If your business were a car, your sales team would be the wheels. They keep you moving forward by closing deals, making profits and paving the way for expansion. If your wheels aren’t aligned, your business is going to run into a multitude of complications. Maintaining a sales structure that aligns your company is a big key to having a thriving business.
How to Structure a Sales Team
There are three main organizational structures for sales teams. While the assembly line is one of the most well-known structures, the pod and island are also commonly used.
1. Assembly Line
This organization divides your sales team by function. The roles are usually segmented into lead generation, sales development representatives (SDRs), account executives (AEs) and customer success specialists. Assembly line structures are often incredibly efficient since you can directly see how each step in your sales process is performing. One downside to assembly lines is the risk of each team becoming too segmented and slowing the flow of your sales cycle. Assembly line structures, however, can work well across all types of industries.
2. The Pod
Similar to the assembly line structure, the pod still gives each sales representative a specific role. However, in a pod structure, each team has members from each function. So, one team in a pod structure could include two lead generation specialists, two SDRs, two AEs and one customer success specialist. The perk of a pod structure is the cohesiveness between your sales staff. One risk of using a pod structure is that individual salespeople can get used to relying on each other, limiting the competitive spirit among the entire team as a whole.
3. The Island
It’s every salesperson for himself/herself with the island structure. A CEO or business owner is at the top, and every salesperson completes the entire process on an individual basis. The island organization is highly competitive. However, it’s a beneficial structure for CEOs because they don’t need to monitor their sales staff heavily. On the flipside, owners don’t have as much control over their brand image. This island model can only really work for well-developed companies with highly skilled salespeople.
How to Integrate Your Sales and Marketing Teams
Although your sales and marketing teams essentially maintain the same goals, these two powerhouses can often butt heads. The keys for integration are communication and collaboration. As a sales team leader, create as many opportunities for your sales and marketing teams to work together as possible. Hold consistent joint meetings where each team can co-create business goals and review key performance indicators (KPIs) so everyone is on the same wavelength.
These regular meetings allow each team to offer valuable input. Although your marketing team is in charge of creating messaging around your product, it can gain insight from salespeople who have had extensive experience with the product while in the field. In the same way, sales staff members build relationships with leads, but your marketing team may have an understanding from past data that can assist salespeople when pitching to potential clients.
How FRONTLINE Selling Can Help
Whether you’re a startup business or Fortune 500 company, your sales staff can always improve with continuous support. In fact, offering your salespeople ongoing training leads to 50% higher sales per employee. Our Staccato Sales Solution provides valuable help on B2B lead generation, cold calling, social selling and data analytics so each of your sales cycle functions can be optimized. That supports every type of sales structure organization.