You might be new to tech, or sales, and wonder to yourself — “What is a BDR?”
It’s a common acronym that gets thrown around a lot, but what is it? And what does this role actually do?
A Business Development Representative (BDR) is the individual within the sales team who is responsible for creating new business opportunities. They use a variety of methods including networking, cold calling, emailing, and social selling to connect with potential prospects.
Business development is an important arena for creating strategic opportunities for a company or organization. As well as lead generation, it can also be used to drive growth or partnerships.
With the number of B2B SaaS companies and subscription based offerings increasing; the number of BDR roles and their importance in the organization have exploded.
What Does a Business Development Representative Do?
BDRs are invaluable for businesses or organizations because they create new business opportunities. They do so by ensuring that all channels are optimized and generating a constant flow of qualified opportunities for the sales team. Their role include can be separated into three distinct buckets.
- Seeking new leads
- Qualifying the new leads
- Passing the leads to their sales team
BDR Key Tasks
BDRs use several key tasks to generate leads and optimize business development. These include:
- Research: BDRs are experts at finding untapped markets and fresh channels. They will draw on your business metrics such as customer personas and behavioural data. With their experience and insight, they will use this data to generate new leads.
- Lead generation: After compiling and analyzing customer data, BDRs focus on lead generation – the process of stimulating and capturing interest in your products or services. They then populate a list of potential customers to reach out to.
- Cold calling: This is a very effective way to connect with prospects. It allows BDRs to communicate with people in real-time and to cater their conversation to the recipient’s needs. Cold calling can be challenging, so finding a community to practice and develop your skills is important.
- Cold emailing: BDRs also use cold emailing to test the waters and produce new leads. They have the expertise to develop campaign emails that hook the reader and generate interest.
- Networking: There’s nothing like networking for building trust and lasting business relationships. BDRs are very good at working with people face-to-face, which can help them drive more leads.
- Social selling: These days social media is a valuable tool for engaging with target audiences. A successful BDR will know which platform to use and the right time of day to use it. Social media also allows BDRs to become an online authority by showing leads their expertise in their industry.
- Qualification: Depending on the team structure, BDRs will most likely be responsible for handling the initial conversation with the prospect to ensure they are a fit. These initial conversations are catered around information gathering than trying to “close the sale” as they will be passed off to an Account Executive to carry the sale till close.
What Skills do You Need to Become a Business Development Representative?
BDRs need a specialized skill set that begins with knowledge of their industry and how to market it to the target audience. They also need a deep understanding of the challenges and trends in their market, the pain points that their target audience faces, and the solutions they need. But these skills alone are not enough. BDRs also need the following:
- Interpersonal skills: Successful BDRs must have strong communication and interpersonal skills. As well as potential leads, they should be able to speak to all members of the team and stakeholders involved in the company. They must also have the confidence to cold-call prospects.
- Creativity: This is a position that depends on a BDR’s ability to come up with original ideas to reach out to their target audience. Once they have made contact with a prospect, they must also be able to make them interested in the company’s products or services, respond creatively to objections. This requires thinking outside the box.
- Adaptability: Because a BDR is required to spend a considerable amount of time engaging with different prospects from different walks of life, they must be able to adapt to any situation. They also need to be able to do so very quickly, to meet the prospects’ expectations.
- Active listening: This is an essential skill for BDRs who need to be able to hear what is not being said as well as what is being said. By capturing what a prospect is trying to communicate, a BDR can meet objections head-on.
- Persistence: It can often take many cold calls or cold emails before a BDR can get someone truly interested. Great BDRs can keep on going in the face of rejection and can hone their skills to increase their success rate. Their patience and stamina keep them going because they understand that business development is a long-term proposition and it can take time to produce the lead drive that they are aiming for.
- Business Acumen: It may seem obvious to point out that any BDR needs to have insider knowledge. But it’s also important for them to learn as much as they can about the competition. Armed with this information, they will be able to make your business or organization stand out. Market analysis about the other companies within the industry will enable BDRs to gain leverage for your company within your industry. BDRs must be able to collect and collate enough data to create an accurate analysis of your company’s position within your business sector.
- Sales Skills: Good BDRs share some skills with sales reps. These include finding prospects, qualifying leads, developing client relationships, and updating sales metrics. BDRs need to have an entrepreneurial vision in their approach. Because they are usually the first person to contact potential clients, they are in the perfect position to gather market insights. When combined with their teams, this can be very powerful.
- Rapport building: It takes time and effort for BDRs to build rapport. It can be difficult to connect over the phone or by email than it is face-to-face, even for someone with natural communication skills. But good BDRs know that the best way to forge a good relationship with a prospect is to find common ground before making the initial contact. Knowing what customers are struggling with and the solutions they need is the first step on the road to rapport.
- Personalization: A BDR who sounds like they are reading from a script will not qualify prospects. Of course, they want to connect with as many prospects as possible, via phone, email, and social media, so the quality of their communication counts for a lot. To be successful, they need to spend time personalizing their outreach.
The arena of business development is a tough one, but when well-executed it can drive massive growth for a company. A skilled BDR will drive results for a company that can’t be achieved through traditional marketing. If you are looking to enter this arena, Uvaro is an amazing resource to help when it comes to learning the skills, practicing the methodologies and then helping you land the role of your dream!
At Uvaro, we blend training, technology and work experience to help prepare you for a role as a BDR. Our 12-week course works to teach the specific skills it takes to excel in the BDR role all while leveraging past skills and experience.