Sales Organisation Structures- Types And Models

What do you mean by Sales Organisation Structures?

Sales organisation structures are majorly termed as segmentation or dividing the sales team of the company into specified or segregated groups. The way a company organises its sales team depends on factors determined by the number and products offered, regions served, size and industry of customers, and size of the sales team.

The Sales organisation structures set sellers for success which makes it significant. No company will put a recruit in charge of the enterprise accounts, likewise, an employee with apt experience in healthcare will find it difficult to sell in tech. 

Therefore, a sales organisation structures designs allow the company to capitalize on individual experiences and capabilities. Plus it ensures that the right sellers are targeting the right or potential customers.

Benefits of Sales Organisation Structures

According to a study at Harvard Business Review, a well-organised sales organisation perform better than a sales organisation without any distinct sales organisation structures. Also, there are various factors required to implement the structures like considering the specialities and traits of sales reps that the team holds. Briefly, looking after the records and contribution they have made to the company.

 

Sales Organisation Structures
Sales Organisation Structures

However, by creates defined sales organisation structures, the following positive changes can be noted:

  • Increase in engagement from sales team members
  • Reduce conflicts
  • Better coordination 
  • The knowledgeable sales team gets prepared that can face different situations
  • Decision making improvises concerning team’s goals and expectations
  • Clearer communication
  • Possibility of more potential and loyal customers with more sales and better customer relationship

Sale Department 

The sales department gets to generate revenue for the organisation by convincing customers to purchase or try their product or service. In the modern era, post-purchase behaviour becomes important to look upon to achieve delighted customers.

Therefore, for the sales team people to close deals effectively, they focus on sales-critical activities. But most sellers are tasked with activities that better suit sales enablement functions or sales operations. This happens due to constraints such as misunderstanding of the role of sales reps or budget issues.

However, with stated goals, it becomes easy to differentiate between the core activities of the sales organisation structures department and other supporting functions mentioned above. Following are few points to differ these roles:

Sales Sales operationsSales enablement
Indulge with customers to generate revenue and close dealsManage day to day routine of sales department operations like tool administration and forecastingPrepares sellers for buyer engagement through onboarding activities and training
Manage administrative activities like CRM analytic data and expense reportsAnalyses and develops revenue strategyManage routine communications with go-to-go market teams and sales
Attend training and onboarding to grow skillsetReviews and tracks sales performance metricsManages sales organisation strategy and content

Therefore, the table concludes that the sales team should be supported by roles like sales enablement and sales operations to pursue their jobs efficiently. The sales organisation structures department must secure their success by defining their responsibilities and roles, and invest in supporting functions as necessary they need to thrive. 

Sales Structure Models

When the company discusses sales structure models, 3 sales organisation charts perform best. It includes the Island, Assembly Line and the Pod. As a result, each one has its weakness and strength. 

It becomes significant to decide the sales structure models that work best for the organisation according to their type. Therefore, the following gives a quick understanding of the benefits and limitations of each kind.

The Island 

Island model explains that each seller terms as a generalist, a single rep manages an individual customer from being a prospect to onboarding. Therefore, a rep will qualify, generate and close the leads on their own. This model gives a high level of autonomy to reps to grow and build customer relationship management. As a result, it creates pressure on individuals to perform. Also, for few companies, it creates a highly competitive sales culture.

The Island Sales Structure Model
The Island Sales Structure Model

Since it focuses on individual success and simplicity, this type of sales structure models are adopted by organisations with the smaller sales team. The ones looking for more output per hire or where one to one relationships are appreciated such as the financial services industry.

Benefits 

  • Streamlines seller-customer relationships
  • Creates competitive culture and individualistic
  • Helps in maximising individual rep output

Limitations 

  • Preference to individual success over team collaboration
  • Challenges to manage various accounts at different stages
  • Not suited to scale or large organisations

Assembly line 

Also termed as a hunter-farmer model, the sales teams are determined on each individual’s job title. The name comes from similarities between sales operation and manufacturing assembly lines, in both scenarios, the specialized workers perform a specific task. While in sales organisation structures the task is moving customers through an aspect of the journey.

The Assembly Line Sales Structure Models
The Assembly Line Sales Structure Models

Briefly, the business or account development reps nurture marketing-qualified leads or generate pipeline. These lead handoff to an account executive, who completes the sale. Once the deal gets closed, customers are transferred to an account manager or customer success who determines the relationship of the customer life cycle.

Benefits 

  • Deepens rep expertise in specified sales movement
  • Maximization of operational efficiency through specialization
  • Moves the buyers via sales process easily and quickly

Limitations 

  • Risk of poor customer experience due to multiple handoffs
  • Risk of miscommunication and silos across the teams
  • Specialization causes additional costs

Pod

The model is a hybrid of both assembly line and island models. Similar to the island model, an individual pod will partner with a buyer from the process of prospecting to solution onboarding. But similar to the assembly line, each pod has reps specialized in the specific task of the customer journey. This involves an account executive, a business or account development rep and an account manager.

The Pod Sales Structure Models
The Pod Sales Structure Models

This model is adopted by larger organisations that prefer an easy way to segment their sales team. This happens since leadership can easily reassign or assign pods to various segments like geographies, product lines, verticals, etc as required. The pods also benefit from account-based sales organisation structures, as an individual pod can efficiently follow a targeted account.

Benefits 

  • Greater collaboration leads to smoother handoffs
  • Decreases silos between functions and roles
  • Enables leadership to make adjustments to a sales team

Limitations 

  • Poor performers hide behind successful teammates
  • Individual motivation becomes difficult
  • Friction between individuals of the same pod is emphasized

For example, A company can further segment their sales organisation structures team in additional factors like:

  • Geography/ territory
  • Customer size
  • Product/ service offering
  • Customer vertical

These segmentations can be combined with any of these models. Initially, an organisation using an assembly model replicate the structure for each geography they are serving in. moreover, a company using the pod model can dedicate a pod to each of its product lines

Note: As a company grows, additional segmentation is required to determine that the reps develop specialized skills necessary to target certain accounts or serve particular markets.

Types of Sales Organisation Structures

The sales organisation structures problem lies when asked the people handling different aspects of the sales process. Therefore, there are 3 rules concerning people, problem and process. As a result, if more than one-third of the company’s salespeople are underperforming these three performance metrics, then there occurs a sales structure problem. The four types of sales organisation structures are:

Types of Sales Organisation Structures
Types of Sales Organisation Structures
  • Geographic structure
  • Functional structure
  • Product-sales force structure
  • Market-based structure

Each sales organisation structures has its successful teammates pros and cons that should be kept in mind before implementing them in the business which is considered as follows:

Geographic structure

Sale teams that work by these sales organisation structures are organized by location. Also termed as territorial sales force structure, they break the sales team between the cities. The geographical sales structures are one popular kind with a bundle of benefits.

  • Firstly, the sales team organized on basis of the geographical location of customers are less expensive. If the reps are not settled in the region, then the movement to all over place adds up to cost over time.
  • Secondly, a successful sales team in one area leads to the continuous growth of that region. 
  • Thirdly, customers get to know the sales rep of that area extremely well which increases customer loyalty building better customer relationships and better revenue in future. 

However, it becomes difficult to place territory lines for the company’s sales reps to follow. Furthermore, the sales reps situated in those different regions will not be able to specialize making the sales tasks harder to do on their own.

Functional structure

This kind of ales organisation structures focuses on specialization within the marketing team. This explains that every rep has their obligation to fulfil within the sales team on features like interests, specialities, and other factors.

The sales team that runs by functional structure are more efficient since each rep specializes. But it does create a plethora of problems since sales is an interwoven department which means they require coordination.

The functional structure can also be difficult when the accounts and clients are handled from different regions. Few reps may not be able to interact with people of different cultures or handle multi-lingual accounts.

There is a chance of duplication since multiple people can end up running with the same account at the same time. However, duplicate processes may sound like cross-checking of work at first but can be detrimental to the specific account. 

Product sales force structure 

This kind of sales organisation structures focuses more on the products that the clients make based on individual products or product types. The product sales force definition structure ensures that the sales reps are attuned to the way they can sell to companies from the products they have.

The sales team become so efficient that a sales rep can handle one type of product at one company and the same type at another. This type of sales organisation structures works for companies that focus on one industry.

But can be hectic if a company brings multiple industries with multiple products at once. The sales rep might confuse with too many factors and cause communication issues demanding more coordination with individual reps.

Market-based structure 

Also known as customer sales force structure, termed as a sales team organized by industry or customers. More briefly, grouped by industries. It focuses on placing the sales reps in individual industries. 

This way it gives reps a chance to specialize and understand the needs of the companies within that industry. Moreover, reps get a chance to become experts and earn a better chance to grow stronger relationships with potential and current clients.

The market based is a kind of sales organisation structures that can be advantageous for those companies that aren’t focussed on one or few industries. However, specialization comes with higher costs and difficulties in the management of sorting locations of different companies.

Briefly, companies don’t base the location on what industry they are in entirely. This explains some technology companies are in Nashville, others in San Francisco etc. The sales rep has to move around for the different geography of different industries.

Structuring a Sales Team

Finding the right sales organisation structures for the company’s sales team depends upon several factors that consider as follows:

Customers 

The location of customers, which product or service they often purchase, and how large the sales model needs to be along with the segmentation that will be successful.

Budget 

A higher budget allows the company to invest in a larger and more specialized sales model such as the pod or assembly line models. While the smaller business may opt for the island method that maximizes output per headcount.

Culture 

Every model has its own unique culture. Therefore, a company thinks about whether they prefer more competitive sales organisation structures or a collaborative team one that suits the company values.

The key point lies to find the right model and right type of segmentation for the business. Moreover, one might have to adopt a different model as the sales team grows. Furthermore, the sales organisation structures influence by supporting functions such as sales operations and sales enablement, and vice versa discussed above.

B2B Sales Team Structure

In the B2B sales team structure, buying habits are evolving. While capitalizing on B2B sales opportunities refers to building a B2B sales team structure structured to address the customers. In the modern scenario, the B2B buyers are more informed with a clear understanding of what they need and how to solve the current problem.

As a result, they expect the B2B sales team structure to help them with the right product choice.  Therefore, the rep has to focus not only on selling but to help customers understand what and how to buy. The sales rep objective is to present a solution concerning the prospect’s problem, and turn them into customers.

The five emerging trends of B2B sales team structure are:

  • Collaboration
  • Specialization
  • Efficiency
  • Advocacy
  • Personalization

Conclusion for sales organisation structures

Therefore, this explains that companies having appropriate sales organisation structures suffer less coordination or communication problems between the individuals of the sales team. However, the type of sales organisation structures depends upon different business and the stage or growth level of the company. The models specify how the sales team will structure while the structures depict the segmentation of the company to pursue their business.

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