If You Structure Your Sales Force Like the Big Companies...

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 @ 06:07 AM

Yesterday I read a White Paper about structuring sales forces and it got my blood boiling.  It wasn't that it was a study about sales forces, and it wasn't that it was a study using large companies.  I got upset because of the conclusion - that you should structure your sales force like the big companies.  

When I say big companies I'm talking about technology companies like, IBM, Oracle, EMC, Microsoft, Apple, Dell and HP; I'm talking about financial services companies like, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America.  I'm talking about automakers like, GM, Toyota, Chrysler and Ford.  I'm talking about manufacturers like Stanley, Sony, Parker-Hanifin, Gillette and Proctor Gamble.

When I say structure, I'm talking about the maze of roles (inside incoming, inside outgoing, telesales, account management, business development, major account sales, national account sales, field sales, territory sales, product experts, channel sales, market-specific sales, etc.), responsibilities (job description, account description, quotas and requirements) and traits (personality traits and you know how that upsets me) required to perform effectively in those roles; and how those requirements match up to customer requirements.

You must understand why the big companies complicate and detail sales force requirements so.  Usually, it is the result of inadequate performance and a consultant (from another big company) doing a redesign based on what they think customers need from the sales force. The funny thing is that these redesigns don't increase sales, they simply add unnecessary layers of sales leadership, and the resulting increase in sales occurs only because attention was paid to the sales force, metrics were put in place, training was provided and new expectations were set. All of other complications are just that.

So what's wrong with all of that you ask?  Nothing - if you are one of the big companies in the Fortune 1000.  But if you have a small or mid-market business, which most of you do, it doesn't work.  Why it won't work for you is simple.  The big companies?  They are all brand leaders.  Selling their products and services is really easy compared to selling your products and services.  They have instant recognition, easily get audiences with their prospects, face little resistance, can buy market share to land desired accounts, spend millions on advertising and awareness, and prospects can't go wrong making a decision to do business with them - it's usually a decision that can be made without risk.

In other words, their salespeople will have success with their prospects regardless of the structure of the sales force and more surprisingly, regardless of whether those salespeople are effective! And your company?  Just have your salespeople focus on finding, selling and closing business every waking moment and make sure you have the right people in those roles, thoroughly train them, hold them accountable to high expectations, coach them every day and the results will come.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, fortune 1000 sales forces, large sales force

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,800 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Individual Blog -  Silver

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


Top Sales Awards 2018 - Assessment Tool -  Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blog 2019

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader