CSO Vs. CRO Vs. VP Of Sales: Navigate Sales Roles With No Hassle
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CSO Vs. CRO Vs. VP Of Sales: Navigate Sales Roles With No Hassle

CSO Vs. CRO Vs. VP Of Sales: Navigate Sales Roles With No Hassle

Growing from a small start-up to a full-fledged product company feels like “yay” and “nay” at the same time. 

We all get the “yay” part with its picture-perfect diversified operations, more intricate organizational structure, profits and goals, goals, goals! 

What’s wrong with the “nay” part, then? Well, bigger profits can’t simply “happen” to you. These are persistently “made” by a whole team of sales professionals. 

But who are these SDRs and BDRs? Who does what? 

Don’t lose your grip on your growing sales team roles to avoid the crippling “nay.” Yes, you’ve got a lot on your plate when it comes to putting together a top-rate sales team, but your clear understanding of their responsibilities is your only way out to delegate (and succeed!). 

To make your corporate journey easier and more conscious, we’ve come up with a short overview of sales roles, titles, and responsibilities to enhance your teamwork and lift up your mood, of course. 

VP of Sales, Chief Sales Officer (CSO), and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) 

All three are assigned to manage a sales organization, build a successful sales strategy, and lead the team to real deal closure. But what’s the difference between them? 

VP of Sales, Chief Sales Officer (CSO), and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) 

Chief Sales Officer (CSO)

Chief Sales Officer (CSO) is at the top of the sales hierarchy, is responsible for overseeing all of the functions of the sales team, and is mostly focused on closing deals. This position best fits large companies where the revenue equally depends on the right sales strategy and its immediate execution. 

CSOs are responsible for the following:

  1. Developing strategic plans and sales targets
  2. Evaluating and improving the effectiveness of the chosen sales strategy
  3. Monitoring favorable conditions for business growth
  4. Supervising the work of sales VPs and other sales managers
  5. Closing deals (especially with VIP clients)
  6. Hiring, training, and scaling the sales team

Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) 

Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) oversees the entire sales revenue cycle of the organization, including marketing, operations, and client renewals. Each dollar that enters the company will pass through them. 

This position fits businesses with multiple market and revenue sources (especially SaaS companies). 

As a pro, CRO is an expert multitasker, constantly juggling between managing new business sales, sales & marketing operations, renewals and upsells, as well as evaluating sales development reps’ (SDR) performance. 

Their primary responsibilities include:

  1. Overseeing that each company’s product or service sells and generates the most revenue
  2. Maximizing the effectiveness of advertising and marketing investments
  3. Developing and sharing growth strategies with the board of directors and the CEO
  4. Maintaining relationships and communication across organizational roles
  5. Finding micro markets and developing niche items to appeal to them
  6. Establishing pricing plans to target those micro markets to maximize return on investment
  7. Following up on every revenue stream and making adjustments if needed
  8. Ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction

VP of Sales 

Here comes another critical figure in the sales hierarchy. 

Depending on the organization of the company, the VP of Sales may report to the CRO or CSO, but in the majority of companies, they directly report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

If your company’s revenue success directly depends on proper sales team management and pipeline execution, you’d better hire a VP of Sales. Their responsibilities might vary from company to company but typically include:

  1. Monitoring the market and competitor activity
  2. Identifying new sales opportunities
  3. Outlining sales targets and goals
  4. Overseeing sales staff performance
  5. Managing sales budgets
  6. Recruiting and training staff
  7. Facilitating major transactions 
  8. Improving customer management 

Pro tip: Setting an example for the whole sales team? Read our post on how to motivate your staff effortlessly using 11 simple tips!

Sales Manager (Sales Development Manager) vs. Sales Team Lead (Sales Development Team Lead) 

Even though the terms “Sales Team Lead” and “Sales Manager” seem interchangeable on the surface, these are totally different. 

The key difference is in the level of authority each role has. A Sales Team Lead can assign tasks and make decisions about a specific part of the sales process. In contrast, a Sales Manager has the authority to make decisions about the entire sales process. 

A Sales Manager pushes their sales team to close as many deals as possible. At the same time, a Sales Team Lead encourages every individual in the sales team to do their best to reach the set sales targets.

Finally, Sales Team Leads are closer to each sales team member as they often work in a similar role as their fellow coworkers. These might be researching and contacting potential customers or creating lists of targeted customers, although having additional leadership duties. 

On the other hand, Sales Managers are more about directing employees to systematically execute the leader’s vision and meet and exceed sales targets.

Sales Manager (Sales Development Manager) vs. Sales Team Lead (Sales Development Team Lead) 

Sales Manager

The main quality of the Sales Manager is to be able to think strategically and make quick decisions to take advantage of sales opportunities. Their everyday duties include: 

  1. Developing sales strategies, setting quotas and prices, tracking customer trends
  2. Preparing a well-structured sales plan and analyzing data
  3. Assigning sales training for the team, mentoring team members
  4. Participating in hiring and firing processes
  5. Preparing and approving sales budgets
  6. Dealing with customer complaints, monitoring customer feedback
  7. Monitoring sales statistics, projecting profitability of certain products and services
  8. Determining discounts and special offers

Sales Team Lead 

The Sales Team Lead is a glue that keeps sales team members together and helps the Sales Manager with informed preparation to achieve sales goals. The main responsibilities of the Sales Team Lead include: 

  1. Assisting other managers in developing and implementing sales strategies, keeping them informed of new products, current market trends, and competition
  2. Calling, emailing, or speaking with prospective buyers to convince them to purchase their company’s products
  3. Recruiting, training, and coaching the sales team, delegating certain tasks, and specifying deadlines
  4. Setting sales targets and motivating team members
  5. Reporting on the progress of any sales effort done

Pro tip: Read our post on 58 inspirational quotes to motivate your sales team on a daily basis!

Business Development Representative (BDR) vs. Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Regardless of the current size of your company, its go-to-market strategy is only possible with the help of sales professionals who’d be in charge of finding and processing leads. Typically these include services of Business Development Representatives (BDRs) and Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) working with assigned qualified prospects and focusing solely on closing deals. 

Both BDRs and SDRs handle leads from the get-go stage; that’s why companies often combine these roles into one position. But even though their responsibilities somehow overlap, they are different. 

So, if your growing business struggles with managing too many unstructured leads, you’d better separate these two positions. Here’s a short comparison for you to draw a clear line between BDRs and SDRs. 

Business Development Representative (BDR) vs. Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Business Development Representative (BDR) 

A BDR’s main purpose is to generate leads, identify business opportunities and brainstorm new ideas for lead development. Their primary interest is outbound lead prospecting and sparkling prospects’ interest in their products and services. 

Leads might come to BDRs from multiple sources, including search engine search, social media, networking, cold calls, and emails. Usually, BDRs identify prospects either with the help of a Business Development Associate (BDA) or by doing their own research. 

To speed up these processes, BDRs often resort to automated solutions such as Snov.io. Email Finder, enabling them to find email addresses by domain, company, person’s name, location, or position with no hassle. After reaching out to prospects, BDRs develop an individual approach to every lead and ensure timely follow-up of potential buyers. 

These and similar practices help BDRs move sales communication forward, setting up a specific time when a senior sales member, such as an Account Executive (AE), can talk to the prospect. 

At the same time, BDRs additionally focus on existing client cross-selling and upselling other available products and services and create industry-related partnerships with other businesses. 

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Sales Development Representative (SDR)

Unlike BDRs, who search for leads, SDRs manage the found leads and are responsible for inbound lead qualification. 

Depending on the company’s structure, leads generated by BDRs can be passed on to the SDR, who determines which leads are likely profitable for the business. In other words, SDRs are responsible for lead scoring

When assessing leads during the lead scoring process, SDRs rate them depending on how ready they are for a sale. Based on this information, they decide whether certain leads should be moved down the sales funnel, abandoned, or contacted when the right opportunity comes. 

By creating targeted prospect lists and reaching out to them through multiple channels, SDRs generate qualified leads and pass them on to Account Executives (AE) for final deal closure. 

The KPIs of an SDR are measured in the number of sales-qualified leads they bring to the company every month. By enhancing your sales team with an SDR, you ensure that your valuable time is effectively spent on qualified leads only, which would eventually bring more conversions. 

Pro tip: To master lead qualification, read our step-by-step guide with Snov.io.

Business Development Associate (BDA)

As mentioned earlier, BDAs assist BDRs in verifying and exchanging information with them. They also look for potential clients’ profiles and work on developing a strategic relationship with those who initially respond. 

Based on the data acquired through communication, BDAs pass it on to other sales team members to effectively use it and convert the customer. The main goal of a BDA is to make the prospect aware of what their business has to offer. 

Verifying obtained data is time-consuming; this is why automated solutions such as Snov.io Email Verifier are essential for any BDA. Using them, individual or bulk email verification gets way easier, while outdated or invalid leads become rare in the prospect list. 


Account Executive (AE) 

This is another salesperson in charge of facilitating sales processes, serving the needs of the existing customers, and closing the sales deals that reach their final point. 

Depending on the company, the responsibilities of the AE might vary from simply building great relationships with potential customers and closing the deal up to supporting existing clients and assisting them in growing and renewing their subscriptions to the company’s products or services. 

Another category of AE does both closing deals and managing existing accounts. However, the most typical responsibilities include identifying new potential clients for the company, retaining existing customers, conducting discovery calls, sending out presentations and demos, dealing with sales objections and questions, negotiating terms, and developing sales strategies based on customer feedback and behavior. 

Pro tip: Share our post on how to nail your best sales presentation with your fellow AE to leverage their deal closure!

Wrapping up 

Whoa! Seems like a whole lotta people in the room, huh? 

Well, with the right CRM in place, all your sales team members will be on the same page and have your back when working on a deal. Put your team back into teamwork with Snov.io’s free CRM ecosystem! It enables your sales organization to share notes and templates, manage your tasks, meetings, and calls via seamless Google Calendar sync, create pipelines that reflect your current sales process, and much more! 

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