SDR, ADR, BDR, and beyond: When it comes to SaaS sales team titles, there’s no shortage of acronyms you need to know. But what do they stand for, and more importantly, how much do those three little letters really matter? Can you get by with one, or do you need multiple reps to get the job done? What roles do they actually fill at your org and throughout the sales funnel? 

We were curious, so we opened it up to our operations wizards to see what they had to say. 

But first, some background. 

What’s the difference between an SDR, ADR, BDR, and the like?

The RevOps of most organizations requires certain reps to handle leads and to keep things moving down the sales and marketing funnels. That’s where Sales Development Reps (SDRs), Business Development Reps (BDRs), and Account Development Reps (ADRs) come into play. 

In any standard sales funnel, leads must be guided from awareness all the way down to action — and that’s what all these acronym roles work to achieve. Their goal is to turn prospective buyers into actual buyers, and they do that through a multi-step process that’s focused on different “touches” and relationship-building. 



Because of that multi-step process, each SDR, BDR, and the others have specific roles within  the sales funnel. Here’s what they do

  • Sales Development Representative (SDR): Responsible for focusing on inbound sales/marketing leads
  • Business Development Representative (BDR): Focuses on prospection outbound sales leads
  • Account Development Representative (ADR): Also works to identify potential customers and generate new leads

Of course, these are not the only -DR titles to know. For inbound leads, there are also ISRs (Inbound Sales Reps), LDRs (Lead Development Reps), LRRs (Lead Response Reps), MDRs (Marketing Development Reps), and more. Outbound leads fall to the BDRs and ADRs, and closing is covered by AEs (Account Executives), EAMs (Enterprise Account Managers), SEs (Sales Executives), and ISRs (Inside Sales Reps). 

It’s also important to note that the roles each of these titles play can vary from company to company and industry to industry. Not every business — especially in the startup world — will employ all of the aforementioned titles at their org.