Business Development Representative vs Sales Development Representative

Every B2B marketing manager must hire sales reps who’ll find and process leads through the sales funnel. This ensures an account executive only focus on closing deals and increasing revenue. The account executive in charge of handling leads right from the first touch is a sales development representative (SDR) or a business development representative (BDR).

Although these acronyms (BDR and SDR) are used interchangeably in the sales and tech circles, it can sometimes be confusing. While responsibilities of sales development reps and business development reps are quite similar, they are separate when you get down to specifics.

Let’s look at how these two roles compare and their significance in the sales cycle.

What is Business Development Representative (BDR)?

A business development representative (BDR) is the member of your sales team in charge of creating new business opportunities. They specialise in selling services and products to other businesses. Their responsibility is to develop new customers while also ensuring the existing customers continue to patronise the company’s products and services.

In short, the BDR team identifies new clients. This is besides maintaining and developing relationships with your existing customers. They achieve these through various methods that include cold calling, networking, social selling and emailing to establish a connection with potential customers.

A business development rep mainly prospects outbound leads. They do cold outreaches, identify new opportunities for growth, establish strategic partnerships and help businesses meet their goals.

Business development is a critical sales function as it helps create strategic opportunities for B2B businesses that want to thrive. Besides, lead generation business development also helps in driving growth and fostering partnerships.

What is a Sales Development Representative (SDR)?

Sales development reps don’t go out searching for leads. Instead, they manage the leads that come to them. SDRs leverage email, marketing, referrals, newsletter sign ups, existing accounts and prospects that start contact through social media as their lead sources. Sometimes, they may also end up with leads that a business development rep generates.

What then do SDRs do with the leads?

SDRs will first figure out where the leads are profitable or not. Their role is mostly lead scoring. This means they rate leads according to their sales readiness. Through this process, sales development representatives (SDRs) decide whether they should move a potential customer to the next step of the sales funnel or abandon them altogether to avoid wastage of resources.

Sales development representatives’ focus is on qualifying inbound marketing leads. They take time to research, develop and move prospects along the sales pipeline towards deal closing.

What does a Business Development Representative do?

The role of business development representatives is invaluable for organisations and businesses since they create new business opportunities by optimising all channels and generating a constant flow of opportunities for your sales team. Here are important tasks BDRs execute to generate leads and optimise your business development:


Business development representatives specialise in finding fresh channels and untapped markets. They draw business metrics like behavioural data and personas.

Lead generation

Once they’ve compiled and analysed all customer data, BDRs turn to lead generation before coming up with a list of prospective customers that they hand over to the sales team to reach out to.

Cold calling

Cold Calling is an effective way of connecting with prospective customers as BDRs have time to communicate with them in real time and cater to their needs.

Cold emailing

Business development reps also leverage cold emailing to test waters and generate new leads. The develop campaign emails that are guaranteed to generate interest.


A business development representative is skilled at working with people to build trust and forge lasting business relationships. This helps to drive leads through the sales process.

Social selling

Social media is a valuable platform for engaging targeted audiences. A polished business development rep will choose an appropriate platform and use it at the right time, thus positioning them as an authority.


A business development representative will in most cases be responsible for the initial conversation with a potential customer just to be sure they’re a perfect fit.

SDR vs BDR; What is the difference?

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, distinguishing between business development reps and sales development reps can be difficult. However, it’s not impossible to draw the line. The major distinction between the two roles is that a business development representative takes care of prospecting outbound leads, while a sales development representative is in charge of inbound leads qualification.

Ultimately, both BDRs and SDRs get qualified prospects into the sales funnel, but none close deals. They focus on different aspects of the sales funnel. BDRs receive their compensation based on their sales qualified appointments (SQAs) and so do SDRs.

Over to you!

As a marketing manager, it is important to distinguish between these two roles; a business development representative and sales development representative if only to build an efficient sales and marketing team. This will avoid the duplicity of duties while ensuring you grow your revenue steadily.

Learn more about our Sales Development Representative services by booking a call with Quantanite today.