A Guide to B2B Sales Team Structure + How to Motivate Employees
OneIMS Globe
Free Online Workshop: How to Crush Your Competition in Sales / July, 2 2024Save Your Seat
How to Build a B2B Sales Team: Structure, Culture, Motivation, & More

A robust, effective B2B sales team structure is essential to success.

Your salespeople play a crucial role in developing relationships with customers, improving the customer experience, achieving a healthy bottom line, and meeting growth and revenue targets.

But for your sales representatives to accomplish their goals and do good work, they rely on a strong and well-organized foundation. In order to thrive, you must create a culture of collaboration and motivate your sales team to succeed.

How to Build a B2B Sales Team: 6 Steps to Follow

Whether you are part of a B2B organization looking to restructure your sales team or you are leading sales at a startup, you can use these steps as a guide to create a sales team for your B2B organization.

1. Identify Essential Sales Skills

What sales skills are you looking for in a candidate? Recognizing these skills early is one of the best ways to craft a winning team. Whether you want sales representatives with specific product knowledge, storytelling chops, or natural problem-solving abilities, keep these skills at top-of-mind as you select your team members.

2. Hire Competitive Team Members

The hiring process is often chaotic, no matter how well you prepare for the trenches. Still, set yourself and your sales team up for success by writing detailed job descriptions, speaking with candidates promptly, and holding thorough, well-researched interviews.

3. Foster a Culture of Collaboration

Now that you have a team at hand, it’s time to focus on fostering a culture of collaboration. Sales team culture will shape the behaviors, attitudes, and actions of your salespeople, which will, in turn, impact customer interactions, sales approaches, and growth goals. Develop a sales culture that brings out the best in your sales representatives.

4. Establish a Strong Sales Process

Your sales process is the foundation of your B2B sales efforts, so establish a strong sales process from the very beginning. Begin by learning about the customer journey your prospects take and map every interaction in anticipation of how to best engage with clients. Additionally, encourage sales team members to give feedback on the sales process and share their ideas. Why not benefit from their expertise?

5. Integrate Cutting-Edge Sales Technology

Leverage tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software, artificial intelligence (AI) tools, networking platforms like LinkedIn, outreach tools, data platforms, sales enablement software, and sales operations (SalesOps) tools to assist your sales team members and streamline operations. Integrating these technologies into your sales approach not only boosts efficiency but also encourages collaboration among sales representatives.

6. Stay Flexible & Focus on Growth

Ensure sales team members are adaptable and interested in improvement. Now is the time to break out training resources and encourage salespeople to try new approaches. One popular method, the Sandler Selling System, is a great training resource. It focuses on creating a two-way dialogue between sales representatives and clients, prioritizing mutual trust, eliminating pushy sales tactics, and proposing solutions versus products.

What Is the Best B2B Sales Team Structure?

An effective B2B sales team structure must be scalable, flexible, and adapted to meet customer and market preferences. At the same time, it highly depends on the unique characteristics of your B2B company, including its size, industry, market, resources, budget, products or services, and goals.

There are, however, a few common types of B2B sales team structures. Consider these options as you determine which structure makes the most sense for your organization.

The Island

An island sales team structure consists of a sales leader and a team of sales representatives who report to that leader. Each sales representative takes on the entire process for each client, from prospecting to closing (and beyond). This structure is generally a good fit for B2B companies with simple products or services and short sales cycles.

The island sales team structure

The Assembly Line

Under an assembly line sales team structure, sales representatives have their own respective roles and develop extensive expertise in that area. There are different sales representatives for each stage of the customer journey—from lead generation to closing deals to the onboarding process. It’s fairly easy to implement and designed for more complex products and longer sales cycles than the island structure. However, it does require enough employees to work because you need a specialist in each area.

The assembly line sales team structure

The Pod

A collaborative and agile alternative is a pod sales team structure. Pods, each consisting of a team of specialists working together to guide a lead through the entire buying process, operate autonomously and cross-functionally. While this structure requires a larger sales team—enough specialists and representatives to form subgroups—it is especially beneficial for B2B companies that sell highly complicated products and experience long sales cycles.

The pod sales team structure

Geography-Based

Many B2B organizations follow a geography-based sales team structure, where salespeople are divided regionally in order to learn the local industry and culture. This structure can be combined with other structures and is particularly important if B2B companies want to understand which regions or markets are the most profitable.

Geography based sales team structure

Product- or Service-Based

A product- or service-based sales team structure requires sales representatives to learn about and develop deep expertise in a specific product or service. They then work with prospects interested in those offerings and can speak to the nuances of the sales process. This structure may be attractive to B2B companies that have a wide range of products or services, each with their own sales approaches.

Product or service based sales team structure

Account-Based

B2B companies that want to focus on a select group of high-value customer accounts might benefit from an account-based structure. This structure involves teams of sales representatives focusing on these target accounts and prioritizes the status of these customer or client relationships.

Account based sales team structure

8 Tips for Cultivating a Positive & Profitable Sales Team Culture

Sales team culture can be tricky to define. The easy definition is that sales culture encompasses the collective attitudes, values, and habits of a sales team. It’s important, of course—culture is what influences everything from how your salespeople interact with customers to how devoted they are to accomplishing shared goals—but what, exactly, makes a “good” company culture, and how do you achieve it?

Richard Branson, British entrepreneur and co-founder of the Virgin Group, put it this way: “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you’d like to be treated.”

His “Golden Rule” approach can be adapted to sales and used as a foundation of a healthy, collaborative, democratic, and competitive sales team culture. Follow these tips to begin cultivating a better culture for your B2B sales team.

1. Establish Your Sales Team Mission & Values

Outline clear expectations, establish a collective sales team mission, and define the values that are paramount to your B2B organization. This process will not only unite your team and steer them in a unified direction but also make it easier to determine when the culture of your sales team is on target (or missing the mark).

2. Align Shared Revenue Goals

After establishing your “why,” clearly articulate company sales and shared revenue goals that align with that “why.” Creating clear and measurable objectives that reflect your sales team culture ensures your team members are on the same page and dedicated to achieving the same shared goals.

3. Motivate & Incentivize Team Members

Motivating and incentivizing salespeople encourages them to meet targets and surpass quotas. This system can take many forms:

  • Create contests and recognition programs
  • Celebrate milestones, both big and small
  • Design a compensation plan that rewards effort and results
  • Set up a rewards system on both an individual and team level

Importantly, whatever incentive or motivation system you use, show how their contributions impacted the overall success of your sales team and B2B organization.

4. Support Individual Growth & Continuous Learning

In sales, there’s always something new to learn. All salespeople should be on a continuous learning journey and have individual growth goals they want to achieve. Support these efforts with regular trainings, workshops, and resources to keep your team cutting-edge and encourage a culture of innovation.

5. Prioritize Collaboration, Teamwork, & Knowledge Sharing

Collaboration, teamwork, and knowledge sharing are essential to B2B sales team culture—and there are many ways to cultivate these aspects:

  • Host team-building activities and open forums
  • Create opportunities for collaborative projects
  • Establish easy lines of communication among sales representatives (e.g., Slack or Microsoft Teams)
  • Encourage honesty so people aren’t afraid to speak up
  • Reward knowledge sharing, especially between seasoned and newer salespeople

When the members of your sales team start working together to achieve shared goals and are free to share ideas, you’ll be set up for success.

6. Create a Mentorship Program

A mentorship program, where newer sales representatives are paired with experienced ones, not only cuts down on isolation but also encourages a culture of welcoming, security, and community. And when new hires have a go-to sales mentor, they will be more motivated to stick with your B2B organization in the long run.

7. Encourage Friendly Competition

Most salespeople are, naturally, at least a little competitive—it’s in their blood. As a sales team leader, however, your responsibility is to keep that competitive edge in check. If you let it become cutthroat, your sales team culture will take a nosedive.

A few easy ways to foster friendly, healthy competition are to encourage them to beat their own individual records from the last month or quarter, outperform other teams in your B2B organization, or outsell your biggest competitors.

8. Address High Sales Representative Turnover

Constant employee turnover is a sales team culture red flag. And it’s bad for morale.

To decrease turnover, be selective in the hiring process (even if it takes longer), implement a coaching and mentorship routine, ensure you have a defined path to promotion in place, and consistently check-in with salespeople to make sure they have everything they need to succeed and grow.

5 Key Strategies to Motivate a B2B Sales Team to Sell

Motivation is where a lot of B2B sales leaders go astray—which is unfortunate because it’s one of the most important aspects of long-term sales success. The key is to remember that salespeople are individuals as well as members of a team. You need to use a variety of motivational tactics, strategies, and incentives because each sales representative gets their inspiration in different ways.

Fortunately, there are a few common strategies you can use to motivate your sales team. Start with these techniques.

1. Consider the Root Causes of Lack of Motivation

Is your sales team currently struggling with burnout or a lack of motivation? If so, you need to find (and address) the root cause.

An important step in this process is determining whether it is an individual concern or a team concern. Investigate how many people are struggling. One or two outliers indicate problems that can be addressed on an individual level. More than a few folks needing a boost of motivation, however, suggests a problem with the entire team.

2. Create Opportunities for Communication

Communicate, communicate, communicate. On a team level, consider leading the day with motivational meetings so everyone starts off on the right foot. On an individual level, conduct regular one-on-one meetings and use them as opportunities to coach sales representatives toward their goals.

Mini check-ins throughout the day are powerful, too. A short, motivational email to the team or a few encouraging words to a sales representative during a quiet moment can make a world of difference.

3. Build Trust with People on Your Team

If the people on your sales team don’t trust you, they won’t be inspired by you.

As a B2B sales leader, you have to build trust with your team—and then maintain that trust—in order to motivate them. Consistently engage with and nurture team members to start developing that trust, and be as transparent as possible so sales representatives know you have their best interests at heart.

4. Talk to Direct Reports About Management Styles & Goals

What happens when a prospect isn’t responding positively to a sales representative’s tactics? They adapt, use a different selling style, and figure out the best way to get results.

Take the same approach to motivation: If a sales team member isn’t responding to your management style, learn what approach works best for that individual instead of trying to force the same strategy on everyone. Once you figure out the ideal approach, watch their motivation soar.

Similarly, learn about the personal and professional goals of your salespeople. Knowing what they want to accomplish will provide insight into what inspires them.

5. Allow Team Members to Pick Their Own Rewards

An innovative motivational strategy is to let B2B sales team members pick their own rewards. For example, work together—with an individual or with the whole team—to pick a target or objective, establish a reasonable time frame, and choose a reward if they achieve that goal by the deadline. It’s a straightforward, simple, and highly effective strategy.

Conclusion

In a unique, challenging, and competitive B2B market, a strong sales team is essential to success.

At OneIMS, we help B2B organizations take their sales teams to new heights. Do you want to revolutionize your sales approach, motivate your team, and create a culture of collaboration? We’re ready to partner with you. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about how OneIMS can help your B2B business achieve your sales, revenue, and growth goals.

Request the Case Study and Playbook


Written By Samuel Thimothy

As the Chief Growth Officer, I provide leadership, direction and resource stewardship to the organization’s sales and marketing function. I also collaborate with our digital marketing strategy team in developing and executing growth marketing campaigns for our loyal clients.

Solomon Thimothy - OneIMS CEO

Find a Team to Manage Your Content and Grow Your Vision

Marketing doesn’t have to be a guessing game, see why hundreds of businesses rely on OneIMS everyday.

Schedule a Consult

In order to see if we are the right fit for your business, schedule a call with one of our strategists.

OneIMS Support Graphic

Featured in

OneIMS Globe
Free Online Workshop: How to Crush Your Competition in Sales / July, 2 2024 Save Your Seat