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The Difference Between Managing SDRs and AEs

3 min read
Updated Aug. 5, 2021
Published Feb. 1, 2017

When it comes to managing sales development reps and account executives, the management responsibilities often fall on the same person. And that makes sense, right? Put all sales functions under a sales manager so they’ll have the clearest view of the entire team.

But for modern sales managers responsible for both SDRs and AEs, it’s important to realize that these two groups need to be managed differently. The core responsibilities of the SDR and AE roles are drastically different and their goals, metrics, and priorities should effect that. Your SDRs spend their day setting up your playmakers, the AEs. You wouldn’t manage your offensive line the same as you would manage your quarterback right?

That’s why we welcomed Salesloft’s VP of sales to the Modern Sales Stories this week to help break down the differences between the two sales groups and how to manage each effectively. So enjoy the video below and don’t forget to register for our Rainmaker conference March 11-13 for even more sales management wisdom for the industry’s leading experts.


Hey there. Derek Grant with Salesloft. When we talk to modern sales leaders one of the topics that comes up quite frequently is what’s the difference between leading sales development reps and account executives.

You know in a lot of businesses those two things roll into the same organization because they have such tight alignment. Although, they share a lot of similarities, one of the most important things to think about when you’re thinking about managing sales development reps is really about blocking and tackling.

A lot of activity centric metrics are important at this point because if they’re making the call, if they’re not showing the level of will, it’s really hard to measure skill. But, you’re looking at total activity, conversion rates between, call to connect, connect to convert into a meeting, and then the close rates on the flips.
As you think about how AE’s need to be managed, it’s less about activities and it has more to do with managing pipeline. Do they have enough? What are they doing with it? Is it maturing at the appropriate rate? You still need them to be out and be active in their territory, but you aren’t necessarily so much thinking about have they done X number of calls today rather or they carrying 3X pipe coverage that you expect to close in the current quarter to be able to get to their numbers.

So, when you’re thinking about managing SDR’s and AE’s, know that they are important and they do share a lot of similarities. But really think about leading them completely differently.

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