3 different types of sales organisations (and their pros and cons)

by Patrick Thorp - October 22, 2020

There are going to be different conversations occurring between C-level when figuring out how to structure and align sales teams. I am going to focus on 3 different but very common sales organisations, a number of which I have seen all work very effectively, not just at the startup level but up to Enterprise too.

Account Based 

This is where you split your team into those serving SMB, Mid-Market and Enterprise customers

Pros: there is a clear definition of who looks after what and you are not limited by industry. You are able to cross-pollinate between industries and are not hindered by one salesperson looking after Financial Services, the other looking after Utilities for example.

Cons: it can get hard to manage resources and it requires a lot of communication and collaboration between all team members which is tough to manage.

Product Based 

This is where you split your team into focussing on particular products for your business and they sell those products into business regardless of size or industry

Pros: the expertise in each product is adopted very quickly and deeply because the salespeople understand the product inside and out.

Cons: with this, there is the danger of salespeople focusing on features and benefits as opposed to the best solution for the customer so it has to be managed very carefully.

Territory/Geography Based 

This is where you split your respective country into different territories or regions and assign a rep to each territory.

Pros: the reps gain a very good rapport with their territory because they spend a lot of time there and understand the nuances of the region as well as being very accustomed at how to get around/accents etc

Cons: the danger is that this structure can encourage working in silos which is something you don’t want. There is also the very highly likely incident where some areas are more profitable than others (if you are in the UK, consider comparing the South East and the North East for example) which makes it harder to manage.

Like everything, the sales organisation that you choose has to represent what your overarching sales strategy is and how you want to take your product or service to market. Also, just because you have tried one organisational structure, doesn’t mean you can’t try another – after all, startups are agile and nimble!

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