Eight lessons later, we’ve already seen in depth how to organise lead acquisition and how to manage sales.
Now it’s time to see how to organise the sales force.
Believe me, this is no small matter.
It is often the difference between sales that work and sales that don’t. And there is no one way to do it.
In fact, if you Google it, there are over 22 million articles covering the subject.
In French only.
Let’s skip the introductions and get to the point.
What are the most common ways to organise the sales force?
There are three main approaches (with many variations) to organising the sales force :
- Isolated organisation.
- Organization in chains.
- Group organisation.
Isolated sales force organisation
In the first, isolated organisation, each salesperson fights his or her own war and is responsible for managing the whole process from start to finish.
This approach is almost impossible to apply successfully in key account sales, so we will not explore it further.
Organising the sales force in chains
In the second approach, you create a chain of people who are responsible for one step in the process :
- One link generates leads.
- One link qualifies the leads obtained.
- One link closes customers with qualified leads.
- One link implements the solution and supports the customers.
These links can go from one person to a team and are very useful for key account sales:
- usually depends on marketing.
- Qualification usually depends on the SDR (Sales Developer Representative).
- Actual sales usually depend on the AE (Account Executive).
- Implementation and customer service usually depends on support.
Organising the sales force into groups
This third approach calls for the creation of small sub-groups to deal with each vertical, whether it is a company product, customer type, industry or other sub-segment.
However, this usually requires larger or smaller teams to form the different groups.
For Eduardo Laseca, sales consultant and trainer, this capsule organisation should be orchestrated in company verticals: “The team should be specialised in the vertical sectors of the companies.
It has nothing to do with selling the same product to an insurance company as to a telecommunications company or an infrastructure company.
The internal processes of the companies are different, the key points are also different, and the value proposition has to be significantly different even if it is the same product.
If you are working with an SDR – Account Executive model, you would also need to specialise in SDR, although the traditional model of Junior SDRs to capture large accounts does not work well.
Sometimes you have to give all the responsibility to the AE, who will ideally be someone with knowledge and experience in those verticals.”
How do we organise the sales force at Efficy?
At Efficy we have designed a bespoke process that incorporates the best of the last two models:
- Chain organisation.
- Organisation in groups.
The marketing department handles lead generation and services both groups.
One group (with its own SDR and AE) is responsible for selling one of the Efficy products.
The other group (with its own SDR and AE) is responsible for selling the other Efficy products.
This organisation makes a lot of sense to us because the customers of the first pod are small companies with specific needs, while the other pod is specialised in large companies (like the ones we are looking for in this course).
By taking this course, you will already know that the differences between selling to one and the other are huge.
So we need to separate them and make sure that the marketing department is well aligned with both groups.
For Javier Iglesias, CEO and co-founder of Miqo, this part is very important: “It is very important to design a sales funnel that is adapted to your company and in which the sales and marketing departments work together :
- Provide concrete solutions to prospects.
- Be able to classify prospects according to the type of content offered.
- Because lead qualification management will always be much more effective the more prepared the prospect is for your solution.
- Because the effectiveness of marketing and sales depends to a large extent on their mutual complicity.
How to make this not a utopia but a reality: the communion between sales and marketing?
There are many methods, ranging from having them work at the same table, to having them eat, breathe and sleep at the same time.
But something much more effective than forced labour is the SLA (Service Level Agreement), an agreement in which both parties have to define the following points:
- Sales targets and success indicators.
- The different stages of the sales funnel by sharing information.
- The contents to be generated and distributed per stage, and even the contents to be developed and distributed Marketing and sales respectively.
- At what point in the call to action does the prospect go straight into sales, and at what point does marketing continue to mature so that they are an effective prospect and not a cold call.”
Are there other ways to organise the sales force?
Of course there are.
In fact, Fernando de la Rosa, founder of the Foxize school and author of the Titonet blog, goes even further when it comes to examining the relationship between sales and marketing teams: “If you try to create a joint sales and marketing organisation, there’s usually a problem: no one is in charge there.
The way I see it can be summed up in one sentence: The rules of structure work.
Depending on how you define the organisation, you will get one result to another:
- If you put marketing above sales, it will be a mess.
- If you put sales before marketing, it will be another mess, but directed at selling more.
Marketing should stop looking at sales as a way to enforce what they think, for the simple reason that sales is much closer to the business and the customers.
In fact, many marketing teams are dismantling their marketing teams and including cells in their sales teams.
And they are doing very well.
That’s what’s been happening in the pharmaceutical world for a long time: There is no sales area and no marketing area.
It has verticals by product and by channel with their sales forces, the sales representatives, integrated within those lines and supported by marketing teams that work specifically for each vertical.
So, for example, marketing for hospitals is so specific, if direct sales, that if they only had a general marketing team, their work would probably not add value to that vertical.
In this sector, they have a strategic marketing layer, to give vision and help segment, and then each vertical has its integrated teams.
And the goals of the whole vertical are one: sell more, more margin.
So, by the way, the alignment is absolute.
Now you know everything about organising your sales force
The next question we need to answer is: how do you recruit great sales people to join these teams?
And that’s what we’ll talk about in the next lesson.
If you don’t want to miss it, leave your email here and I’ll write to you as soon as it’s published:
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