How to Assemble Your Sales Team: Choosing the Right Model for Explosive Growth

Oren Todoros
By Oren Todoros, Updated on April 21, 2024, 5 min read

Your company’s growth depends on your sales team, and your sales team structure impacts your close rates and customer retention.


For instance, industry-based sales team structure models build customer trust. Further organizing team workflows helps increase sales reps’ productivity. But how do you know which sales model is right for your team?


This article covers common sales team structures and organization methods, along with pros and cons, and how to best implement them.



What is a Sales Organization Structure?

A sales organization structure defines how you distribute roles, goals, and tasks in your sales team. It impacts both client-facing setups—like geography or service-based ones—and internal workflows.


The right team structure can quicken your sales cycles, engage your reps, and improve customer service.




4 Effective Sales Team Structures

You likely already have a sales team structure. However, Forrester’s research suggests re-evaluating it in light of post-pandemic trends including shifts toward re-purchase selling.


First, let’s examine the top four sales team structure models.



1. Functional sales teams

Structuring your team by function—for instance, role specialization or funnel stage—helps address customer needs more efficiently. You can adapt functions based on your industry and operational model, but here’s a typical B2B functional team structure.


Example: Lead generation + Account management + Customer Success 


This split lets salespeople specialize in stage-specific tasks. Lead gen execs progress deals, account managers execute quality services, and customer success reps solve issues effectively. Its pitfall, though, is that individual reps can become so focused on functional goals (like closing deals), that they neglect other business goals (like retention).



2. Geographic sales teams

Multi-region businesses can also split sales divisions by geography. This helps increase close rates and customer satisfaction because:


  1. Localized reps better understand their regions’ preferences and cultural norms. For example, B2B sales in Japan rely more on building long-term trust and less on cold calling, compared with Western countries.
  2. Employees based in specific regions can meet more easily with local prospects and clients, virtually and in person.


The downside: territory-based teams can easily slip into communication silos. Say two sales teams target the same global client in two different regions. They could be duplicating work and delaying a close by not sharing updates.



3. Industry-based sales teams

Industry-based structures suit B2Bs selling to multiple verticals—like marketing agencies targeting finance, retail, and nonprofit clients. Specializing in industry-specific pain points and preferences enables salespeople to handle objections and customize products better.



However, this B2B sales team structure can be pricey. Specialized hiring and training are costly, plus you can’t respond quickly to demand changes by re-shuffling reps across teams.



4. Product-based sales teams

Product-based structures work well for businesses selling complex products like enterprise software or scientific equipment. This specialization lets reps answer customer questions more in-depth, positioning your company as a trusted provider.


That said, salespeople need product-specific training or experience selling similar services—both expensive strategies. Plus, product-based reps risk over-focusing on product functionality instead of prioritizing customer needs.



Next Step: 3 Ways to Organize Your Sales Team

Once you choose your top-level sales structure, decide how sales reps work together in each team. Here are three options.


Island: Every rep for themselves

Reps are “islands” with individual targets, prospect lists, and discretion over sales methods. This works well for commission-based, high-transaction sales environments like real estate. Plus, it’s low-cost. However, without team-wide communication and oversight, risks include inconsistent branding and high turnover.


Pod: Tight-knit account teams

Pod teams deepen client relationships. You might, for instance, group an industry division into account-based pods where customer success reps, account managers, and pre-sales experts work closely together.


Pods suit small-volume, high-value deals—including niche verticals and long-standing repeat-purchase accounts. They may, however, be too expensive for one-off, low-value projects.


Assembly line: Divide and conquer

An assembly-line team is divided into specialized sales roles. For example, a lead generation functional team could include pre-sales, field sales, and inbound sales reps.


This maximizes each funnel stage’s efficiency and suits multi-stage or complex sales cycles. It could, however, over-complicate workflows for start-ups or new market launches still experimenting with sales strategies.



How to Structure a Winning Sales Team

After picking the right sales team model for your business, apply these tips.


Provide personalized training

Your team structure is just a PowerPoint slide unless you train your sales staff. Personalize training for each team and include:

  • An overview of the target customer, including their demographics (or firmographics in B2B), pain points, and requirements.

  • How incentives like commission pay work at individual and team levels.

  • The sales funnel stage the team and its individuals focus on, like qualification, negotiation, closing, and re-purchasing.

  • Procedures for key tasks like contract drafting and customer issue escalation.

  • A sales playbook featuring scripts and examples of successful techniques.

  • Practice runs for sales reps to improve their skills and get feedback.

Establish collaborative workflows

Collaborative selling helps close deals eight out of 10 times, while also preventing miscommunications with customers. Personalize workflows based on factors like deal type and geography, and re-iterate them through trial and error.


To illustrate, the main steps in an up-sell workflow could be:

  • The account manager, product expert, and client discuss additional needs.

  • Sales executive prepares up-sell proposal.

  • The account manager discusses the proposal with the client and closes the deal.

Choose a sales-enabling communication platform

Nine in 10 sellers at big companies use sales tech weekly. Pick a robust communication platform that helps your sales team collaborate and hit targets more efficiently.


A comms app like Spike lets you:

  • Share updates with your pod or product sales team using private group chats and video calls.

  • Write faster, tone-appropriate sales emails with conversational AI.

  • Eliminate back-and-forths with a simple, unified email + chat inbox.

  • Manage team workflows with real-time task tracking.

  • Share updates and feedback in collaborative notes.



The Final Score: Choosing the Right Sales Team Structure for Success

Your sales team structure can make or break deals. At the top level, you have functional, product-based, geographic, and industry-based structures. You can further organize teams as islands, assembly lines, or pods. The right combo for you depends on factors including your budget, product range, deal sizes, and target verticals.


A well-executed team structure also includes thorough sales training and collaborative practices. Plus, your team needs a smooth communication app like Spike—which lets you simplify your inbox, write AI-enhanced pitches, track team tasks, collaborate in group chats and calls, and more.


Try Spike for free today!

Oren Todoros
Oren Todoros Oren is a strategic thinker with over 20 years of experience in the marketing industry and is the current Head of Content Strategy at Spike. He's also the proud father of 3 beautiful daughters and a dog named Milo.

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