The activity your sales team is performing right now will impact 2012 and not 2011.  If you are going to miss your number this year, you better have a plan to hit it next year.  The average tenure of a VP of sales is only 19 months.  If you are going to hit your number in 2011, you know it will be a bigger nut in 2012. 


As you develop your sales strategy for 2012, how will you ensure your sales force structure is aligned with that strategy? If you aren’t confident at this point, you still have three months to prepare.  You can take one of two paths to ensure you are prepared for 2012.


  1. Hire more resources
  2. Make your current resources more effective


Are you sized correctly?  If not, hiring resources may help your number in 2012. But, by the time you recruit, hire, and onboard the new talent, a good portion of 2012 will be in the rear view mirror.


Here are two ways you can increase the effectiveness of your current sales talent by modifying your sales force structure:


1. Design Roles for Effectiveness


The Sales Force Specialization Assessment below provides a list of question to help you determine which type of role specialization will work best for your sales team.


Role Specialization Assessment


  • Specialize by Industry Vertical – if you sell into complex industries that require a high level of customization and knowledge, it will help you be more effective.  Specializing by industry vertical can represent a competitive advantage over your competitors that rely on generalists to prospect these industries.  Industry Examples:  Healthcare, Government
  • Specialize by Activity – many organizations say they have segmented hunter and farmers into different roles.  We find that many of them still have hunters working the base.  This self-inflicted role blending can lead to a lack of focus on new business acquisition.  If you want to realize an increase in new business, remove the safety net
  • Specialize by Product – if you sell technically complex products, this is probably required. Do you sell more than 6 product lines?  If so, you may need to specialize by product to ensure sales team knowledge isn’t lacking and each product receives adequate mind share


2. Align Resources with Account Value


  • Understand the potential within your customers and prospects and align resources accordingly.  Do you know the Customer Lifetime Value for each customer and prospect segment your sales team is managing/pursuing?  Put your best Account Management resources on your best accounts and your best Hunters in the territories with the most potential.  You will increase productivity.


Go to Market Strategy


Call to Action

You have almost three months to make changes to your sales force structure that will help you hit the number in 2012.  Re-evaluate your roles to determine if you should specialize.  If you already specialize, focus on adding clarity to your sales team roles to enhance your Go to Market Strategy


What ideas do you have to enhance your structure heading into to 2012?


Please attend our next webinar to learn more about best practices surrounding the adoption of Sales Methodologies.




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Scott Gruher

Orchestrates and designs the perfect project strategy, one engagement at a time, to ensure that every SBI client makes their number.

Scott joined SBI in 2010 with years of hands-on experience in sales leadership and enterprise selling. Since his arrival, he has helped dozens of organizations dramatically accelerate growth, from Fortune 10 organizations like Phillips 66 to fast-growing cloud service organizations like InfusionSoft. Scott specializes in cross-functional alignment. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to bring the strategy to life. His unique combination of real world experience and a pragmatic approach to problem solving have made him one of SBI’s most demanded resources.

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