36 BDR Interview Questions & Answers [2023 Guide]
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A business development representative, or BDR for short, has an essential role in the sales pipeline. BDRs kick off the sales process and bring new clients into the fold. They research potential clients, are responsible for initial outreach, learn about prospective customers to understand their needs, and turn cold leads into warm ones.
BDRs are increasingly in demand, and their competitive salaries evince this. Entry-level BDRs can make up to $75,000 a year, according to Glassdoor, with sales representatives in bigger markets such as San Francisco and New York City earning upwards of $100,000 a year. After a few years of experience, mid-level BDRs can almost double their salaries through commissions.
Because they’re so essential to a sales team, hiring managers are likely to grill BDR candidates in the interview process. Whether in-person or over the phone, the BDR job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, with questions spanning sales processes, sales strategies, and even the candidate’s perspective on the profession itself. So we’ve created this guide, which offers answers to the most common (and tricky) questions that you’ll get asked during the hiring process.
Entry-level BDR Interview Questions
Entry-level BDR interview questions assess a candidate’s skills, experience, character, and understanding of the sales process. Hiring managers won’t expect candidates to have years of sales experience, but they will look for evidence of strong interpersonal rapport, problem-solving skills, and an attitude that is conducive to a career in sales.
What Is Tech Sales?
This question tests the clarity of your communication skills. Being a clear communicator, who can explain and sell a company’s products and services, is core to the job of a BDR, which is why hiring managers want to see whether you can clearly and concisely explain the basics.
Keep your answer short and accessible. Be prepared to explain tech sales broadly and the work of sales development representatives specifically.
What Does a Business Development Representative Do?
This question likewise tests your communication skills. It also tests your understanding of the business development role. If you can define the parameters of the role, it will show hiring managers that you know what you’re signing up for.
What Can You Tell Me About This Organization and the Product/Services We Offer?
This question isn’t just a test to see if you’ve done your research. Hiring managers also want to know if you’re a good fit for their company.
Use your answer to demonstrate how your strengths and skills meet the organization’s needs. And show how your values align with the company’s mission and culture. Be prepared to discuss recent acquisitions, company leadership, and any significant hires who inspire you. Show that you have a finger on the pulse for company news, especially in the context of developments within their target market.
What Do You Think Describes Our Ideal Customer?
This question tests your understanding of the organization’s existing client base, its target customer, and its position in the marketplace. Be prepared to offer a customer profile, but also offer suggestions for potential client bases that haven’t yet been tapped. Where can the organization grow its client base? What areas are being overlooked? What are some potential sectors that are ripe for expansion?
Can you walk us through your sales process?
Hiring managers want to know how you work, your knowledge of best practices, your attention to detail, and your creativity. Talk about how you prospect for potential customers—where do you look and how do you identify the right contacts? Talk about the kind of questions you ask prospects to determine whether they are qualified to move further along the sales process. If you have a specific case study that is illustrative of your process, then share that with your hiring manager.
How Would You Handle a Difficult Prospect?
This question evaluates your ability to overcome obstacles and help seal the deal. Client objections typically fall into one of four categories: lack of need, lack of urgency, lack of trust, and lack of funds. Answer this question by sharing how you might approach each of those objections, from attentively listening to their concerns, to requesting time to discuss the matter further, to isolating the core objection, and responding with a clear value proposition that appropriately addresses the concern.
How Do You Deal With Rejection?
Being responsible for cold calling prospective clients, BDRs face frequent rejection. The goal of this question is to uncover whether you can handle a bad sales day with a calm perspective, or whether you get flustered and frustrated. If the latter is true, a career in sales might not be right for you.
Can You Share Your Life Story Within 90 Seconds?
Whether you’re cold calling a potential client or giving a presentation, sales representatives don’t have much time to make their pitch. This question tests your communication skills, your storytelling skills, and your ability to hit critical points in a short amount of time.
Why Do You Want To Sell Our Product/Service?
Hiring managers use this question to assess your sales skills. Your answer should be framed as a value proposition that would convince a prospective client to purchase the product. Focus on what the product provides, who the product is designed to service, and the unique ways in which the product addresses buyer pain points.
Why Do You Want To Sell Our Product/Service?
This question gauges your persistence and your interpersonal skills. Hiring managers are looking for BDRs who make the most of their time, which requires discretion when a lead becomes unresponsive. Talk about how many attempts you might make to reach someone before giving up on them, and discuss the hierarchy of decision-makers who might determine whether you persist or move on (E.g. when a key decision-maker, as opposed to a gatekeeper, says no).
Do You Have Prior Experience in a Customer Service Role? What Was Your Favorite Part?
Questions about customer support and service attempt to gauge two things: can you stay cool under pressure and do you have a passion for helping others? If you don’t have prior work experience in a customer service role, consider talking about the occasions when you received exceptional customer support, and what you learned from being on the receiving end of it.
Are You a Team Player?
A BDR might support one other sales representative or a whole team of salespersons. Assure hiring managers that you are a collaborative team player. It helps if you can draw on examples from prior work experience or relevant projects.
Do You Like Cold Calling? What Are Your Thoughts About Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a big part of a sales representative’s job. So if you’re uncomfortable with cold calling, this will be a red flag for hiring managers.
How Do You Qualify Leads? Are You Familiar With Lead Prospecting?
Hiring managers ask this to determine if you’re effective at prospecting. Offer examples of the types of questions you might ask a potential client. Make sure your questions demonstrate a deep understanding of the prospect’s problems and how the company’s solutions can address those issues.
Senior-level BDR Interview Questions
If you apply for a more senior role, you can expect more challenging questions about the technical aspects of sales, being a sales manager, and the hands-on experience you’ve had.
How Would You Teach an Advanced Task to a Beginner? Can You Walk Me Through Your Approach?
This question tests a candidate’s communication skills. As a BDR, you have to have a deep understanding of your organization’s products and services. But a prospective client might only have a cursory knowledge of the product you’re selling. Use your response to demonstrate your ability to clearly and concisely explain complex concepts in layman’s terms.
How Do You Handle Tight Deadlines and Ambitious Goals Assigned to You?
Use this question to showcase your strategic prowess and time management skills. Talk about occasions when you’ve used traditional lead qualification frameworks like BANT (budget, authority, need, and timing) and CHAMP (challenges, authority, money, and prioritization), the importance of digital marketing tools, and any other relevant techniques that have helped you stay on top of your deadlines.
How Do You Handle a Prospect/Client Who Keeps On Rescheduling or Connects You to Different Employees?
It can be difficult to stay motivated when a prospective client keeps dodging your phone calls and meetings. Hiring managers ask this question to see if you can suss out the issue (E.g. Is the prospect not a decision-maker at their organization? Is the potential client simply not interested for reasons of cost or relevance?) and whether you can move forward after facing rejection.
What Differentiates Good BDRs From the Best BDRs?
Hiring managers ask this to understand your sales process. Emphasize sought-after sales skills that add tangible value.
For example, explain why the best BDRs are active listeners and discuss how strong listening skills are essential when coaxing a prospect to open up about objections or when evaluating a potential buyer’s needs. A BDR who doesn’t pay close attention while listening can miss key information about a potential client’s problems or even alienate potential clients. When asked this question in an interview, talk about the importance of empathy. The best salespersons understand how their customers feel and can anticipate their needs. Those who lack empathy will struggle to establish a strong rapport with prospective clients, which will likely cost them sales.
We Are Considering Developing Our Business in a New Market. How Would You Go About That Implementation?
Hiring managers ask this question to understand how you would tackle a new, unfamiliar market. If you don’t know much about the new market they’re asking about, don’t panic. Talk about how you would research that market, the kinds of questions you would ask, the competitors you’d identify, and the industry trends you’d study to prepare you and your sales team to enter that market.
What Do You Know About Our Competitors?
This question has two goals: to ensure that the candidate has done their research about the industry and to see how a candidate talks about the competition. Make sure your answers are measured and not disparaging. Companies don’t want their sales teams to earn a reputation for bad-mouthing the competition.
How Do You Find New Business Opportunities?
This is an opportunity to talk about your prospecting skills. Hiring managers want to hear about how you conduct your research, how you find new leads, how you’re connecting with potential clients, and how you familiarize yourself with a prospect’s background.
What Sales Techniques Do You Use? Which Methods Do You Find Most and Least Effective? Can You Explain With Examples?
This question is an opportunity to talk about your soft skills, technical skills, and broader sales skills. For example, you might want to talk about the importance of storytelling, or how you use social media and CRM skills to identify potential buyers.
Define a Buyers’ Persona.
This is the first step to tailoring a sales pitch. As a senior BDR, you’ll train junior salespeople, set sales targets, and help develop buyers’ personas for the rest of your team. This question measures your understanding of all these tasks.
Have You Worked With CRM Software Before? What Other Sales Tools Have You Worked With?
Most sales teams use customer relationship management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce and Zendesk. If you haven’t used a CRM before, show that you are willing to learn.
How Do You Handle Negative Feedback From Your Team Members, Senior Staff, or Clients?
Hiring managers ask this question to see if candidates are coachable and receptive to change. No one expects you to be perfect, but hiring managers will expect you to accept feedback with grace. Whether that criticism comes from a manager, peer, or customer, they want to know that you’ll be open to improvement.
Have You Ever Failed To Meet Your Sales Target? What Happened and How Did You Overcome It? What Did You Learn?
These questions measure your ability and willingness to reassess and readjust your sales strategy. Start by identifying why your sales goals were missed. Analyze your KPIs to pinpoint when and where things went awry. Discuss weak areas in your sales process and how you incorporated those learnings into future projects.
What Is Your Biggest Success So Far?
Hiring managers want to know that you’re able to recognize your own success and why you succeeded. Come prepared with a case study that demonstrates your success, and tell your hiring manager what you learned from that experience.
Where Do You See Yourself in the Next 5 Years?
Hiring and onboarding are costly, and employee retention is a priority for many hiring managers. This question is asked to see if you’re passionate about the company and if you’re willing to stay put.
Five years may seem like a long time, but you can show your intentions of growing with the organization by highlighting opportunities for advancement that excite you.
What Keeps You Motivated?
Hiring managers use this question to get to know you better. It’s best to answer honestly. Is there a specific goal you are working towards? Is there something about tech sales that particularly excites you?
How Do You Keep Up With Industry Trends?
Your response to this question should give hiring managers insight into your research process. Talk about the ways in which you use social media, search engines, networking events, and other outlets to research the latest industry trends.
How Do You Manage Your Time and Stay Organized?
Time management and strong organizational skills are critical to a successful career in sales. Answer this question by detailing how you stay organized and how you prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed.
General BDR Interview Questions
When applying to a BDR job, you’ll probably get asked some generic questions about yourself and your long-term career goals.
Tell Me About Yourself.
This is a common interview question that helps both parties ease into the job interview, while also leaving things open-ended for the candidate. This is your opportunity to set the tone for the interview. Make sure your answer speaks to the role you’re applying for. You can talk about why you’re interested in the role, why you’re a great fit for the job, or why you’re interested in this particular company or industry.
What Do You Know About Tech Sales?
This question measures a candidate’s communication skills (can you clearly and concisely explain the profession?) and their understanding of the responsibilities of the job.
Why Did You Opt for a Career in Tech Sales?
Hiring managers ask this question to understand what drives a candidate. This is an opportunity for you to talk about what excites you about the profession. Reflect on past experiences that shed light on why this career is a good fit for you.
What Is the Most Challenging Assignment You’ve Encountered on Your Learning Journey?
Interviewers use this question to assess your problem-solving skills and your own self-awareness. Your answer to this question will shed light on your critical thinking skills, risk tolerance, and coping skills. When sharing past examples, contextualize the situation and explain the problem you were tasked with solving. Briefly recount your approach to solving the problem, and how that affected the final outcome.
Situational Questions, Based on Your Resume
Hiring managers want to hear about how you’ve closed deals and solved problems in previous roles. Be prepared to talk about case studies and former jobs mentioned on your resume. For example, if your resume mentions that you managed to sign a certain number of clients in a previous role, a hiring manager might ask: “Tell me about the sales strategy you used to close these deals.” Or, if your resume shows that you supported a sales team, a hiring manager might ask, “What value did you bring to the sales teams?” Be prepared to talk about how you managed your time without being overwhelmed, your particular responsibilities, the specific skills you employed to add value, and what you learned from working on a team.
BDR Interview Questions FAQs
How Much Does a Business Development Representative Earn?
The base salary of a BDR in the United States is around $59,176, according to Indeed, with commissions adding an extra $12,000 a year. In larger markets like New York City, BDRs can make a base salary of around $62,818, according to Built In New York, with commissions bumping the overall compensation to around $85,000.
Is a Business Development Representative Job Hard?
Being a BDR is a great career for creative problem solvers who have strong communication skills, enjoy meeting new people, and conduct effective research. Those with strong interpersonal skills, and who have a knack for networking, will likely thrive as BDRs. People who are shy and struggle under pressure will likely find the role difficult.
Is Being a BDR a Stressful Job?
Tech sales is a high pressure industry, and BDRs often find themselves in stressful situations involving sales quotas, tough competition, and indecisive customers. But for those who love solving problems, meeting new people, and thriving under tight deadlines, a career as a BDR can be exciting and rewarding.
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