10 Skills Needed to be a BDR in 2021

I first had the opportunity of becoming a BDR back in 2017 and I actually turned down a couple of job offers. To be completely honest the role didn’t sound glamorous, progressive, or full of opportunities that would improve the skills I was looking for at that time. I also had the image of being that annoying sales guy just chasing someone on the phone making 100’s of cold calls a day and ultimately thought I would hate my life.

Since 2017 I have seen a major change in the B2B industry, opportunities available and skills needed to be a BDR that is way more diverse and appealing. Here are the skills I see needed to be a successful BDR in a world where the buyer has all the knowledge and opportunity to make judgements quickly.

1. Copywriter

2. Social seller

3. Creative thinker

4. Conversation starter

5. Thought challenger

6. Time manager

7. Learner

8. Marketer

9. Opportunity seeker

10. Chanel lover


I think to start is being able to communicate your ideas and develop a tone of writing that resembles your company and the value your offering gives. It is so easy to get caught up in what you know rather than what your prospects need to know. Being able to change the messaging depending on persona, industry, time of year can be a challenge but always putting the customer first and spending that little longer on research can help in the long term.

2.Social seller

It isn’t enough to just sell to your prospects you have to be able to provide industry knowledge and build a personal brand. Many will look you up to see your credibility before replying to a call, email or any other form of communication. It’s important they can find regular pieces of information that you have produced to show you are part of their network and ability to offer sound advice on their problems.

3.Creative thinker

One thing I see is that when one message isn’t landing it might not necessarily mean it is a dead opportunity. Being able to find new ways in, different messages, different channels, using your creative skills to get your message seen isn’t the job of anyone else but the BDR.

4.Conversation starter

A modern BDR has to give before they take. This often means sharing relevant content, understanding the buyers problems and knowing how they can help before they have even had a conversation with that prospect. This means having a greater understanding of product, industry, personas, business needs, and self awareness.

5.Thought challenger

A BDR is often seen as a junior role but actually we often have to teach senior decision makers who have been in the industry for years. We are faced with objections that can sometimes be difficult and different every time so you can’t create a script of answers. You have to think on your feet and take a deep breath before delivering your response.

6.Time manager

As much as a CRM can help to manage activities it is still important for each BDR to find out what their optimum work level is. I was reading a LinkedIn post the other day saying how this person sends 100 emails a day and dials 180 calls. I was thinking that just isn’t possible for me. I send about 30 emails a day, 30 calls and have about 50 contacts enrolled at any time. I also go to events twice a week, run direct mail campaigns, film videos etc. There definitely isn’t a one shoe fits all.


As BDR’s we have to continue learning, sharing and developing our skills. We all learn in different ways so spending some time with your peers, colleagues, industry experts, reading, using LinkedIn, attending events all help. It isn’t enough to leave it to management to drip feed information. We have to be proactive and motivated to always do better.


We don’t just sell anymore. Good BDR’s will use the resources around them and work with marketing to develop their outreach and messaging. Understanding buyer intent data, different channels, copywriting, video creation, digital marketing, event marketing all helps reach your customers and gets your message seen. There has been a big change with many BDR’s actually falling under the marketing team and I love it!

9.Opportunity seeker

There is so much opportunity around for BDR’s to get involved and step up early. This could be public speaking, developing training, running deals, doing demos, producing content, meeting with clients face to face for example. Our jobs are not restricted to what has traditionally been done or expected before.

10.Channel lover

Finally, just like fashion the B2B world also goes through trends of what works and what doesn’t. I never thought I would see wide leg pants on the catwalk again so soon but there you go... I'm here for it. Whether it’s personalised notes, direct mail, videos, emails, calls, text, voicemail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, events, dinners, lunches and trust me the list goes on it just shows how competitive this space is to get your voice heard and message seen. It also gives lot’s of opportunities to really stand out and find the platforms that work for you and your customers.

I challenge all of you to try something new this week and I want to hear what is working!

Ben Smith
BDR Team Lead

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