The Anatomy of a Modern Sales Team

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Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor




Today’s sales organizations are complex task-oriented teams. The key to a successful and motivated sales team is an effective and organized sales manager who acts as a catalyst for sales productivity. In order to do so, sales leaders must delegate tasks to the appropriate people. 

So what does task delegation look like for a complex sales team? Let's take a look.

Core Components of an Efficient and Productive Sales Organization

Old adages die hard: No sales manager is an island. You need a team, and that team must include the right professionals with the right skills. Each sales organization has its own culture and therefore must be structured differently. Task delegation will depend a great deal on that culture and structure, but at a minimum, you'll need the following seven professional roles on your team, even if you don’t have a separate employee performing each role.

  • Hiring Manager -- Someone has to find talent, negotiate compensation terms, and handle the onboarding tasks to incorporate new team members. In a large organization, you may have a dedicated hiring manager or a human resources department. In a smaller organization, the sales manager may serve in this role.
  • Sales Trainer -- This person trains the sales representatives to manage their company’s sales process and integrates them into the company culture. Again, smaller teams may have a sales manager fill this position.
  • Administrator -- Some sales teams have an administrative assistant. For smaller teams, the sales manager may have to handle his or her own administrative tasks.
  • Lead Generator -- If your organization is large enough, you could have dedicated lead generators, often known as sales development representatives. On smaller teams, your sales representatives will probably generate their own leads.
  • Sales Representative -- Sales representatives are the core of your sales team. Everything else must revolve around your sales reps if you want them to be productive agents.
  • Account Manager -- An account manager handles the account after it has been closed, so their role is primarily to service customers' needs post-sale. Some teams have their sales reps handle this responsibility, while others have separate headcount.
  • Customer Service -- If you do not have any account management roles on your team, someone will need to handle customer needs as they arise after the sales process.

Not all of these professionals need to answer to the sales manager, but the sales manager must be able to cooperate with each of these professionals within the organization and be aware of their roles in the process.

The 8 Essential Skills and Qualities of a Successful Sales Manager

To properly delegate tasks, you've got to have a deep understanding of time management and mission-oriented sales. The sales manager's job is to ensure the pieces of the sales process fit together and the right person is matched with the appropriate task. The sales manager must possess the following professional skills:

  • Communication -- An effective sales manager communicates to inspire, motivate, encourage, discipline, train, and build people up.
  • Organization -- All successful delegation stems from strong organization.
  • Cooperation -- A sales manager must cooperate with other managers within the company: Human resources, sales floor, upper management, and more. She must be adept at getting her own team to cooperate with each other.
  • Planning -- Task planning is the foundation of successful delegation.
  • Self-starter -- If a sales manager can't motivate himself, he can't motivate his team.
  • Strength assessment -- A successful sales manager can assess her own strengths and weakness, those of her team members, and the team as a whole.
  • Team-building -- The sales manager must be a master of using team-building techniques to inspire and motivate all team members to be their best.
  • Problem-solving -- Task delegation involves understanding the breadth of a project and determining the best way to complete it, which requires problem-solving skills.

These are the minimum skills necessary for a sales manager to succeed in developing the right people to handle the right tasks within the organization.

Implementing Your Sales Production Process and Delegating Tasks

Before you can delegate any tasks, you have to identify them and know how they fit into your sales process and company culture. Here's a brief outline of the sales management process.

  • What are your objectives? Define a clear goal. It must be specific, with a deadline, and measurable. For example, Company X will increase sales by 30% within the next six months across our entire sales team.
  • Evaluate your situation (where are you now?). In order to know whether you'll succeed in reaching your goal, you need to know where you are right now. Example: Our current sales are $150,000 per month.
  • What tasks are necessary to get from where you are now to your end goal?
  • What are the obstacles to success? Are there any major hurdles to cross? For instance, if if you need a larger facility to handle the hiring of new sales reps, install a call center, or hire additional lead generators, that could be an obstacle you need to overcome to reach your goal.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team?
  • Who’s best suited for what task? Match team members to specific tasks based on their strengths and how they will fit into the overall structure of the sales process. Be careful that you don't over task any particular member of your team, and make sure every member of the team is matched to a task that fits their skills. Divide the tasks as evenly as possible along those lines.
  • What skills are you missing? Are you missing any skills on your team that are necessary for the completion of any tasks? If so, you may need to hire more personnel to meet those needs.
  • How will you implement your plan? Based on your analysis, create a plan that will help you reach your goals by overcoming stated obstacles and delegating the proper tasks to the best personnel on your team. If you need to hire new people, make sure that is stated in your plan. Also include any training you need to provide to your team in order to facilitate a successful implementation of your plan.

To ensure your sales manager is successful in analyzing the needs of your organization and delegating tasks, you'll need to provide her with the proper tools (spreadsheets, Gantt charts, etc.). At the end of the process, your sales team should be fully staffed, fully trained, and operating at a level that makes it easier for the sales manager to efficiently manage the team without breaking the bank. 

Topics: Sales Culture

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