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SDR roles are DEAD! Long live The RDR! That's a Revenue Development Rep for those who don't know...



Hey there, folks! If you've been in the SaaS game, you'll know that it's all about the numbers – especially the one that makes the world go 'round: revenue.


I'm here to take you on a journey through the evolution of SaaS companies, a journey that brought us to a groundbreaking concept called Revenue Development Representatives (RDRs).


I say ground breaking, this was a concept and role I came up with back in 2021 and always knew I should have written about it or posted about it. Don't worry I didn't come up with it on my own but am happy to see Forrester posted about this in May 2022, 2 months after I left the company where this was born!


As a former VP of Sales Development at Funnel.io, I had the incredible opportunity to play a pivotal role in this evolution, and I want to share our story with you. Big shout out to the team and the amazing CRO who guided the whole team on the Revenue One Team journey - I owe you a lot.


The Traditional SDR, BDR, MDR Roles

So what is SDR, BDR and MDR?...


Historically, SaaS companies relied on a segmented approach to their sales and marketing efforts. Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), Business Development Representatives (BDRs), and Marketing Development Representatives (MDRs) played distinct roles within the organisation.


SDRs focused on outbound prospecting, BDRs handled inbound leads (actually different companies named them the other way around!), and MDRs engaged in marketing-related activities.


While this approach had its merits, it also created silos within the company, hindering seamless collaboration and slowing down revenue generation.


This was also fuelled by the debate of where does the qualification/ whatever development team sit? Should it sit in Marketing, Sales or alone? (Confused!)


Over the years and recently talking to expert recruiters in this field the SDR/BDR role needs to evolve. As well as the whole SaaS industry but thats another post or rant! The SDR/BDR role has become stagnant, people not answering phones, or messages on linkedin or other platforms, not responding to messages and basically being over swamped with people trying to sell something, anything!

Enter the Revenue Development Representatives (RDRs)

Our "Aha!" moment came when we realised that we needed a more integrated approach. We wanted our teams to work seamlessly together, all pulling in the same direction – towards revenue. That's when we introduced the concept of Revenue Development Representatives (RDRs).


These were the Swiss Army knives of the future in our sales and marketing machine, sorry - Revenue engine!


Why RDRs Are Essential

  1. Revenue Aligned Teams: RDRs ensured that our entire team – from marketing and sales to customer success – are on the same page, all marching to the tune of revenue. No more silos, just one big, revenue-focused family.

  2. Jack-of-All-Trades: RDRs are the MVPs. They can do it all – switch between inbound and outbound activities like pros. They are like the quarterback that could both pass and run – a game-changer. But a necessary, we can't be lost on our old ways, we need to find new ways to engage with our customers and stop forcing them to do what we want. Or endlessly chasing what use to work.

  3. Resource Efficiency: RDRs made every second count. They handle inbound leads and hunt for new opportunities simultaneously. It was like having two superpowers in one team member. When inbound is low and you want a challenge why wouldn't you find more customers to talk to, you've had most of your day them coming to you, why don't you do find them, attract them, build your brand as well as the businesses?

  4. Thought Leaders: RDRs aren't just salespeople; they are thought leaders. They can talk the talk about industry trends, create top-notch content, and earn the trust of our prospects. Big consulting firm are now training their entire employee pool to become micro influencers, promoting the businesses on scale to tip the high volume social media, creator frenzies we are seeing today, in their favour. If you're not leading you are falling behind.

  5. Sales Concierges: RDRs take customer relationships to the next level. They personalise the experience, addressing each prospect's unique needs. It's like having a five-star concierge for every lead. This is a role title and term I heard recently from one of out great unicorn in the making startups that we had the joy of working with. The title intrigued me but made sense and was part of what we did back when the RDR was born in 2021 but only came to light last year!

  6. Adaptability and Versatility: RDRs are not limited by job titles or specific tasks. They possess a diverse skill set that allows them to adapt to different situations. This versatility is invaluable in today's dynamic market, where customer preferences and trends change rapidly.

  7. Software masters: RDRs will be and already are using tools like ChatGTP and other generative AI tools to craft the engaging messages, create great content, research companies and find the best ways to engage with a prospect.

The Future: Revenue Development Representatives

As SaaS businesses continue to evolve, the role of RDRs will become even more critical.

These, typically early stage career professionals will be at the forefront of revenue generation, using their expertise gained from growing up in the social media world, the influencer and portfolio career world our younger generation have grown up with. Using technology to drive growth and success.


In conclusion, the shift from traditional SDR, BDR, and MDR roles to Revenue Development Representatives (RDRs) is a significant evolution in the SaaS business landscape.

RDRs bring alignment, adaptability, and efficiency to revenue-generation efforts, ultimately driving faster and more sustainable growth.


Embracing this concept is essential for SaaS companies looking to stay competitive and succeed in an ever-changing, crowded market.

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