Sales Organizations – What is the Best Structure?

Sales Organizations – What is the Best Structure?

While the scope of your business will play a large factor in determining your optimal structure, there is one critical mistake many business leaders make (both large and small). The sales organization must be a part of the sales plan, which is in-turn linked to your business plan. This forces you to look at the existing organization when making any changes to either your business or sales plan. The sales channel strategy discussed earlier is obviously a driving factor for your organization as well.

Let’s assume the most simple scenario: your primary customer base is within commuting distance of your office. With that framing, let’s look at some of the considerations that should go into determining your best structure:

The first and most important consideration (and perhaps the most overlooked as well) is how does your customer want to work with you? That should be the #1 factor in determining your org. and even in defining your channel strategy! If you don’t have an answer to this question, simply ask your customers. If you are running a startup without any real customers yet, reach out to your network and find people who are buying similar products/services. By the way, these people can be a great resource for refining your offering!

The next step is to define resource allocation – what is  your mix going to be between: inside sales/customer service (although typically lumped together, these are two distinctly different roles), outside sales (direct or representatives), eCommerce, distribution, etc… Depending on your product, it may very well be appropriate to utilize multiple channels to market. A common combination for manufacturers is direct (brand name) and OEM, and in some cases, even distribution under a different name.

My point to this post is that creating the optimum sales organization is not simply about hiring a sales team and letting them loose – that’s just the execution portion of the process. You need to have a strategically minded sales leader to work through the details of how to structure the team before you can even know who or what types of positions to hire.

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