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    Constructing the Ideal Sales Team Structure

    As a sales leader in high tech for over 25 years, I have come across many different sales structures. Having worked for organizations small, large and everything in between, the sales structures I have encountered have been as diverse as the organizations that developed them.

    Any analysis of sales team structure needs to begin with an understanding of what business objectives your organization is currently targeting. Consider these three common scenarios:
    • Is your organization a new venture start-up? Have you been strategically designing plans for both short and long-term growth?
    • Are you a mid-sized organization with a simplistic approach encountering difficulties transitioning to a more diversified product portfolio?
    • Or are you a large multinational corporation seeking to further engage targeted accounts through new strategic specializations?

    Constructing an ideal sales team structure can often reveal areas throughout your sales program that may require additional refinement. The size and scope of evaluating your organization’s ability to succeed can be overwhelming.

    Remember, revealing weaknesses and overcoming roadblocks requires a comprehensive and thorough analysis of historical data combined with performance metrics. Let Intangent guide you through this process in an advisory services role. Your organization will gain valuable clarity into current pains, future needs and how to bridge the gap. Learn More Here.

    Top 5 Questions for Effective Sales Team Structure Development


    The reality of sales structure development is that there is no universal blueprint. As a starting point for your analysis, consider the following five questions that will provide guidance, clarity, and direction:

    1. What kind of quota carrying sales people will you have?

    Will all salespeople be designated as direct contributors or is there a need for multi-role classifications? Will your organization be better served by having a percentage of front-line Sales Managers serve as leadership and direct contributors?

    Having some Sales Managers assigned to dual roles improves your organization’s ability to get more “feet on the street” but there is some potential for conflicts that must be reviewed prior. For example, sales managers may be competing directly with salespeople for similar accounts which could lead to conflicts of interest and poor team dynamics. Try to be as thorough as possible during this part of your analysis. The more insights you uncover, the stronger your sales team will be.

    2. How many levels of sales management are required in your organization to ensure that the right level of coaching occurs on a regular basis?

    Sales teams that foster regular and specific one-on-one coaching consistently deliver better sales results. Even though there is often a desire to drive down costs by expanding the size of sales teams, this needs to be balanced with the reality of sales success. Is your organization missing revenue growth opportunities by spreading sales leadership too thin to save money?

    3. Are your clients similar or do they require specialized expertise?

    Many organizations begin to specialize as their customer base grows. Client growth also has a direct impact on the need for increased specialization. Both scenarios often lead to and require different levels of various sales team members’ involvement. “Commercial Reps” are usually assigned to smaller less complex clients/prospects. “Enterprise Reps” work with larger more complex clients/prospects. Remember to review what type of rep will maximize your organization’s abilities to execute. As your business grows globally, you may also want to develop National or Global Account Managers that act as a VP of Sales for that specific account

    4. How intensive is the need for pre-sales technical support for your products and services?

    Depending on the complexity of your solutions you may need to have pre-sales engineering staff co-located with your sales team and deeply embedded in your sales team structure. In other situations, pre-sales support may be a resource that is only called on from case-by-case situations to augment field sales knowledge of the products/services in the most complex environments. It may be best to locate these resources in a central location for all to access when needed.

    5. Where will your leads come from or where do they come from today?

    Developing a sales team structure that takes this critical element into consideration is the foundation for any sales team structure. Without the development of the right processes and roles to deliver the necessary leads to your sales organization, whatever structure that is built will be on an unstable foundation.

    Evaluating your current sales team structure from ground-zero can help introduce winning habits. The earlier your organization implements corrective strategies, the more effective your sales programming can be. Alternatively, if your organization is currently reviewing its sales program effectiveness, consider Intangent’s Sales Program Streamlining strategic service. It’s designed to provide your organization with a top-to-bottom analysis of your entire sales program. Learn more here.

    Final Thoughts

    The need to develop an effective sales team structure is integral to the survival and success of any sales organization. The realization that no one-size-fits-all empowers each sales leader to embark on their own journey to ask the right questions that will lead them to a sales structure that will make the most sense for their organization. It’s safe to say that as your sales organization grows, change will be the only constant. The sales structure that you build today will empower your team to meet its growth targets. As those targets are achieved the sales structure will evolve to meet the changing sales needs of your organization.

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