Best Way to Organize Your Sales Team

Having prepared your strategic sales plan, you now need to utilise your most valuable resource, people, to put the plan into action in the most effective way to achieve your objectives. This is a matter of deciding who sells what to whom.

How you organize your team will largely depend upon:

(a) the product range

(b) the types of customers

(c) the experience of your salespeople.

Organize Sales Team Best Way to Organize Your Sales Team

It can be done in one or a combination of the following ways: By geographical area

Each salesperson is allocated an area and sells the full range of products or services to all types of customers. This is particularly suitable where the products are non technical and the customers are of a similar type. For example: books and home improvements.

The advantages of this system are that only one representative will visit each customer and the area is confined to one person, thus being cost effective in terms of travelling. The disadvantage is the difficulty in dividing the territories so that they are fair to each salesperson and giving them an equal opportunity to reach their targets. As a result some geographical areas will be comparatively small, such as London or Merseyside, while others may include the whole of Scotland or Wales. Geographical areas may have to be adjusted each year depending upon the results achieved and relocation of customers.

By product

If the range of products includes some which require more expertise than others or require different selling skills, each representative can be given specific products to sell depending upon the individual’s experience. An example might be a software company where one group of salespeople sells off the shelf programs, while others sell bespoke packages.

An advantage with this method is that it provides a career path for promotion within the sales team. Disadvantages are that more than one representative may visit some customers and more travelling would be involved as the areas would be larger, which may make it less cost effective.

By customer

This is the method often used by FMCG companies. One group of sales representatives would sell to independent retail outlets on a geographical basis, while another group, often referred to as national account executives, would sell to the larger customers such as wholesalers and supermarket chains where negotiation skills are more important.

The advantages and disadvantages are similar to that for selling by product.

By market segment

Where a company manufactures products which are sold to different types of industries, each representative concentrates on one specific industry and thus gains vital experience in that particular field. For example: a company manufacturing bearings sells to the marine industry, the automotive industry, railways and general engineering. Each of the representatives specialises in one industry type.

Organize Sales Team 1 Best Way to Organize Your Sales Team

Again the disadvantage is the geographical distribution of the customers resulting in much time spent travelling. However, this is usually outweighed by the expertise and market information that the salesperson gains.

Only you can decide which is the most appropriate system for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make changes.

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