The Role of Business Development Representatives in B2B Lead Generation (And how BDRs Lift Sales)


Discover the importance of business development representatives (BDRs) and their place within sales teams. We lay out the specifics of a BDR role, what their responsibilities entail, and how they contribute to your sales goals and the overall growth of your company.

Business Development Representatives (BDR) play a critical role in the growth and success of an organization. Their primary objective is to promote growth by identifying and pursuing new business opportunities. Given the importance of this role, skilled BDRs are always in high demand as they often form the backbone of any organization that is scaling up.

The day-to-day responsibilities of a BDR may vary depending on the company. However, the core functions of this role involve identifying, creating, and cultivating new business opportunities. BDRs focus on building long-term relationships that increase the value of their business partnerships. Similar to sales, BDRs are expected to meet targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) while working in a fast-paced environment.

Business development representatives play an important role in shaping the future of a company. It’s essential to understand their responsibilities, benefits, and value to the organization. Let’s look into how a BDR can add value to your organization.

Table of contents:

  • What does a Business Development Representative do?
  • How BDRs add value to your business
  • The primary responsibilities of Business Development Representatives
  • What a BDR’s day-to-day looks like
  • The soft skills that make a good BDR
  • Final thoughts

What does a Business Development Representative do?

While not every company has the same definition of what a BDR does for their business, there are fundamental responsibilities for this role. One main focus of a BDR is to bring new business opportunities through outbound activities like cold outreach, social selling, or networking.

Business development involves identifying and pursuing strategic opportunities to benefit a business or organization. Although BDR roles contribute to fostering partnerships and expansion, their focal point remains lead generation.


How BDRs add value to your business

“Companies that use BDRs convert 40% of the leads they create into sales opportunities, compared to companies that pass leads directly to sales reps, have only a 5% conversion.”


Sales representatives usually juggle multiple tasks, which can be an issue. If sales reps are focused on prospecting, nurturing leads, maintaining client satisfaction, and closing new deals, it makes it nearly impossible to be truly effective in any one area. In fact, sales teams usually spend about 2 hours and 45 minutes per day on selling. The rest of the time is spent on activities that don’t directly contribute to generating revenue for your business.

By hiring a BDR, you will add someone to your team whose expertise it is to strategically navigate some of the most time-intensive tasks and help contribute to your sales team’s success and the overall growth of your company.

The primary responsibilities of Business Development Representatives

 Let’s look at some of the main responsibilities of a BDR:

  • Qualifying and communicating with leads
  • Partnership management and relationship development
  • Proactively looking for and developing growth opportunities
  • Identifying client needs and suggesting appropriate products/services or strategies
  • Staying up-to-date with market trends and the competition

BDRs are market researchers, lead prospectors, and data scrapers, and depending on where they are in their careers, their responsibilities may change.

What a BDR’s day-to-day looks like

Qualifying and communicating with leads

For a BDR, separating the wheat from the chaff is essential. They are responsible for identifying which leads have the potential to become a valued customer and which are likely to be a dead end. They do this by using a set of qualifying criteria, such as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline), to understand if the lead is worth pursuing further.

Once they have identified people who fit the ICP (ideal customer profile), BDRs will contact them to learn more about their pain points and needs to understand if the prospect will benefit from your offer by becoming a client.

If the lead turns out to be an ideal prospect, the BDR will pass on the contact to the sales team to nurture and convert them.

Partnership management and relationship development

In the grand scheme of a business, it’s not just about individual customers. BDRs often work on building relationships with other companies or affiliates to turn them into mutually beneficial partnerships. This could involve regular check-ins with key stakeholders at partner companies, ensuring that the terms of partnerships are being met, and exploring ways to deepen these relationships.

Proactively looking for and developing growth opportunities

BDRs are constantly on the look for fresh opportunities, whether it’s a new market sector, a niche within an existing customer segment, or a completely untapped market. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many BDRs in the tech industry identified remote work solutions as a significant growth area and adjusted their strategies accordingly.

Identifying client needs and suggesting appropriate products/services or strategies

In conversation with potential clients, BDRs aren’t just following a script – they are also keen listeners. By attuning themselves to the needs and pain points articulated by leads, they can adeptly recommend products or services that directly address these issues. They’re not merely selling; they’re problem-solving. For instance, if a lead expresses frustration over disorganized project management, a BDR might introduce them to their company’s streamlined project management software solution.

Staying up-to-date with market trends and the competition

The business landscape is never stagnant, and as the industries evolve, your strategy to attract, nurture, and convert leads has to change too. This includes regular analysis of competitor offerings and staying updated with industry reports and trend forecasts. According to CSO Insights, organizations where salespeople are closely aligned with market trends have a 46.4% win rate. This highlights the importance of BDRs staying informed and agile.

The soft skills that make a good BDR

“To really thrive in a sales position, you need to become comfortable with rejection, learn how to build good relationships, and, above all, be a good listener.”

Niek Remkes

Researching the market, identifying business opportunities, establishing relationships, generating leads – BDRs wear many hats, and various tasks call for a unique set of skills. Especially soft skills.

Solid soft skills are one of the most essential parts when looking to fill BDR positions. Someone who showcases good people skills and is eager to learn can be more successful, and excel, in this role compared to hires who were solely hired based on their experience but might need more emotional intelligence.

Let’s look at some of the most important soft skills of great BDRs:

An “on to the next one” mindset

Sales can be challenging. You will hear “no” many times before you get a “yes.” This is part of the job and shouldn’t discourage new hires. Good BDRs can pick themselves up after a challenging week and maintain positive energy and drive.

Being coachable

While good BDRs are confident and driven, they shouldn’t shy away from being coached. Becoming comfortable with receiving (and asking for) feedback from more senior colleagues is vital for BDRs to become successful in their roles.

The ability to establish a connection with prospects

Establishing a genuine and quick connection with potential clients is a fundamental skill that separates successful BDRs from the rest. People hear cold pitches every day, so it’s important to understand your customer’s perspective and compose a pitch that resonates with their struggles. To do this successfully, BDRs need to be effective communicators, active listeners, and have the eagerness to uncover a lead’s challenges and needs.

Being a team player

Sales is a team effort. Successful BDRs (and sales teams) are collaborative, share ideas, insights, and best practices with each other and work together toward a shared goal.

On top of that, to make an impact on a strategic level, BDRs need support from various departments to execute profitable projects. This involves persuading people from the marketing, sales, and sales development departments, among others. Therefore, BDRS need to possess team-building skills and the ability to gain the support of stakeholders.

Final thoughts

The BDR role is both an art and a science, intertwining data-driven decision-making with the soft skills required to connect with people. As the backbone of lead generation in B2B sales, they work meticulously to find, nurture, and pass on opportunities to the sales teams.

Their importance is evident in the value they add by streamlining processes, ensuring that the sales team remains focused on what they do best – closing deals. If your business aims to scale and streamline its lead generation processes, investing in a BDR is not just an option but a necessity. In the dynamic sales world, the right BDR can be the difference between an opportunity lost and a deal closed.