How Is an Account Executive Different From a Sales Development Representative?
Account executives and sales development representatives are essential for business growth, but how do their roles differ? This guide will help you understand each role’s responsibilities and why it makes sense to work with an outsourced sales development company.
The Role of an Account Executive
An account executive, or AE, spends most of their time engaging with potential customers when they’re on the cusp of making a purchasing decision. Almost any role that works at the bottom of the sales funnel fits into this category. Other common names for this position include inside sales representative, closer, and sales executive.
Closing the Deal
AEs enter the sales process when a potential customer moves on from a qualified lead and is seriously considering buying your product. Whether they are reaching out to a prospect to answer questions or following up on a proposal they sent out, the account executive must maintain constant communication if they want to win the prospect’s business.
Even when a prospect seems interested, it can be challenging to convince them to commit to buying from your company. During the last steps of a business deal, AEs give prospects one final push across the sales finish line. They do so by becoming subject matter experts on your products and services, which allows them to confidently negotiate the pricing, terms, and conditions of a deal.
Addressing Clients’ Needs
Customers have very high expectations in today’s market. They expect AEs to walk them through the sales process and answer every question that comes up. To close deals with your potential clients, AEs must empathize with them and understand their needs while demonstrating how your products or services can alleviate their issues.
AEs can only make a sale if they understand your prospective clients’ pain points and can articulate how your solution solves their challenges. Having extensive client knowledge is especially important when the prospect is choosing between several companies for the same service. An AE must be persuasive, knowledgeable, and trustworthy in order to convince future clients to partner with your business.
So, Why Are AEs Important?
Without account executives, your business would be hard-pressed to close deals. AEs do the heavy lifting required to win clients’ business; they manage follow-ups, provide product demonstrations, drive revenue, and boost your bottom line.
The one-on-one time that AEs spend with customers also allows them to identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling. Their conversations shed light on the prospect’s specific needs, and AEs use that information to match them with the right products and services. When AEs can find custom solutions for your prospects’ problems, they’re more likely to win their business.
How Is a Sales Development Representative Different From an AE?
Though sales development representatives and account executives sound similar, they each play a separate, essential role in the sales process. A sales development representative, or SDR, works at the very beginning of the sales cycle, well before a customer is ready to make a purchase. They are tasked with finding qualified leads through outbound prospecting before passing along the business to the account executive.
SDRs and AEs work together to guide prospects through different parts of the sales process and ultimately win their business.
Generating New Leads
Whereas AEs are responsible for closing deals, SDRs focus on generating leads. They reach out to new prospects who might be interested in your products and services. When communicating with potential clients for the first time, SDRs introduce your company and offer a high-level overview of why your company would be a good fit for their needs. From that initial conversation, the SDR can determine if that prospect is likely to become a client.
There are many ways for SDRs to get in touch with potential clients—they can cold call, reach out on social media, or respond to client inquiries from your website. Because SDRs are responsible for creating a large pool of prospects to sell your services to, their performance is measured by how efficiently they move leads through a sales pipeline.
Once the SDR identifies a prospect who’s likely to make a purchase, they set up an initial meeting before passing the torch to an account executive.
The Value of Sales Development Representatives
If you want your business to have access to a consistent pipeline of prospects, you need a strong sales development representative team. While they focus on keeping the pipeline full, your account executives can spend time finalizing sales and closing business.
When your SDRs and AEs work together effectively, your AEs are more likely to close deals and increase your success rate. SDRs specialize in turning prospects into potential clients, and AEs specialize in persuading potential clients to finalize the sale. Together, they increase revenue for your business.
SDR as a Service
Sales development representatives play a key role in generating sales for your company. If you don’t have the time or resources to build a successful team of SDRs, outsourced sales development companies are a great solution. If you want your business to get off the ground, it is vital to incorporate SDRs into your sales process as early as possible.
With a strong team of SDRs supporting your company from the start, you can develop rapport with other businesses and establish roots in your industry. SDRs provide many tangible benefits for your business; they help you grow while saving you money and time.
Outsourcing sales development representatives can significantly reduce costs for your business. You don’t have to hire, train, or pay your own staff of SDRs when you partner with a sales development company. Instead, you get instant access to experienced sales professionals for an affordable fee. Additionally, you can take advantage of the advanced technology your sales development partner already has in place.
Training new employees is a time-consuming process. By partnering with a sales development company, you can save time on hiring, onboarding, and training new employees, which translates to more leads and more revenue. Rather than taking at least three months to start producing leads, SDR as a service can get you appointments with prospective clients within a single month.
Get It Right the First Time
When outsourcing your sales development representatives, you can ensure that you build your team properly the first time around. Outsourced sales development companies have access to the best tools and technology for generating leads and building a client pool. You’ll see immediate benefits after partnering with an outsourced provider because your company will have access to seasoned marketing experts.
How Outsourcing AEs and SDRs Benefits Your Business
When developing a solid sales process, you need both sales development representatives and account executives to generate new business. The primary difference between an account executive and a sales development representative is where they work in the sales cycle. Whereas SDRs work with outbound prospecting and lead generation, AEs work to nurture leads and ultimately close sales.
Both SDRs and AEs are essential for your company to grow and generate revenue. They must work together closely and keep an open line of communication before SDRs pass prospects along to AEs. When optimizing your pipeline process, the key is to create a collaborative relationship so your sales funnel flows smoothly.
A great way to generate sales without spending too much time and money is to outsource SDRs or invest in SDR as a service. Partnering with Abstrakt gives you access to SDRs who have experience qualifying leads and nurturing them through a pipeline. With outsourced SDRs, you don’t have to worry about finding leads, and your account executives can focus on making the sale. We partner with businesses in countless industries to grow their business and improve their sales process.