Efficient Sales Strategy: How To Split Your Sales Team

The average sales team spends only  ⅓ of their working day actually talking to prospects. Seem wasteful?

It is.

If you run a business, or a sales team, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of a sales team is always going to be your top priority. An inefficient sales team is a waste of your time and your money.

It is a tough market out there, so optimising your sales team for peak performance is crucial. Evidence suggests that having a specialised outbound team can have a major impact on the efficiency of your sales team. If you missed our last article on the key benefits of having a specialised outbound team, you can find it here.

Is there any need to split my sales team?

More than 40% of sales reps admit that prospecting is the most difficult part of their job. They hate it, and they aren’t good at it, and it negatively impacts on your business.

Prospecting is an entirely different skillset to selling and is often not the focus of sales training. You want to train your reps to pitch perfectly and ensure they understand your sell. That skillset has no overlap with the systematic and analytical process of prospecting and understanding metrics. Your salespeople are on the frontline, on the phone to your prospects, and so they don’t have the distance to notice what is going wrong overall with a tactic or strategy – they operate on an immediate and experiential level.

Splitting your team into sales roles and lead generator roles is fast becoming the best way to increase the effectiveness of your team.

The Theory Behind The Split: The Pareto Principle

Ever heard of a guy called Vilfredo Pareto? Other than having a fantastic first name, Vilfredo was the Italian economist behind the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 rule. Way back in 1896, Vilfredo noticed that about 20% of the peapods he was growing in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

Now we have all seen this applied to sales before. 80% of your sales are generated by 20% of your sales reps is frequently commented on. But, the same rule applies to how your sales team is spending their time.

If your sales team are spending more than 20% of their time on a secondary function (such as lead generation) then this is not efficient, and they could benefit from the creation of an entirely new position within the team.

How to implement a split sales team

Diluting the effectiveness of your current sales team is never the answer when looking to shake up their strategy. Instead, focus on moulding a sales team and a team of lead generators.

How do you do this?

By implementing four basic functions within the team:

  • Inbound Lead Qualification – Otherwise known as your market response reps. These are the people who qualify any marketing leads that come through your website or by phone. These leads could discover you through marketing programs, search engine marketing or simply organic word-of-mouth.
  • Outbound Prospecting – Your sales development reps or new business development reps. These are the people who source lists of potential customers/clients, and ‘cold call’ them to set up a conversation. This team is dedicated to proactive business development, and source the right contacts to pass along to the salespeople, who will then go on to close the sale.
  • Account Executives/Salespeople – These are team members who close the sale with a client. They will stay a part of the process until the new customer is up and running with the product or service that they have been sold, and will then pass this client along to the Account Manager.
  • Account Managers – These are the people who keep the customers happy long term, providing ongoing client management, renewal of contracts and generally being there to provide the service that the salesperson would likely have promised the client during negotiations.

A Final Word On Sales Strategy…

No matter the size of the company, businesses with even one salesperson could already benefit from hiring an outbound rep. In any case, startups and small business are in the very best position to start their team off on the right foot by initially hiring a lead generator, making things easier down the line when a split inevitably becomes necessary to improve performance.

Having a dedicated lead generation team could also improve your style of selling. Minimising the workload in this way makes employees more efficient in their main duties. Once you have a dedicated lead generation team in place, you can better control the way in which you reach out to potential customers, and streamline your process to get much more high quality leads from the get-go.

Don’t want to disrupt your current sales team?

If you’re worried about making this change to your current sales team, there is an easy way to make this shift to more efficient working without much physical change in your team at all.

Instead of hiring a dedicated lead generator to work in-house and disrupt your team’s flow, you could outsource to save yourself time and money. Read more about what Growthonics could do for you here.

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