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Six key marketing skills every business development representative (BDR) should master

It’s easy to take the skills required to be a great business development representative (BDR) for granted, but in today's competitive and online business world, it’s worth taking a look at some critical marketing skills that will set you apart as a sales professional.

Take nothing for granted

It’s easy to take the skills required to be a great business development representative (BDR) for granted. Intuitively, everyone in sales knows that top notch performers should be confident, have great communication skills, and show a knack for hustle. But in today’s competitive and increasingly online business world, it’s worth taking a closer look at the critical marketing skills you need to master as a business development representative. Effective marketing skills help business development representatives identify potential clients, communicate effectively with customers, and ultimately drive company sales. 

What is a BDR?

Let’s start by getting a better idea of what a BDR is, and what they do. A BDR’s job is to proactively seek out and engage with potential customers, with the goal of developing new business relationships. This means that BDRs are often the first point of contact between a company and its customers, focusing on what are called outbound sales. When it comes to the world of business-to-business (B2B) sales, it’s safe to say that business development representatives are at the forefront of the sales process. On any given day, a BDR will work to generate qualified leads with methods like traditional cold-calling, social media marketing, and email. Once a lead is qualified, BDRs usually pass the contact information on to sales teams who do the work of closing.

It’s a complex role with a lot of scope for people who enjoy a fast-paced sales and marketing environment. And like any professional career, it requires a certain set of skills to ensure success. Let’s take a look at six key marketing skills every BDR should master.

1. Communication skills

It’s obvious that business development representatives have to have excellent communication skills to engage with potential clients. But what does that mean when it comes to marketing? Fundamentally, a BDR should be able to communicate clearly and persuasively, both in writing and in conversation. Not only that, great BDRs must be able to tailor messaging to specific audiences, which is more difficult than it sounds. It requires a talent for active listening, which builds customer rapport at the same time as it helps identify customer needs and pain points. An ability to communicate effectively cannot be underestimated, since it is vital for building trust in an area that can be oversaturated with aggressive advertising.

 2. Sales skills

A business development representative’s primary goal is to generate revenue by selling products or services. This means they have to have a talent for identifying potential customers, developing sales pitches, and even closing deals when necessary. Sales skills also include the ability to negotiate and overcome objections, in addition to fully understanding the value proposition of the products or services they are selling. 

3. Market research skills 

Generally speaking, a great BDR knows the market they are selling to because they have excellent market research skills. These are the tools and methods used to identify potential customers and understand the competitive landscape. BDRs should be able to analyze industry trends, identify potential customer needs, and develop strategies to reach those customers. Proactive BDRs carry out market analysis and leverage data-driven insights, which means they have to be adept with everyday business technologies, including business intelligence, data analytics, and customer relationship management (CRM) software. 

More and more, BDRs are learning how to use automation tools to increase efficiency so they can focus their energies on making more personal connections with potential customers. Last but not least, a superstar BDR knows how to track the results of their marketing campaigns, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to improve outcomes.

4. Digital marketing skills 

With more and more B2B sales moving online, it’s critical that today’s BDRs have outstanding digital marketing skills. These include understanding best practices when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), and leveraging the use of social media. Social media marketing is a key component of any marketing strategy today, so it’s time to hone your skills with platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and know how to use them to connect and build relationships with potential clients.

5. Relationship building skills 

The ability to manage and maintain customer relationships, which includes tracking and analyzing customer interactions, is essential for B2B sales.

Your ability to quickly and authentically connect with a potential customer is a make-or-break skill for successful BDRs. Everyone is getting cold pitches every day— your ability to really get into your customer’s head, and write a pitch that connects to their struggle will separate your work from the noise. – Sarah Stockdale, Founder, Growclass.

On a more general level, however, it’s vitally important to develop your relationship building skills. Think of these skills as part of a toolbox of soft skills that include having a talent for networking, an ability to develop trust, and being able to establish strong rapport with customers. These skills help to build long-term relationships, which in turn leads to repeat business, and great referrals.

6. Creative skills 

Creativity and adaptability are important soft skills for BDRs to have. A great sales professional has to be able to communicate value propositions to prospects concisely, and in a personalized manner. BDRs also need to know how to respond creatively to possible objections or concerns. But on a broader level, it’s clear that effective marketing requires creativity, which means that business development representatives should be able to come up with new and innovative marketing ideas that set their company apart from the competition. This same is true when it comes to content marketing. Here, it’s critical that BDRs show a talent for creating compelling and informative content that tells potential customers about the product or service they are selling.

The takeaway

These six key marketing skills are all critical for generating revenue and driving business growth. By developing and honing these skills, business development representatives can become more effective at identifying potential customers, communicating with them, and driving sales. You can build all of these skills and your career by doing things like engaging in sales training bootcamps like SalesCamp from Palette Skills, practicing your public speaking skills, finding a mentor and asking questions, and committing yourself to lifelong learning. 

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Eligibility for SalesCamp

To be admitted and accepted into the program, you must be:
  • Be actively searching for work and ready to take on employment opportunities tech sales.
  • Be able to legally work in Canada. 
  • Not be a full-time student.
  • Be a highly motivated individual actively seeking out new opportunities.
  • Have least 3 years of formal work experience in Canada or abroad.
  • Have an English language rating of CLB Level 8, or IELTS of 6.5 overall.
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  • Be able and committed to attending networking day events as part of regular programming.
  • Be comfortable using technology and learning online.
  • Live or intend to live in the province where the program is being offered.
  • Have a reliable internet connection, device, and a quiet environment for virtual learning.
  • Be committed and able to join the Canadian workforce full-time immediately following the program.
You may not be eligible if:
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  • You are not actively searching or able to start a job in business-to-business tech sales.
  • You are not able to legally work in Canada.
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  • You are interested in taking SalesCamp solely for learning purposes, but are building your own business and not intending to work in the field.

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