BDR vs SDR: What's the difference?

It is common that, in small companies or startups, employees or even managers play many roles. Positions and responsibilities overlap and there is usually no rest to differentiate the tasks and to focus on what each one specializes in and solves best. But it is a reality that has a limit and that must change if we want to take the business (and billing) to another level.

To drive sales and achieve predictable, consistent revenue, some roles must be well focused. It is precisely one of the axes that Aaron Ross raises in his famous book Predictable Revenue, where he highlights the importance of specializing and concentrating efforts on what adds the most value.

In a sales team, it should be clear who is in charge of finding and processing leads and who is in charge of assigning qualified prospects to dedicated sales executives who will focus solely on closing deals. This is where we come to the focus of this article: the difference between BDR and SDR. Let’s look at what each role is about and how we can get the best out of each one.

¿BDR vs SDR? The key is to complement each other

The people who typically handle leads from the beginning are called business development representatives (BDR) or sales development representatives (SDR). Many times we use these names interchangeably, but it is not entirely correct.

The exact function of each of them is a little different, and although some companies choose to combine them into one job, it is considered good practice to separate them once the company is large enough.

What is a business development representative (BDR)?

A business development representative is the one who must identify business opportunities, which means they must focus on finding potential customers and generating interest.

The main purpose of a BDR is to generate leads. That’s why it’s a creative position. A BDR must constantly generate new ideas for the development of this type of clients through different tools: search engine research, social networks, cold calls or emails, networks, etc.

The business development representative builds a relationship with these leads, effectively converting cold leads into leads.

What is a sales development representative (SDR)?

Unlike the BDR, the sales development representative does not go out searching, but rather their focus is precisely on managing the potential clients that have already found them.

The SDR is the one who has to determine which potential customers are likely to be profitable and which are not; In other words, is responsible for scoring leads.

In the lead scoring process, leads should be scored based on how ready they are for a sale. Each company or representative may have their own system, but there are some key practices to keep in mind when looking for efficient scoring.

Lead scoring is how an SDR determines whether a lead should move down the sales funnel or be abandoned for the time being before more resources are wasted on something fruitless.

For an SDR, marketing, email, newsletter signups, or leads initiating contact via social media are key sources of inbound leads.

Depending on the structure of each sales department, leads generated by BDRs may also end up in the hands of sales development representatives.

The SDR and BDR and inbound or outbound sales prospecting

Both sales development representatives (SDR) and business development representatives (BDR) are inside sales representatives who focus exclusively on prospecting.

Unlike sales executives (targeted salespeople) who close new deals, SDRs reach out to new leads, qualify them, and “push” them down the sales funnel.

Your job is not easy. Before contacting potential clients, SDRs educate themselves with detailed information about the prospects and the company, as this is the first impression they will receive of your company.

They must also have a good knowledge of the sector, the sales process and the competition, in order to maintain meaningful conversations.

SDRs call and email prospects, taking them through the early stages of the sales pipeline and preparing them to speak with whoever will close the sale.

An SDR’s performance is based on a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), which is the number of qualified opportunities or sales qualified leads (SQL) they achieve each month.

Having an SDR team also ensures that your sales executives spend the majority of their time on qualified leads and achieving goals, rather than prospecting.

Comparison of BDR and SDR

We know: The differences between the two development and sales reps can seem complicated, especially since in smaller companies these positions tend to start out combined into one.

Simply put, here’s a simple way to memorize what each of these roles should focus on:

Business development representatives are responsible for outbound prospecting.
Sales development representatives are responsible for qualifying incoming leads.

Distinguishing between these two very different roles is crucial to building an efficient sales team, as they require not only separate tasks but also separate talents. Focused, each one on their role, they will lead the team to the objective they pursue.

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