How to Structure Your Sales Team for Maximum Return

Hiring top sales talent is a huge part of building a successful sales team, and as a manager or VP, it can be tempting to rely solely on the sales chops each individual brings to the table to drive success.

Unfortunately, though, as your team grows, this becomes less feasible. It might work to have a handful of sales reps doing their own thing. A team of 50 or even 100 sales reps, though, quickly becomes unruly and unmanageable without a solid structure in place.

Let’s look at some popular ways to structure a sales team and the pros and cons of each.

Competitive, flat structure

This puts each sales professional on the same playing field as the person next to them and requires little — if any — managerial oversight.

This is the “typical” structure you see, and it creates a highly competitive environment. Each sales rep is responsible for every single stage of the sales process, and that creates a dog-eat-dog environment that can be good or bad, depending on what you’re going for.

Pros? Managers don’t have much one-on-one interaction with their subordinates, and low-performers are super easy to spot.
Cons? Can be difficult to keep track of important sales metrics, and the lack of oversight can also lead to a lack of control, especially over how your brand is represented.

Specialized, assembly line structure

In this structure, you assign different professionals to different parts of the sales process. Some will be responsible for generating leads, while others will whittle those leads down to more qualified leads, and still others will take those qualified leads and turn them into closed deals.

This structure gives you much more control over each step in the process because each team can be held accountable to specific KPIs. This can help you hone in more specifically on areas that need improvement.

Pros? A higher level of specialization leads to a more efficient process, and it’s easy to find and fix problems before they grow.
Cons? Handing off customers along the assembly line can create friction, particularly in how customers feel about their process through the funnel.

Small group structure

This method, also called “pod” structure, puts specific sales professionals, each specializing in a different part of the sales process, into a pod with other specialized professionals. They work together to usher a specific group of customers through the funnel.

By pairing your sales professionals up, you give them an opportunity to learn from each other and create more meaningful connections within their specific team. You can also create some competition among pods, which can potentially drive success.

Pros? You allow individuals to hone in on the area of the sales process they do best, so you get the same benefits of an assembly line-style structure.
Cons? People don’t always work well together, so the potential for conflict is higher.

As you decide how to structure your sales team, you should ask yourself what structure makes sense based on the culture you want to create. Each of these structures will naturally foster a particular type of culture, so choose wisely and don’t be afraid to try new things as you grow!


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