As the sales process becomes more structured, there are members of the sales team who take on specific roles at different stages of the sales process. Here are the names and roles of each member.
Sales Development Representative (SDR) & Business Development Representative (BDR)
An SDR is usually a junior-level position on the sales team, aiming to generate sales opportunities from prospects.
SDRs meet with prospects, identify needs, and briefly introduce products. SDRs/BDRs typically talk to prospects over the phone or email.
Prospects with solid sales opportunities and qualified by SDRs/BDRs are passed on to AEs who only focus on closing deals, while SDRs/BDRs focus on talking to prospects to uncover new opportunities.
The difference between SDRs and BDRs is that SDRs focus on qualifying inbound leads, and BDRs focus on outbound lead generation. However, sometimes the roles are reversed, and sometimes BDRs are senior to SDRs.
The important thing is that the SDR/BDR is the role that focuses on creating sales opportunities for AEs.
Account Executive (AE)
An AE is typically a higher-level position than the SDR/BDR and is responsible for generating revenue from sales opportunities.
AEs meet with qualified prospects to identify and persuade decision-makers. This includes product demos, objection handling, and price negotiation. The most effective way to convince a prospect is to show how the product can deliver value for the customer.
AEs are primarily focused on closing new sales opportunities, and if they close deals, they hand off the customers to an Account Manager or a Customer Success Manager.
Account Manager (AM)
An AM is responsible for managing existing customers. Depending on the team, they may be responsible for only the largest customers.
The AM’s primary responsibility is to ensure the customer is satisfied so they renew their contract with you.
In addition, AMs often handle cross-selling other products that the customers aren’t already using or upselling them to more premium products.
Customer Success Manager (CSM)
A CSM is responsible for helping customers get onboard your product seamlessly and experience the value of your product as soon as possible. As the name suggests, they are the people who help customers succeed with the product.
CSMs often provide training to increase customer satisfaction and product adoption, especially during the initial onboarding phase, and are expected to respond quickly when issues arise. Ideally, they also monitor product usage to prevent problems before they occur.
Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)
A Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is a C-level executive within a company whose goal is to increase revenue, improve profitability, and grow the company. The CRO typically manages departments such as sales, marketing, business operations, and business development. The CRO drives the growth of the company by establishing strategies and leading execution to achieve revenue goals.