Organization equals profits. At least that’s what a Harvard Business Review study demonstrated when it conducted an extensive survey of 786 sales professionals from underperforming, average and high-performing organizations. According to the research, organized sales organizations perform better than those without a strategically structured sales process.
In fact, half of study participants from high-performing sales organizations said their sales processes were closely monitored, strictly enforced and automated, while just 28 percent of underperforming sales organizations made the same claim. It’s no surprise, then, that 48 percent of participants from underperforming sales organizations responded that their sales process structures were either nonexistent or merely informal.
So, what is a sales organization structure? In short, it’s the design of a sales team. A project management organizational chart for sales is designed by segmenting sales teams into specialized groups to boost sales. It also outlines the company’s sales objectives, and it defines the responsibilities of every member of the organization.
An effective sales organizational structure promotes growth of the organization in multiple other ways, including:
- Less conflict among team members
- More engagement between the sales team and clients
- Increased communication within sales teams
- Clear goals and better decision making
Of course, knowing about the benefits of an organized sales team is only half the battle. The sales and marketing organizational chart structure also must be planned, implemented and communicated to sales teams in order to be effective.
Looking to create or improve your sales organization structure in order to grow your business and increase sales? Check out the following ways to organize your sales organization effectively and present it to your team.
Choose the best sales organization structure
Sales organizations can be structured in a variety of ways, based on factors like geographic location, team size, number of products and services sold and even the size of client organizations. Each type of sales structure carries its own positive and negative aspects.
The five primary types of sales organizational structure include:
- The assembly line sales organization model— also known as the hunter-farmer model— divides responsibilities based on each team members’ job title, much like an assembly line in a factory. The sales process starts with lead generation, which is passed along to an account executive to complete the sale.
The customer is then passed down the line to a customer success or account manager to continue the client relationship. Of course, responsibilities can be further divided among larger sales teams with greater volume.
The specialized roles are great for maximizing efficiency, and each team member can develop expertise in their assigned role. Too many handoffs, however, sometimes can disrupt the customer’s overall experience.
- In an island sales structure, every sales professional is a generalist: They handle each step of the sales process for individual customers from prospecting to onboarding.
The island structure is often adopted by companies with smaller sales teams in which it’s easier to divide customers among team members than dividing each account into multiple tasks.
Of course, by acting as a generalist, sales professionals are less likely to become an expert in any area, although they can become experts in each of their clients and maximize their individual output.
- A pod sales structure incorporates aspects of both the assembly line and the island structures. An organization will be divided into pods, and each pod will partner with specific customers and handle those accounts from leads through implementation, as with the island structure.
However, each pod will include individual representatives who will specialize in one task within the customer’s journey. A pod is basically an assembly line within an island, and the model is often used by large businesses that want an efficient yet still simple way to divide their sales teams.
- Territorial structures, also known as geographic organizational structures, divide a sales organization based on geographic location. A company’s entire territory will be divided into regions, and each region will be assigned its own sales rep or sales team.
Once divided into geographic regions, each regional team then also can be divided into an assembly line, island or pod structure. A smaller organization might assign a single sales professional to an entire region. By specializing in territories, sales reps can become experts in the wants and needs of customers in their location, and they can also develop a positive rapport with clients in their region.
- Larger companies or those that serve a larger variety of industries also can divide their sales organization vertically, by industry. Each sales team will specialize in a particular industry, becoming experts in the needs and nuances of that trade or business class.
Once divided among industries, each segment can then organize itself as an assembly line, island or even pod structure. A similar structure can be applied to organizations with multiple large clients, and a team can be assigned to each client before further dividing the structure among team members.
Invest in sales support and communication
A sales enablement team helps to boost sales teams’ efficacy by empowering sales professionals with any training, guidance and information they need to succeed in their industry, client or specific assignment. The larger and more complex the sales organizational structure, the greater the need for a sales enablement team’s support.
After all, most 21st century buyers are already well-versed in their needs, and they expect their sales experience to be handled by someone who possesses even greater knowledge and understanding. In such cases, a sales enablement team can help conduct research and offer insight and guidance to the sales representatives.
The sales enablement team can accomplish these goals through onboarding and continual training, informational content and guidance, as well as analytics and intelligence to help them close the sale. The team can also assist in modifying the organizational structure to be even better organized and more simply implemented.
Of course, no organizational structure can meet success if sales teams don’t understand it. Each individual should not only understand their role, but how their role is connected to other aspects of the sales organization. Companies often will communicate that important information through a visual presentation.
Within that presentation, the best way to illustrate the organizational structure itself is through a sales organizational chart, which is basically a customized flow chart. Flow charts are diagrams that illustrate a process. Often that process involves a sequence of steps or events that need to happen in a certain order, but it can also break down an organization and show the roles divided from the top executive down to the front-line workers.
Flowcharts, however, can be a tricky infographic to design, but not when relying on Beautiful.ai’s free PowerPoint alternative presentation software. Our smart slide templates— including the flowchart infographic template— automatically adjust their design as new content is added. Beauful.ai users can also take advantage of a multitude of additional smart slides, infographics and other data visualizations to illustrate data in their sales organizational structure presentation.