You’re thinking of getting into sales, or perhaps you are already in sales, and you see the acronyms SDR and BDR floating around.
You know that SDR means Sales Development Representative and BDR means Business Development Representative, but their use cases seem to be used synonymously.
Your intuition is correct: SDR and BDR are often used interchangeably. That being said, we can pin down a discrete definition of both discussing why it makes sense to think of both roles as synonymous.
An SDR, or Sales Development Representative, fields and qualifies inbound prospects. These are leads that have hit your company site, engaged with company content, or otherwise directly inquired about services and products through something like a form-fill or chat window.
A BDR, or Business Development Representative, handles outbound prospecting. This involves sourcing and creating a list of leads, defining territory, and testing different markets.
Whether you find yourself looking for a sales gig, or whether you are currently filling the sales funnel for your account executives, you’ll find that prospecting roles, in general, involve aspects of both inbound and outbound lead development. On any given Monday, you might find yourself list building in a new market–for example, region or industry specific–thus fulfilling the role of a BDR; the next day, you find yourself qualifying and booking demos from a list of inbound leads that Marketing has handed over, thus functioning as an SDR.
In the event that your organization keeps its prospectors in discrete roles, defined by inbound or outbound, know the expectations and periodically check in. Should your role feel a little more ad hoc, flexibility and persistence will pay off. In both cases, be open to the possibilities others failed to see.