Our new eBook asks 20 top sales experts, lead generation gurus and C-level execs about the most important sales strategies they’ve recently implemented. While the responses were refreshingly diverse, one clear piece of advice is that there can be powerful results when companies separate salespeople into various roles.
Many sales organizations foster intensely competitive environments. But while many salespeople are by nature competitive, there seems to be an emerging shift in emphasis toward collaborative sales environments.
One of the most powerful ways to establish a collaborative sales environment is by stratifying your sales team into various roles. After all, some reps might be better at prospecting and others might have a knack for closing deals. Here’s what some of the world’s top sales experts had to say.
Salespeople Should Work Together in Specialized Roles
“Salespeople shouldn’t prospect! When a company relies on salespeople to do all their own prospecting and fill their own sales funnels, they can’t get off the revenue roller coaster and create predictable revenue. Why? Salespeople aren’t good at prospecting; they don’t like it and it’s not sustainable or consistent. By breaking responsibilities into four separate, focused roles, as Salesforce.com did very early, every single person in the sales team becomes an expert in their practice, executives see exactly how each function works or doesn’t, and you create a limitless sales organization.
If you don’t specialize, you WILL struggle to scale. The four key roles in a sales organization are 1) dedicated prospectors, 2) market response reps, 3) closers/Account Executives and 4) account managers. I’ve heard from countless people who read my book & specialized their salespeople say “it transformed my business.”
The most common mistake in specializing is not going far enough: having your outbound prospectors handle inbound leads, or being afraid to take the painful but important step to separate your “hunter” salespeople closing new customers from “farmer” account managers working with current customers. It’s scary for salespeople who used to depend on a book of business to lose it, so make it up to them by investing big in lead generation and overpaying them while you transition to the new system.”
Build a Team of Sales Specialists
“By breaking up sales teams into specialists, I’ve seen companies achieve aggressive sales goals. For example, email marketing software company WhatCounts increased pipeline 435% by breaking their sales org into two teams: Business Development Associates (prospectors), and Business Development Managers (closers).
Their prospecting team is measured down to the number of emails they send each day. They capture the most accurate data on their idea customer profiles with little time and waste in the research process. They operate a routine process of “7 touches in 7 days” to each prospect, and qualified leads have increased between 30-70% quarter-over-quarter since Q4, 2012.
The prospector’s goal is to qualify first, then convince prospects to take a demo with their closers, who are highly skilled at bringing in deals. The prospector role is often looked down upon. If you treat it that way, you’ll get weak results. WhatCounts and other companies employing this strategy treat their prospectors with the same level of respect as the closers, and always hire strong fits for their corporate culture.”
Free Closers From Prospecting Duties
The top sales teams we work with have combined strategy, technology, and process seamlessly to create a true “sales enablement” infrastructure for their sales teams. They’ve planned, purchased, and designed systems that put the onus on the company to do the heavy lifting at the top of the funnel and focus on freeing sales people up from administrative and prospecting duties to focus on what they were hired to do: talk live to qualified prospects. These companies have smaller sales team stacked with reps of the highest caliber and all they ask is that they take the ball across the goal line. The company has already gained the first 99 yards.
Co-founder and COO, AG Salesworks
Download our eBook, 20 Top Sales Leaders Reveal Their Biggest Productivity Secrets for many more tips that can help catapult your sales organization to new heights.