SDR vs. BDR: How Are They Different?

Written by Matthew Ludden / January 25, 2023 / 7 Minute Read
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Discover the distinct roles of Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Business Development Representatives (BDRs). Learn their importance in lead generation and business growth, their differences, and how they synergize to boost business development.

Outbound Lead Generation

When you need to grow your lead generation team, many sales teams will encounter the terms SDR and BDR. Before posting a job opening or outsourcing your lead generation services, you may benefit from a clear definition of the differences between these roles.

Just like members of your sales team are responsible for different tasks and duties, the same is true of sales development representatives (SDRs) and business development representatives (BDRs).

The roles of SDRs and BDRs are often confused and used interchangeably. However, these two positions occupy unique seats and distinct roles within an organization. Understanding the differences between the two is essential when your company is looking to build and optimize its sales teams for successful lead generation.

In many industries, the sales process is long and arduous. If your lead generation, lead qualification, lead nurturing, and appointment setting tasks are draining your sales reps or failing to fill your sales pipeline, working with a team of BDRs and SDRs may be the solution.

The growth of your business means hiring the right people for the right seat. Both SDRs and BDRs generate leads more effectively and efficiently, but there are a few important differences between the two.

What is a Sales Development Representative?

A sales development representative is an important company sales team member responsible for converting and nurturing inbound leads to drive sales and achieve sustainable growth. Normally the SDR’s role in the sales funnel is primarily inbound lead qualification.

SDRs are especially important in the early stages of the sales cycle, as they work to identify and qualify leads and build relationships with them to drive interest in your company’s products or services.

The primary function of an SDR is to convert inbound leads into potential opportunities, commonly done by contacting prospects through various channels such as email, phone calls, and social media.

SDRs are important in nurturing existing leads, keeping in touch with qualified prospects, and maintaining relationships over time. Your sales development representatives focus on contacting leads ready to move to the next sales cycle stage.

SDRs must be able to demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to manage time and prioritize tasks effectively.

They’re expected to be highly organized and capable of managing many leads and follow-up activities. In addition, they must understand your company’s position in the market and the competitive landscape.

To effectively articulate the value proposition to potential clients, your SDR should stay on top of the latest trends, technology, and skills relevant to marketing your brand.

What is a Business Development Representative?

Business development representatives provide your company new pipeline opportunities by focusing on outbound lead prospecting. They’re responsible for identifying, cultivating, and securing new business opportunities to drive revenue and expand your company’s customer base.

A business development representative is often considered the first face of your company, as they are often the first point of contact between your company and your customers and partners. Your BDRs generate leads, conduct market research, and analyze industry trends to find new business opportunities.

They then use this information to reach potential customers, initiate conversations, and build relationships with relevant prospects. A business development rep works closely with the sales team and provides them with qualified leads and relevant information about potential customers.

BDRS must have strong communication skills, as they spend significant time speaking with potential customers and partners. They must be able to articulate your company’s value proposition in a clear, compelling, and concise manner to represent the company best.

A good business development rep must clearly understand a company and its products or services to provide them with the best and most relevant opportunities.

What Are the Differences Between SDRs and BDRs?

The main difference between SDRs and BDRs is that sales development reps focus on qualifying inbound marketing leads, while business development reps focus on outbound leads.

  • Inbound leads are prospects already interested in your company’s product or service. They typically contact a company via phone or a website contact form. They may result from organic website traffic or outbound traditional advertising, or digital marketing like PPC. 
  • Outbound leads are prospects that a company reaches out to generate interest in its product or service. They have not expressed interest in your product before contact has been attempted, and these leads are typically found via cold calling, prospecting, networking, or emailing.

Other differences between SDRs and BDRs include the following:

Objectives: SDRs focus more on lead qualification and appointment setting, while BDRs typically focus more on identifying new business opportunities and building relationships with prospects.

  • Sales Development Representatives filter inbound leads into the sales pipeline based on the potential for your closing sales reps to successfully complete a sale. 
  • Business Development Representatives work to find the best prospects but may need to process leads through a qualifying process after an initial sales appointment. They are prospecting outbound leads on behalf of your business.

Collaboration: SDRs will work closely with the sales team to provide them with qualified leads and relevant information about any opportunities. BDRs may collaborate with the sales team but also work closely with other departments, such as marketing, to ensure they have the necessary marketing materials to drive sales.

Metrics: The success of SDRs is typically measured by the number of qualified leads and appointments they generate. In contrast, the success of BDRs is often measured by the number of new business opportunities they identify and the revenue they generate.

How Do SDRs and BDRs Work Together?

The roles of SDRs and BDRs ultimately boil down to supporting a company’s sales and growth goals. The two positions complement each other by bringing different skills and perspectives into your sales process.

Generally, a sales development representative focuses on inbound, early-stage lead qualification and appointment setting, while a business development representative focuses on relationship building and business development through outreach. Both roles work together to drive growth and revenue for the company.

SDRs and BDRs must effectively communicate with one another to achieve the best and most profitable results. By working in tandem, they can leverage each other’s strengths, streamline the sales process, and ultimately achieve better results for your company.

Should You Use External or Internal SDRs and BDRs?

Whether to build or hire for your marketing efforts is always difficult. The benefits of working with external SDRs and BDRs include the following:

  • Reduced overhead costs: Using external SDRs and BDRs can lower the costs associated with hiring, training, and managing your own team.
  • Expertise and experience: An external sales development representative or business development representative typically has more expertise and experience in the sales and business development fields. They also have access to regular training and cutting-edge technology. 
  • Scalability: External SDRs and business development representatives can make it easier to scale your sales and business development efforts up or down as needed. Outsourcing lead generation services can be a wise strategy for seasonal businesses, rapidly growing companies, and emerging markets.

Ultimately, deciding between internal and external sales development reps and business development reps will come down to your company’s unique goals and needs. Consider these factors, as well as the resources and capabilities of your organization, before making a decision. 

If you need consultation on building or hiring a team of SDRs and BDRs, or even just testing a business development rep marketing campaign, contact Valve+Meter Performance Marketing. We are here to accelerate deals through your sales funnel, shorten your sales cycle, and enable your sales professionals to focus on what matters: closing deals.

SDRs and BDRs Help You Achieve Repeatable and Scalable Growth

Different businesses mature at different rates, and growing at the most realistic and sustainable pace for your company is important. Communication between your company and its sales and business development representatives is crucial in ensuring you grow at a scalable, repeatable, and realistic pace.

If you need to manage the flow and cost of new business, Valve+Meter Performance Marketing is eager to help. Our outbound prospecting team is ready to convert cold leads into prospective customers and sales-qualified appointments.

By managing and providing you with the right quantity of qualified prospects, we’ll ensure that your marketing investment is used effectively. Reach out to Valve+Meter today to learn more about how we can help.