It’s not that one is better than the other, but having the wrong type can cost your organization in wasted hours, high overhead, and frustrated customers.
Broadly speaking, a generalist force sells all things to all customers, and a specialist force is compartmentalized according to product sold, type of customer, sales activity, or industry vertical. So should you consider turning your specialist team into a generalist or vice versa? Well, let’s consider some factors.
Does your company have thin margins?
If your margins won’t support a pricey sale model, then generalist is indicated. Specializing is expensive. Are you selling a large number of products or services? With a sizable menu of offerings, you will likely want your reps to specialize by either product or industry.
How young is your company?
Less mature businesses are often best served by a specialized force such as an assembly line, with distinct groups for finding and qualifying opportunities, closing deals, and customer support. In older companies, a generalist model might be best.
What do your customers want?
A specialist force allows your sales team to develop deep expertise in the product or in the industry, which may be best if customers make purchase decisions based on the rep’s knowledge.
Using these indicators, you can better evaluate your current structure and decide if a change is necessary.
How to Slay Your Number in 2016
Are you going to make your number in 2016?
If you are not sure but would really like to know, turn to page 46 and read our feature titled “How to Make Your Number in 2016.” Here, we summarize the primary findings from SBI’s ninth-annual research project, which captures what the best of the best are doing to exceed their revenue targets.