A Breakdown of Sales Positions

There’s a common misconception floating around that a sales position is a “lone wolf” kind of career. While it may have been that way in the past, being a solo seller is a lot more challenging than it used to be. Today, the B2B sales environment is much more complex.

These days, sales is very much a team sport. It takes a group of individuals to generate leads and close them effectively. According to research, sales teams are 258% more likely to close a deal than a single seller. In other words, a group of team members, each working on different parts of the sales process, gets better results than the old solo model and makes allocating deal resources much easier.

Let’s take a look at the sales positions needed to make a stellar sales team.

Sales Development Representative

The sales development representative (SDR), traditionally known as the “cold caller,” is the person who finds new leads. They’re essentially the team’s hunter, responsible for finding potential customers and building the team’s contact lists.

A sales development representative spends the majority of their time seeking out new potential leads. They reach out to prospects and qualify them first. They’ll research, reach out, answer questions, and follow up. That way, the rest of the team knows that their products or services meet a prospect’s needs, budget, and timing. If the sales development rep deems a potential customer a good fit, they’ll send them on to the next team member.

Account Executive

The account executive (AE) is the person most like what you’d consider a traditional sales representative. They get the leads after a sales development representative qualifies them. Then they guide each potential customer through the sales funnel with the goal of getting deals closed.

Out of all the positions on the sales team, the account executive has the most impact on a deal’s outcome. They may work to close deals remotely or go out into the field to meet leads face-to-face.

Account executives are also called “account handlers.” They work as a direct link between a business and its clients. Along with helping to move deals toward closing, they often provide after-sales support and work to ensure continued customer satisfaction. While expanding a company’s customer base, they work on building long-term relationships with existing customers.

Presales Engineer

When it comes to presales, there are a few titles that can fit here. Some go by “sales engineer,” but other companies may use a  “solutions engineer,” “solutions architect,” or “solutions consultant.”

Regardless of the title or specific duties involved, the presales engineer is an integral part of the sales process. They’re the one accompanying an account executive to client meetings or demos. While the account executive fields general questions and concerns from a potential customer about how your product fits their needs, the presales engineer addresses the more technical concerns. They may also help draft the technical components of proposals and contracts.

Presales engineers are also the ones responsible for running proof of concepts (POCs) for products. Rather than relying on promises, sales teams can use POCs to demonstrate the feasibility of a product with an actual demonstration of how it works. In doing so, they show exactly what value the product provides and how it can fit right into the prospect’s current workflow.

A great POC and a successful demonstration of it from the presales engineer can increase your technical win rate and lead to more closed deals.

Sales Manager

Every team needs a leader, including sales teams. That’s where the sales manager comes in. They take the sales goals and expectations set by those higher on the ladder and keep the whole team focused on achieving them. They’re also responsible for monitoring the overall performance of the team and reporting it to a sales director‌.

A sales manager’s job goes beyond setting goals and making sure the team meets them, however. They also work to keep the team motivated and boost morale if they see performance slipping. That means sales managers need to develop solid relationships with other team members in order to more effectively coach the team to reach — or even exceed — goals.

VP of Sales

One of the main functions of the vice president (VP) of sales is to set sales goals and objectives. At the same time, they work with sales directors to create strategies that help your salespeople meet those goals.

Depending on the size and structure of your company, a VP of sales may also perform a variety of other jobs. These might include identifying strategic hiring opportunities, determining what markets to expand to, analyzing revenue figures, and more. In essence, the person in this position can help the company figure out what moves to make next that will ensure the success of the company as a whole.

Chief Revenue Officer

The chief revenue officer (CRO) is the person responsible for the growth of a company’s revenue. They manage the integration and alignment of all revenue-related tasks. That includes sales, but it may also include things like pricing, marketing, customer service, and more.

Another significant part of a CRO’s job is to work with the company’s executive team. They collaborate to create a company vision, which they then use as a part of the company’s growth strategy.

Leverage the Power of Your Team

In today’s world, it takes more than one person to close a deal. A full framework of sales positions, with individuals all working together toward the same goal, is needed to get the job done. That kind of sales team collaboration helps the company run more smoothly, gain more customers, and exceed expectations.

Solo sellers may flounder in today’s complex marketplace, potentially leading a company into stagnation. But a great sales team can help a company grow in ways you might never have thought possible.