Strategic Business Development:

Working Harder AND Smarter

David Berardi
5 min readJul 22, 2021

When most people think of the role of a Business Development Representative, their mind immediately jumps to cold calling and widespread, automated email campaigns. While there is no denying that these are absolutely the bedrock of business development, there is also room for more strategic, low-touch outreach that reps often overlook.

If a BDR/SDR can master both high quantity and high quality outreach, they will set themselves up for consistent success. Below are three ways reps can work strategic touch points into their workflow.

Immersing Yourself in Your Prospect’s Business Landscape

Most BDRS place a huge emphasis on mastering sales basics, and they should! The role of a BDR is an incredible way to build a sales foundation for the rest of your career, which I would recommend to anyone looking to break into sales. That being said, there are TONS of business development reps in each industry all looking for ways to stand out. Some try new and exciting prospecting mediums like sending video “pitches”, and others send virtual Starbucks gift cards to entice prospects.

In my opinion, the best way to organically stand out to prospects is to take a genuine interest in their business landscape. Understand their market, business needs, and current events. This will not only make you seem like an expert in your space, but it will give you a ton of confidence when you’re calling through prospects (and confidence is 90% of cold calling!). A great way to do this is by following news sources from your particular industry on Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter. In the real estate space, some great examples are Traded, Multihousing News, and The RealDeal.

If a prospect just acquired a company — congratulate them. If they just switched over from another company you do business with — mention that! Reps often get so caught up in everyday process that they don’t have time to keep up with the industry they are selling into.

Utilizing Linkedin (the right way)

Another extremely overlooked piece of business development is Linkedin. There are a few ways to use Linkedin for business development. The first (and most common), is to add anyone and everyone from your prospect account list and copy and paste the same message to them. While you will see some success from this, it is a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. So how do you use Linkedin the right way?

First and foremost — adding a message to your Linkedin invitation is setting yourself up for failure. While the end goal is to message people on Linkedin, actually connecting with people is just as important. Linkedin is for prospecting, but it is also for building your network with folks in the industry you’re selling to. Add a connection, then message once they accept.

The next thing I would recommend is personalization. If you’re going to copy + paste the same message to people, at least add their name and their company name. While there is a statistical diminishing return with customization, adding a few custom details will make it known that you care a little bit!

In terms of actual content of your messaging — you should try to use any and all information that could be seen as a mutual interest. Did they go to the same university as you? Do you both live in Dallas? These will help reaffirm that you are actually trying to speak with them, and not just blasting out messaging.

Last but not least, people overlook the power of the Linkedin Feed. By building up a network, your feed will eventually be full of your prospects (and their connections) activity. While you peruse linkedin, see what you can use as ammo, and mention it in your messaging.

Pro Tip: If someone doesnt respond to your Linkedin message, use a congratulations (without an ask) as a way to bump the thread.

Going Off Script & Being Human

The last way to ensure you are mixing in quality touch points to your repertoire is to understand the right times to go “off script”.

Most BDRS have a cold calling or email template that they follow as it will allow them to understand their baseline calling success. Prospects are used to receiving the same cold calls. Someone calls → asks if they are the right person to speak with→ asks if they have time.

When you go off script — something magical happens. Going off script gives you the element of surprise, and forces your prospect to actually think about their response. This aligns you with them and shows that you’re not just another cold call.

So when is it best to go “off script”?

Going “off script” is most successful when you are going into the call with a strategy or some ammunition that makes your call more of a “warm” call.

If they are prominent in a market where you just signed up another market leader, you can say “We just partnered with X company and understand you also have a huge presence in Dallas. We would love to set up some time to chat about working together”.

Similarly, if you know they just joined the company from another company, you can start the call off by giving them an emphatic congratulations — everyone wants to be congratulated!

Pro tip: Going off script does not mean being goofy. There is a huge difference!

Put In Practice

Quantity is extremely important in business development. By no means am I saying you should ditch your call targets and email targets and replace it with low-touch outreach. However, many reps place such an emphasis on working hard, that they forget to work smart. Spending 30 minutes a day to send congratulations posts based on industry news may have the same yield as 2hours of cold calling. If you really want to be successful as a BDR (and in sales in general) — take an interest in your prospects industry, know who is who, and be human!



David Berardi

David is the Business Development Team Lead at Rhino, a fast growing startup based out of NYC.