Differences between SDRs and Sales Executives

December 13, 2022

Although there are some similarities between Sales Development Representatives and Sales Executives, the roles have different duties and responsibilities. So, with that in mind and to make the explanation of this easier, let’s take a closer look at what each role entails.

Sales Development Representative

SDRs are crucial to the sales process. They are responsible for qualifying leads at the initial stages in the sales funnel and must thoroughly research potential clients, connect with and talk to prospects as well as qualify leads before handing them off to more senior members of the sales team. 

There are two key concepts you should understand before we go any further: inbound sales and outbound sales. Just as a quick introduction:

Outbound sales requires salespeople to reach out to prospects across a number of channels. This process allows salespeople to personalise their outreach from the first touch point.

Inbound sales are directed towards prospects who have shown interest in your product or service. They are reaching out to the company by responding to content or filling out a landing page form.

The position of SDR is often considered an entry level job, yet it is actually a complex task. However, if candidates are eager, ambitious and analytical, it can offer a very rewarding career. Even though there’s no specific academic path to follow to become an SDR, there are some skills – such as time management and being an excellent communicator – that will make things a lot easier. 

Sales Executive

Rather than getting their own leads or prospecting, Sales Executives will be given a qualified lead from a Sales Development Representative but will still have to lead that prospect further through the funnel, negotiate the deal and pricing and produce forecast reports for their own managers. So, as you can see, the role of the Sales Executive is like the extension of the SDR position and the two roles actually complement each other very well. 

In terms of what a “win” looks like, the Sales Development Representative wins when they can set up a meeting between a qualified lead and a Sales Executive. And, the Sales Executive wins when they can take that qualified lead through the sales process and end up closing a deal. As the closers of course, Sales Executives are well respected and those who excel in this role can expect to enjoy a long and very lucrative career. 

Sales Executives, like SDRs, can work in many sectors and although some tasks may be specific to certain industries, most of them are generally generic enough to apply to the majority of organisations. As a brief rundown, the generic duties of a Sales Executive will include setting goals and developing plans for business and revenue growth. After all, their overarching responsibility is to improve the company’s profits. There will also be a lot of research involved as well, particularly in regard to new target market initiatives. Sales Executives will also be expected to provide training for Sales Development Representatives. This means the Sales Executive will have to set KPIs for this training and its implementation as well as develop strategies to meet those targets. On top of this, they will also have to develop relationships with the qualified leads and take them through the sales cycle while negotiating deals and closing deals.    

In startups, the synergy between Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Sales Executives is crucial for rapid growth. SDRs efficiently qualify leads, enabling Sales Executives to focus on closing deals and building customer relationships. This collaboration accelerates the sales cycle and drives revenue, essential for a startup’s success and scalability. Together, they form a dynamic team that propels the startup towards achieving its ambitious goals.

So, there are some big differences and some slight similarities but what is important is that the SDR and the Sales Executive work together. They need each other and the sales process becomes a lot easier when they are working in tandem.

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