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Sales Roles Explained – Types of Sales Jobs & Responsibilities

March 8, 2024 - 4min. read

Whether you’re a sales graduate or emerging talent in the sales industry, you might occasionally find yourself wondering which way you should go and which sales position will fit you best. The array of job titles in sales can be as diverse as the technology itself. From SDR to BDR, AE to VP, the sales department is filled with acronyms and titles that might leave you scratching your head. You can use this guide to understand the differences in sales roles (and their responsibilities).

The Frontliners: SDRs and BDRs

Let’s start with the basics: the Sales Development Representative (SDR) and the Business Development Representative (BDR). Though often mentioned interchangeably, these two roles have distinct responsibilities.

An SDR focuses on qualifying leads that come through various channels like email campaigns, phone calls, and the company website. It’s all about filtering the potential clients from the masses that show interest in your products.

On the other hand, a BDR is the creative force in the sales team. They’re the ones hunting for those leads, employing innovative strategies to identify potential clients. This role is perfect for those who love a challenge and enjoy thinking outside the box to attract new business opportunities.

Closing the Deal: Account Executive

Once leads are qualified and ready, they’re passed to an Account Executive (AE). The AE’s mission? To close deals. Working closely with SDRs, AEs navigate through the sales process, turning potential leads into loyal customers. It’s a significant step up from an SDR, often seen as the natural progression in a sales career, offering a perfect blend of strategy and interaction.

See more: How to grow from SDR to AE fast

Nurturing Relationships: Account Manager

After a closed deal, the Account Manager takes it from there. In industries like technology or SaaS, where long-term use is the goal, this role becomes crucial. Account Managers ensure clients are not just satisfied but thriving, ready to renew, and interested in expanding their use of the product through cross-selling and upselling. It’s all about relationship-building and keeping clients engaged for the long haul.

Ensuring Success: Customer Success Manager

A unique figure in sales is the Customer Success Manager. Sometimes part of the sales team, sometimes not, their ultimate goal is client satisfaction with the product. From onboarding to handling complaints, they act as the client’s advocate within the company, ensuring the product meets their needs and expectations.

Leading the Charge: Sales Manager

At the helm of the sales department is the Sales Manager. In smaller companies, they might still be directly involved in sales, but their primary role is leadership. Managing teams, strategizing sales approaches, and driving performance, Sales Managers ensure the smooth operation and success of the sales function.

See also: Why sales management is one of the toughest roles in sales leadership.

A Path to Success

It is very important to understand that working in sales, honestly, isn’t about career shortcuts. Instead, it provides invaluable experiences. Each sales role offers unique insights and skills, building a solid foundation for successful growth in sales. Remember, skipping steps can mean missing out on crucial learning opportunities that can shape you into a well-rounded sales professional.

For those of you starting a career as an SDR, I wrote a unique ebook that can help you and guide you in your initial steps as a junior sales professional. Download it here!

At Headlight, we believe in matching ambition with ambition, mentoring you through each step of your career with expertise and support. Ready to talk about your future? Reach out!