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Sales Team Roles, Explained

You might think that the work of all salespeople is the same and that a sales team is only a group of people doing exactly the same tasks. But that would be completely wrong! In reality, there are different roles within a sales team, all of which are crucial to the team's ultimate success. That's why it's essential to understand each sales role.

Jake Sopiars

October 10, 2022
sales team

Virtually all businesses under the sun need someone that can masterfully engage with potential customers to close sales. Some people working in non-sales roles can actually do that, from CEO to middle management. However, it’s always best to have specialized people filling that role, as selling products and services requires specific skills and complete dedication.

Now, you might think that the work of all salespeople is the same and that a sales team is only a group of people doing exactly the same tasks. But that would be completely wrong! In reality, there are different roles within a sales team, all of which are crucial to the team’s ultimate success. That’s why it’s essential to understand each sales role. Grasping the duties and responsibilities of each position can help you build a high-performing team that can boost your sales.

Of course, these roles might vary from one company to another. However, I’ll explain the roles as we typically define them here at Sales Clover. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Essential Sales Roles

I’m aware that some people might read this list and feel it needs to be more exhaustive. That might be true for certain organizations. But, for the most part, the following roles are the key to a successful sales team.

General Manager

The leader of the sales team. The general manager monitors and guides all the salespeople in the company. This means that the professional in this role is deeply embedded in the day-to-day routine of the sales group. However, there’s more to the role than that. A general manager also makes strategic decisions, including hiring and training new members, managing the budget, setting sales goals, evaluating performance, and tackling any issues that might arise. 

Account Executive

This is the role that most people think of when hearing about salespeople. Often referred to as “sales reps,” the account executives are responsible for engaging with clients and potential clients to establish needs, offer products and services, and close deals. To do that, account executives use a myriad of tools and methods, including phone calls, emails, door-to-door visits, and any other approach they deem appropriate. 

Customer Lead BDR

A customer lead business development representative is responsible for overseeing and leading all efforts for generating and finding qualified leads. The objective of this role is to nurture qualified leads and drive them down the funnel. These professionals often use cold emails, cold calling, social media, and networking to reach out and engage with potential customers, preparing them before handing them to account executives. 

Market Research Associate

As its name suggests, a market research associate collects data from multiple sources and then uses it to identify trends and make predictions about the future of any given market. Market research associates develop research designs, lead their implementation, and review results, trying to understand clients’ needs and anticipating new demands. 

Growth Manager

A growth manager is another essential part of any sales team, as it provides support and client engagement throughout the sales process. This means that growth managers take care of the pre-sales stage, introduce the client to the company’s processes, constantly check client relationships, and lead contract renewals. What’s more, they also coach BDRs and MRAs and help define the go-to-market strategy. 

Additional roles for your team

The abovementioned roles should be enough to build a successful sales team. However, it’s also important to know that there are other, non-essential roles that can expand your sales capabilities. Those roles include the following:

  • Inside sales representative

They are the equivalent of customer service representatives, focusing on existing clients to generate new sales opportunities. 

  • Outside sales representative

This is the traditional salesperson who knocks on doors and meets clients face to face, always looking for new clients. 

  • Sales support representative

These professionals help inside and outside representatives close deals faster by providing them with the assets those salespeople need at the precise moment they need them.

  • Assistant Sales Manager

Assistant managers support the sales manager with routine tasks. They also bridge the gap between the manager and the rest of the sales team, allowing the sales manager to focus on the most strategic tasks in their agenda. 

  • Customer Service Representative

Also called customer success representatives, these professionals deal with existing customers, and their goal is to follow up on sales while also aiming to upsell and cross-sell. They are akin to growth managers, although their role is more limited. 

  • Sales Specialists

Sales specialists know the company’s offerings inside out, allowing them to answer the most difficult questions from customers. They assist with hard-to-close deals, especially with the technical aspects. 

The foundation for your sales team

If you’re starting your business, feeling stuck with your current sales team, or are redefining your whole sales process, knowing the roles of a successful sales team is a must. With these pieces of information, you can start planning your dream team’s formation, understanding that not all salespeople do the same thing. 

Of course, that’s just a part of the challenge of getting a team together. You’ll have to deal with hiring, operationalization, and overall management. And that’s without discussing motivation and incentives! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. While you’ll definitely need to do those things, you’ll need to first establish the team’s foundations, something this article can help you with.

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