The best-performing companies prioritize both sales and business development roles in their organizations. Business development identifies new opportunities for growth by forming strategic partnerships with individuals and corporations. Salespeople focus on revenue generation by reaching out to leads and closing deals. 

What is the Difference Between Sales and Business Development?

Many companies confuse sales and business development since their activities occasionally overlap. Salespeople interact with leads and guide them toward a purchase, whereas business development professionals communicate with prospects but do not close deals. Sales targets are often set for the short term, while business development goals take a longer time to achieve.

Sales and business development professionals play a variety of roles. Company executives understand these roles and fill them according to their unique organizational structures.

Job Titles in Sales

The best sales teams consist of highly specialized personnel. The most common job titles in sales are:

  • Sales development representative
  • Account executive
  • Account manager
  • Sales manager
  • Vice president of sales

Sales development representative (SDR)

SDRs, or sales reps, contact leads to offer products or services. They act as guides for prospective customers, directing them from initial contact to closing.

Sales representatives use interpersonal skills1 to build relationships with clients before passing them to the account executives. They also conduct product demonstrations to show prospects the competitive value of their offerings.

Many companies require a bachelor’s degree in business or marketing for this position, as well as relevant experience in sales, marketing, or customer service.

Account executives

Account executives take on hot prospects from SDRs and focus on closing them. They develop personal relationships with clients and negotiate deals, which usually leads to a purchase. 

Account manager

Account managers sustain a client’s relationship with the company after the purchase. They use their knowledge of the company’s offerings to provide solutions for the client, enhancing the customer experience and ensuring client satisfaction.

Account managers are often misconstrued as account executives. The main differences between these roles are:

AttributesAccount ExecutiveAccount Manager
Point of contactBefore purchaseAfter purchase
GoalClosingClient satisfaction
Clients New clientsExisting clients

Sales development manager (SDM)

Sales development managers run companies’ sales teams. In large organizations, sales managers coordinate different groups of specialized teams within the company.

An SDM supervises the sales process and ensures that the teams meet their goals. Sales managers are also in charge of recruiting SDRs. Companies seek SDM candidates with proven experience in sales and marketing and a track record of exceeding sales targets.

Vice president of sales

The vice president of sales is one of the highest sales positions in international corporations. They are in charge of the entire organization’s sales activities, from top to bottom.

Depending on the company structure, the VP of sales receives reports from sales or regional managers and develops revenue-boosting strategies.

Skills for Sales Jobs

The best salespeople have developed essential skills that yield consistent, outstanding results. These include:

  • Time management: Employers prefer candidates with an exceptional ability to organize tasks and meet deadlines. The sales process can be demanding, and sales professionals must effectively manage time to maintain productivity.
  • Product demonstration: Sales employees often perform product demonstrations and presentations to prospective clients. Delivering engaging and clear demos shows competence and builds trust with clients. 
  • Closing: Sales professionals must have the ability to navigate difficult scenarios with prospects and clients. Applying effective techniques to close a complex sale is a vital skill for SDRs and managers. 
  • Product knowledge: Salespeople must provide prospective clients with all the information they need about the company’s offerings.  This shows prospects the value of making the purchase and aids their decision-making. Product knowledge is emphasized during sales staff onboarding; a testament to its importance.
  • Prospecting: Candidates that can identify potential customers make better salespeople for your team. Sales staff with top prospecting skills generate more revenue for businesses. 

Average Salary for Sales Roles

Employees in the sales department are typically compensated with a base salary, bonuses, and commissions.

SDR Salary

Job Titles in Business Development

Growing and established companies actively look for talents to help achieve their goals. The most sought-after business development roles2 include: 

  • Business development representative
  • Business development manager
  • Partnership manager
  • Business development director
  • Vice president of business development

Business development representative

Business development reps qualify inbound marketing leads. They research to identify and build strategic partnerships and collaborations that will boost company growth. 

Business development manager

Business development managers coordinate and lead BDR teams to achieve organizational goals and increase profitability. They draft contracts for partnerships and work closely with other executives to identify opportunities, forecast growth, and meet with prospects.

Partnership manager

Partnership managers3 handle collaborations between business partners. They help each partner maximize their strengths and boost revenue while seeking new business opportunities for their employers to capitalize on and grow.

Business development director

A business development director is a high-level manager responsible for coordinating sales and marketing departments to build a company’s brand. They receive reports from business development managers and, in turn, report to the VP of business development or directly to business owners.

Vice president of business development

The vice president of business development implements strategies to help the company reach its objectives. They oversee and continually iterate on all business development activities and processes. 

Skills for Business Development Jobs

Business development personnel have specialized abilities that help them succeed in their roles. Required skills for business development include:

  • Negotiation: Business developers do not close sales, but it is vital for them to evaluate whether the company can get a fair deal. This pre-negotiation often decides the direction of the business transaction. 
  • Research: Business development professionals conduct strategic research to examine and uncover new business possibilities.
  • CRM: Maintaining customer relationships is essential when fostering strategic partnerships, and every business development employee must be an expert in this area. They must be able to use CRM tools and keep lead data updated throughout the sales pipeline.
  • Strategic planning: Making projections and forecasting growth is part of business development. Candidates must be able to plan for long-term growth while considering business resources and potential partners.

Average Salary for Business Development Roles

Like their sales counterparts, business development employees also earn a base salary and bonuses.

BDR Salary

Bottom Line

The various roles in sales and business development collaborate to boost revenue for companies. Business owners can benefit from the services of these professionals to achieve organizational goals and increase profitability.

If hiring is above your budget, you can find solutions from a professional sales and business development company. Their specialized teams support your company’s business development and sales, increasing revenue and growth.