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Business Development Representative: Job Description, Skills, and Salary

​​There’s no secret that sales titles can get tricky—and confusing. Account manager, sales account executive, sales account specialist… you feel us.

But one sales title to keep hearing about is business development representative. Your friend in sales wants to become a BDR, while another just landed the job.

You can’t help but wonder what the hype is all about.

Is a business development rep job opportunity worth it? What does the job description and salary look like? How do you become one—can you become one?

Read on as we tell you everything about being a business development representative.

Who Is a Business Development Representative?

A business development representative or BDR is a sales rep who identifies and generates qualified prospects through cold email, cold calling, social selling, and networking.

A BDR is in charge of sales development and:

  • Getting new business opportunities for the organization
  • Monitoring market changes
  • Keeping an eye on your competition and their activities
  • Brainstorming new ways to attract your target audience and generate genuine interest
  • Being the first point of contact for a potential customer

To better understand a BDR’s job, you should understand what “business development” in business development representative means.

Business development is the process of creating and driving strategic opportunities for any organization. While business development is commonly leveraged within the sales team for lead generation, it can also build partnerships and drive growth.

Business Development Representative Job Description: What Are the Key BDR Tasks?

What does a business development reps do?

Well, a lot of things.

Business development representatives are invaluable for any organization wanting to create inbound opportunities. They optimize every sales channel and then leverage them to provide a constant flow of high-quality leads.

Keep in mind that while business development representatives generate leads, they are not responsible for converting them into new customers. That’s the job of the sales team.

As a BDR, your primary responsibility is to develop a robust inbound prospecting strategy to support your sales reps. Identifying brand new opportunities is your game —people who probably don’t even know they need your solutions—to expand markets and find more leads.

Here’s a more detailed look into a business development representative’s job description:

A BDR has three primary tasks:

  • Finding new leads
  • Qualifying them
  • Pushing them down to the sales team or the account executive

They do this through:

Research

Business development representatives seek and engage in untapped markets and new channels frequented by their ideal customer base. They use the insights collected from behavioral data, customer profiles, and other relevant data to find new opportunities for lead generation.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is a crucial responsibility of every BDR. Business development reps build lists of people they can potentially reach out to generate interest.

Cold Calling and Cold Emailing

The best BDRs have amazing cold calling and cold emailing skills and use them to engage with potential leads. They drive results by applying these tactics, so they have to be comfortable and confident when speaking on the phone and know how to develop email campaigns and craft cold emails that work.

Networking

Networking is another tool that BDRs use to develop face-to-face relationships that helps them build trust and eventually drive more leads.

Social Selling

BDRs have to be top of mind with their target. They should know how to choose the right platform to engage with prospects regularly. This will help them build field authority and convince leads they are experts, which will eventually boost trust and generate good opportunities.

Business Development Representatives Salary: How Much Does a BDR Earn?

The average salary for a business development representative is $48,413 per annum.

business development representative salary

  • Entry-level BDR with less than a year of experience — $44,104
  • BDRs with 1-4 years of experience — $46,321
  • BDRs with 5-9 years of experience — $52,174
  • BDRs with over ten years of experience — $58,627-$65,000

All the above figures include tips, bonuses, and overtime pay.

How To Become a Business Development Representative Manager?

Business development representative jobs give you real-world business education, putting you on the fast track to success. They also allow you to transition into senior sales roles, management, and other roles that involve customer satisfaction. Most companies will promote you within 12 to 18 months—provided you prove your worth.

But before any of that, you must have all the relevant qualifications and skillsets to become a business development representative.

Get a Degree

There are no formal requirements for business development representatives, but employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing, entrepreneurship, or business administration.

If you plan to join the upper management of a company’s business development team, you can even aim to earn a master’s degree.

Gain Experience

As a sales professional, you already have the needed experience. All you need to do is prove you’re darn good at selling during your interview. This includes your communication, negotiating, and rapport-building skills.

You can also leverage your experience as an entrepreneur to earn brownie points and show the employer you know the ins and outs of what it takes to run a business. Employers will think you can relate to prospects and effectively identify business challenges and look for solutions.

Develop Your Technical Skill Sets

Technical know-how is a must if you want to become a BDR. In addition, you should have in-depth knowledge about the software (CRM databases, market automation platforms, communication, and collaboration tools) your organization and prospects use, especially if you want to work for a SaaS company.

Make a Compelling Resume

We’ve covered education, experience, and skillsets. Next on your list is to create a compelling resume that puts you in the best possible light.

Your resume should be very BDR-specific and highlight the critical skills you’ve learned and will use when doing your job. Think cold calling, lead generation, networking, and so on.

What’s more, if you aren’t confident about writing your resume from scratch, you can choose from many business development representative resume examples and templates already available on the internet.

Look for Business Development Representative Jobs

If you want to stay with your current company, contact your superiors to find out whether there is any job vacancy. Otherwise, you can reach out to your network of friends and family, use social media platforms like LinkedIn, or look up online job boards.

After applying for jobs, you should begin your interview prep.

Most aspiring applicants try to wing their BDR interviews. News Flash: It doesn’t work. Interviewers ask insightful questions that must be answered appropriately.

Here’s a list of common business development representative interview questions to give you an idea:

  • Why should the company hire you?
  • What motivates you to do great work?
  • How would you describe the company’s ideal customer?
  • How will you deal with nasty responses when cold calling and cold emailing?
  • How would you begin conversations with a brand new lead?
  • When is ‘no’ a definite ‘no’ when it comes to a qualified lead?

See what we meant?

Be sure to showcase your strategic thinking and business knowledge during your interview. It’ll significantly improve your chances of getting hired.

What Skills Do You Need To Be a Successful Business Development Representative?

First and foremost, every BDR needs market and industry knowledge to understand the unique challenges in the market, the solutions their target audience is looking for, and the latest industry trends.

But that’s not it.

Soft skills are equally important here. As a BDR, you’ll hear a lot of No’s and experience rejection daily. Regardless of that, you’ll have to stay focused and motivated even on the most challenging days.

Creativity

Creativity is a crucial BDR skill.

A creative mindset will also help you brainstorm original ideas to connect with your target audience and respond creatively to objections thrown your way. It makes it easier to think outside of the box and go off-script when needed.

Adaptability

As a BDR, you’ll find yourself talking to all kinds of people. People from different cultures, having different expectations and different mindsets.

Being adaptable and dealing with change quickly will help you engage effectively with your leads, regardless of the unexpected turns your conversations may take. As a result, you can create meaningful connections to drive results and generate leads.

Persistence

If there’s one thing that BDRs should be, it’s tenacious.

Getting someone genuinely interested in your solution can take many, many cold calls and cold emails. After all, there’s only a 20% success rate, which means there is a staggering 80% rejection rate.

You have to keep going despite rejection and remain patient and motivated. Understand that business development is a long-term game, and generating high-quality leads and getting results can take time.

Active Listening

Active listening involves understanding—and not just hearing—what’s being said.

You have to hear the unspoken message and understand what someone is trying to communicate to address objections early (and effectively). Focusing on the underlying meaning will help you establish long-lasting connections where your prospects feel special and taken care of.


John Samsmith is the founder and lead sales trainer at the  Bold Consulting group. They do what it takes to keep their clients ahead of the sales game.

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