How to Create an Effective Sales Team Structure

Agnee Ghosh
May 7, 2022
min read
March 19, 2024
Photo credit
Discover how to build a high-performing sales team structure for optimal efficiency and success. Explore role allocation, popular structures, and key tips for exceeding quotas.
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To market a company's product or service, a sales team functions much like a machine with a single, unified purpose. However, in real life, it may be difficult to coordinate the efforts of everyone in the team in order to work efficiently.

Proactively analyzing your sales team structure ensures that you're not just making smart hiring decisions but that you're also ensuring that your reps are in a position to succeed.

In this article, we go into the anatomy of a sales team and how to allocate the various roles within a sales team in the most effective way possible.

The Modern Sales Organization

According to research by the Sales Management Association, 90 percent of all organizations that employ a formal, guided sales process were identified as the most performing.

Understanding the various functions inside the modern sales organization and how they fit into each model is useful before we go into the sales team structures.

Hiring Manager

Employees in HR departments are responsible for choosing and training the company's internal workforce. When it comes to human resources management, an HR manager's major role is to ensure that the sales team is working together in the most efficient and effective way possible. When it comes to the growth and efficiency of other specialists, HR should be able to build systems for that purpose.

Human resources (HR) are responsible for a wi range of tasks, including hiring, performance evaluation, training and development, compensation and benefits, company culture, and internal communication.

Sales Trainer

The job of a sales trainer is to help the company's employees and managers improve their skills. Teaching employees to do more than just sell products, but to do so more quickly and more efficiently than their competitors, is the primary objective of this training program.

In addition to training new employees, this specialist can also work with current staff members. A sales trainer should be able to teach staff members new ways to communicate with customers while also teaching management strategies for dealing with employees. These efforts have a long-term effect of increasing company earnings and worker productivity. 


Sales teams are frequently assisted by administrative assistants. Smaller organizations, on the other hand, may choose to forego this function, leaving the sales professionals to handle administrative responsibilities on their own.

Sales Development Reps (SDR)

The SDR is in charge of bringing in new customers. In smaller teams, the salespeople are responsible for this responsibility. In order to close deals, this expert must send cold emails to a large client database, passing 'warmed-up' clients to less-experienced salespeople.

Sales Representative

The sales representative is often referred to as an Account Executive (AE). Several additional positions in the sales organization support the efforts of your sales representatives to maximize closure rates.

As a sales representative, you'll also be expected to consult clients about products or services, deal with current clients, find new clients, demonstrate the products or services, and document the work you've done.

Account Manager

After the account has been formed, these staff are in charge of dealing with the questions and needs of customers. These divisions are especially important if the sales team structure does not contain a dedicated account management team member or team members.

Customer Service

It's the job of a customer support specialist to interact directly with customers and help them resolve any issues that may arise from their purchase or use of a company's product and/or service. When it comes to the company's services, this specialist aims to develop long-term relationships with customers by giving timely, knowledgeable help.


It is the job of a marketer to analyze customer preferences and increase sales in the organization. Specialists like these are critical to the overall success and sales of an advertised product since they interpret the consumer's viewpoint of the manufacturer. 

The Popular Sales Team Structures 

The organization of a sales team is referred to as a sales team structure. It lays out the goals and responsibilities of every member of a company. It is also possible to think of a sales team structure as the division of a sales team into various groups, each with a particular function.

Let's take a closer look at how each one functions, as well as the kind of organizations in which each is most effective.

Sales Team Structure #1: The Assembly Line

As the name implies, the Assembly Line divides and conquers an organization's sales process with a linear structure and specific methodology. Each phase of the sales cycle has a specific job connected with it, and each work is handled by a team of experts. The following are typical categories for these types of assignments:

Lead Generation Team: The Lead Generation Team conducts research on possible customers, collects information on their wants and problems, and then organizes the material for the team to maximize prospecting for the department.

Sales Development Team: Employees specializing in sales development use the initial information provided by the Lead Generation Team to identify and evaluate potential customers. In addition to conducting research, calling potential customers might help qualify them. Only qualified leads are sent to the accounts team by the Sales Development Team.

Account Executive Team: It is the Account Executives who are the deal makers. In order to close a deal, they only work with pre-qualified prospects. During the sales and onboarding process, these professionals are responsible for everything from product demos to customer support and objection handling.

Customer Success/Support Team: This team member's primary responsibility is to assist customers in becoming familiar with the new product or service. Keeping customers happy, educating them about the product or service's worth, and finding innovative ways to strengthen the relationship are all part of their work.

Pros of the Assembly Line Structure:

  • Accuracy is improved due to the quality of data gathered from each member of the team.
  • Assigning a distinct assignment to each member of the team helps reduce tension and improve concentration when the group is confronted with a challenging task.
  • Over time, it encourages experimentation with the sales process, allowing you to discover new and creative methods to approach each step of the process.

Cons of the Assembly Line Structure:

  • Retains less responsibility for the customer than a dedicated sales rep who manages a customer from beginning to end.
  • Focusing too narrowly on a single task can disrupt the flow of work and the client experience, which contributes to silo formation within the sales team.
  • Since there are multiple persons involved in the selling process and client interaction, it reduces the level of customer-sales professional emotional engagement.
  • Not suitable for smaller businesses or sales departments with less money and time to devote to the project.

Sales Team Structure #2: The Island

The conventional "sell-or-die" environment associated with sales reps is a result of the island model of the sales organization. In reality, there isn't much of an administrative framework in place. There are only a few back-end services you need to supply your team: some training, a selection of products they can sell, a commission structure, and perhaps an office.

Using this paradigm, each sales representative is in charge of a particular part of the sales process. They are responsible for generating, qualifying, and closing all of their own leads. In this framework, reps tend to be a little more threatening. Not only are they up against the greater market, but they are also up against their own teams.

Salespeople become their own bosses when they join your team of reps. Traditional sales activities, such as real estate or financial services, are dominated by this type of team structure. 

Pros of the Island Sales Team Structure:

  • Managerial monitoring on an individual level is extremely limited.
  • Suitable for simple sales procedures, such as a product with only one or two calls to close

Cons of the Island Sales Team Structure:

  • Establishes a highly competitive sales environment
  • It's considerably more difficult for you to manage how your brand is portrayed in the market because each individual rep has their own unique style.
  • Key sales KPIs and standards are tough to manage because everyone does everything.

Sales Team Structure #3: The Pod

Island and assembly model elements combine to form the Pod. A pod is a group of people who specialize in different aspects of the sales process. This type of sales team structure is most commonly used by major corporations since it separates the sales team into smaller sections.

There are normal people in each pod who are responsible for generating leads, qualifying those leads, closing deals, and bringing on new customers. An Assembly Line and Island sales team structure model are combined in the Pod model. The specialization of sales tasks is derived from the Assembly Line, while individual achievement is derived from Island sales.

Pod Sales are a logical next step for companies with a sales structure based on the assembly line method. It also works well if the company already has a large sales force or the means to hire more employees to focus on sales.

Pros of Pod Sales Team Structure:

  • Helps people understand and appreciate the full client journey
  • Communication between members of the team is improved as a result.
  • Helps in the development of sales personnel's agility and adaptability

Cons of Pod Sales Team Structure:

  • The natural progress that comes from coworkers pushing each other limits the competition between individuals.
  • Reduces the level of specialization required for each function by using a multi-tasking sales strategy.

Additionally, there are four organizational models that can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Geography/territory.
  • Product/service line.
  • Customer/account size.
  • Industry/vertical segment.

Geography & Territory Structure

Members of the sales team can get to know their local area better because of this organizational design. The sales team may even build a relationship with local businesses and undertake research on their rivals, if necessary.

It simplifies the evaluation process for sales reps by focusing on a given location's performance and potential.

Product & Service Line Structure

Depending on the items and services they are selling, sales teams are arranged in a specific way. It enables sales agents to connect with those who are interested in the same product or service, as well as those who are located in the same area. Increased income is a result of sales personnel becoming experts in their products and mastering the sales process.

Customer & Account Structure

This is a common arrangement for sales teams that works well with account-based marketing (ABM). Customers and accounts are the focus of ABM team structures in companies with strong ABM structures, allowing sales teams to learn the ins and outs of working with a specific customer or account.

Industry & Vertical Structure

Sales teams can be organized by industry or vertical as well. Higher closing rates can be achieved by having sales teams who specialize in a specific area. Sales teams should be segmented according to industry verticals if your company sells to customers in multiple markets.

Which Sales Team Structure Is Right For Your Business?

It's understandable if you're unsure of which sales team structure to use to achieve your company's sales targets. If you currently have a framework for your sales force in place, you might be questioning if you made the correct decision.

You're interested in increasing the effectiveness and output of your sales force. However, you must also recognize and develop your employees so that they may progress with the company.

Do some research on your industry's other players to see how their sales organizations are set up. The only way to find out why everyone in your market is doing so well is to find out whether there's a good, logical rationale for their success.

Finding the appropriate match for your sales team is critical to achieving the success you desire. Let's not forget about our customers, however. Nobody will be working if you don't make sure the sales team structure works for them.

If you want to develop a great sales team structure that works for everyone and keeps everyone working, here are seven tips to help you do just that!

Tips For How To Structure A Sales Team For Success

1. Keep your eye on the prize. The short-term results-oriented nature of sales makes it difficult to take a long-term view of the structure of your sales team. As a result, having a clear vision for the future is essential when it comes to developing a successful sales team structure. The sales team's performance will be influenced by the way the program is structured today.

2. Keep things simple. It's easy to overcomplicate your sales organization structure with so many methods to segment teams. But keep an eye on your sales team's current state. Is there a better method to organize their job today?

The ability to scale should not trump current demands. If you only have a few sellers and a little budget, investing in an assembly line model may actually cut sales output and slow growth. A simple structure with limited segmentation also allows for more flexibility as your business evolves.

Finding ways to streamline your sales organizational structure keeps your sales operations simple.

3. Maintain a focus on your customers. Everything you do should be based on what is in the best interest of your customers. The sales department is the only one where this is more important. The basis of sales is built on the human contacts and interactions formed in the sales department.

4. Remain data-driven. When it comes to growing a sales staff, having the correct tools is critical. Make sure you select the right alternatives for your Sales Stack based on the structure of your sales team so that your staff has the information they need when they need it. Having a data focus also allows you to discover where the sales team faces difficulties or impediments that you need to help them with.

5. Identify and hire enthusiastic workers. The idea of a salesperson who is willing to use any means and any price to sell a product or service is a thing of the past. The modern psychology of a straight sales expert is based on full self-awareness of all the benefits a client receives from purchase and the characterization of their pains during the sales funnel's early phases.

6. Invest in your people. Selling is a difficult task. Your sales force works relentlessly to secure your company's success, often with little recognition, from annoying customer requests to numerous rejections. Because of this, fostering a positive sales culture is essential for motivating and empowering sales representatives to accomplish their best work.

You can keep your company's sales culture competitive but not ruthless by including values of compassion, support, and open communication into your company's core values. Ensure that company executives, particularly those in the sales department, embody these ideals on a daily basis.

Your salesmen will feel like they're part of a larger team even if they're spread out across the country, in a pod, or something else entirely.

7. Make sure your salespeople know how to put together effective presentations. Many experts in the field of sales believe that a salesperson who is charismatic, goal-oriented, and able to communicate effectively can sell almost anything. It's critical to be able to passionately and swiftly display the sales object in order to dispel any client doubts about whether or not they require that product.

Wrapping Up

Your teams will have everything they need to not only meet but surpass quota and smash the competition if you have the proper sales structure and segmentation in place.

Additionally, you'll discover the sales team structure models that benefit your business, your customers, your employees, and your bottom line, as well as your staff.

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