If you thought things were starting to settle after all the changes brought on by COVID-19 and social movements from the past year, think again.
As sales organizations begin to rebound from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, you need to make changes to adjust to your new selling environments and different customer expectations. That means it’s the perfect time for a sales transformation—and to rethink your strategic sales plan, sales team structure and sales roles.
5 things to know before transforming your sales team structure
To be effective, sales transformations must be carefully thought out, from the roots to the top of the organization. With many of the pandemic-driven changes that were originally made on a temporary basis now becoming permanent, you may be considering all of your sales roles and reorganizing the structure of your sales function in a more future-focused way to align with the world today.
Here are the five things you need to think about before setting a new sales team structure.
1. Customer segments: Who do you sell to?
Not every seller works with the same types of customers. Some sellers work on different accounts depending on their size, geography, type, or many other criteria.
More experienced sellers have larger, more established accounts, while newer sellers may be tasked with forming or deepening stronger relationships with smaller businesses. Depending on their task, the role may require a different level of seller effort, skill and engagement.
2. Sales strategy: What strategies do you use to sell?
We classify sales strategies into three types: penetration, acquisition and retention.
Penetration means broadening and deepening relationships with existing customers.
Acquisition, which is hunting for new customers, is the hardest role, because sellers have to create awareness and interest in a product or service.
And retention is about holding on to existing business, which makes it the easiest, most cost-effective type of sales work.
Sellers should be compensated based on how difficult it is to implement their chosen sales strategy.
3. Organizational hierarchy: How do your sellers fit into the strategic sales plan?
Some sellers operate independently, while others work as part of a team. Some have dedicated support, but others don’t. And some sellers don’t have direct reports, while more senior sellers typically do and have greater responsibilities.
In more complex organizations, external personnel may also be involved in sales transactions and may need to be recognized and compensated. The complexity of the role and its interdependence should help you determine how to compensate and incentivize the role.
4. Sales process: How are you engaging with customers?
A sales process spans an entire transaction, from identifying and qualifying a lead through to creating a proposal and closing and fulfilling a deal. Some sellers handle every step of the strategic sales process; others are responsible for only a step or two.
The greater the responsibility and value of the steps handled, the greater the rewards and benefits should be for your sellers.
5. Products and services: What do you actually sell?
It’s important to understand two things: the length of the sales cycle and what products and services your sellers are responsible for. Sometimes sellers are responsible for an entire line or just a few items from a company’s entire offering. Other times, sellers develop highly specialized knowledge in a particular product or service that may be worth a premium.
Knowing the roles of your sellers is essential to sales transformation
Before you can rework your sales team structure, you have to know your sales roles inside and out. And that knowledge begins with a fundamental understanding of every position in your sales organization.
For more advice and questions to ask when you review your sales roles and map your strategic sales plan, check out our guide, “Are you ready for a sales transformation? Five things you need to know about your sales roles first."