Key roles in sales and business development


To better understand how business development and sales differ in the real world, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of sales and business development positions.

Table of contents

Sales representative

Sales representatives sell their company’s products and services by informing and educating potential customers in person, online or over the phone. This sometimes involves conducting customized demos, training sessions or sales presentations, and often includes support for existing customers.

B2B sales specialists can work as internal (remote) sales representatives or external(in-person) sales representatives or consultants. B2C sales representatives can also work as retail store employees or telemarketers.

Sales Development Representative (SDR).

The sales development representative generates sales leads, usually for distribution to sales representatives. They can contact inbound prospects (e.g., from the company’s website) or seek out promising contacts on their own (usually through coldcalling, cold e-mailing or social selling).

Because they are B2C or B2B sales development representatives (meaning they are responsible for developing relationships with new buyers), SDRs qualify each new lead using deep product knowledge to determine if it is a good fit in terms of need, time and budget

Sales Manager

Sales managers help teams of sales representatives (or SDRs) achieve quotas or sales targets. They offer support both on a practical level – providing sales training, performance evaluation and up-to-date product information, for example – and by keeping sales representatives motivated while generating leads and sales.

Sales managers are often responsible for staffing their own departments and may work with business development officers to develop strategies for long-term sales goals and initiatives.

Business Development Representative (BDR).

Business development representatives can also generate qualified new business contacts, but often take a broader approach to acquiring new customers.

They can, for example:

– Conduct market or customer research in a specific region or sales territory,

– Cultivate long-lasting relationships with potential customers by providing practical or insightful problem-solving advice,

– Introduce products or solutions that will benefit new and potential customers.

BDRs also sometimes arrange meetings between potential customers and the company’s sales representatives.

Account Manager

When this role is related to business development, it is sometimes referred to as an “account development manager.” Account managers work with lead generation teams to identify ideal leads and then are the main point of contact when those leads turn into customers.

Account managers develop customer relationships, often in B2B companies that maintain ongoing relationships with customers, helping them make the most of the company’s products, solutions and services.

Business Development Manager (Business Development Manager).

Business development managers are responsible for promoting the company’s overall growth by generating new sales revenue.

They also create new contacts (by nurturing key customer relationships and developing new ones), but can also work to increase brand exposure by:

– Researching and following new markets or emerging trends,

– Establishing contacts with potential customers,

– Organizing strategic partnerships with complementary companies,

– When developing or overseeing sales development plans, business development managers are often responsible for predicting, forecasting and measuring sales and revenue performance.

Director of Business Development (Director of Business Development).

Business development directors are essentially the people responsible for the growth of the organization and ensure continued revenue growth. They get to this position only after years of experience in business development.

They usually direct and supervise:

– sales and marketing teams,

– Brand awareness projects,

– Sales and relationship-building initiatives.

As business development executives focus on identifying and capitalizing on entirely new markets and expansion opportunities, they often work with other senior managers to develop a strategy to accelerate the company’s financial success.

Now that you know what development gaps your company needs to fill. Let’s take a look at what to keep in mind when hiring new sales representatives.

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