There’s often debate on whether or not Business Development Representatives (BDRs), or Lead Development Reps, should report into the sales or marketing department. Regardless of where they sit, it doesn’t change the fact that they need to be closely aligned to both sales and marketing. BDRs have a tough job, and it’s important to recognize how much influence these teams have on target accounts and potential customers.

The business development team is usually tasked with finding the right buyer(s), cultivating relationships with them, and booking meetings in order to turn high priority target accounts into potential customers.

Over the last decade or so, there has been significant emphasis on an inbound approach to finding buyers by attracting potential leads with relevant content and driving website conversions. Yet outbound marketing did not disappear. In traditional outbound models, a prospector (such as a BDR) targets accounts based on a certain set of criteria, cold-sources the names of potential leads within each of those accounts, and calls or sends messages to these individuals in an attempt to engage them. Now, account-based marketing (ABM) has come along to breathe new life into outbound practices.

The BDR’s Role in ABM

With ABM, a deep analysis yields a limited set of accounts on which a company focuses sales and marketing efforts. This makes the BDRs’ outbound efforts easier, in theory, because these accounts fit the profile of your ideal customer. With that in mind, the odds of booking a meeting with these accounts should increase.

When the marketing and sales teams identify and share the list of strategic target accounts with the BDRs, it also allows them to spend more time executing on the activities that help them book meetings: sourcing names, writing prospecting emails, etc., rather than spending their time developing their own lists. Because they know ABM accounts are a good fit and will receive additional marketing support, they will prioritize these accounts over their non-ABM accounts.

Additionally, depending on the types of ABM campaigns you are running, it even gives them a reason to reach out.  

Here is an ideal scenario:

  1. Company X fits the ideal customer profile so the marketing team identifies it as a target account
  2. Sales team agrees and approves
  3. Marketing team creates account-specific personalized website experiences to help engage the account
  4. BDR sends personalized and relevant prospecting messages to key stakeholders within the account  
  5. Prospect goes to the website and sees a personalized experience and converts
  6. Lead gets routed back to BDR team as a qualified lead, which eventually leads to a meeting with that target account

Alignment is Essential

The example I described above does not work if you do not have a strong alignment between your sales and marketing teams. Collaboration is critical. As a former BDR, I understand the challenges associated with outbound prospecting. It is hard. BDRs love inbound leads because, in most cases, inbound leads have expressed some level of interest in your organization’s content, products, or services. This interest makes it easier to engage them and book meetings, which is how most BDRs earn their commissions.

I bring up compensation because understanding what might motivate your BDR team is crucial if you are trying to align your team’s strategy with theirs. BDRs don’t want to waste their time on leads that won’t go anywhere — they want to focus on leads that will bring the most value to the business. Work with your business development leader to understand what motivates his/her team and how you can help enable their outbound efforts. After all, each team wants to provide the best experience possible to potential customers so they are more likely to convert.  

Now, let’s revisit the example scenario I shared previously. Let’s add a little more detail to step 5, using an example that happens as part of our own ABM efforts.

  1. Prospect from Company X (now labeled as Potential Lead) clicks on link BDR shared.  
  • Potential Lead lands on Evergage website, and sees a banner that welcomes “Visitor from Citrix” to the site.  
  • It prompts Potential Lead to check out all the content that we’ve assembled for them by asking them to click “View Resources.” They do.

               BDR’s role in ABM


  • Right then, a modal pops up with custom resources specifically tailored to their company. In the words of the wise philosopher/chef Emeril Lagasse, “BAM!!!” Potential Lead sees an eBook they are interested in.  
  1. Potential Lead downloads the eBook, and gets routed back to BDR team as a qualified lead, which eventually leads to a meeting with that target account.

There are two ways this experience can occur. The first is through Evergage’s B2B Detect technology. In that case, you would identify the company as a target, build an experience for visitors from that organization, and, when Evergage detects such a visitor on the site, it delivers that experience. In my earlier example, however, a BDR sent a link that prompted the ABM experience. To accomplish that, we created unique links for each of our target accounts, enabling our BDRs to add an additional layer of relevance to their prospecting message. Now, instead of a prospect seeing the generic version of our homepage or another page, the prospect receives a personalized experience tailored to their organization once they land on our site.

Final Thoughts

Often, BDRs are the ones providing the first impression to potential customers about your company. You want to help them succeed, and you want to make sure your prospects have a great initial experience. Partnering with your BDR team on their outbound activity and closing the loop with website personalization are both critical success factors of an effective ABM program.

If you are in the early stages of ABM and want some helpful guidance, check out my previous blog post on Building an ABM Framework.

To learn more about how Evergage can help you drive your ABM initiative, request a demo today.