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The Sales Evangelist

How to Succeed In Sales as a Business Development Representative Becoming a top Business Development Representative (BDR) isn’t just a volume game. And it’s not just about having the perfect script or product. If it were that easy, you wouldn’t be here. AIs would have replaced the job entirely if it were that easy. Successful Business Development representatives often have an “it” factor, which makes it seem like either you have “it” or you don’t. But that isn’t the case. Achieving success as a Business Development Representative is a process, but with the proper sales foundation, you can achieve excellent results in no time. 

What is a Business Development Representative?

A Business Development Representative is a sales professional who generates new business opportunities and builds relationships with potential clients. They play a crucial role in the early stages of the sales process, working to identify, qualify, and nurture leads and to help build a strong pipeline of potential business.

Business Development Representatives typically use outbound and inbound marketing techniques, such as cold calling, emailing, and social selling, to reach out to potential clients and create awareness about their company’s products and services. Business Development Representatives may also work closely with the marketing and sales teams to develop and execute lead-generation campaigns and gather insights and data to inform the sales process. All of which are essential in the business development process. 

The ultimate goal of a  Business Development Representative (BDR) is to create land appointments for your Account Executives. This requires strong communication skills, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of the sales process and the needs of potential clients.

The day-to-day job of a Business Development Representative involves cold calling, cold emailing, or other forms of cold messaging to potential customers. The specifics of this will depend on the company you work for – while many companies take a multifaceted approach, that certainly won’t apply everywhere. While it is often described as a “grind,” the experience is valuable, and you can do pretty well for yourself financially if you are successful.

So how do you find that success and escape the grind?

Know Yourself As A Business Development Representative – So You Can Select the Right Company to Work For

This sounds hokey, but you need to know what you offer and your needs. Business Development Representatives are as successful as they are well-matched to their company and sales team. What is important to you as an employee? You may not know yet, so think about the following questions and answer them honestly and intuitively.

  • What are your strengths in sales? 

Do you write fantastic copy? Do you have a great phone voice or a commanding presence? You can orient yourself towards a company that aligns with your strengths, especially as you develop your sales skills. Be prepared to work on skills that are not your natural strengths, which will make you more adaptable.

  • What motivates you as a sales rep?

If you were hoping the answer to becoming a successful Business Development Representative was taking long, frequent breaks, sorry to disappoint. This job requires determination and initiative, and if you want to stay driven in the long term, you need to know what motivates you. People can be inspired by material incentives, competition, learning, healthy company culture, and more. Find a company that will invest the right kinds of stimuli in you.

  • How much support/education do you need?

Since a Business Development Representative is an entry-level position, most organizations will have some form of the onboarding process. If you’re an independent learner and prefer to do most of your personal development by reading blogs, you’re doing great! But if you like a sales team that takes a more direct or personalized role in your education about the product, you need to identify this as early as possible. If an organization talks a big game about how they will invest in your learning and don’t do it, it’s a good reason to move on and find a place that’s more serious about their product, messaging, and sales reps.

Remember – when you’re at a job interview, you’re not just being interviewed. Practice the skills of a great Business Development Representative. Demonstrate your superior communication skills, ability to build trust, and business acumen by asking your potential employers thoughtful questions. Here are some examples. 

  1. What is your onboarding process like?
  2. How would you describe the work culture here?
  3. What is the sales quota?
  4. What percentage of sellers are hitting the sales quota?
  5. What lead-generation strategies do you employ?
  6. Will we have inbound and outbound leads?
  7. How long is the ramp time for the average seller?
  8. Are there any untapped markets you are focusing on? 
  9. I noticed organizations like XYZ and ABC are some of your potential customers. Which type of these is the best for the organization?

These questions can save you and the company time if you’re not a good fit and help you find the people you can go far with.

Now You’ve Got The Sales Job As a Business Development Representative – Here’s How to Improve

Salesperson on the phone Hone and practice your basic sales skills.

You’re sitting at the desk, preparing for your first (or four-hundredth) cold call. The first thing your potential client knows about your product is you; you have just a few seconds to connect with them. Your voice is an invaluable tool in this process. If you feel intimidated or weird about cold calling, that’s perfectly normal. It gets easier with practice. 

So in your spare time, record your voice reading scripts, improvising openers to conversations, and doing vocal exercises. Listen back to yourself, and notice if you’re coming off as pushy, meek, or just too robotic. Play with your voice’s intonation (rising and falling) and cadence (rhythm and inflection). And I mean play – don’t be afraid to get funky with it on your own time. Explore your range, come to work with a polished-sounding voice, and KNOW you sound good.

Build strong relationships with your sales team.

As a Business Development Representative, you’re part of a sales organization. You don’t just work with other BDRs – account executives are also part of that sales team. Get to know your team. Find common ground and ways to get along with folks if you can. Being on good terms with the sellers you work with makes for more leisurely days at work and mutual support, but it’s also directly beneficial. 

Take a genuine interest in your coworkers’ lives. Attend group hang-outs when you can. It may not seem as relevant as practicing your vocal skills, but each positive interaction you have helps build rapport between you and your team, and a team that gets along works smoothly to accomplish goals. Even if you work in a competitive environment, there’s a difference between healthy competition and outright hatred. You never know how the connections you build will continue to bear fruit as you move up the ladder.

Understand your customer profiles.

So you’re learning about the product you’re selling and starting to get a feel for your company’s vibe, but what about the people you’re reaching out to? Remember, you’re the person your potential customer will connect with first. 

So who are they? Do you understand your different customer profiles? What motivates someone to buy the product you are selling, and what demographics will they typically fit? What do your customers tend to have in common? 

Hopefully, your company covered that during your onboarding process to some extent, but reach out to other folks you work with. Ask successful Business Development Representatives what the people they connect with are like. 

Ask account executives about the personalities of their clients. Then think (or ask someone) about how to approach a buyer like that. Remember, your job is to build trust and understanding with your potential clients; you have just seconds to do it. Please don’t assume you know them or their problems, but don’t go into a conversation blind, either.

Be methodical with your sales approach. 

Take an organized approach to these sales ideas. Adjust one thing at a time when you adjust something in your sales approach. Take note of the kinds of responses you get from your prospects. Do not, for your own sake, change everything at once! 

For one, it’s just too much to ask of yourself as a new salesperson. But also, a scientific or systematic approach allows you to see precisely what changes created what impacts. And this information will become more valuable the longer you are in sales. Keep track of your changes – you might be the account executive or an entry-level  Business Development Rep asking for help someday! 

Cultivate the Traits of a Good Business Development Representative

Remember, at the top of the article; we talked about a great Business Development Representative and how they may have the “it factor.” You can tell it goes beyond the sales skills they bring to the table. Successful Business Development Representatives often have the following personality traits. You probably have some of them, too – that’s why you were hired. You don’t have to change who you are to be great, but you can expand on the good stuff already there.

Good Business Development Representative Hustle – Don’t wait.

When you take the initiative at work as a Business Development Representative, and you aren’t waiting for your company to be on you to get your job done, you become an excellent example for the rest of your sales team. Employers notice these dynamics – being proactive will always be rewarded. Business Development Representatives who adopt this behavior consistently outperform their 

Quota Crushing Sellers Have Grit – You’ve got this.

You’ll send out many cold emails in this job and get limited responses. If you start letting that get to you, you’re sunk. Cultivate a strong sense of self and good self-esteem based on more than how many meetings you set up. Even if you’ve had a slow day, that last call or email of the day could be the one. Resilience is critical in sales – you’ve made it this far and have much to be proud of. Don’t give up.

The Sellers Have A Drive – Tap into your passions.

This is different from the hustle. Hustle is how you respond to work asking things of you. Your drive is the thing YOU ask of you. It can go pretty deep – think back to when we talked about motivation. Everyone is driven by something different. It’s what lights a fire in you. It might take some soul-searching, but if you know what drives you to act, you can tap into that and use it to your advantage. Discover what you’re passionate about, and cultivate that feeling.

Success as a Business Development Representative – Bringing It All Together Now 

Being a Business Development Representative is an important job that can set you up for having the career you truly want if that’s how you approach it. Knowing your needs and selecting a company to work for is the first step to success. And it would be best if you kept evaluating this – your needs will change as you continue through life.

Once you’ve got the job, you can build a sales foundational skillset that will help you throughout your future and may help open you up to more things you’re passionate about. You can cultivate the traits that help you become someone future Business Development Representatives will look up to. It comes down to you and how you approach it – we hope this article helps you on your way!

About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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