How to Become a


What is a Business Development Representative?

Reviewed By Marketing Expert and Coach Juan Reyes on January 26, 2023
A Business Development Representative (often called BDR for short) is an entry-level sales professional primarily responsible for drumming up new potential business opportunities for an organization. BDRs are typically at larger companies and play a major role in the earliest stages of the selling process, including things like sourcing customers, qualifying leads and setting appointments for account executives. They may also be responsible for conducting research on potential customers (often called a Partner Dossier) and industry trends to identify new opportunities.

BDRs are usually the very first point of contact for potential clients and play a critical role in relationship building. Think of a BDR like a technical sourcer– except instead of sourcing people to work for a company, they’re sourcing companies that could be target clients. 

BDRs typically use a variety of tools and techniques to reach potential clients, including cold calls, icy emails (we just made that up), Linkedin and networking events. 

If we had to distill the main goal of a BDR into a single point, it would be to assist in company growth, at any means necessary. Read on to learn more.

Responsibilities of a BDR

A typical day for a Business Development Representative (BDR) may involve a variety of tasks, including:


  •  BDRs will identify potential customers by researching points of contact at target companies, an activity known as prospecting.
  •  Sometimes BDRs will try to reach out to schedule meetings for account executives. 

Qualifying Leads

  • BDRs will evaluate potential inbound leads to determine if the company reaching out is a good fit for their company’s products or services.
  • This may involve researching the company and industry, as well as facilitating initial conversations to determine whether the lead is a good fit.

Setting Appointments

  • BDRs will work to schedule appointments between qualified leads and the sales team.
  • Sometimes this requires creative ways of getting in touch with the person in charge of the process at a large company.

Collaborating with the Sales Team

  • BDRs will work with the sales team to understand the interests and needs of potential clients to help make pitches sharper.


  • BDRs report on their progress towards hitting quotas to sales leadership.
  • Popular quota goals may include leads generated, appointments set, and deals closed.

Following Up

  • BDRs will work to schedule appointments between qualified leads and the sales team.
  • Sometimes this requires creative ways of getting in touch with the person in charge of the process at a large company.

Staying Informed

  • BDRs will often need to stay up-to-date on their company's products, services, and general industry trends.
  • This helps them sound like an SME– subject matter expert– in their field to communicate smartly with potential clients.

Do I need a degree to be a Business Development Representative??

Absolutely no degree required to be a successful BDR, but any sort of customer service experience really will go far in interviews. Some job listings will ask for a degree of any kind, but often that can be bypassed with relevant experience. Some people we've found do really well as BDRs:
  • Data entry and receptionist professionals
  • Teachers, and those who actively work with people
  • Restaurant managers, servers and retail employees
  • Communication and psychology academic-types
If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. While this job works great with degrees, you have other options. Learn more here.

Our Favorite Business Development Representative Certifications

Career Path of a Business Development Representative

This is heavily company-dependent, unlike some of the other careers we write guides for. This was the most common path we could spot, along with the years of experience usually at each level.

1-2 Years
*Or Associate
Account Executive (AE)
3-5 Years
Team Lead / Manager
5-6 Years
Director of Sales
6-10 Years

What is a BDR's salary?

This one is a little trickier to pin down, because BDR salaries have a huge range depending on the company and industry. Usually their base is between 30-50k, and there are hefty commissions on every deal made. The idea is, a BDR will made significantly more on their commission than salary. A typical pay structure for a BDR:

  • Base salary + commission: BDRs often receive a base salary, plus additional compensation based on their sales performance.
  • Tiered commission: Commission is often structured as tiered, meaning that the more they sell, the higher the commission rate becomes.
  • Performance-based bonuses: Incentives and bonuses may also be offered for hitting specific sales goals or milestones.

Top Skills of a Business Development Representative (BDR)

We use AI to compile thousands of job descriptions for BDRs to record the most common requirements to save you time. While preparing for interviews, keep in mind specific times you've demonstrated these skills.

  • Identify and qualify new business opportunities by reaching out to potential customers via phone, email, and social media.
  • Conduct research on potential customers and industry trends to identify new opportunities for growth.
  • Build and maintain relationships with potential customers, in order to generate leads and set appointments for the sales team.
  • Work closely with the sales team to help them understand the needs and interests of potential customers.
  • Consistently meet or exceed lead generation and appointment setting quotas.
  • Report on progress and results to managers and sales teams, including keeping track of leads, appointments, and sales.
  • Stay informed about the company's products, services, and industry trends in order to effectively communicate with potential customers.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to support sales efforts and contribute to the overall success of the company.
  • Continuously improve lead generation tactics and strategies based on performance metrics and feedback.
  • Utilize sales enablement tools and CRM to manage leads, track activities and progress.

Top Tools of a BDR

We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming a BDR, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.

For Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • Salesforce
  • Pipedrive
  • Hubspot CRM
  • Zoho CRM

For Email Outreach

  • Outreach
  • Yesware
  • ToutApp

For Lead Generation

  • Leadpages
  • Marketo Engage
  • Zoominfo
  • Clearbit

For Marketing Automation

  • Pardot
  • Marketo
  • Hubspot

Key Traits & Competencies of a Successful Business Development Representative


BDRs need excellent written and verbal communication skills to intrigue leads into replying and scheduling.


BDRs need to have the ability to think of a plan, and execute on it. This is a combination of knowing their company's strengths, and their client's weaknesses.


BDRs need to be organized to manage multiple outreach strategies for prospects, leads and f


BDRs need to be able to work hard with very little supervision. This could be debated based on commission structure, but the best BDRs are internally motivated to succeed.


BDRs get hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of rejections a year. It's important to not let it get to you.


BDRs must be able to tailor their outreach and pitches to individual clients. They also must be empathetic to the needs of their potential clientele.

As a BDR, you'll work most with: 

Account Executives
Learn more
Sales Teams
Learn more
Project Managers
Learn more
Product Managers
Learn more

Difference Between BDRs and Other Sales Professionals

BDRs and Account Executives (AEs) are both sales roles, but focus on different parts of the sales funnel. Often times, BDRs are promoted into AEs after they achieve their quotas for a set amount of time.

Now back to the differences: think of a sales process as a giant relay race. Business Development Representatives (BDRs) are crucial members of the sales team because they’re the ones to kick off the running. 

BDRs typically work in the very beginning stages of the sales process, identifying and qualifying leads, and setting appointments for other members to pursue. They are often the first point of contact between a company and its potential customers, and they play a critical role in first impression building. 

Second up in the relay race are the account executives. These are the people actually responsible for closing deals with clients and “generating” the revenue. They follow up on leads that have been qualified by BDRs and work to turn those leads into paying customers. They will typically have a more in-depth knowledge of the company's products or services, and often stay in contact with the client even after the deal has been closed to help solve problems and pursue upsells.

Account executives are almost always paid on a commission structure based on size and number of deals closed since they're directly related. BDRs are a little fuzzier, so their pay structure is often company-dependent. AEs have the ability to be some of the highest paid tech professionals if they know how to work their sales system effectively.

Creativity as a BDR

We wanted to give a personal anecdote about working with a stellar BDR.

BDRs use all kinds of tactics to get the attention of prospects at target companies. Sometimes this means cold calling, sometimes it means throwing events (virtual cocktail parties, etc), and sometimes it means blast-emailing on Linkedin.

To keep this high level, many moons ago we received a single airpod at our (then) office. The note on the airpod said, "Give me a call to get your second airpod." WHAT!! This was a big-budget company, as many services industries are, but we thought that was a stunningly creative way to get prospects to call back and engage. You're welcome for the tip! 


Key takeaway: becoming a business development representative is a great entry-level way for highly motivated and resilient individuals to break into tech, and make a lot of money in the process. If you're driven, communicative and friendly we recommend giving the BDR field a try!

Here at Bridged we are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve desired career results. We're building a product to make your career planning fun and affordable, and we'd love to talk to YOU! Was this article helpful? Did you land an interview for a product manager role?

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