Business Development vs. Sales: What’s the Difference?


You may have thought of business and sales development as a single entity and even tried to combine them in order to earn profits. But while business development and sales are usually seen as extensions of each other, if you do not incorporate both separately into your company, your business could suffer badly.

Sales and business development play significant roles in delivering your company’s solution into the hands of prospective customers. Therefore, think of them as complementary elements rather than a combined entity.

What is Business Development?

Business development is a company’s complete effort geared towards identifying prospects for increased sales and service delivery to generate more significant revenue for an organization.

The business development process often entails: conducting prospect research, networking, gauging competitive positioning,  creating a buyer persona, forming strategic partnerships, and barrow down target market demographics, amongst others.

In an organization, sales development roles can be in the form of a sales development rep (SDP) and even business development rep (BDR) roles. These roles are usually entry-level roles in the sales organization of a company, and can fit career paths in account management, customer success management, or sales management. Moreover, the company can also hire a third-party company for business development consulting services.

The role of business developers involves identifying market prospects in a company’s industry focus and building contact for broader market penetration and growth opportunities. They find potential and create relationships that can help the company increase revenue.

So, what is Sales Development?

Sales development is a group serving between a company’s marketing and sales functions. It manages the sales cycle’s front end, which includes uncovering leads, connecting with them, and qualifying them. Sales development is a sales team tasked to determine areas in a company with sales potential, engage in conversations, and generate qualified leads for other departments to work on to make those leads become customers.

According to Sales Hacker, Sales development reps are committed to getting more people to learn about their business and helping them take the first step to becoming repeat customers.

Here are some roles of a sales development representative.

  • Making cold calls and sending out emails to generate leads
  • Generating new and qualified sales privileges for companies through sales efforts and tactics
  • Building business partnerships with prospective customers through marketing campaigns and referrals
  • Maintaining conversations with prospects through various means

Business owners invest in sales development to maintain current business opportunities and also generate new ones. The sales reps work alongside marketing and other related departments as an outbound team with a target to convert potential customers to generate revenue for an organization.

Business Development vs. Sales: What’s the Difference?

The position of business development representatives (BDRs) has so much in common with sales development representatives (SDRs) – in fact, many companies do not distinguish the two departments. However, here are some differences you need to know between them.

1. Their Titles

A business developer will very likely be referred to as vice president of business development or business development manager. Sales developers may be called “sales managers or directors of marketing.”

2. Lead Generation

Business development reps and sales reps have slight and major differences while fulfilling their day-to-day activities including generating leads. For example, when managing outbound leads, business development reps assess a company’s sales training process to gain a clear picture of prospective customers through research, before launching out to locate them. So, they identify prospects and find them.

On the other hand, Sales reps close deals leveraging objection management and rock-solid arguments with customers. They also maintain relationships that the BDRs have kicked off till they finally become converts. In essence, they help to wrangle a prospect not currently making a purchase today that may be capable of doing so some weeks or months later.

3. Impact on Business Revenue

Business development is focused on generating new leads, while sales development is focused on generating revenue for a company. So, while both contribute to a company’s success, business development reps search for new avenues to grow partnerships with other entities.

Still, sales reps focus on reviewing and researching leads to convert them into regular buyers. Though sales reps might carry out some extra duties on certain occasions, their primary objective is to close deals.

4. Approach to Work

Business development reps are focused on a strategy to boost the growth of a business, while sales reps concentrate on methods to make sales.

Bringing it to a Close

In today’s structure, it can be pretty hard to distinguish the different duties of the business development reps and sales reps; however, an organization must be able to determine their jobs adequately. If you have no strategy, you risk damage to your revenue estimates, making it more difficult for sales teams to close a deal.

Business development often determines the extent to which sales staff can go. They provide sales teams with new avenues and markets to offer products and services and also provide them with the techniques that will boost their success.







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