When building a top-performing sales organization, it’s easy to say, “Surround yourself with the right people, and the results will take care of themselves.” While it is true you’ll need competent, motivated performers working together to construct the foundations of sales success, there are other critical factors to nail down – sooner than later!
So, what are some essential building blocks to include in your sales organization blueprint? Here are the cornerstones:
Cornerstone #1: Understanding the Importance of a Sales Department
While arguments can be made for the importance of every department in a business, the bottom line is this: without sales, there is no revenue; and without revenue, there IS no business! Certainly, then, the importance of a sales department cannot be understated. But being a revenue linchpin in the company also brings great responsibility – to get things right, make things work, and to perform as a team to maximize sales.
Do your sales leaders, managers, and frontline reps feel the weight of this reality? If not, performance and sales results may falter regardless of how strongly the other cornerstones are constructed.
Cornerstone #2: Establishing the Principles of Your Sales Organization
Before you can seek to define and execute sales organization structure best practices, it is critical to establish the guiding principles of your sales organization. This can (and should) include alignment with the company’s overarching values, vision, and mission. Never forget that your sales teams are the frontline ambassadors for your brand. Regardless of what your company’s marketing collateral says about its ideals, your sales reps can reinforce that foundation or make it crumble in their day-to-day interactions.
When communicating your principles internally, be sure to emphasize teamwork and respect. Even one disruptive outlier in your organization can cause frustration, disharmony, and chaos. Consider using a team-oriented mantra and ensure each team member embodies its spirit daily and with each customer interface.
Cornerstone #3: Building the Structure of Your Sales Organization for Maximum Performance
Just as a building’s strength depends on proper materials and construction, it is just as critical that your sales department’s organizational structure be well-designed and built to withstand forces, both external and internal. While your people are perhaps the most vital components – impacting culture, morale, sales results, and revenue – even the most competent sales performers cannot thrive in a poorly designed work environment.
So, make sure your sales department organizational structure makes sense with properly aligned responsibilities and territories that are matched to the skills of your sales team members.
Cornerstone #4: Using Metrics and Accountability to Drive Motivation and Results
Even the most functional sales structure is not sustainable if sales reps are not equipped to succeed, are adequately motivated, and are held accountable to maximize results. Of course, this starts by letting them know what is expected of them. Establish reasonable “stretch” goals and use appropriate key performance indicators, or KPIs, to measure progress and success. When possible, KPIs for the sales department should include leading and lagging indicators; this will help your team make necessary corrections in real-time to maximize employee performance.
Of course, performance accountability is essential to sustainable success. By identifying weak points in your sales department’s organizational structure, you can shore up deficiencies by delivering additional training, implementing new resources, and changing territories and responsibilities to match individual strengths. If necessary (usually as a last resort), you can always replace poor performers with new sales talent.
The Bottom Line:
A well-designed, carefully constructed and effectively managed sales organization can help your company improve decision-making, enhance sales team performance, and boost revenue and profit. Your sales organization’s blueprint should start with the cornerstones noted here, but there are many critical details and dimensions to be laid out as well.
As a fractional sales leader serving as an Outsourced Chief Sales Officer, I can help you establish sales organization structure best practices and draft a blueprint for sustainable sales success. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (425) 686-5911 today to learn more.
Contributed by Anton Brummer