Why Being a BDR is the Best Career Move You Can Make

June 26, 2014

A few nights ago, I was out to dinner with my cousin, a recent college graduate who is on the hunt for his first “real-world” job. Naturally, I began to rack my brain for people in my network who are hiring and I came up with two options. After explaining the companies to him, he asked me what the roles would look like. ” You will be a business development rep (BDR) I told him.” He looked at me with a look similar to that of Jack Nicholson in the Shining, and said, “You mean I have to cold call all day?”

Okay, no. Being a BDR/ISR/SDR, or whatever you want to call it isn’t all about cold-calling. Not if you are in the right environment. In fact, being a BDR is the best early career move you can make. And here are the reasons why.

6 Reasons Why Being a BDR is a Great Way to Start Your Startup Career

1) You get to know a business inside and out

There are few roles in an organization where you are expected to be current with all sales, product, and marketing initiatives. Being a BDR exposes you to each facet of a business and how they operate.

2) You know each part of the business so well, that a move into any of them would only be natural

Not sure of what direction you want to take your career in? Being a BDR can catapult you in a million directions. The learned skill sets are completely transferable, too. Want to go into PR? Well, building relationships with writers at the Wall Street Journal is much easier when you are comfortable picking up the phone and sending an email to someone you have yet to meet. Want to go into marketing? Writing content and building out buyer personas is far easier when you have had more conversations with your target audience than anyone else in the company.

3) You learn the industry lingo

ROI. POC. RFP. If you want to be a business leader someday, these are all terms that you need to know. (And to be frank, they are not necessarily things you learn in other departments.) Additionally, having weekly conversations with people from other companies in positions of authority gives you insight into the challenges you might face when you become an executive.

4) You learn how to lead

No other role teaches you how to lead and drive a conversation quite like that of a BDR. Knowing how to best communicate with people, and adjust your style to mirror theirs is a huge advantage in the business world. Being a BDR gives you the opportunity to hone both your written and verbal communication skills which are essential to being a strong leader.

5) You figure out what you actually want to do

I was always told your first job is not going to be your last job. And being a BDR helps you realize what exactly it is that you want to do. This role is the perfect vehicle for determining what your ideal working situation is. As you move leads through the funnel, there will be parts that will naturally be more enjoyable for you. Being a BDR is like running your own mini-business, and as you move a lead through the funnel you will be able to identify what aspects of your job you most enjoy. From there you will be able to paint a clearer picture of what you want to do.

6) No one expects you to stay in the role forever

Being a BDR is a grind, and people know it. The average tenure of a BDR is 2.2 years, and in some cases — even shorter. Managers generally recognize this statistic and it inherently creates a culture of moving onward and upward in a timely manner.

Thinking of joining a BDR team? Or are you currently a BDR and have advice for those considering it? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Photo by: Billy Brown



<strong>CeCe Bazar</strong> is an Associate on OpenView's investment team. She was previously a Sales Strategist also at OpenView.