When business owners first attempt to scale their sales team it often leads to inconsistent and unpredictable revenue. Usually, this is a result of their sales team juggling too many activities across various stages of the sales process. A common example of this is when sales reps spend too much time managing current customer needs and not enough time prospecting for new business, which leads to an anemic sales pipeline. On the other side of the spectrum, you may have sales reps who prefer to spend all their time looking for new business (aka “hunters”) but neglect following up with current customers, leading to poor customer retention. In either case, this common problem prevents many organizations from generating optimal revenue growth.
At Maramba Consulting, this is an obstacle to revenue growth we see all the time, and, as challenging as it may seem, we’ll walk you through what you need to know so you can fix the problem.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of choosing the right sales roles for your team and the broad positive effects that result from implementing these roles in your organization. We will go over how to identify the roles you need by analyzing gaps in your sales process and putting together the right sales structure to get revenue growth back on track.
Section 1: Identifying the Sales Roles You Need
During phases of growth in your sales department, it can be easy to fall into the “one-man-band” sales rep trap. That is, your sales team consists of folks with the title “sales representative” who do everything from lead generation, to qualifying prospects, coordinating demonstrations, negotiating and closing deals, managing the needs of current customers, identifying up/cross-selling opportunities, coordinating with other departments for customer needs, and the list goes on. While this approach can work fairly well early on (especially if you happen to have one of those highly sought-after “unicorn” sales reps) it doesn’t scale well and will slow revenue growth to a halt.
- The title “sales representative” doesn’t tell us, or your customers, anything. What do your sales representatives do? Do they spend most of their time looking for new customers? Are they the best point of contact for current customers? Are they equipped to educate customers on all of your offerings or just some?
- Oftentimes, under the umbrella term “sales rep,” sales professionals are asked to do everything and, therefore, do nothing well.
The Inefficient Solution
- Telling your sales team to “just do ______ more!”
Why it’s wrong: There are different skill sets required for various parts of the sales process. Furthermore, expecting your salespeople to be proficient at everything is not a scalable practice for your business and will lead to burnout, employee turnover, and decreased sales.
The Maramba Solution
Every business is unique and requires a tailored approach based on many factors, such as its size, sales cycle, and target audience. At Maramba Consulting, we’ve worked with organizations in a wide variety of industries and sizes, helping them implement a scalable structure for their sales teams. Over the years, we’ve found that a great place to start for any business owner is to think through the following questions about their current sales structure:
- How are you setting goals for sales reps around customer acquisition, customer spend, or retention?
- How is your company currently performing with customer acquisition, average spend, and retention? How have these numbers changed over the past five years?
- How are you tracking the type of activities your sales reps are doing at each stage of the sales process (prospecting, qualifying, closing, etc.)?
- What percentage of each week are your sales reps spending on current customer needs? How about prospecting for new business? What about “non-sales” related administrative tasks?
- Are some of your sales reps better equipped or skilled with activities at different stages of the sales process?
These are just a few questions that will help draw out the areas that need to be addressed. Once you’ve taken the time to identify the real issues getting in the way of your sales team performing, you can begin to put a plan together for addressing the gaps in your sales structure.
Section 2: Analyzing Gaps in your Sales Process
The best way to ensure you have the right sales structure is to analyze and address the current gaps in your sales process. Usually, addressing these gaps demands a combination of ‘people solutions’ (e.g. hiring new salespeople), ‘technology solutions’ (e.g. implementing a better CRM), and ‘process solutions’ (e.g. implementing structured sales training).
One of the key benefits of working with a firm that specializes in sales structure, like Maramba Consulting, is that you have access to seasoned sales leadership expertise to help accelerate the process and ensure it goes smoothly. We take the time to ask the critical questions that so often go unasked in the fast-paced day-to-day of running your business.
Questions you can ask to begin analyzing your sales process:
- What does your buyer’s journey look like, and do you have it well-documented?
- Are the steps in your sales process clearly defined and mapped out in the CRM?
- How are leads qualified and scored?
- What does your discovery process look like, and how in-depth is it?
- Is the handoff process with customers from sales to other departments frictionless and clear?
- What sales activities are tracked throughout the sales process?
- E.g. Calls, meetings, win rate, sales cycle length, average deal size, etc.
- What customer activities are being tracked through the sales process?
- E.g. Email opens/clicks, website visits, etc.
- How are you measuring capacity for sales reps and deal pipeline?
Most notably, asking these questions avoids oversimplifying your sales process, exposing the nuances that will accelerate revenue growth, and avoiding the inefficient solution we discussed earlier.
The Maramba Solution
Business owners often hire us to help them analyze their sales process and work with them to do the heavy lifting of addressing the gaps we identify together. Our process generally looks something like this:
- We analyze your sales process from beginning to end, interviewing your team and understanding your customers.
- We build a streamlined sales process and integrate it into your sales structure.
- We then segment the sales team into specialized roles dedicated to managing each stage of the streamlined sales process, ensuring each stage gets the consistent attention it needs to move deals through the pipeline.
- We design job descriptions that match these roles, then develop competitive compensation packages to entice the right talent.
- Set sales-based (and market-informed) KPIs (key performance indicators) tied to your revenue goals.
Section 3: Putting the Pieces Together—The Right People in the Right Seats
Now that you have a streamlined sales process and are measuring the right KPIs, we can begin assigning talent to the right roles and setting your salespeople up for success.
The Maramba Solution
- Assess your team—determine which (if any) of your sales reps need to be moved into different roles that align with their skills and the sales process.
- Recruit—equip your business with a strategy to prospect, qualify, and hire top talent.
- Train—coach up salespeople who are inexperienced in their roles and equip them with the right tools for ongoing development.
- Build—set your salespeople up for success by implementing a powerful CRM to track activity and performance across various stages of the sales process.
- Plan—develop a CRM-driven sales forecast for each role that scales with the organization’s growth and provides clarity for strategic decision-making.
Section 4: Specialized Sales Roles in Practice
Analyzing gaps in your sales process and building a sales structure with the right roles is the best way to accelerate revenue growth as your business scales.
As an example, here are some of the sales roles we developed and implemented for a company with a rapidly growing inside sales team:
- Business Development Representative: A role dedicated to prospecting new customers, qualifying them, setting appointments, and keeping the new business machine running on high octane!
- Account Executive: This role specializes in the customer discovery processes, identifying opportunities, and problem-solving to close deals with the most amount of value for both parties.
- Account Manager: With a focus on relationship building, this role ensures that customer retention stays high while looking for opportunities to increase client spend through up-selling and cross-selling.
Not only did this model provide an easier understanding of sales and a more efficient sales team, but it also gives a clear career path for new salespeople they hire. A key component of employee retention is setting a guideline toward upper mobility within your organization, and each role gives valuable insight into the next.
Most importantly, having the right people, process, and technology in place gave the business owner and executive team in the above example the confidence they needed to invest more in their people and customers. They were able to stop stressing about the bottom line and start focusing on their shared vision for the future.
Section 5: Let’s Build Your Sales Team
Feeling excited about building a revenue-generating machine with a more streamlined sales department? We are here to craft a tailor-made solution for your business that will lead to more consistent revenue growth. By working with the experienced sales leaders at Maramba Consulting, you will have the tools you need to reinvigorate, refocus, and accelerate revenue growth for your business.
Interested in learning more about building and managing sales teams? Check out this book on our recommended reading list, Sales Management. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg.