Changing Your Sales Structure Could be All it Takes

How have you built your sales organization? How have you deployed your sales resources? What method have you used to make sure you have the best resources focused on the right things?

How you structure your sales organization can be the difference between a successful strategy and a failed one.

A brilliant sales strategy won’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t build the best underlying sales structure to support it. An old boss of mine used to say; “Structure follows strategy,” and he is right.

If you have 3 types of sales or products that target very different customers, how would you structure your organization to attack those markets?

What if each of those products had different buyers internally? Would that change things? If yes, how?

There is no right answer to these questions and the hundred others we can be faced with, the key however, is to make sure you are asking them.

All too often we focus on sales strategy, people and process. We spend time trying to identify the best go to market strategy we can. We coach and train our people. We create new processes. But it is rare we evaluate our structure. Structure can bring substantial return with very little investment. In many cases structure is simply taking what you have and using it in a different way.

Recently, one of my clients identified an opportunity where restructuring lowered the cost of sales, as they were able to reduce a management layer and increase sales as they segmented the team into two groups, each targeting a different layer of the market. No additional costs, no additional sales training and not additional sales tools.

When does it make sense to evaluate your sales structure?

  1. When there are large gaps between performers and non-performers – when you have large gaps between performers and non-performers or large differences in average deal size it could be that the market is split. The performers are having success targeting the higher end of the market, while the non-performers or those with lower average deal size are targeting the lower end of the market. In this case split the market, develop two sales teams, one targeting the higher end of the market, the other the lower end. The key here is to adjust compensation to align with the sales cycles and products. Don’t pay high-end, sophisticated sales people to sell to the low end of the market. Conversely, don’t expect lower end, less sophistacated sales people to sell upstream.
  2. When all products aren’t moving equally – when your sales team is successful with some products and not others, it may not be a product issue. It might not be a sales person issue either. It may be a sales cycle issue. When a product isn’t moving, while others are, evaluate the selling motion. Does the product that’s NOT moving require a different sales process? Do your customers buy it the SAME way they buy your other products? Are there different selling needs for the product that isn’t moving that need to be in place? If the answer is yes to any of these, considering restructuring along product lines. It may be the answer your looking for.
  3. When you get top heavy – Why have so many Managers, Directors, V.P.’s, etc? Take a look at the organization and ask is it flat enough? Do I need this many layers? Do I need any layers at all. What am I getting from each layer. Multiple layers of management can suffocate a sales team. It can create bureaucracy.
  4. When the market shifts: –Shifts in the market can mean tremendous opportunity or destruction. When markets shift, when competition increases, when threats arise, the best response could be restructuring to align with the changes. Knowing when the market is changing and ensuring your organization is properly aligned to meet the shits can be all that’s need to keep revenue up, costs aligned and morale high.
Making your number doesn’t always mean more investment, more training, more tools, a new strategy, or even new people. Sometimes it just requires you use what you have . . . differently!
How are your resources being deployed? Do you have the ideal sales structure in place? You could be missing out.