October 5, 2021

What is the Difference Between SDR and BDR

An SDR is a specialist who provides advice to their customers and can offer personalised service. On the other hand, BDRs are the opposite: they help customers get what they want by fulfilling their request.

Business Development Reps (BDRs) and Sales Development Reps (SDRs) are two titles that sound similar but have different roles. Understanding the difference between these two jobs is important. The role of a BDR is to create relationships with key decision-makers, determine their needs, and build trust within organizations that can turn into future opportunities. A BDR's focus is not on generating revenue directly; rather they cultivate business through word of mouth referrals.

An SDR's job focuses on generating prospects for the sales team by cold emailing/calling people who meet certain qualifications. The goal is to generate interest or qualified leads in exchange for some type of compensation like lunch or dinner, an incentive program, etc. The number one priority of an SDR is to make salespeople more money by generating leads.

BDRs are the gateway to business development on account teams, while SDRs are the gateway to revenue generation on sales teams. Some companies have both BDRs and SDRs, but most only have one or the other. A best-case scenario for a business development person would be having some type of reciprocal relationship with that rep, where you are building your pipeline based on what they are doing for their customers.

However, in most cases, the BDR will be trying to get closer to decision-makers who will bring them future opportunities through referrals. The primary goal of an SDR is getting appointments for salespeople. They are trying to warm up prospects and help them generate interest in their company's product/service.

A BDR focuses on building relationships with key decision-makers that can turn into future opportunities, while an SDR focuses on generating revenue by either cold calling or emailing people who meet certain qualifications. They are trying to warm up prospects and help them generate interest in their company's product/service.

The SDR is the gateway to sales, the BDR is the gateway to business development.


Difference between the SDR & BDR

There are two main differences between the BDR role and the SDR role. The first one is that a BDR creates relationships with key decision-makers, determines their needs, builds trust within organizations that can turn into future opportunities for you or your employees working inside those accounts. 

And then they don't focus too much on generating revenue directly; rather cultivating business through word of mouth referrals. A Sales Development Rep goes after people who have not heard of you before, so cold calling or emailing people who potentially might be interested in hearing about the value proposition of the company.

According to CareerBuilder, "A business development representative (BDR) focuses on building relationships with key decision-makers that can turn into future opportunities. Some companies have both BDRs and SDRs, but most only have one or the other. The primary goal of an SDR is to generate sales by either cold calling or emailing people who meet certain qualifications." 

Quantitatively, your role would be trying to rank at the top for something like sales development rep in Google so when anybody types in sales development rep anywhere around the world they're going to find your website; you must rank highly for that term. Whereas, biz dev roles are more about generating awareness and trust down the road. 

The General Consensus that most people will find is that they do not need to be in two separate roles. There is no one set definition of the difference between an SDR and BDR because most companies' definitions vary. However, most people agree that if you are looking to further your career in sales or business development it's important for you to familiarize yourself with the differences between the two so you can choose which path best suits your career goals. 


List of key differences between SDR & BDR job roles

Career advice websites tend to come up with four main qualifications on their own: "SDRs focus on building relationships with key decision-makers that can turn into future opportunities, whereas BDRs focus on generating revenue by either cold calling or emailing people who meet certain qualifications." The key difference between their job roles can be listed as follows :

1) The BDR is the gateway to business development, the SDR is the gateway to sales.

2) Sales Development Reps (SDRs) are in charge of generating prospects by cold emailing or calling people who meet certain qualifications to make money for their company. On the other hand, Business Development Reps (BDRs) focus on creating relationships with key decision-makers and determine their needs to bring future opportunities to their company. 

These decision-makers can be C-level, Directors, and VPs, and they are the ones that will make the purchase decisions. The core difference between these two roles lies within their objectives.

3) When you think of a BDR, they are responsible for generating revenue by finding new prospects or customers for your business through identifying and building relationships with key influencers in organizations who may determine whether your organization succeeds or fails (i.e. they hold immense power). 

On the other hand, an SDR's job is closing deals through cold-calling potential leads or approaching them through email to arrange meetings where they can present themselves as experts on topics they understand within their given field. They use persuasive data and research to gain interest and provide (and eventually gain future sales).

4) Sales Development Reps (SDRs) are in charge of generating prospects by cold emailing or calling people who meet certain qualifications toey for their company.

On the other hand, Business Development Reps (BDRs) focus on creating relationships with key decision-makers on-makers mining their needs to bring future opportunities to their company. 

5) The difference between a BDR and an SDR is that Business development reps are responsible for identifying potential leads based upon market insights supplied by lead generation team members. Sales development reps are responsible for finding revenue through reaching out directly to contacts within an organization who are qualified leads. 

The job of sales development reps is to aggressively prospect by cold calling or emailing potential leads to meetings with prospective buyers. 

6) A BDR focuses on building relationships with key influencers that can turn into future opportunities. They do not have the same immediate goals as SDRs, who are responsible for generating revenue through reaching out directly to contacts within an organization who are qualified leads. In that capacity, SDRs can be seen as “closers”.

7) SDRs are typically more focused on qualifying accounts and novices, while their colleagues who hold the biz dev title work well beyond the surface level - instead of focusing on identifying deals and building relationships. They use their research and other tools to gather information on prospects

8) Sales Development Reps deal very little with actual revenue generation while Business Development reps are more focused on finding future opportunities through maintaining relationships, researching key players in a potential client’s organization, and devising a strategy for generating revenue. 


The BDR is typically the first point of contact, while the SDR works to provide leads that have already been identified by the BDR.


9) An SDR's job can be broken down into two parts: 

a) Find high-profile decision-makers within an organization who will eventually purchase your product/service.
b) Get them interested enough in what you are selling so they meet with a sales rep. 

A BDR's job is to create relationships with people who can bank upon creating multiple avenues of work in the future for the company or organization.

10) Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Business Development Reps (BDRs) both work in the same type of role, but for different companies. Many times these two titles will overlap and there is little/no differentiation between them. However, typically SDRs work directly under a sales leader while BDRs work more independently.


Wrapping Up

Thus to conclude, it is important to understand that the roles of Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Business Development Reps (BDRs) are vastly different within their respective organizations. Most importantly, these two titles overlap with other functional roles outside of sales such as Marketing or Account Management. Hence, this should be noted at all times when working in today’s competitive sales hiring landscape.


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Tara McWhite

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