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Suppose you are starting your B2B sales journey.
What are the essential factors that you will need at the very beginning?
- A personalized sales strategy
- Top-notch sales tool
- An efficient sales team.
Most startup founders often struggle with the third.
An ideal B2B sales team structure should comprise a group of go-getters who can make the most of each sales opportunity coming their way.
As a founder of a sales manager, you cannot just hire any sales rep and expect prompt lead generation. You must spend significant time identifying the right sales team structure matching your vision.
In this guide, we’ll help you identify the best B2B sales team structure for your organization so that you can achieve your sales goals.
Top 3 Sales Team Structure for B2B Sales Teams
There are three sales team structures that B2B organizations can implement. Find out more about these in this section and identify which structure fits your team:
The Island structure
The island sales team structure is a traditional framework when sales are forced to fulfill their sales quota at any cost. The organizational structure behind this model is fundamental. Organizations following the island structure believe in appointing one sales owner responsible for managing a team of sales reps.
Under the island structure, each sales rep is responsible for different sales process steps, from lead generation to lead conversion. As a result, the sales reps become highly competitive and fail to collaborate with other sales reps within the internal team.
- Sales managers don’t require to engage with each sales rep individually.
- For small businesses with a two-stage sales process, this model works best.
- The sales reps aggressively compete with each other, and it creates a toxic work culture.
- Sales managers may struggle to track the key sales metrics as there are no well-defined job responsibilities, and everyone is doing everything.
Who should select this model?
If you are running a small business with a 1-2 person sales team, this sales team structure can work for you. For 1-stage, simple sales processes, the island model works the best.
The assembly line structure
The concept of assembly line structure from Ford’s Model T can be implemented in sales teams. Under this model, you can break down a sales team into the following stages:
- Lead generation - Sales reps who are part of this stage are responsible for generating leads through multiple channels and capturing the contact details of these leads in a CRM.
- Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) - SDRs collaborate with the lead generation team and reach out to the leads to qualify them. SDRs are typically responsible for asking targeted questions to the leads to understand their pain points and develop a clear idea of their decision-making process.
- Account Executives (AEs) - Once the SDRs shortlist the quality leads, the AEs take over. The AEs are responsible for handling various initiatives like arranging demos, handling objections, signing contracts, etc., to take the deal toward conversion.
- Customer success team - Finally, the customer success team is responsible for onboarding the clients, taking care of their concerns, and performing various engagement activities to retain the customers for an extended period.
The assembly line model believes in segmenting sales teams based on their functions and expertise. It follows the B2B sales funnel and ensures that the customers get proper assistance from the sales professionals along their journey throughout the funnel.
- This sales team structure moves parallelly with the sales funnel. Hence sales managers can identify the blockers quickly and take actions.
- This B2B sales team structure focuses a lot on specialization. This means higher efficiency.
- Since this model doesn’t force the reps to do everything independently, there is too little focus on unhealthy competition and higher possibilities of internal collaboration.
- It is difficult for small businesses with 2-3 sales reps to divide them into four different teams.
- Since the user journey is segmented into several stages, it can be challenging for the prospects to slide through the funnel without any confusion.
Who should select this model?
The assembly line sales team structure is perfect for startups. This framework ensures an efficient sales cycle with fewer complexities. This model can help startups to create a repeatable sales process that generates, nurtures, and closes leads with less friction.
The pod structure
Customer-centric organizations prefer the pod sales team structure where the same sales professionals are responsible for different activities. This B2B sales team structure is close to the assembly line model.
Suppose you have a 10-member sales team with three lead generation executives, three SDRs, two AEs, and two customer success managers. Unlike the assembly line model, where all of these team members would work for all customers, the pod structure believes in creating small pods for each customer.
For customer A, there will be one lead generation executive, one SDR, one AE, and one customer success manager. This small pod of experts will specifically work for one particular customer and work hard to derive results.
The pod structure is highly flexible, and the room for success is higher. Because each member working in a particular pod has complete visibility into the product, the possibilities of success are higher.
- The pod structure helps the sales teams to focus more on the customer journey instead of obsessing over fulfilling their individual sales targets.
- Each pod has few sales professionals, so there are usually lesser frictions and higher empathy.
- The pod structure might restrict the individual growth of the sales reps.
Who should select this model?
The pod sales structure extends to the assembly line sales team structure. It is a perfect fit for startups with small sales teams planning to make the most of their existing sales teams.
3 Stellar Tips to Build a Productive B2B Sales Team
Are you a new founder struggling to form a B2B sales team? We have some tried and tested tips that can work wonders for you:
1. Establish transparency
The sales team is the first touchpoint for prospects. However, as the lead moves across the sales funnel, they may need to come across other touchpoints like product managers, customer success executives, etc.
This practice ensures complete transparency and helps the prospects clear their doubts about products and processes. Absolute clarity is the key to long-term client retention for brands. Hence, while developing the sales team structure,
Some of the easiest ways to build transparency in your sales team structure are:
- Using a project management tool like Trello, ClickUp, JIRA, etc., to manage different sales tasks and simplify collaboration among the team members.
- Incorporate openness within the team and encourage everyone to take ownership. Reps, customer success managers, product managers, and everyone should be aware of the expectations and goals, and accordingly, they should be accountable for their responsibilities.
- Use instant messaging apps like Slack, Skype, etc., to ensure that the internal stakeholders are in sync with each other and there are no communication gaps.
2. Use appropriate sales tools
Manual efforts can only lead to back-and-forth iterations, frequent mistakes, and eventually burnout. To free up sales reps’ time, sales managers should focus more on using efficient sales tools. Various sales tools like CRM tools, prospecting tools, enablement tools, etc., simplify the sales reps’ responsibilities and encourage them toward the more valuable task - selling.
A powerful tool that can help you form an efficient sales team is - Salesken. Here is how it can help:
- Improve the productivity of your sales team by helping them with real-time cues and in-depth call analytics
- Create an automated sales playbook for your sales team to help them understand the sales process from scratch
- Salesken can help sales managers remove silos from internal team structure with targeted sales coaching and ensure collaboration among the sales reps
To know further, you can book a free demo!
3. Focus on building a trust-driven sales team structure
The cornerstone of a successful B2B sales team structure is trust. As a sales leader, your primary goal should be to help the sales reps build sustainable client relationships based on trust, reliability, and value. Sales managers should continue to motivate the sales reps to win prospects’ trust and prioritize their perspectives to create long-lasting impacts.
Building a sales team structure can be challenging. However, sales managers should prioritize building a streamlined sales team structure before expecting the sales team to generate and convert more leads. Businesses can select any sales team structure among island, assembly line, and pod, depending on the number of sales team members and size of the organization. Once the sales team structure is specified, and the sales team members are clear about their responsibilities, there is no coming back!
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