Without Business Development Representatives, or BDRs, sales teams are often less effective, as sales reps need to take care of cold calling, cold emailing, following up, scoring leads, and all the discovery work themselves.
That’s weeks or months of work before they can even think of providing a demo or going in for the sale.
Put simply, a BDR’s job is to do this heavy lifting for the sales team so that once leads come in, they can be qualified and passed onto an account executive or other sales rep who will focus on closing the sale.
In this guide, we’ll go over what a BDR daily roles and responsibilities may look like, as well as seven characteristics to look for in a new BDR hire.
The Day-To-Day of a BDR
The daily routine of a BDR will vary widely by company, season, and personal style. What is generally a consistent pattern is time blocking multiple hours a day for outbound calls.
Many BDR teams call this a blitz, which is essentially uninterrupted time where you hit the phones as hard as possible. You’re chasing down fresh leads and pushing to get an appointment by any means necessary.
Typically, if you’re working hard on your call blocks, you’ll spend the mornings or afternoons following up on email responses or voicemail messages. In between calls, you’ll fit in breaks and occasionally attend team meetings or training sessions.
What to Look for When Hiring a BDR [7 Key Characteristics]
If you’re going into this with high expectations, you’re likely going to feel disappointed. There are certainly a few great candidates full of BDR experience out there, but they’re definitely not the standard.
Most BDRs have 0-2 years experience and often are immature. That’s okay.
Great BDRs are made, not born. Look for intelligent people who are willing to learn and who have a thirst to prove themselves and work hard. Ultimately, you’re looking for reps who will adapt to whatever you or the prospect throws at them.
Again, many candidates will have little to no industry experience. In those situations, look for initiative. Ask them about situations where they’ve volunteered or succeeded in any fashion.
If they’re fresh out of college, look for people who played team sports or were leaders in different clubs or organizations.
You want a track record of doing more than the bare minimum. Someone who’s used to being a part of something bigger than themselves and likely had a leader or a mentor that pushed them before you.
If they have professional experience, you want to know numbers. Not just sales numbers but activities as well. Did they lead the team in outbound calls each day? Or did they have the highest volume of emails each month? How often did they hit their goal? If they consistently try hard, then you can help them fine-tune their approach.
Let’s face it, the BDR role can be a bit of a grind. Sending dozens, if not hundreds, of emails each day and cold calling until you’re blue in the face isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. They do it because the money is good, their friends work there, and they’re ambitious about their future.
What pushes people to work hard in BDR roles is internal competition. The best sales organizations know that adding a little incentive on top of pay goes a long way. Bragging rights, gift cards, gadgets, or even leaving early on Fridays can bring on serious motivation with the right crowd.
Spend a good chunk of the interview going over incentives, and don’t forget to mention the sales competitions. Show them leaderboards, show them the prizes, and explain how it all works. If they light up, you know you’re onto something.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, 92% of respondents credited curious people with bringing fresh ideas to their team and viewed curiosity as the catalyst for motivation, innovation, job satisfaction, and high performance.
Inquisitive minds are hard to cultivate, so when you find one, hold onto it. Curious reps ask questions both internally and externally. They ask their manager and their peers questions about the process. They dissect what traits or tactics make great BDRs. They love training, and they make their outbound calls and emails about the customer instead of themselves.
In the BDR world, most young people are still extremely focused on themselves and what they want. In a BDR, you want someone who cares about the prospect. Someone who’s curious enough to actively try to understand their struggles and find solutions, which builds rapport and creates high-quality leads.
The last thing you want out of a new hire is someone you constantly have to remind to get to work. If they finish their work and immediately take a break or start distracting the other reps, then you’re essentially building a lazy environment full of reps who’ll only do the bare minimum.
On the other hand, if you hire someone who’s proactive, you’re setting the tone for a culture full of hustle and tenacity, where people finish their work and immediately look for more. Finding someone proactive comes down to the interview questions you ask.
Questions like, “What’s the first thing you do when you finish your work two hours early?” can reveal a lot about their proactive nature.
Being determined means seeking out greatness and not letting setbacks or failures get you down for long. BDRs will hear rejection after rejection and get ignored a lot.
If someone is sensitive, gives up easily, or isn’t in it for the right reasons, then they’ll be out the door in no time. And employer turnover is expensive. Some studies suggest that losing a salaried employee can cost the company up to 6-9 months worth of salary. Opt for hiring determined people instead.
Communication skills and the BDR role go hand in hand. If they don’t sound good over the phone or can’t craft a well-written email, then they’re going to have a tough time. They don’t necessarily have to be experts in communication or have a master’s degree in psychology, but they should be able to switch off the slang and have an intelligible conversation with a prospect.
If they ramble through answers, avoid questions, have verbal tics, or have too many crutch words, then that’s a pretty good indication that they’ll do the same when on the phone with prospects. An excellent guide to whether they can turn on their eloquent communication skills is having them teach you something new they just learned about.
Finding a great BDR is tough. More often than not, you’ll have to train and mold them from the start.
Whenever possible, do cross-interviews and get your team’s opinion of prospective new hires. See if they act differently when away from the hiring manager and judge them just as much on what questions they ask as the answers they give you. Consider throwing them onto a test call with another rep to see how they do thinking on their feet.
The more due diligence, the better.
What do you look for when interviewing potential BDRs? Tell us in the comments below: