Difference Between a SDR and BDR?

The pillars of lead generation and qualification are sales development representatives (SDRs) and business development representatives (BDRs). But what is the disparity between both roles; Let’s look at the key differences between SDR vs. BDR.


In this article:


  1. What Importance do SDRs and BDRs Hold?
  2. How are the Roles Defined?
  3. The General Consensus
  4. What is a Business Development Rep?
  5. What is a Sales Development Rep?
  6. Reordering Sales
  7. Summary


What Importance do SDRs and BDRs Hold?

Together the SDR and BDR roles entail building a business’s prospect database with leads. Differentiating between jobs is crucial when building a robust sales force. Each department has a specific task taking care of different aspects of prospect development.

Both jobs ensure an organization delivers an efficient revenue machine by making the sales cycle streamlined, and they position within the inside sales team.

It’s inefficient and expensive to employ account executives to call prospects all day. Hence, a dedicated inside sales team who does this work is much more successful, particularly when aligned with your customer’s buying cycle.

Both positions take much of the time-consuming and administrative work away from other salespeople, specifically the pitchers and closers. Without SDRs and BDRs, sales teams’ production is 40% less in reference to lead conversion.

How are the Roles Defined?

According to LinkedIn “business development is the process of finding the match between a product (or solution) and a segment in the market. Sales development is the process of systematically generating revenue with the product (solution) in the chosen market segment in the race for market leadership”.

The roles of SDR and BDR can be confused with each other, but clarity can only really be found within individual companies as everyone does it differently. There seems to be no official definition, with some organizations having conflicting definitions.

The general consensus

  • BDR is focussed on outbound lead prospecting
  • SDR is focussed on qualifying inbound leads
  • Neither are responsible for closing business
  • Both move leads through the sales pipeline
  • The roles will normally only be separated in larger companies

That said, here’s our explanation of SDR vs. BDR.

What is a Business Development Rep?

A BDR’s responsibility is to focus on generating qualified marketing leads. They convert cold leads into warm leads, and effectively they pass the baton from marketing to sales.

BDRs have a difficult job when it comes to research, and leads can potentially come from anywhere. They network, research on Google, use social media, make calls, and email to generate leads to fill their pipeline with new contacts.

Engagement is aggressive (in the sense of targeting cold prospects), and there is less automation than in the SDR role. The BDR usually has to make more attempts to get a response. The BDRs pipeline isn’t so much a funnel, so they have to track down leads, which changes communication somewhat.

What is a Sales Development Rep?

An SDR’s responsibility is to focus on inbound lead qualification, and process leads through the sales cycle by qualifying prospects and setting sales appointments.

Traditionally phone-based, SDRs now connect with organizations using a variety of methods.

SDRs get their leads from a variety of sources:

  • Advertising and marketing, for example, on social media.
  • Leads generated by BDRs
  • Inbound
  • SEO
  • Referrals

SDRs must quickly respond and contact inbound leads within minutes.

They use tools such as social media, phone, and email, as well as mastering lead generation software and other CRM platforms.

At the qualifying stage, the SDR ensures that the lead is interested and labeled as acceptable. This is done through lead scoring. The customer hits a pre-set score and is then called, and hopefully, an appointment is booked.

SDRs engage with leads through nurturing and monitoring behaviors. They identify who is a prospect, i.e., who is a potential going to buy, and who is a suspect, i.e., who is not going to buy. The leads are funneled through automated platforms, and the SDR sets out to book appointments.

Reordering Sales

The fastest-growing companies are investing money into their sales development, and where the roles originally began in marketing teams, the growing trend is shifting them towards the sales teams. Looking back further, over 20 years, there were only sales reps who were responsible for every stage of the sales process.

Lead generation is a critical factor for many organizations. The nature of a sales force has undergone many changes in recent years, which have sculpted the process of obtaining prospects.

Lead generation practices are evolving, and traditional methods have significantly changed. Digital interactions and telecommunications are equally as important as calls and emails.

Kraig Kleeman, a world-leading growth advisor and sales strategist, says we should radically reorder the way we think about sales. His view is that you should load your BDR & SDR team balance to a minimum of 5:1 ratio, i.e., five BDRs/SDRs minimum per seller.

Those BDRs/SDRs need to be equipped with messaging and content that’s been highly customized, and that’s rooted in hermeneutics (the science of language) and sales proposal writing.

The SDRs should take part in demo meetings and do all the administrative tasks relating to CRM. Kraig believes the SDR should carry all motions and follow the customer meetings until close, freeing up the seller to sell/pitch and close the sale.


The different nature of these two sales roles means both are useful within a company to grow sales. Both are there to provide sales qualified appointments (SQAs) – the SDR from warm leads and prospects who have heard about your product and the BDR from new sources.

What’s your view on SDR vs BDR? Do you think the line is too fine or a necessary development? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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