Sales Appointment Setting: SDR Sales vs Sales Executive, Account Executive

Do you know that Sales Development Representative SDR usually secures more sales appointments or calls than any other sales role? Except for niche cases, upsell, and referral sales.

However, when doing pipeline forecasting and annual quotas, sales directors expect that a sales executive will bring in more leads and sales appointments than typical SDR or BDR. Why? The reason is that the salary of SDR is usually 2-3 times lower than the salesmen compensation package including bonuses and representational expenses.

This article aims to provide advice on how to validate your SDRs performance in these uncertain times.


The best B2B Sales Strategy is to engage a mixed team consisting of local sales and SDRs(local and remote).

What's in a Name? BDR and SDR

Often called the business development rep (BDR), lead generation specialist, sales development rep, appointment setter, marketing development rep, cold caller, sales assistant. Primary SDR responsibilities include accepting inbounds from website forms, chats, inbound emails, or inbound calls), qualifying, and moving them by sales funnel from Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). The outbound BDR/SDR sends cold emails, outreach potential clients based on Ideal Customer Profile, and pushes old clients for sales appointment setting.

A company with an engaging culture can promote these SDRs or any junior staff, focuses them motivated, and gives some mix of growth and drive. It is also ideal that the company providing complicated learning and personal development roadmap to obtain your own dragon sales team for nonspace cost.

Sales team roles. SDR, BDR, Account Maanger, Sales Executive, Customer Success Manager
Sales team roles. SDR, BDR, Account Maanger, Sales Executive, Customer Success Manager

Account Executive Market Development

A position of the Account Executive is a king in non-management business development Piramide. The sales role is named a VP of business development, Sales manager, Business development manager, Closer, Sales Executive, Rep, etc.

The Account Executive obtains a stream of the leads or sales appointment from CRM. After he or she makes the intro call, runs follow-up, provides negotiations, prepares proposals, involves company staff to support complex deals, closes the sale. Often sales executives have to build relationships for the long term. Some AE positions have tods.

Work-time Balance

An SDR is a full-time resource focused solely on lead generation. Just think, an SDR can send out 100 smart touches per day, 2000 per month, and 25K per year.

A salesperson usually juggles accounting, internal communication, finance, project management, as well as coffee or tea drinking, watercooler talks, and more. A lot of time also goes into meetings, travel, and self-development.

On the other hand, you expect that the best salespeople are laser-focused on these most important priorities:

  • Finding qualified prospects
  • Determining potential needs
  • Offering solutions
  • Closing sales

In reality, it is worse than you expect.

Pace Productivity Inc, from Toronto, Canada, has been conducting productivity studies of knowledge workers since 1990. The information for these reports is collected from a mobile device called a TimeCorder, which is superior to an app for diagnostic studies.

Before tracking their time, the interviewer gave sales reps a short questionnaire and asked about the critical tasks you have to do. Standard responses reflect an orientation toward getting new business and maintaining relationships as follows:

  1. Prospecting / generate sales / orders / marketing 41%
  2. Build relationships, meet, contact customers 36%
  3. Provide customer service 20%
  4. Time planning / planning / focus 10%

The True Report About Salesperson Working Hours

The first thing we discovered about a salesperson's routine is that their work hours are generally above average, though not as long as other top positions.

A salesperson works slightly longer, up to 50 hours per week. Among the highest jobs from the report are dependent consultants and business trainers who average over 54 hours per week.

All timeframes were collected and then gathered into specialized categories:

  • Preparation and planning activities (including prospect research) - 2.9 hours per week
  • Internal meetings -2.2 hours per week
  • Selling - only 10.7 hours per week or just 23% of the workweek
  • Client administration (including order processing) - 4.9 hours per week
  • Customer service - 4.9 hours per week
  • Administration - 10.5 hours per week
  • Travel - 5.2 hours per week (data before COVID)
  • Personal time 4.3 hours per week
  • Miscellaneous 2.2 hours

Try to persuade your Salesperson to spend outreaching 3-10 hours per week for a new Client vs. a full time outsourced SDR focuces on sales appointment setting.

Smart, Automated Tools

An SDR uses a lot of tools to automate the outreach process. A pro SDR knows how to make the most of:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator enables you to contact and add new leads to the pipeline and build relationships with prospects.

There are too many features of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and the most important are as follows:

  • The use of an advanced algorithm to find the prospects best aligned with what you have to offer.
  • Sales insights from the sales navigator to ensure that you have the best information as a decision-maker.
  • Relationship building tools allow you (as a lead builder) to continually move closer to the final goal of making a sale.

With an imagine profile, you can generate up to 20 leads per month from direct outreach and a lot more from popular posts and comments.

Linkedin Automation Tools

There two types of tools for Linkedin automation:

A) Browser integrated one like Linked Helper:

1) You can automatically send personalized invitations to targeted 2nd (3rd in case of Sales Navigator) contacts

2) You can send customized messages and message sequences to 1st connections

3) Export your contacts into CSV file for Google Sheet or Microsoft Excel

4) Build mailing lists

5) Endorse your contacts to get endorsements in return

B) Server-based tools like Expandy:

Generate 10x more leads with the world's safest software for social selling automation. We strongly recommend only a server base to avoid banning, but then it will be more expensive, starting from 100 per month.

Analytics Tools Like Tableau or Excel Pivotal

Tableau, including desktop version, is an excellent tool for data visualization and reports. Tableau outputs are presented in a way that taps natural abilities to discern patterns or trends. Use Tableau to pull and merge data from various sources in creating complex but insightful statistical analyses.

Excel or Google Sheets are both simple and powerful tools to optimize your data sources. You can accelerate your outreach 3-5 times and filter the processes when you're a data expert.

An ideal SDR has to be an expert in one or several data analytics instruments. And we are not only talking data entry. There a lot of advanced options:

  • smart data filtering
  • integration with outreach and mail systems
  • cross teams data sharing
  • prediction and analytics
  • data import and export for hundreds of tools and information sources

Complex A/B testing for lead generation

Ideal Customer Profile for Lead Generation

An ideal customer profile (ICP) is an impersonation of your key customers from a specific market segment: age, location, job position, industry, team size, yearly revenue, factors that influence their purchasing process, etc.

For a lead generation, an ICP is an available company and list of titles that would get your service offer.

An ideal client can provide value in different ways, the most prominent being that they pay for your proposal.

An ideal customer profile (ICP) is not the same as a Customer Persona, Buyer Persona, End User, or Client. You can produce several user persons, but not until after you've defined an ideal customer profile.

User personas are the Sales Fiona's and Manager Andrew's that you might come up with down the road to define buyer or user characteristics. Such personas represent the end-users of your product and are intended to help you get inside their brain ("empathy mapping") when coming up with messaging, campaigns, and even new features.

Sales Team Requires Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An ideal client profile allows you to figure out targeting for marketing and sales force. There are three top benefits of creating a complex and detailed ICP.

  1. Focus Resources on High-Quality Leads

The more detailed and accurate ICP is, the more targeted your sales and marketing connections will be to attract only premium-quality leads with high interest.

  1. Meet Sales Goals More Consistently

By assigning your team and resources to excellent clients, you are spending less time on the weak leads and provide sales activities with more accurate forecasting, closed-won deals, and more predictable sales.

  1. Improve ACL and CLV

Improving an ICP allows SaaS companies to streamline customer onboarding and reduce customer churn. The better you know your perfect client, the better you can cater to your offering and services to meet their needs. The same statistics we can notice for referrals as clients are ready to promote service to other potential customers.

An ICP is an impersonation of your key customers from a specific market segment: age, location, job position, industry, team size, yearly revenue, factors that influence their purchasing process, etc.

As SDR accurately follows ICP, he or she can engage more people as he/she works as a robotic machine.

A salesperson outreach based on prior expertise and a hunch without prepared ICP, writing in a more unstructured manner and sending 5-10 times fewer requests but with higher quality and relevancy.

CRM for Lead Generation and Sales Appointment Setting

Salespeople are using a CRM to fill the nearly sales and accounting activities. Some even spend up to 50% of the working time fill field in Salesforce.

An SDR usually adds MQL and SQL, and sales appointment setting to the CRM. In some companies, an SDR has to fill all contacts and responses manually, including negative responses and non-responsive leads. But if you are a fledgling startup or a company in Blue Ocean, it's better to focus on hot leads and positive responses because only this will help you be more productive during an early stage.

Data Research

Researching for this article, we came across a report from CSO Insight that "42 percent of sales reps feel that they don't have the right information before making a call."

Power up your data profile. Leverage it to produce more qualified leads.

Datarob is doing a lot of data research for our clients. We know how to glean data from any available external source. We can create a vision for the conference and find a direct contact of any top executive person. We can grab 10000 contacts and sift through them manually basing on your ICP.

Our research team is comfortable using data scraping tools. Besides, an SDR can be Python or at least a Pivotal lover. The average Salesperson usually works in an office and is limited in their data research or analytics.

SDR Sales vs. Sales Executive for Bew Appointments Setting

A Sales Executive is the deal closer that engages clients for long-term relations, especially Enterprise clients. But for B2B lead generation and appointment setting, an SDR is more productive and abnormally cost-effective.

According to the "Sales salaries in the United States" report, we can evaluate that the Salesperson's average salary is 58K USD annually.

But the cost usually includes an office, insurance, bonuses, office equipment, etc, it will be at least 90K USD in total.

For a senior Sales Executive, we can expect 90K annually spent on salary, making 125K total cost of resources for the company. The average cost for a dedicated remote SDR is 24K annually.

The best strategy for appointment setting sales call is to engage a mixed team consisting of local sales and remote SDRs.