In a current environment and B2B sales organisation mindset featuring justification pressure on the expensive mobile sales team, it looms as curious to me that the topic of sales team structure seems to lag behind in the debate.  Specifically, in the “good old days” before the GFC, we saw an overplay of the specialisation hand in the way that sales teams were structured.  In my humble opinion.  Specialisation by portfolio, industry, key Account, sector, value chain function …. The list goes on.  We were crazy about it.

I believe that the current environment for many of us in mature, relatively commoditised,  not-so-innovative, race to the bottom type B2B markets and the pressure that puts on justification of the sales team, lends itself to a rethink of structure…not just headcount (reduction) .

Geographic, generalisation of territory structure obviously provides for increased efficiencies in the form of better visit : drive time ratios.  Increasingly important as roads become more and more clogged.  Perhaps less obvious, but equally compelling is the case for greater supply chain/distribution channel player control.  By erring on the side of aggregation of customers , as viewed, by the different roles customers play as sub-groups along the supply chain and/or distribution channel…thereby setting sail towards a more generalist Sales Exec role and sales team structure…you afford yourself the chance for a greater span of influence and value to add, as your Sales exec makes each visit on each customer because of their knowledge and potential for leverage they have as “generalists”.

Clearly, like any such conundrum there are pro’s and cons to my assertion.  Let’s juxtapose these in next week’s blogs.

Stay tuned for next week’s post: ‘Why you should err on the side of “generalist” sales team structure… Not specialist (Part 2)’

Want to learn more? check out ‘The internal sales function- the new imperative for sales team structure’