1840 & Company official logo

8 Essential Sales Team Roles and Responsibilities Explained

From SDRs to BDRs, dive into the key roles that shape a successful sales team, each contributing to a streamlined sales process and increased revenue.
Remote sales man talking on phone



Whether you’re looking to outsource sales or hire internally, the anatomy of a sales team is far more complex than just a group of people making cold calls.

A well-structured sales team is a finely tuned machine, each part performing a specific function that contributes to the overall success and efficiency of the operation.

Understanding the roles that make up this intricate system is not just beneficial—it’s essential for any organization aiming to scale sustainably and meet revenue goals. In this article, we demystify the modern sales team by breaking down its essential roles.

1. Sales Development Representative (SDR) – Importance in the Sales Funnel

The Sales Development Representative, commonly known as an SDR, serves as the frontline of your sales efforts. This role is often the first point of contact between your company and potential customers. SDRs are tasked with identifying and qualifying leads before they reach the more advanced stages of the sales funnel. In essence, they act as the gatekeepers, ensuring that only high-quality leads move forward, thereby optimizing the time and resources of the entire sales team.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Lead Generation: Utilize various tools and strategies such as cold calling, email campaigns, and social media outreach to generate new leads.
  • Qualifying Prospects: Assess the needs and pain points of potential customers to determine if they are a good fit for the company’s products or services.
  • Initial Outreach: Engage with leads through initial conversations, aiming to set up further discussions with Account Executives.
  • Data Entry: Maintain accurate records of interactions and statuses in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

SDRs play a pivotal role in shaping the sales funnel. By effectively filtering out unqualified leads, they allow Account Executives and other sales professionals to focus on closing deals, ultimately contributing to revenue growth and operational efficiency.

2. Business Development Representative (BDR) – Importance in Revenue Growth

The Business Development Representative, or BDR, is another cornerstone in a high-performing sales team. While they share similarities with Sales Development Representatives, their focus extends beyond just lead generation. BDRs are responsible for forging new business relationships and exploring new markets. They work to understand the broader business landscape, identifying opportunities for partnerships, collaborations, and long-term engagements.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Building Partnerships: Actively seek and establish relationships with potential partners, vendors, or complementary businesses.
  • Market Research: Conduct in-depth analysis of market trends, competitor activities, and customer needs to identify new business opportunities.
  • Initial Negotiations: Engage in preliminary discussions with potential clients or partners, laying the groundwork for more formal negotiations.
  • Pipeline Management: Keep track of various business opportunities and their statuses, ensuring they are moved effectively through the sales pipeline.

BDRs are instrumental in driving revenue growth from multiple angles. They not only bring in new clients but also open up avenues for diversification and strategic alliances. Their work often leads to larger deals and long-term contracts, making them invaluable for sustainable business growth.

3. Account Executive (AE) – Importance in Customer Acquisition

An Account Executive (AE) is often considered the quarterback of the sales team. This role is crucial for closing deals and converting qualified leads into paying customers. Unlike SDRs and BDRs, who focus on the top of the sales funnel, Account Executives operate closer to the bottom, where decisions are made, and contracts are signed.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Closing Deals: Take qualified leads and guide them through the final stages of the sales process, ultimately securing a signed contract.
  • Client Onboarding: Ensure a smooth transition for new clients, from the signing of the contract to the implementation of services or products.
  • Upselling and Cross-Selling: Identify opportunities within existing accounts to introduce additional products or services.
  • Account Management: Maintain and nurture client relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction and paving the way for renewals and referrals.

Account Executives are pivotal in turning opportunities into actual revenue. They not only close deals but also set the tone for the client relationship moving forward. Their ability to successfully onboard and manage accounts can significantly impact customer retention and lifetime value.

4. Sales Manager – Importance in Sales Team Success

The Sales Manager serves as the guiding force behind the sales team, responsible for overseeing the entire sales operation within the organization. This role is crucial for setting targets, developing strategies, and ensuring that the team has the resources and guidance needed to achieve its goals. The Sales Manager is often the bridge between the sales team and upper management, providing valuable insights and updates to both.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Team Leadership: Manage, mentor, and develop the sales team, setting performance metrics and conducting regular evaluations.
  • Strategy Development: Create and implement sales strategies that align with the company’s goals and market opportunities.
  • Performance Monitoring: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the effectiveness of sales initiatives and make data-driven adjustments.
  • Resource Allocation: Determine the tools, training, and support the sales team needs to effectively perform their roles.

The Sales Manager’s role is multi-faceted, impacting various aspects of the sales process. Their leadership and strategic direction are vital for the team’s overall performance and success. By setting clear objectives and providing the necessary resources, they enable the team to function cohesively and efficiently.

5. Sales Operations Analyst – Importance in Operational Efficiency

The Sales Operations Analyst is the data wizard of the sales team, responsible for gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data to improve sales performance. This role is crucial for making sense of complex data sets and translating them into actionable insights. While they may not be directly involved in selling, their contributions are invaluable for optimizing sales processes and strategies.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Data Analysis: Collect and analyze sales data to identify trends, gaps, and opportunities.
  • Process Optimization: Recommend improvements to sales processes based on data-driven insights.
  • Forecasting: Use historical data to predict future sales performance, aiding in decision-making and strategy formulation.
  • Reporting: Generate regular reports that provide a comprehensive view of sales metrics, activities, and results.

The Sales Operations Analyst plays a critical role in enhancing the operational efficiency of the sales team. By providing data-driven insights, they help the team focus on high-impact activities and eliminate bottlenecks. Their work often leads to more streamlined processes, better resource allocation, and ultimately, higher sales performance.

6. Customer Success Manager (CSM) – Importance in Customer Loyalty

The Customer Success Manager (CSM) is the advocate for the customer within the organization. This role is essential for ensuring that customers not only get value from the product or service but also have a positive experience throughout their customer journey. Unlike roles focused solely on sales or support, the CSM takes a holistic approach to customer relationships, aiming for long-term engagement and satisfaction.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Customer Retention: Implement strategies to retain customers, focusing on reducing churn and increasing loyalty.
  • Upselling: Identify opportunities to introduce existing customers to additional features or services, thereby increasing their lifetime value.
  • Customer Onboarding: Guide new customers through the initial stages of using the product, ensuring they understand its full capabilities.
  • Account Reviews: Conduct regular check-ins with customers to assess their satisfaction and address any issues or concerns.

The Customer Success Manager is pivotal in building and maintaining customer loyalty. Their proactive approach to customer relationships aims to preempt issues before they become problems, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction. By focusing on long-term engagement rather than short-term gains, they contribute significantly to customer retention and, by extension, recurring revenue.

7. Pre-Sales Consultant Importance in Sales Conversion

The Pre-Sales Consultant is the technical expert in the sales team, responsible for demonstrating how a product or service meets the needs of potential clients. They work closely with sales representatives to provide technical insights, product demonstrations, and customized solutions during the sales process. Their role is crucial for bridging the gap between the technical aspects of a product and the business value it offers to customers.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Product Demos: Conduct detailed product demonstrations tailored to the specific needs and pain points of the prospect.
  • Technical Assistance: Provide in-depth technical expertise to help prospects understand how the product or service would fit into their existing systems.
  • Solution Crafting: Work with the sales team to develop customized solutions that address the unique challenges faced by each prospect.
  • Client Education: Educate potential clients on the technical aspects of the product, ensuring they have a clear understanding of its capabilities and benefits.

The Pre-Sales Consultant plays a vital role in converting prospects into customers. Their technical expertise and ability to articulate complex concepts in an understandable manner help to build trust and credibility with potential clients. By effectively demonstrating the value of the product, they contribute significantly to overcoming objections and closing deals.

8. Appointment Setter – Importance in Sales Pipeline Management

The Appointment Setter is often the unsung hero of the sales team, responsible for scheduling meetings between sales representatives and potential clients. While this role may seem straightforward, it’s a critical part of maintaining a healthy sales pipeline. Appointment Setters ensure that sales reps can focus on selling rather than the administrative task of scheduling, thereby increasing the efficiency of the entire team.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Scheduling Meetings: Coordinate and schedule meetings between sales representatives and qualified leads or prospects.
  • Follow-ups: Conduct timely follow-ups to confirm appointments and reschedule if necessary.
  • Lead Prioritization: Identify high-priority leads that require immediate attention from sales representatives.
  • Calendar Management: Keep track of sales representatives’ availability to ensure that appointments are scheduled effectively.

The role of an Appointment Setter is crucial for keeping the sales pipeline flowing smoothly. By taking on the logistical aspects of scheduling, they allow sales representatives to focus on what they do best: selling. Their work ensures that no opportunities are missed and that each lead is pursued in a timely manner.


In the fast-paced world of sales, having a well-structured team is not just a luxury—it’s a necessity for sustainable growth and success. From the Sales Development Representatives who serve as the gatekeepers of quality leads, to the Account Executives who seal the deal, each role plays a critical part in the sales ecosystem. The Sales Manager provides the strategic direction and leadership, while the Sales Operations Analyst offers the data-driven insights for continuous improvement. Customer Success Managers ensure that clients remain engaged and satisfied, Pre-Sales Consultants bridge the gap between technical features and business value, and Appointment Setters keep the sales engine running smoothly by managing schedules.

If you’re looking to build or optimize your sales team, 1840 & Company can provide the expertise and resources to help you assemble a team that’s tailored to your business needs, thereby setting the stage for your future success. Simply schedule a call to get started.


Ready to expand globally?

Hire Global, Vetted Talent & Teams with 1840

More Posts About

Business Growth