Friday, October 26, 2012

The Difference Between a Sales Rep and a Business Development Rep

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a sales rep and a business development rep?  A lot of sales managers and factory owners think they are the same thing but they’re not.

The sales rep is an integral part of a factory’s success. They work with their established builders helping them with their marketing and sales efforts and being the builder’s voice to the factory. The sales rep quotes prices for homes, helps with floorplans and changes, signs contracts and everything else that both the factory and builder need to keep bringing in good sales. The factory sales rep is the key to existing builder sales.

A business development representative (BDR), on the other hand, cultivates relationships with potential builders and developers for the modular factory. This job typically requires marketing experience and familiarity with a factory’s products and services. A degree can help, but is not absolutely necessary.

They identify the builders that might benefit from the factory’s production and develop targets and plans that can be used to improve the development of these contacts. A business development representative may attend conferences and fairs to reach potential clients. In addition, sales calls and mailings can be part of the work, to start a line of communications with builders that might want to start working with the company.

When leads call back to indicate interest, the BDR works with them to determine what they need and how the company could meet that need. At this point, the sales manager may assign a sales rep to begin working along side the BDR and the builder with the goal of the sales rep becoming the link to the factory so the BDR can move on to procuring more new business.

Getting this new business may be done by expanding into new demographics, capturing a larger part of the market share, and helping the modular factory develop new products to appeal to builders. Being familiar with their competitors is often critical, as is a thorough understanding of the entire modular industry.

Several years of experience in customer service, marketing, and sales is usually necessary to become a business development representative. It is important to have excellent communication skills and the ability to adapt to a variety of situations. Skilled representatives can identify the communication style most preferred by a builder or a developer and shift their approach to make people feel at ease, which can increase the chance of opening a new account and developing a lasting relationship.

What are the requirements and skill sets needed to become a good modular factory business development rep?

  • A love for and pride in what you do.
  • You’ll need the ability to spot an opportunity, research it, create a plan and develop it through to fruition. You’ll be constantly looking at innovative and creative marketing methods to open doors, generating meaningful and qualified conversations across a whole range of potential builders and developers.
  • You must be an excellent communicator with a proven background in identifying and creating new business relationships. Knowledge of media and marketing techniques would be fantastic, but not necessary.
  • Taking a strategic, consultative selling approach, you will focus on developing relationships and creating awareness with prospective clients. You must have the proven ability to proactively source business and generate meetings.
  • You will be responsible for identifying leads and turning them into new business opportunities for the factory. Excellent communication skills and the confidence to regularly network and liaise with prospects are essential. You must be a salesperson with entrepreneurial characteristics.
  • Prospect and pitch new accounts by identifying and building relationships with key decision makers/influencers.
  • Be able to present yourself as a credible modular industry expert regarding trends and methods.
  • Maintain expertise of industry and competitors
  • Extensive experience in new business development utilizing a consultative sales approach. This comes with experience.
  • You need analysis, interpersonal and listening skills
  • Excellent communications skills.
  • You must be comfortable working with builders and developers and display an ability to develop relationships at all levels 
The business development rep is the person that sets the tone for the success of the factory and the sales rep is the one that maintains that success. 

If you are lucky enough to have a BDR on your staff, make sure that every sales rep understands where each fit into the total scheme of things for a successful future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So true coach, yet so few factories understand this. I truly believe the real problems in the modular industry have almost nothing to do with what goes on inside the factory. It is our industries seemingly total lack of understanding of the "outside the factory" issues that limits our growth. Our industry seems to believe that we just have to build a technically better product and the somebody will buy it. It is so much more than that. It ranges from understanding what the homeowner wants to understanding how a builder makes money.