilities and Focus Areas

Now that we’ve defined what a BDR is, let’s explore the core responsibilities these sales reps take on day-to-day:

Prospect Research

BDRs must deeply understand their ideal customer profile (ICP) and target buyer personas. Effective prospecting starts with comprehensive research to identify the types of companies and contacts that are most likely to become qualified leads based on their profile.

This allows BDRs to build targeted campaign lists for outbound initiatives and strategically focus their time on roles and organizations that fit well.

Initial Outreach

Making initial connections with potential buyers is the bread and butter of the BDR role. This typically involves high volumes of outbound outreach through channels like cold calling, emailing, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.

The goal is to spark interest, have exploratory conversations, and identify contacts that engage and could turn into viable prospects.

Lead Qualification

Once leads show interest, BDRs must ask discovery questions and dig into pain points, needs and budget to determine if the lead is truly a potential fit.

They aim to qualify leads and only focus additional time on those that meet ICP criteria, have a clear need, and are ready to talk to sales in the near future. Unqualified leads get recycled or nurtured for later follow-up.

Relationship Building

Part of the BDR role involves forming connections that allow for initial trust-building with prospects. They establish familiarity and act as a consistent point of contact as leads are nurtured down the funnel.

Ongoing communication and relationship management helps spark continued engagement.


BDRs are also responsible for administrative tasks like updating CRM records, tracking campaign results in sales analytics tools, and reporting performance metrics to sales operations and management.

Strong organization and attention to detail are crucial when managing high volumes of prospect interactions.

In short, BDRs handle a diverse array of responsibilities related to identifying and engaging new prospects through outbound prospecting and ultimately converting net-new opportunities that drive business growth.

Why are BDRs Critical for Sales Teams?

Business development representatives (BDRs) play an invaluable role in supporting sales teams to hit their growth objectives. While BDRs don’t directly close revenue themselves, they provide immense strategic value through the new prospecting channels and opportunities they create.

Let’s explore why BDRs are so critical for sales organizations looking to expand their pipeline, enter new markets, and scale revenue.

Generating Net New Pipeline and Opportunities

The number one value that BDRs provide is identifying and engaging fresh leads to drive new pipeline growth. They focus specifically on net-new prospecting, targeting contacts that are not already within the company’s pipelines or known to the sales team.

While marketing may generate many inbound leads, there are diminishing returns over time from existing channels as market saturation increases. BDRs supplement by hunting in untapped markets and reaching out to contacts completely off the radar.

According to research by SiriusDecisions, organizations that utilize a dedicated prospecting team see 36% faster pipeline growth and 32% faster revenue growth on average.

BDRs also expand the total addressable market by revealing new opportunities in adjacent industries, geographies, buying groups or company sizes that may be viable prospects with some initial engagement.

Through their outbound initiatives, relationship-building and high-touch exploration of potential fits, BDRs provide a steady source of net-new sales conversations to keep the funnel full.

Freeing Up AEs to Focus on Closing Deals

Another major benefit of BDRs is they allow account executives, the senior closing team, to focus their limited time on the highest value activities that directly drive revenue.

Prospecting, lead gen, and top-of-funnel nurturing all take significant time and effort. By handing these responsibilities to competent BDRs, AEs can dedicate themselves fully to later-stage pipeline opportunities that close new business.

According to Forrester, top sales organizations see 54% higher quota attainment when reps can dedicate more time to closing rather than lead follow-up.

Additionally, AEs often become ineffective when asked to juggle new prospecting beyond their account management activities. BDRs purpose-built for outbound initiatives can generate pipeline much more efficiently.

Providing Prospect & Market Insights

Business development reps gain incredibly useful insights during the course of their prospecting activities that benefit the broader revenue organization.

Through conversations with a wide array of inbound contacts, BDRs learn about pain points and needs directly from the source. They gain an in-depth feel for how prospects describe their challenges and what resonates when positioning solutions.

BDRs also research accounts during lead qualification and outreach preparation, giving them advanced notice of company happenings, org structure changes and strategic objectives that AEs may miss.

These insights help sharpen sales targeting, messaging, feature prioritization, product marketing and more to better align with ideal buyer needs.

Enabling Business Growth Through New Channels

BDRs have a unique focus on experimenting with new channels and untapped lead sources that generate inbound interest for sales teams and ultimately enable business growth.

By constantly exploring innovative avenues beyond existing marketing funnels, BDRs excel at discovering new streams of qualified accounts to fuel expansion.

For example, a BDR might:

  • Identify an effective new social media platform or ad channel to deploy campaigns on
  • Have success networking into a new niche industry or geography and open doors there
  • Research emerging customer segments or populous job titles that make promising targets
  • Find events, conferences or associations attended by high-potential prospects
  • Uncover cameos, news coverage and triggers that offer warm outreach topics

Taking on the risk of testing new channels gives BDRs valuable experience identifying the most fruitful lead sources. Their insights and prospect data then allow efficient channel scaling.

In nutshell, savvy BDRs provide immense strategic value by expanding sales pipelines, enabling AEs to sell rather than prospect, providing market insights, and continuously uncovering new lead generation channels to support sustainable business growth.

What Does a Business Development Rep Do Day-To-Day?

Now that we’ve covered the core definition and strategic value of BDRs, let’s get into the tactical details of what business development reps actually do on a daily basis.

BDRs handle a wide range of critical tasks from researching target accounts to managing complex campaigns and reporting on results.

Here is an overview of the key responsibilities and workflows that comprise the day-to-day life of a high-performing BDR.

Researching Markets and Accounts

The first step for effective outbound prospecting is strategic research. BDRs must devote significant time to deeply understand their ideal customer profile (ICP) and discover trends related to target markets or accounts.

Common research activities include:

  • Building persona profiles – Compile demographic, behavioral and contextual insights on the target roles that new prospects must align to.
  • Identifying pain points – Understand common challenges faced by the target persona through surveys, interviews or support case analysis to inform messaging.
  • Monitoring news and events – Stay on top of current events, leadership changes, product releases or news relevant to prospects in target industries.
  • Analyzing competitors – Research competitor offerings, messaging, targets and initiatives to differentiate and provide unique value.
  • Validating interest signals – Look for triggers like new funding rounds, leadership hires, press mentions or tech investments that suggest readiness to explore solutions.
  • Technical research – For complex products, research technical concepts, vocabulary and use cases to converse knowledgably with prospects.

This research allows BDRs to craft compelling outreach that speaks directly to the target role’s needs and interests. Ongoing research also provides the insights needed to continually refine prospecting strategies.

Building Lead Lists Through Data Analysis

Once target markets are defined, BDRs get to work building lead lists – the lifeblood of effective outbound prospecting campaigns.

List building involves extensive data analysis to identify contacts at companies matching the ICP across channels such as:

  • Firmographic databases – Leverage data on company attributes like industry, revenue, location, technology stack and headcount to build targeted prospect lists. Popular sources include ZoomInfo, DiscoverOrg, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and more.
  • Intent data – Utilize Bombora, 6sense and other intent data platforms to see anonymous website visitor activity demonstrating early-stage research.
  • Technographic triggers – Mine object data in Clearbit, Infer, Demandbase and others to identify accounts with technical signals suggesting a solution need.
  • Predictive scoring – Platforms like Lattice, EverString and DemandMatrix apply AI to model likely buying intent based on thousands of historical data points.
  • Existing contacts – Check CRM and marketing automation systems for existing leads to re-engage via campaigns.
  • Events – Obtain contact lists of attendees for tradeshows, webinars and other events relevant to the ICP.

BDRs must master marrying firmographic data with interest signals to build targeted yet sizable lead lists. List segmentation and thoughtful personalization keep outreach campaigns effective across long durations.

Conducting Cold Outreach Across Channels

Once equipped with targeted lead lists, BDRs begin executing meticulously planned cold outbound campaigns across the most effective channels.

This typically includes a combination of tactics like:

Cold Calling

  • Set aside consistent blocks for high-velocity calling
  • Leverage power hours for best connection likelihood
  • Personalize pitch based on research insights
  • Use hooks relevant to each prospect’s role and company

Cold Email

  • Write compelling email templates personalized to prospects
  • Send from customized domains to increase open rates
  • Experiment with different subject lines, content and CTAs
  • Follow up persistently over multiple touchpoints

Social Outreach

  • Initiate conversation through LinkedIn messages and InMail
  • Provide value on Twitter by commenting on discussions
  • Join Facebook and Slack groups aligned to the ICP
  • Share helpful advice and establish thought leadership

Direct Mail

  • Send highly personalized, creative mailers with value
  • Include follow-up messaging and giveaways to spark engagement
  • Track response rates to optimize future campaigns

A strong outbound strategy combines approaches to break through the noise. Personalization, persistence, and conveying value drive the best campaign results long-term.

Networking Online and at Events

Beyond outbound initiatives, BDRs also leverage networking online and at in-person events to build valuable connections.

Examples of effective networking activities include:

  • Joining LinkedIn Groups – Participate in group discussions aligned to the ICP. Provide thoughtful advice and establish authority.
  • Active Twitter presence – Build a relevant follower base through insightful commentary and content sharing. Aim to become an industry micro-influencer.
  • Facebook Communities – Identify relevant groups focused on the target industry and engage in authentic dialogues.
  • Relevant conferences – Attend key events attended by target personas and facilitate serendipitous conversations. Follow up post-event while interest is peaked.
  • Industry meet-ups – Find local meetups focused on the prospect’s field. Ask thoughtful questions when appropriate to foster connections.
  • Alumni gatherings – Connect with graduates of top programs targeted by the ICP. College alumni often help peers.
  • Volunteering – Give back to causes important to prospects to meet community-minded individuals with shared values.

Done right, networking enables BDRs to build authentic relationships that pay dividends when prospects see them as trusted peers rather than random salespeople.

Managing Complex Campaigns Across Teams

BDRs often have to coordinate seamlessly across sales, marketing and customer success teams while managing intricate multi-channel, multi-stage campaigns.

Key cross-functional projects include:

  • Campaign alignment – Work with marketing ops to ensure campaigns are integrated with nurture tracks and attribution modeling.
  • Creative collaboration – Partner with content teams to produce templates, one-sheets, mailers and other materials needed for campaigns.
  • Initiative launches – Orchestrate kick-offs involving multiple teams to maximize impact and adoption.
  • Event planning – Develop conference, webinar and event strategies jointly with demand gen teams and event marketing.
  • AE coaching – Help train AEs on how to best leverage new channels, campaigns or types of leads.
  • Martech coordination – Work closely with sales ops to implement new software platforms and ensure tight data integrations.

Success as a BDR requires exceptional project management, communication and organizational skills to wrangle complex multi-team campaigns.

Tracking Campaigns and Continuously Optimizing

With so many prospecting initiatives and channels in motion, BDRs must be uncompromising in their campaign tracking and results analysis discipline.

Critical campaign management tasks include:

  • Entering detailed CRM records – Log all prospect interactions and data in the CRM to centralize lead records.
  • Tagging and scoring leads – Track stage progression and add metadata tags for reporting segmentation.
  • Monitoring analytics – Follow key campaign KPIs in sales analytics tools and identify trends.
  • A/B testing – Try variants of outreach templates and tactics and double down on what moves the needle.
  • Optimizing over time – Eliminate low-performing tactics and continuously refine based on performance data and testing.
  • Sharing insights – Review results in monthly business reviews. Highlight successes, opportunities and recommendations.

BDRs must have an analytical, data-driven mindset to constantly improve the effectiveness of their prospecting programs and maximize sales pipeline contribution.

Key BDR Prospecting Activities and Tactics

Now let’s dive deeper into some of the critical prospecting activities and tactics BDRs master:

Identifying Ideal Prospects

All effective outbound initiatives start with identifying contacts at companies that closely match the ideal customer profile.

To build stellar lead lists, BDRs pull together demographic data from firmographic databases, technographic signals like website activity, and scoring models that predict likelihood to buy.

Additional characteristics of high-potential targets include:

  • Recently raised funding or hired key roles
  • Going through a merger, IPO or acquisition
  • Launching new products, initiatives or technologies
  • Experiencing above average growth or expansion

Thoughtful list curation based on ICP fit, intent signals and context maximizes the quality of prospects reached.

Crafting Compelling Outreach Messaging

Even when reaching out to qualified prospects, most outbound messages face immediate deletion. BDRs must put in the work to craft messages that spark interest amidst the noise.

Best practices for compelling outreach include:

  • Personalizing with specific details on the prospect’s role, company, initiatives, pains and goals
  • Opening with impact by leading with the most relevant value proposition
  • Speaking to pain points identified during research on the prospect’s role
  • Establishing credibility through thought leadership, social proof and expertise
  • Conveying value rather than pitching broad product features and capabilities
  • Using urgency drivers like limited-time offers to incent action
  • Keeping it short and scannable while aligning to the prospect’s communication style

Testing different tones, content formats and calls to action also allows optimization over successive campaigns.

Mastering Cold Calling Success

Cold calling strikes fear in the hearts of most startup sales reps. But BDRs know precisely how to get results from even the most challenging picks.

Keys to cold calling success include:

  • Focusing on prospects with buying signals – Increase connection rate and relevancy.
  • Getting straight to value – Establish relevance in the first 5 seconds.
  • Asking discovery questions – Understand pains, goals and timeline instead of pitching.
  • Actively listening – Pick up on cues, adjust approach accordingly.
  • Handling objections smoothly – Anticipate common pushbacks, have counters ready.
  • Conveying empathy – Form an emotional connection beyond a business transaction.
  • Explaining follow-up clearly – Set expectations on what happens after the call.

With practice, tenacity and an consultative approach focused on prospects, BDRs can make magic happen through cold calling.

Leveraging Email Outreach Automation

Calling hundreds of leads isn’t humanly possible. That’s where leveraging email outreach automation comes in.

Powerful cold email tools like Mystrika allow BDRs to scale campaigns by:

  • Crafting dynamic templates personalized to each prospect with pre-fill variables
  • Automating sequences across multiple touchpoints and nurture tracks
  • Optimizing subject lines, content and sending times
  • Capturing in-depth email engagement analytics
  • Warming up outreach domains to land in inboxes

Automation enables BDRs to take a high touch, personalized approach to cold email at scale. And dedicated platforms lead to up to 4X more qualified opportunities than manual efforts.

Building Relationships and Nurturing Leads

Beyond initial outreach, BDRs excel at ongoing relationship-building that turns cold prospects into strong leads by:

Developing Authority and Trust

BDRs utilize social channels, content sharing, and group interactions to establish themselves as trusted industry authorities. This makes prospects more receptive to outreach and conversations.

Strategically Connecting with Prospects

Finding creative ways to provide value builds rapport. BDRs connect prospects to resources, make relevant introductions and recommend helpful communities.

Moving Prospects Through the Funnel

BDRs don’t stop at the first interaction. Warm follow-up, valuable content, and coordinating discovery calls advance leads to later funnel stages.

Following Up and Staying Top of Mind

Consistent nurturing keeps prospects engaged. BDRs send targeted content, make check-in calls, and look for opportunities to continue providing value.

This relationship-focused approach earns prospects’ attention as partners rather than feeling “sold to” in the first conversation.

Handling Administrative Responsibilities

While not the most glamorous part of the job, BDRs also handle a number of crucial administrative tasks:

Maintaining the CRM as a Source of Truth

Detailed data hygiene ensures leads don’t slip through the cracks. BDRs keep CRM records meticulously updated with prospect contact info, interactions, notes, and metadata.

Reporting on Key Performance Indicators

BDRs use analytics tools to monitor campaign KPIs like contact rate, opportunities created, sales accepted leads and pipeline influenced. Performance is reported to sales ops and leadership.

Coordinating Closely With Sales and Marketing Teams

BDRs collaborate on campaign alignment, content needs, initiative launches, complementary programs and more to maximize effectiveness.

The administrative discipline of top BDRs keeps strategy focused on results, not just activity.

In short, BDRs have their hands full with a wide variety of critical responsibilities that ultimately generate new pipeline and opportunities to accelerate sales growth.

Skills and Qualifications to be a Successful BDR

Business development is often viewed as an entry-level sales role, but top BDRs possess a diverse mix of hard and soft skills that set them up for success.

Let’s explore the key qualifications, traits and areas of ongoing learning needed to thrive as a business development representative.

Education and Experience Requirements

While some companies will hire BDRs fresh out of college, most seek candidates with baseline sales experience and education:

  • Education: The majority of BDR job listings call for a bachelor’s degree. Common majors include business, communications, marketing or sales-related fields. Coursework in areas like communication, persuasion, psychology, and relationship management provide good foundations. Internships at companies with sales teams also give a leg up.
  • Experience: Many companies require 1-3 years of sales experience for BDR roles. Backgrounds as SDRs, in retail sales, account management, customer success or other roles involving persuasive communication, data analysis and relationship-building transfer well to the BDR function. Some companies will also hire candidates from non-sales backgrounds who demonstrate relevant abilities.
  • Industry knowledge: Experience in the company’s target industry allows BDRs to better understand prospect pain points and talk knowledgeably. For example, SaaS BDRs often benefit from exposure to the technology space.
  • Sales tools: Familiarity with essential sales software like CRM, sales engagement platforms, video conferencing, and sales analytics is a plus. Salesforce, Outreach, Zoom, Gong, and Chorus are examples of commonly used platforms.

While formal education requirements continue to relax in many sales roles, proven communication skills, persistence and work ethic remain prerequisites.

Key Hard Skills for BDRs

Beyond basic qualifications, BDRs require certain hard skills to excel:

  • Prospecting: Ability to identify viable targets, initiate conversations and qualify leads through research, cold outreach and warm follow-up.
  • Interpersonal communication: Excellent verbal and written skills to craft compelling outreach, pitch effectively, handle objections, and build rapport.
  • Active listening: Focus on understanding prospects’ needs and challenges, not just transmitting messages one-way.
  • Sales tools: Proficiency leveraging sales tech stacks including CRM, sales engagement platforms, video chat, and analytics tools critical for the role.
  • Time management: Careful prioritization and workload management to maximize results with limited BD resources.
  • Analytics: Data-driven mindset and ability to derive insights from campaign metrics and continuous testing.
  • Creativity: Innovative thinking to brainstorm fresh prospecting ideas, outreach hooks and campaign approaches that break through noise.

BDRs blend a mix of traditional sales, marketing, and business strategy capabilities making them versatile contributors.

Critical Soft Skills for Success

Beyond hard skills, top BDRs possess soft skills enabling them to power through adversity:

A Motivated Self-Starter Mindset

Tenacity powers success in the notoriously challenging BDR function. High motivation, energy and drive allows pushing through daily rejection to spark breakthroughs. BDRs refuse to settle for the status quo.

Persistence in the Face of Obstacles

Virtually every outreach attempt faces resistance, especially early on. Resilience and grit allow BDRs to brush off “no’s” and continue portfolio-based prospecting until keys unlock. Seeing setbacks as learning opportunities, not failures, enables perseverance.

Creativity and Outside-the-Box Thinking

Innovative BDRs imagine fresh angles to grab attention and add value when traditional tactics fall flat. Thinking broader than conventions breeds creative messaging and mediums providing a competitive edge.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Connecting genuinely with prospects as people, not transactions, accelerates relationship-building. BDRs exercising empathy and reading unspoken cues earn trust faster.

Discipline and Organization

Juggling high volumes of prospect interactions demands unwavering discipline. Meticulous systems, reminders and hygiene ensure efficient execution and follow-through at scale.

Top BDRs ultimately thrive on passion, problem-solving and resilient mindsets resistant to daily rejection. Developing grit as much as skills paves the road to BDR excellence.

Dealing with Rejection and Staying Motivated

Speaking of rejection, BDRs face immense amounts of “no’s” and dead ends on a daily basis. Maintaining energy and focus during the marathon of business development, not just individual sprints, presents challenges for even the most ambitious reps.

Let’s explore how high-performing BDRs stay motivated despite constant rejection through:

Internalizing the Numbers Game Reality

Outbound outreach is statistically a numbers game. Even for skilled BDRs, research shows connection rates around 20-30% are excellent. With only a fraction of connections converting to opportunities, rejection is inevitable. Internalizing the odds and not taking “no’s” personally prevents discouragement.

Focusing on Personal Growth and Development

Rather than obsessing over daily metrics, shift the mental framework to becoming 1% better each day. Perfecting skills, gaining knowledge and expanding capabilities provide a sense of progress and control.

Celebrating Small Wins

Major breakthroughs are infrequent. Maintain enthusiasm by consciously acknowledging small victories like positive prospect interactions, new lead sources uncovered and outreach messages that resonate.

Knowing Contribution Drives Meaning

Alignment to the company mission and seeing how new pipeline drives growth helps keep BDRs engaged through difficult stretches. Contribution, not compensation, fuels motivation.

By being realistic, playing the long game and linking work to higher purpose, BDRs generate enduring energy to power through rejection and obstacles.

Committing to Ongoing Learning and Development

Finally, continued skills development separates good from great BDRs. Learning agility and resourcefulness enable reps to expand capabilities over time through:

Leveraging Formal Sales Training Programs

Many companies offer onboarding bootcamps and ongoing sales training curriculum. BDRs actively participate to expand prospecting, communication, objection handling and other abilities. They soak up insights from sales leaders and peers.

Broadening Sales Process Knowledge

Understanding the full sales workflow beyond lead gen allows BDRs to better support the pipeline. Rotations, certifications and mentoring demystify steps from SALs to closure. This big picture perspective improves hand-offs.

Expanding Marketing Campaign Toolkit

Requesting exposure to demand gen, events, content creation and programs makes BDRs more well-rounded. Direct marketing experience breeds new ideas for outbound initiatives.

Learning from Mentors and Peers

BDRs seek guidance from seasoned sales veterans who coach them on nuances beyond textbooks. Exchanging ideas and collaborating with peer BDRs prevents insular thinking.

Monitoring Industry Best Practices

Voracious reading, conference attendance, podcast following and subscribed newsletters ensure continual awareness of prospecting innovations and sales technology developments.

The lifelong learners of business development actualize their potential and maximize their strategic impact.

In summary, BDR excellence stems from specialized hard skills, intangible soft skills and an insatiable commitment to professional growth.

Measuring and Tracking BDR Performance

Business development is a numbers game. Savvy sales leaders establish clear success metrics to evaluate the impact of BDR prospecting activities and optimize strategy over time.

Let’s explore key performance indicators, benchmark goals, reporting best practices and technologies enabling data-driven management of BDRs.

Key BDR Metrics and KPIs to Track

The most insightful BDR metrics focus on both activity effectiveness and pipeline influence:

Activity Volume KPIs

  • Calls made
  • Emails sent
  • Social media outreach completed
  • Connects generated across channels

Effectiveness KPIs

  • Call connection rate
  • Email open rate
  • Social media engagement rate
  • First call conversion rate

Pipeline Influence KPIs

  • Meetings scheduled with prospects
  • Unique leads generated
  • Opportunities created
  • Sales accepted leads (SALs)

Leading indicators like call connection rate demonstrate how well activities convert to interactions. Lagging indicators like SALs show downstream pipeline impact.

Balancing volume, efficiency and pipeline metrics provides a comprehensive view of BDR success.

CRM and Sales Analytics Enabling Data-Driven Decisions

BDRs rely heavily on sales technology to capture prospect interactions and campaign performance data needed to calculate KPIs:

CRM Platform

  • Central repository for all prospect/client data
  • Tracks lead details including source, contact info, metadata

Sales Engagement Software

  • Logs all call, email, SMS and social touchpoints automatically
  • Provides productivity metrics on activity levels

Business Intelligence Software

  • Pulls data from CRM, marketing automation, sales engagement tools
  • Visualizes KPI dashboards and trends

Intent Data

  • Reveals anonymous website visits demonstrating research
  • Identifies accounts exhibiting buying signals

Performance Analytics

  • Links campaign interactions to pipeline results
  • Quantifies BDR contribution to revenue

With data integrated in systems like Salesforce, Outreach, Gong, and, BDRs gain visibility into the full prospect lifecycle. This enables informed optimization.

Setting KPI Goals and Benchmarks

Once key performance metrics are established, sales leaders must set targets and benchmarks to evaluate BDR success:

  • Volume goals – Minimum activity levels expected for calls made, emails sent, touches per lead.
  • Efficiency benchmarks – Target connection, open and response rates compared to rep performance and industry averages.
  • Pipeline targets – Number of opportunities, SALs or pipeline dollars each BDR should deliver.
  • Growth goals – Monthly or quarterly improvements expected across KPIs.

Public benchmarks provide guidance, but targets should align to company maturity, ICP, solution complexity and sales cycles. Stretch goals encourage growth while remaining grounded in reality.

Beating outdated historical averages matters less than continuous improvement. Dynamic benchmarks keep BDRs challenged.

Reporting Results and Insights to Sales Leadership

Consistent reporting provides structure for reviewing BDR performance and aligning on improvements:


-Weekly for individual metrics

  • Monthly or quarterly for group reviews

Focus Areas

  • Recap of metric performance vs. goals
  • Key contributor insights and takeaways
  • Campaign discoveries and optimization ideas
  • Recommendations to amplify prospecting


  • Scorecards with KPI visualizations
  • Summary presentations
  • Interactive discussions

Proactive BDRs make insights actionable through post-mortems. Leaders guide team development with thoughtful feedback.

Public leaderboards recognize top performers while spurring healthy competition. Exposure to executives conveys the function’s strategic value.

In nutshell, meticulous measurement of agreed upon KPIs combined with frequent reviews and goal setting equip BDR managers to maximize prospecting performance, pipeline productivity and alignment to revenue targets.

BDR Job Titles, Career Progression Opportunities and Growth

Contrary to popular belief, being a BDR doesn’t consign you to a career dead end. The role builds a strong foundation of versatile skills applicable across departments.

Let’s discuss potential career progressions, expanded responsibilities and earning potential for ambitious BDRs.

Next Steps After Being a BDR

The business development function serves as a training ground exposing reps to sales processes, messaging, complex campaigns and cross-functional cooperation.

While some BDRs continue specializing in outbound prospecting and move up to senior BDR or management roles, many leverage gained abilities to transition into:

Account Executive

  • Leverage selling skills to own pipeline and close enterprise deals

Marketing Roles

  • Apply data, messaging, and campaign expertise to demand generation

Customer Success

  • Utilize relationship-building abilities to boost retention

Sales Operations

  • Leverage data analytics experience in a sales systems role

Sales Leadership

  • Draw from BD management experience to direct sales teams

Product Management

  • Translate prospect insights into product requirements


  • Advise clients on sales, marketing and go-to-market strategy

The adaptable capabilities honed as a BDR open doors across the org chart.

Evolving Into a Marketing Role

Many BDRs successfully transition into marketing by translating their prospecting skills into demand generation.

Example trajectory:

BDR > Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) Specialist > Demand Generation Manager

Relevant transferable skills:

  • Data analysis to build campaigns and reporting
  • Communications and messaging experience
  • Relationship initiation abilities
  • Executing complex initiatives across teams
  • Testing and optimization discipline

BDRs creative, metrics-focused and outbound-oriented already align well to the data-driven marketing team DNA.

Moving Into Customer Success

The constant conversations and relationship-building of BDRs also primes them for customer success roles focused on client retention and satisfaction.

Example move:

BDR > Customer Success Manager/Director

Transferable abilities:

  • Developing strong rapports with clients
  • Uncovering challenges through questioning
  • Crafting messaging that resonates
  • Managing complex technical accounts
  • Orchestrating cross-functional workflows

BDRs gain relevant exposure to the full client lifecycle.

Becoming a Sales or Marketing Leader

Ambitious go-getters can also work towards sales and marketing leadership positions leveraging their BD management experience.

Example trajectories:

BDR > Senior BDR/Team Lead > Sales Manager/Director

BDR > Campaign Manager > Marketing Manager/Director

Key applicable skills:

  • Team mentorship and coaching
  • Performance tracking and optimization
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Managing complex projects and campaigns
  • Presenting insights and recommendations

The holistic business exposure, data-driven approach and grit of successful BDRs groom them for upper management.

Salary and Commission Potential

According to recent industry surveys, typical BDR compensation includes:

  • Base salary – $40k-$60k depending on experience and geography
  • Commission – $5k-$20k variable tied to KPIs
  • Total compensation – $50k-$90k between base and commission

With quota attainment and career progression, BDRs can reach $75k-$125k in total comp within a few years.

Senior BDRs, team leaders and managers scale beyond $100k-$150k with experience.

Long term, BDRs expanding beyond prospecting into enterprise sales, marketing leadership or executive roles see comp reach $200k+.

In short, a solid foundation as a BDR along with consistent skills development provides pathways to diverse, high-growth sales and marketing careers and incomes reflecting immense value.

Hiring and Onboarding New BDRs

Hiring and onboarding represent crucial junctures to ensure your BDR function is set up for success.

Let’s explore proven approaches for attracting top talent, designing onboarding, establishing expectations, and facilitating ongoing learning.

Where to Find Promising BDR Candidates

With competition for BDR talent heating up, innovative sourcing strategies are required to build your prospecting dream team:

Leverage Your Network

Referrals from current employees and professional contacts tend to produce stronger candidates thanks to built-in common connections.

Search Sales Roles

SDRs, retail sales reps, account managers and customer success roles often produce candidates with transferable skills.

Recruit College Standouts

Tap campus career centers, attend job fairs, or promote internship programs to attract ambitious graduates.

Watch for Red Flags

Avoid candidates job hopping excessively or with questionable claims around massive quick results they delivered. Integrity matters.

Get Referrals from Candidates

Ask promising applicants for introductions to similarly talented peers in their network.

Highlight Development Opportunities

Emphasize skills growth, leadership pathways and career progression prospects the role offers.

Consider Attitude Over Aptitude

Drive and eagerness to learn can outweigh specific experience. Assess grit, work ethic and intelligence.

Casting a wide net, being meticulous in screening, and conveying your vision sets up success in the candidate search.

Designing an Effective BDR Onboarding Program

Structured onboarding transforms promising hires into productive team members:

Start With Culture Immersion

  • Review company mission, values, and goals
  • Share must-read leadership principles and operating guides
  • Connect new hires to potential mentors

Set Up Systems and Tools Access

  • Ensure CRM, sales tech stack, and collaboration platform access
  • Provide branded email, social media & templates to represent brand

Explain the BDR Role in Depth

  • Provide an overview of responsibilities and workflows
  • Review key performance metrics and SLAs
  • Share examples of success and common challenges

Introduce Cross-Functional Partners

  • Outline how marketing, sales, product etc. interact with BDRs
  • Facilitate relationship building through introductions
  • Train partners on effectively leveraging BDRs

Make Manager Expectations Clear

  • Explain scheduling, meeting practices, reporting needs
  • Provide guides detailing team processes and policies
  • Be available to field ongoing questions

Well-structured onboarding equips new BDRs with the context, tools, and connections needed to ramp up smoothly.

Setting Clear Expectations and Training Plans

Aligning on expectations paves the way for BDR excellence and advancement:

Performance Targets

  • Provide KPI dashboards detailing volume, efficiency and pipeline goals
  • Explain how success will be measured and rewarded
  • Outline key skills that must be demonstrated

Learning Resources

  • Share sales methodology materials, call and email examples
  • Create accounts for eLearning modules or virtual instructor-led classes
  • Explain process for requesting additional skills training

Growth Trajectory

  • Discuss career development opportunities and paths
  • Provide frameworks like company competency models to set goals
  • Establish monthly one-on-ones to review progress

Shadowing Opportunities

  • Arrange for new BDRs to listen in on calls with experienced reps
  • Have them shadow meetings across marketing, sales, customer success
  • Observing excellence accelerates practical learning

Clear expectations, development frameworks and examples of success provide BDRs direction needed to thrive.

Facilitating Ongoing Learning and Development

Finally, the journey has just begun after onboarding concludes. Savvy managers nurture continual BDR growth through:

Skill Refreshers and New Hire Check-Ins

  • Review priority abilities like call handling monthly
  • Provide refresher workshops on pitching, objection busting etc.
  • Check-in regularly and solicit feedback on enablement

Peer Knowledge Sharing

  • Add rotating skills deep dives to team meeting agendas
  • Have BDRs present on research insights, successful tactics etc.
  • Enable informal peer mentoring and collaborative troubleshooting

Learning Library Curation

  • Curate a centralized library of relevant sales articles, podcasts, videos and tools
  • Share inspiration on prospecting techniques, time management etc.
  • Create guides on internal systems and best practices

Manager Coaching and Feedback

  • Review call and email recordings to provide coaching
  • Deliver motivating, constructive feedback frequently
  • Solicit input on enablement gaps to address

Growth Planning and Skills Tracking

  • Create IDPs targeting areas for development
  • Offer budget for conferences, programs and learning resources
  • Track skills gained and revisit development goals quarterly

Investment in continual learning pays dividends in the form of knowledgeable, empowered BDRs equipped to generate pipeline and advance careers.

In short, a systematic approach to BDR hiring, onboarding, development and management allows organizations to build world-class prospecting engines fueling sustainable growth.

Key Takeaways

Business development representatives play an invaluable role fueling sales growth through net new pipeline generation. Here are the key takeaways on optimizing your BDR function:

  • BDRs specialize in outbound prospecting to identify and engage net new accounts rather than progressing existing opportunities like SDRs.
  • They expand total addressable market by revealing new lead sources, activating untapped markets and targeting emerging segments.
  • Top BDRs master research, outreach, qualification and relationship-building to convert cold prospects into viable leads.
  • Critical abilities include interpersonal communication, creativity, resilience, organization, sales technology and analytical skills.
  • A data-driven approach to tracking prospecting performance, setting goals and continuously optimizing processes is essential.
  • With development, ambitious BDRs can progress into sales leadership, marketing, customer success and other growth roles over time.
  • A structured hiring, onboarding and ongoing training regimen produces knowledgeable, empowered BDRs equipped to produce results.
  • When supported with coaching and resources, BDRs serve as a scalable driver of new pipeline and a launching pad for sales careers.

Investing in the recruiting, development and enablement of business development reps fuels sustainable revenue growth through expanded prospecting reach and capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common frequently asked questions about BDRs:

What does a BDR do?

A business development representative (BDR) is focused on identifying, qualifying, and generating new sales opportunities through outbound prospecting. Key responsibilities include researching accounts, initiating conversations through cold outreach, networking, qualifying leads, and passing viable opportunities to account executives.

How is a BDR different than an SDR?

The primary difference is that BDRs focus on new outbound prospecting while SDRs follow up on existing inbound leads. BDRs aim to uncover net-new accounts while SDRs accelerate leads already in the funnel.

What skills does a successful BDR need?

Top BDRs need sales expertise like communication abilities, perseverance, creativity, time management, and prospecting skills. Technical abilities in sales tools and data analysis are also critical. Soft skills like self-motivation and emotional intelligence help them thrive.

What are common BDR interview questions?

Expect questions assessing your prospecting approach, tools proficiency, work ethic, and handling of rejection. Interviewers may also present scenarios to evaluate analytical and communication skills. Come prepared to discuss examples of past prospecting success.

What metrics are used to measure BDR performance?

Key metrics used to manage BDRs include call and email volume, connection rates, opportunities created, meetings scheduled, sales accepted leads (SALs) and ultimately revenue influenced.

What is the career path and earnings potential for BDRs?

Many BDRs progress to sales roles like account executive or into marketing and customer success. With experience, BDRs can become sales leaders managing teams. Salaries range from $50k-$90k, reaching $200k+ for those advancing to executive roles.

What does a strong BDR onboarding plan include?

Effective BDR onboarding covers company and sales team context, systems and tools access, responsibilities overview, cross-functional introductions, manager expectations, performance targets, skill development planning and shadowing.

How can you keep BDRs motivated?

Frequent recognition, coaching, peer bonding, conveying company impact, celebrating small wins, and development opportunities help maintain energy. Reasonable goals and a positive team culture also boost engagement.