Beyond the obvious skill and talent that’s required to make your B2B sales team a success, you need organization to ensure that there’s structure holding things together and processes guiding the flow. The numbers don’t lie. A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review has found that 50% of sales organizations posting high performance numbers have sales processes that are well-documented and clearly structured.
In this blog piece, we’re going to focus on structuring your team by focusing on three common sales team structural models that you can follow. Your goal is to figure out which structure fits your business and its needs the most. First, let’s talk about the key roles your B2B sales team requires to succeed:
The Lead Generators
These are your first-touch sales reps. They’re responsible for gathering leads and making sure that you have enough data—especially key contact details—to be able to qualify said leads later on. Whether or not they have to manually build up a leads list via both offline and online means depends entirely on you.
Often called sales development representatives in many business' organizational charts, they’re responsible for calling up—or reaching out—to potential leads and qualifying them. They gauge relevance to what a company offers, get a feel for interest, and really make sure they’re talking to the right people ultimately.
The goal of sellers is, well, to sell. They’re the ones who will demo your product or service, deal with any objections or doubts a potential client has, and eventually—hopefully—seal the deal and close the sale. While a lot of pressure goes to the sellers, they need both the lead generators and nurturers to be great at their job to be amazing at theirs.
The After-Sales Supporters
Sales doesn’t just stop after you close a deal—what you do after is just as important. The supporters are responsible for continued after-sales care. They’re the ones who ensure that your clients are happy, their problems and difficulties addressed—all so that they continue doing business with you for years to come.
Now, how many of each that you have ultimately depends on your needs and your budget, but you’re going to need one of each at the very least if you want a successful sales team. Next, you want to consider organization. Here are the three structural models to consider:
1 – The Traditional
Traditionally, sales representatives were simply given goals to hit and left to their own devices as to how they were to pursue those goals. In some companies, a single rep would be responsible for generating their own leads, qualifying those leads, nurturing them, closing the sale, and still somehow manage any after-sales work that was needed. While that sounds like a terribly tedious and heavy set up, it did have the advantage of making representatives more aggressive.
After all, a robust incentive scheme was usually paired with the model—essentially pitting representatives against each other for better bonuses with each sale. This had the advantage of making each representative an entrepreneur which, in turn, means you don’t have to do much in the way of management. Because a lot depends on the efforts they put out, your best sales representatives will innovate to succeed.
One downside to a more internally aggressive sales team is that you will see very little cooperation as each rep sees another as competition. Another downside is that you’ll have difficulty with maintaining brand consistency as each rep will likely have their own approach—the one that works best for them. Finally, beyond “closed sales”, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep track of any other relevant metrics because your reps are focused on that bottom line.
2 – The Sequence
This next structural model is starting to take over the more traditional model in many modern companies and is built around the roles we’ve talked about above. Simply put, it implies that each role is a step in a sequence to be followed. It starts with lead generators gathering the leads, the nurturers qualifying them, the sellers closing the deal, and then after-sales folks make sure clients are happy. In a sense, it mirrors the buyer’s journey.
The main advantage of this model is that everyone—and every step—has a clear goal to reach. You can easily set and review metrics for each stage to determine how effective your people and your process is. This will make it easier to make adjustments—or even hire more people—where gaps exist. Speaking of sequence, another advantage is that you can create a very clear, uniform process flow to ensure that everything is well and clearly organized—with the metrics to match.
Finally, an advantage of this particular set-up is that everyone cooperates with one another to succeed. Old school sales people might decry the lack of competition but that’s actually a good thing. Because the collaborative atmosphere allows your team to learn from one another and even aid each other in the achievement of your goals. Better, with a person specializing on one specific aspect, they can focus and do a much better job at their specific task. Just pay very close attention to hand-offs of leads.
3 – The Squad
This final sales team model is actually, in a sense, a hybrid of the previous two. It retains the roles that are necessary to create a sequence that parallels the buyers’ journey. Instead of one big sales team in an assembly line, however, this model groups a number of each role into squads, groups, or pods. Each grouping then focuses on a specific set of customer or cluster of clients. You can assign clients or clusters of clients any number of ways.
You can do it by market segments, by industries, by company size, or even by personal prioritization as suits your business. It’s the perfect model for businesses that have a firm grasp on their targets and want laser focus on particular segments. This set up is also far more agile with fewer people working more closely together—which allows everyone with a group to aid each other as they move a client or lead along the customer journey.
The downside here is that you have to start with a very big B2B sales team overall with many people covering the needed roles adequately. This is especially true if you have or envision a lot of different segments or clusters to manage. Another disadvantage is that there could be a lot of overlap in terms of each individual representative’s roles particularly if the load on one becomes especially heavy, necessitating a lot of focused management.
What’s right for you is what works.
So, which is the “best” model to adapt? It entirely depends on what fits your goals, needs, and even your company’s philosophy. For some, the competitive nature of the traditional model might be beneficial in pushing sales quickly with little management. For others, the organized and efficient flow of the sequential model might be more appealing. For yet others, having smaller teams focused on clusters or segments of clients might be the best. You’re always welcome to try each to see what works.
If you do want to start your sales efforts off on the right foot, however, you want to have high-quality leads to start. Internal Results has its own database of over 60 million verified and qualified leads from over 108 countries. These leads come from all industries and represent a wide range of job titles. Whatever your needs, whatever your ideal customer, we can provide quality leads that fit the bill—and then some.
We can also take your best, most informative content and place it in front of the right people—those most interested and most likely to want to get your products and services. We can also provide B2B intent data that tells you, by analyzing numerous key datapoints, who’s truly interested and on the verge of making a purchase. All these are the perfect boost to you B2B sales and marketing efforts. So, tell us what you need and how we can help you: