June 8, 2022·4 min read

Don’t let all those sales titles acronyms scare you. Learn what each sales title really means and how they fit into a sales organization structure.

You hear it within any sales organization structure: AE…SE…BDR…SDR. What are all these sales titles, and what do they even mean?

If you’ve ever found yourself walking in circles trying to understand what makes up a sales team, what each role does, and what all these different acronyms stand for—you’re not alone.

The sales organization structure can be complex at first glance, but once you have a better understanding of the typical roles that make up a sales organization, you’ll soon understand how they work together to build sales pipeline and keep money flowing into the business.

So if you’re new to sales or are just curious about what a successful sales team structure looks like, read on as we take you through everything you need to know about a sales organization structure.

  1. Contents
  2. 1. What is a Sales Organization?
  3. 1.1 Sales Stuff Explained: Sales Roles
  4. 2. The Roles Within a Successful Sales Organization Structure
  5. 2.1 Customer Facing Sales Organization Roles
  6. 2.1.1 Account Executives
  7. 2.1.2 Sales Development Representatives
  8. 2.1.3 Solutions Engineers
  9. 2.2 Support Roles within a Sales Organization
  10. 2.2.1 Sales Operations
  11. 2.2.2 Sales Enablement
  12. 2.3 Management Roles within a Sales Organization
  13. 2.3.1 Sales Management
  14. 3. Creating a Sales Team that Works Together

What is a Sales Organization?

With buyer behavior changing and competition rising, sales team members are expected to adapt by becoming specialists who are experts at one or two things.

When multiple specialists are put into a team, it forms a sales organization. This kind of organization is responsible for bringing revenue into a business.

Sales Stuff Explained: Sales Roles

Rather watch than read? The Sales Feed team asked top sales experts what different sales roles look like within a successful sales organization structure on this episode of Sales Stuff Explained.

Sales Stuff Explained Video Thumbnail for Sales Organization Structure

The Roles Within a Successful Sales Organization Structure

The sales organization structure can be broken down into three core groups:

  • Customer Facing
  • Support
  • Management

Chart showing a typical sales organization structure

Customer Facing Sales Organization Roles

Let’s start off by going through the most common customer-facing role in a business-to-business (B2B) sales team: Account executives.

Account Executives

There are many names for an account executive: trusted advisor, business development manager, territory manager, and sometimes even VP of sales. At the end of the day, it’s all the same job.

Account executives (AEs) typically meet with potential clients to do the discovery, demo their product or service, project manage the deal, and negotiate the terms.

The role of an account executive is to be a trusted advisor. I try to understand the problem, assess it, and then find the solution. I want to be an extension of my customer’s team.

Stephanie Brito Headshot

Stephanie BritoSoftChoiceTerritory Sales Supervisor

Sales Development Representatives

Sales development representatives (SDRs) are often interchangeable with business development representatives (BDRs). However, there are organizations where SDRs handle outbound leads and BDRs handle inbound leads.

If this is the case, outbound SDRs use a mix of cold calling, emailing, LinkedIn messaging, and video prospecting. While inbound BDRs handle prospects who reached out to the company themselves.

SDRs and BDRs can make upwards of 150 calls a day and sometimes have to deal with getting
hung up on by prospects. It’s a tough job, but it can be really exciting when the opportunity strikes to have that conversation.

That said, SDRs and BDRs have the same goal: Qualify their prospects, and if all are in agreement, book them a meeting with an AE.

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