Sales and Business Development Representatives: 5 Things that Are Changing About these Roles

Sales and Business Development Representatives: 5 Things that Are Changing About these Roles

Are the roles of SDRs and BDRs changing? What does the future hold for finding leads and qualifying inbound prospects? Lead generation is one of the most important factors of many businesses. However, the nature of lead generation has undergone many changes over the years. These developments have altered the process of obtaining prospects.

Sales and business development representatives have traditionally been the backbone of lead generation and qualification. Unfortunately, the traditional methods utilized by those in these positions have drastically changed. Let’s take a look at the roles of the SDR and BDR positions and five ways they are changing.

What are BDRs and SDRs?

Business development representatives and sales development representatives work to build a company’s prospect database with viable leads. Differentiating between these roles is critical when building a strong sales team. While it is easy to get these roles confused at first, they take care of different aspects of prospect development.

The overall descriptions are as follows:

  • A BDR is responsible for finding outbound leads
  • An SDR is responsible for the qualification of inbound marketing leads

These positions reduce much of the stress and frustration that the rest of the sales team faces. The process of finding good leads is so time-consuming that the production of a sales team without BDRs and SDRs is 40% less in regards to lead conversion.

Business development representatives

The Functions of the BDR and SDR Positions

The primary job of a BDR is to convert a cold lead into a warm lead. A cold lead is a prospect that has no knowledge of your company. The initial contact for a cold lead comes from your company’s end. It is challenging to build a rapport and trust with an unfamiliar prospect.

An SDR has the task of making sure that inbound marketing leads are solid and worth the effort spent attempting to convert them. As an entry-level position, the SDR role can be performed by a newly-hired representative. As they gain experience, their role is often upgraded from fielding inbound calls to making outbound calls as a BDR.

There are special skills that these representatives must possess to be successful. These skills include:

  • Good customer service skills
  • Knowing how to land a good impression
  • Passion for assisting customers
  • Understanding of how to field prospects

The main tasks performed by BDRs are sending emails and placing phone calls to prospects. This job is full of calls placed that go unanswered and unreturned. Their emails often go unopened. It is the relentlessness and resilience of these individuals is what results in their success.

1. Automation has Become Extremely Effective

The most obvious change to the role of the BDR is the fact that automation technology has been developed to perform a majority of tasks done by these professionals. Machine learning and artificial intelligence have both increased business efficiency and threatened and questioned the efficacy of many roles in the workplace.

The countless phone calls placed in order to make little contact is at the heart of the BDR process. The emails that are sent to prospects can also be time-consuming. The use of bots, referred to as intelligent sales assistants, has become a more effective way to generate leads. This technology is rapidly spreading throughout the marketing and sales world.

Business development automation

2. Increased Frustration of Representatives About the Process

The challenge of finding qualified leads is unmatched in the marketing and sales departments. The business development professional has a clear understanding that they are actually in the rejection business. In other words, they know that they will get far more unanswered calls that answered and more negative responses than positive ones.

Even with the realization that rejection is a fundamental part of the job, this constantly wears down the enthusiasm of these professionals in many cases. The lowered job satisfaction subsequently turns into frustration

Business development frustration

3. Diminished Effectiveness of Traditional BDR Methods

In the heyday of the BDR position, the effectiveness of this position was far greater. Telephone calls made back-to-back, in combination with scores of personalized emails made to prospects has yielded diminishing returns as the preferred means of communication has shifted. The industry has to deal with the changing tides of digital interactions and telecommunications.

4. Increased Difficulty Contacting Leads

One of the major reasons that the business development role is changing is that it has become more difficult to contact leads using traditional methods. With caller identification and smartphone technology, a cold caller is much less likely to answer a call from an unfamiliar caller. There is obviously a lot of wasted time spent by BDRs seeking contact from would-be prospects that refuse to answer their calls.

5. Redirected Expenses to Other Prospect-Building Methods

A company can expect to pay around US$50,000 a year for a full-time BDR. A fraction of this amount can be invested in an intelligent sales assistant that will do the heavy lifting for the sales team. The logical investment is always the most efficient and cost-effective one.


The advent of advancing technologies requires adjustments. The BDR and SDR positions are not immune to being affected by new technologies. If professionals in these roles want to show their worthiness in this changing era, they will need to understand how automation works and how to use it to increase the effectiveness of their lead generation efforts. Those that do not adapt may find themselves displaced by automation technology.

This article is contributed by Strategics360.


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