Your product is starting to be known, customers are delighted and it seems that they are starting to use it more and more. Now is the time to promote your sales force. The first step in the process is, therefore, to know what the sales force is. Then we will see some examples that will help you sell more.
But where should you start? At this point, it is normal to get stuck and not know how to do it. Imagine the salespeople acting like pirates screaming “Prepare to board!”, setting out to sell without anything and nobody stopping them.
The reality is quite different. Only a few salespeople are able to take such initiatives and achieve their goals without collateral damage. Many sales managers think that hiring the best sellers and letting them take care of everything is the cure for all their ills. After all, it’s the smartest thing to do, right?
According to a study from Exevi in Spain, only one in four companies defines itself as proactive in improving its processes, thanks to a well-documented and structured digital approach. If your idea was to hire a few salespeople to let them sell on their own (like pirates), unfortunately, this is very unlikely to work. Any approach to success will fail without an organizational structure that matches the value chain and culture of your business.
What is sales force: definition and examples
Sales force is made up of all the people in the company whose function is to respond to demand with an offer. Generally, these are the members of the sales team whose mission is to achieve turnover.
Sales promotion is generally a task managed by the sales team. Sales management is, among other things, responsible for:
- Defining the sales force strategy and objectives
- Creating and implementing the sales plan
- Recruiting, training and paying team members through incentives
Sales management must also monitor and take the necessary measures to achieve the objectives set.
Thanks to technological progress, the control of the sales force (its other name), is now done through commercial software, reporting, and management tools like commercial CRM solutions like Efficy CRM.
That being said, today we’ll be looking at three essential ways to manage your sales team.
3 ways to organize your sales team
1) Organization of an isolated, even lonely sales force
This organization is based on the traditional expression “sell or die“, so popular in the commercial world. Its poor organizational structure has only a few elements:
- Increase in sales skills.
- A range of products to promote and sell.
- A commission structure for each sale made.
- Sometimes an office.
And that’s all!
Each salesperson is solely responsible during all phases of the sales process: it is he or she who must generate prospects, qualify them and close the sales.
Do you know what’s going on? Without a frame of reference, aggressiveness increases. In addition to the competition in the market with your competitors, competition is invited within the teams themselves.
Take the example of a real estate agent responsible for promoting properties almost alone, he or she publishes offers on Internet, calls prospects by phone, shows them properties in the hope of closing the deal, regardless of the rest of the organization members or their goals. He or she quickly risks being lonely and wanting to crush his or her colleagues.
Advantages of an isolated sales force organization:
- There is no need for individual supervision by team leaders.
- This organization is efficient in short sales processes, where the sale is concluded in one or two calls
Disadvantages of organizing an isolated sales force:
- It creates an aggressive and very competitive environment.
- The company has less control over its brand image in the market. Indeed, it will depend entirely on the style of the salesperson.
- Everyone does it! And yet it is difficult to follow the measurements and the performances.
2) Organization of the sales force production chain
It is a famous organization in the industrial field. It consists in organizing the production processes sequentially to obtain greater efficiency at each stage of the chain.
This can also apply to salespeople to cultivate and refine the treatment of customers during the process. This organization thus divides your external or internal sales force into four different teams:
- Lead generation team. They attract prospects using commercial email templates in which they present the company’s products and services. (See here some examples).
- Sales development representatives. They qualify the opportunity and adapt to customer needs, taking into account their decision-making cycle.
- Account managers. They are negotiators, they are the ones who conclude the contracts. Do they call qualified prospects, give demonstrations, respond to objections? One goal, to close the sale by phone or during a physical meeting.
- The team of success managers. The mission of this team is to monitor the level of satisfaction of the different types of customers, in order to increase their lifespan. (LTV for Life Time Value). Another objective is to do up-selling by selling a higher version of the product or even cross-selling by selling options or supplements.
This structure in the “production chain” allows your teams to specialize in different roles and functions. A dedicated team intervenes at each stage of the sales cycle. The suspects turn into prospects, then into qualified opportunities to finally become new customers. And at each stage, they pass into the hands of a different team.
Having specialized teams, make it is easier to measure the results of each.
You can already start this specialization with only two sales forces.
One is dedicated to prospecting new customers, while the other is dedicated to signing sales. Based on the Pareto rule, “the 80-20 principle”, you will know when to set up new stations within the assembly line. When your salespeople spend more than 20% of their time on a secondary mission, perhaps it is time to create a new specialized sales team.
Advantages of organizing the assembly line:
- Your business activity becomes more predictable and less random.
- You can isolate problems in the sales funnel to resolve them.
- Finally, more specialization is often synonymous with more efficiency.
Disadvantages of the organization of the production chain:
- Dividing the funnel into different steps can increase the moments of friction when moving customers along the funnel.
- Since these are highly specialized teams, a disconnection between these teams and the company’s general business objectives is common. Teams would tend to focus on their own results and parameters.
3) Organization of the sales force in capsules or clusters
Tout comme sur la chaîne de montage, l’organisation en capsules se distingue par la constitution d’équipes étroitement unies, dans lesquelles nous retrouvons différents profils, tous ayant le même focus : le client.
For example, a six-person sales capsule can be organized as follows:
- 3 representatives from business development,
- 2 account managers,
- And a success manager.
Small groups with specific missions are created and each person is responsible for the entire journey of specific customers.
The roles are the same as in the organization seen above. Only here, the competition is between the capsules. Each capsule strives to win new customers, applies different sales techniques to close the deal and then dedicates itself to maintaining customer satisfaction.
With the capsules, you get a more modular and flexible structure than with the traditional model. Success is measured by capsule, where each member of the sales force has a broader and holistic view of the business.
Advantages of the sales force capsule organization
- As the capsules operate in solid groups, the members are not only involved in the stage of the process represented by their specialty (prospecting, qualification, signature, customer success) but also in the complete journey of the customer.
- There is often more empathy and better understanding among the members of each capsule. So there is less friction and more communication.
- The capsules are flexible and agile.
Disadvantages of organizing a sales force capsule:
- There are fewer opportunities for sellers to measure themselves and be competitive.
- There is less specialization in each role because each member of the capsule must be able to do everything.
The capsule structure of the sales force is a more refined version of the production chain. It is ideal for start-ups looking to optimize their commercial resources to attack new markets or new business sectors.
When organizing your sales team, you need to achieve two basic goals:
- Maximize the results.
- Create the best culture for your organization.
Always look at your competitors: how do they structure their sales teams? It is not necessary to imitate them, but if they do it in a certain way, it may be interesting to ask why.
In short, to properly structure your sales team with or without hiring a sales manager, you just need to know which organization would yield the best results. For that, don’t forget to ask yourself the following questions:
“What kind of team are we? What kind of culture are we trying to create?
The team you create and the way you do it will give you the clues you need to know how your business is doing and where it is going. And if you want to know how to sell to your customers, apply these recommendations and try to see what types of sales would be most effective in your context. It is on this basis that you will create sustainable growth.