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What’s Tougher – SDR or AE?

The most challenging job in sales is that of the sales development representative (or outbound representative), who is responsible for setting up qualified meetings. The following are some of the significant issues they encounter on the job.

  • Every day, new technology is released, and companies invest in new tools to improve the performance of SDRs. It is not uncommon for them not to be implemented correctly – and many of them have overlapping functionality, so it is difficult to determine when one should be used over another.
  • A lot more time is spent by SDRs searching for accurate information about who to contact rather than actually making and sending calls or emails.
  • There is rarely a good process given to SDRs, as most are told to dial a certain number of times per day (50 dials).
  • A client won’t take the next step in a qualification call if an SDR is unable to add enough value. In addition, if they add too much, they frustrate the client and take away the value of the AE.
  • As a standard practice, SDRs manage five different Account Executives, each of whom has their own preferences for the process of setting qualified meetings.

SDR v/s AE: explained

For business growth, account executives and sales development representatives play crucial roles. However, what is the difference between their roles? Let’s explore the differences between the roles.

Despite sounding similar, account executives play a very different role in the sales process compared to sales development representatives. The sales development representative, or SDR, is the person who initiates the sales process at the very beginning, much before the customer has made a purchase decision. Prior to passing the business along to the account executive, they are responsible for finding qualified leads through outbound prospecting.

Prospects are guided by sales developers and account executives throughout the different stages of the sales process.

Generating New Leads

Advantages of being an SDR

SDRs generate leads instead of closing deals, whereas AEs are responsible for closing deals. Using these services, your company reaches out to potential customers who might be interested in your products and services. In their first communication with potential clients, SDRs present your company to them and explain why your company is an excellent fit for their requirements. The SDR can determine based on that initial conversation whether a prospect is likely to become a client.

SDRs can reach out to potential clients in a variety of ways, such as through cold calling, social media, or response to client inquiries from your website. The efficiency with which SDRs move leads through a sales pipeline measures their performance because they are responsible for generating new prospects.

As soon as an SDR identifies a potential customer, they set up an initial meeting and then hand the ball over to an account executive.

The Value of Sales Development Representatives

A strong sales development representative team is essential to your business’s ability to access a steady pipeline of prospects. Their job is to keep the sales pipeline full so that your account executives can close the deal.

Your AEs can close more deals and increase your success rate by working together with your SDRs. AEs specialize in closing deals with prospective clients, while SDRs specializes in converting prospects into customers. These two positions together increase revenues for your business.

Is being SDR harder than being an AE?

From many perspectives, it is considered true that being SDR is difficult as compared to being AE. But that does not mean being an accountant executive is easy. Both fields required their specific abilities to fulfill the duties. However, being SDR being an SDR means a tiring routine, continuous face of rejection, and other difficulties, which you can avoid being AE because you are only required to close the deals and manage the team to do the task if you have the best abilities to lead the team than you can perform excellently as being an AE, but you must start your job form being SDR in order to gain experience about marketing, customers and other skills including communication skills.

Advantages of being an AE

There are the following advantages of being an AE:

  • In most cases, an account executive, or AE, engages with potential customers when they are about to make a purchase decision which provides them the opportunities to engage with different people and learn different things about marketing.
  • There are almost always roles at the bottom of the sales funnel that fit into this category. In addition to inside sales representative and closer, this position is also referred to as a sales executive.
  • It would be hard for your company to close deals without account executives, which elaborates the perk of being AC.
  • In addition to managing follow-ups, providing product demos, driving revenue, and boosting the bottom line, AEs do the heavy lifting to win clients’ business. In this way, being an AE provides you with a lot of experience.
  • They also have an opportunity to identify upselling or cross-selling opportunities when they spend time with customers one-on-one.
  • AEs use these conversations to pinpoint a prospect’s specific needs so that they can recommend the right products and services.
  • AEs are more likely to win prospects’ business if they can create customized solutions for their problems.

Disadvantages of being an AE

There are the following disadvantages of being an AE:

  • Account executives must maintain constant communication with prospects if they want to win their business. That communication can take the form of answering questions or following up on proposals. But this whole process requires a lot of practice, experience, and skills, which comes after spending a long time in that specific era.
  • It can be hard to convince a prospect to make a purchase even when they seem interested. In the final stages of a business deal, AEs give prospects one last push towards closing the deal, which can sometimes be challenging and exhausting for the AE to manage because some customers also prove hard to convince.
  • After spending a lot of time on the process, they become subject matter experts on your products and services, which enable them to negotiate the terms and conditions of a contract confidently.
  • Today’s market is filled with very high expectations from customers. Their expectation is that AEs will guide them through the sales process and answer all of their questions which makes their job more difficult for them.
  • APRs must demonstrate how your products or services can ameliorate potential clients’ concerns while empathizing with them and understanding their needs.
  • A prospective customer is more likely to select one company over another when they have the choice between several companies that provide the same service.
  • For an AE to convince future customers to partner with your firm, they must be persuasive, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.

Advantages of being an SDR

Advantages of being an SDR

There are the following advantages of being an SDR:


As an SDR, you must, of course, follow the sales process, but you have the freedom to experiment in search of success. Experimenting and taking risks are fine as long as you do it quickly, measure the results and learn from them. There are lots of A/B tests, new campaign tactics, and anything to increase those numbers.

Agile thinking guided all of this. Be solution-focused when things aren’t working. The outreach cadence can always be improved; gatekeepers can be leveraged, personalization can be done, etc.


The importance of time management becomes evident quickly when you are an SDR. If you want to accomplish everything you want, you have to organize your day well.

By creating structured blocks, you can keep me accountable throughout the day, such as:

  • Researching
  • Calling
  • CRM


As an SDR, you have a lot of calls to make, you talk all day, and you have to think on your feet.

Being an SDR taught me the importance of hard work. It developed the best drive to attain results. It’s unlikely you would have gotten that in another job.


The skills you learned as an SDR are diverse. As a result of this training, you learned how to cold call, overcome objections, and close a sale with an action. The training didn’t stop there. Soft skills, such as persuasion and business savvy, can be acquired from SDR work. The ability to converse effectively is a result of business acumen.


Working as an SDR teaches you resilience, unlike many other jobs. It’s not easy to invest time and energy researching a company, preparing a proposal, calling, emailing, and more, only to be rejected. Highs are plentiful, but lows are generous as well.

Read More: Why Social Media Marketing is Important for Your Business

Disadvantages of being an SDR

There are the following disadvantages of being an SDR

High-performance expectations

Having high expectations is one of the challenges facing sales development reps; there are very specific goals they need to meet, like getting 50 sales-qualified leads per month.

It is unlikely your sales development rep would know what to do with a goal like this unless they are incredibly experienced.

Lack of coaching

Sales development reps also face the challenge of inadequate coaching. Although they have been trained in how to accomplish a goal and what’s expected of them, sometimes they do not achieve it because they are only human. When they fail to achieve desired results, they will become demotivated and eventually leave.

Dealing with rejection

Most likely, you will be rejected if you send large numbers of cold emails. Unfortunately, human nature can be cruel. It is difficult for Sales Development Representatives to not come up with a witty comeback, as they have to stay calm even when they want to.

Final verdict

To build a solid sales process, sales development representatives and account executives are needed to generate new business. Where they work in the sales cycle is the main difference between the two. While SDRs are tasked with prospecting and lead generation for outbound campaigns, AEs are tasked with nurturing leads and closing sales.

Companies need both Sales Development Representatives and Account Executives to grow and generate revenue. They need to work closely and stay in touch before SDRs pass on prospects to Account Executives. When optimizing the pipeline process, it is essential to create a collaborative relationship between the company funnel and the sales team.

Indeed, the duties and responsibilities of both SDR and AE are different. Still, after analyzing the whole conversation, the task assigned to SDR seems more tiring and challenging, but it also plays a significant role in moving forward in that field.

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