sdr vs bdr

SDR vs BDR - What’s what?

Stijn Hendrikse
Nov 3, 2019

What's in a name? BDR and SDR

Do you have both of these roles? Do you need both?

If you don't know, it helps to first understand what they are. 

B2B SaaS Sales roles

You have three sources of leads and new business in your marketing funnel:

  1. Your existing sales executives and Account Managers find new business with existing customers and existing relations who sometimes switch employer, or provide a referral.
  2. Get “hand-raisers” from your Content funnel and Brand Awareness (i.e. your website)
  3. Prospecting (knocking on doors) of people who have never heard about your brand.

All three, when done correctly, can lead to the type of growth that scales startups and breaks plateaus of established organizations.

Sales team titles: SDR vs. BDR

The term Business Development Representative, or BDR, and Sales Development Representative, or SDR, are used in different ways, and sometimes with conflicting definitions. So let’s get that straight first… Here's how the top search results in Google define the two roles:

Inbound Follow Up
Outbound Prospecting
Sales Talent Agency
Factor 8


The Final Score? 

Sales Development Rep/Inbound, Business Development Rep/Outbound: 6
Business Development Rep/Inbound, Sales Development Rep/Outbound: 2

The final SDR and BDR definitions

While the opinions are all over the place, and there is no one official definition, we at Kalungi will stick with the roles that Salesforce originally defined:

  • A BDR focuses on prospecting outbound leads
  • An SDR focuses on qualifying inbound marketing leads

Neither one is responsible for closing business. Instead, their aim is to move qualified leads through the pipeline to those who have more experience closing business.

While the name SDR, includes “Sales”, in most SaaS Companies they are not really selling. The name is used mostly for Inbound Lead Qualification roles.

For most B2B SaaS Companies that are not above $50M in ARR, these roles will be the same. SDR/BDR will be the same for them.

More SaaS sales team titles

Here are examples of different titles being used across the sales funnel:


  • SDR – Sales Development Rep
  • ISR – Inbound Sales Rep
  • LDR – Lead Development Rep
  • LRR – Lead Response Rep
  • MQR – Marketing Qualification Rep
  • MDR - Marketing Development Rep
  • MRR – Market Response Rep
  • LDE - Lead Development Executive


  • BDR – Business Development Rep
  • ADR – Account Development Rep


  • AE – Account Executive
  • EAM - Enterprise Account Manager
  • SE – Sales Executive
  • ISR – Inside Sales Rep


Template preview - BDR SDR sales marketing alignment - funnel definitions

Make sure marketing is getting sales the best leads with our funnel stage template

Keep your marketing and sales teams aligned on what a good lead is and when it should be handed off.

Additional SDR vs. BDR Resources

Given the arbitrary results of my research, I thought it helpful to include my sources below:


  • SDR (Sales Development Representatives) are in charge of qualifying all the inbound leads. This is an entry-level position newly hired employees commonly apply for. After 12 months, Salesforce promotes them to the BDR (Business Development Representatives) organization. Their primary duty will switch from handling inbound leads to making outbound sales calls.
  • The SDR usually handles SMBs while the BDR organization commonly contacts prospects from commercial and enterprise segments.
  • SDR sales reps cannot handle inbound leads that the BDR organization previously engaged with. When a prospect previously contacted by BDR goes through their inbound hotline, the SDR directs them to the BDR.
  • Of course, this rarely becomes an issue since the SDR and BDR handle different sectors, prospects, and segments.


  • Sales Development Representative (SDR): A type of inside sales rep who focuses more on inbound lead qualification, moving leads into and through the sales funnel, qualifying prospects, and setting up sales qualified appointments.
  • Business Development Representative (BDR): A type of inside sales rep who focuses on generating qualified prospects using cold email, cold calling, social selling, and networking.

Sales Talent Agency

  • A BDR focuses on prospecting outbound leads
  • An SDR focuses on qualifying inbound marketing leads


  • The SDR team, which is the team that I had, we focus on calling inbound and outbound in their pipeline so any of the inbound and outbound leads that are assigned to the member.
  • We qualify these leads and we schedule these presentations with those leads for our Business Development team. And Todd's team, which is the BDR team, they focus on presenting our re-brandable software solution to qualified prospects.


  • A sales development representative (SDR) is also responsible for generating new business opportunities, but they are tasked with doing so by qualifying only inbound leads.
  • This is different than a BDR that is responsible for generating opportunities through outbound sales outreach such as email and cold calling.

Factor 8

  • The BDR role is sometimes broken out to exclude those handling inbound leads, and these are typically referred to as SDR (sales development reps).
  • You’ll find BDR/SDR roles reporting into Marketing about as often as to Sales, but the growing trend is moving them out of marketing and into sales. Primary SDR responsibilities include accepting inquiries (e.g. lead forms or inbound calls), qualifying, and routing them to the appropriate sales channel.
  • The outbound BDR team may call on lead lists, prospect for new customers or even work internal lists like re-activating old customers. Consider them a bridge between Marketing and Sales, converting tire-kickers to Marketing Qualified Leads or MQL’s to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s).


  • The BDR focuses on inbound leads. They are filtering and qualifying those leads for the Account Executives.
  • The SDR focuses on outbound activity to find net new prospects. Their job is to gather information, ask qualifying questions and deliver the lead to their prospective Account Executive.

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