When hiring new talent for your team, you may be wondering whether an Account Manager (AM) or a Business Development Representative (BDR) role is a better fit for your prospective employee. While both roles are critical to the success of any sales team, they have some key differences in terms of responsibilities, activities, and compensation. Examining the main differences between AMs and BDRs will help you determine which role will be the best fit to round out your team.
Account Manager (AM)
You no doubt already know that an Account Manager is responsible for managing and expanding relationships with existing customers. But breaking down their responsibilities and how they spend their time will allow you to ascertain if your new hire is suited to this routine. Account Managing typically involves a mix of activities such as:
- Maintaining regular contact with customers (50%)
- Upselling and cross-selling products and services (20%)
- Identifying new opportunities within existing accounts (15%)
- Managing and resolving customer issues (10%)
- Collaborating with other teams (5%)
AMs have a set of accounts that they are responsible for managing and growing. They work closely with their customers to understand their needs and identify opportunities to improve their experience and increase sales.
One key difference between AMs and BDRs is the focus on existing customers. AMs are expected to have a deep understanding of their customers’ business, their needs, and to use this knowledge to drive sales and increase customer satisfaction. They are also expected to have strong relationships with their customers, which can take time to build.
Compensation for AMs is usually based on a mix of salary and commission. AMs typically earn higher salaries than BDRs, as their role requires more experience and responsibility. However, the potential for commission is typically lower than for BDRs, as AMs are working with existing accounts rather than generating new business.
Business Development Representative (BDR)
If Account Managing is not the right fit, it is possible your new hire would be better suited for a role in Business Development. Business Development Representatives are responsible for generating new business for the company. This typically involves a mix of activities such as:
- Researching and identifying potential new customers (40%)
- Contacting and qualifying leads (30%)
- Setting up appointments and demonstrations (20%)
- Collaborating with other teams (10%)
BDRs typically work on a larger volume of leads than AMs, as they are focused on generating new business rather than maintaining and expanding existing relationships. This can involve a lot of outreach and prospecting, as well as identifying and qualifying leads.
One key difference between BDRs and AMs is the focus on new business. BDRs are expected to have a strong understanding of the company’s products and services and to be able to articulate their value to potential customers. They are also expected to be able to identify and prioritize the most promising leads and to work effectively with the sales team to close deals.
Compensation for BDRs is usually based on a mix of salary and commission. BDRs typically earn lower salaries than AMs, as their role requires less experience and responsibility. However, the potential for commission is typically higher than for AMs, as BDRs are responsible for generating new business.
Deciding between an Account Manager and a Business Development Representative role for a new hire can be a challenging choice, as both roles offer unique opportunities and challenges, while requiring a similar skill set. If the candidate excels at building and maintaining strong relationships with customers, an AM role may be a good fit. If they crave the challenge of identifying and qualifying new leads and working with a team to close deals, they may be better suited to a BDR role. Do NOT turn a great BDR into an AM and do not try to turn a great AM into a BDR—they are different types of people/personalities. Ultimately, the right role will depend on strengths, interests, and career goals. Both AMs and BDRs play critical roles in the success of any sales team.