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Major League Sales Force Structure Like Major League Sports Teams

by Dominic Mazzone

posted in Business

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It's not enough to have a sales team - you want a sales force - and that sales force needs to be a force of nature! So, how do you accomplish that? Let's look at how they do it in the major leagues.
The Right People
Watching team sports can teach you more about how to create a successful sales force than you can learn in a hundred business seminars. Team sports is one of the closest thing we have to a meritocracy in the world because about 90% of the time only the best of the best get to be on a team, and about 99% of the time only the best of the best on the team actually get to play. Think about that philosophy in your sales force. What if you had the best salespeople around on your team and only the top portion of those people actually got to sell? Clearly you would have a very successful sales force right? Not exactly. There are still two other components in sales force structure required for success.
The Right Positions
Strategy in team sports teaches us there are many different ways to organize your team on the field. Different configurations work better for different situations. Sales also needs to consider what type of team structures will win. There are a ton of different structures to choose from, each with different facets, but you need to figure out what combination you are going to place on the field:
  • Hunters and Farmers (Offense/ Defense)
  • Sales and Client Services (Support)
  • Account Managers that manage sales both new and recurring (Players that manage)
  • Account managers that manage all sales and project manage (Players that manage and support)
  • Business Development separate from sales (Scouting)
  • Relationship managers (Team PR)
  • Inbound Sales (Ticket sales)
  • Customer Service (Team social media)
  • Technical Sales (Team branded products)
  • More...

  • Now you have the right people and the right positions, but there is still one other thing to consider in your sales force structure.
    The Right People in The Right Position make the Right Structure
    Now you have the right people and you know the right positions. Putting the right people into the right positions for maximum results is a bit of an art. Everyone on a major league team usually plays a very specific position with a very specific job. The reason these players are in that position is because they are very good at it. 99% of the time, coaches will never change a player's position because let's face it a kicker can't be the quarterback, a center fielder can't pitch, a winger can't be a goalie. All of these positions are difficult in their own right and natural ability is needed as well as training for it like crazy.
    About the Author: This article was written by Dominic Mazzone, Managing Partner and Fund Manager of Smashbox Consulting.
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