The B2B sales team structure of a company is an organizational chart that optimizes sales workflow and processes among the sales team members to improve lead generation, reach sales targets, and scale quickly.
B2B (Business-to-Business) sales is a business model for establishing buyer-seller relationships between companies, rather than between individuals. It is a bit different when you sell to companies than when selling to individuals. But if you pay close attention to the structure, you can get off to a flying start!
A B2B sales team can be internal (inside) and external (outsourced).
Watch ASKtheCEO Episode #39 to learn more:
Inside Sales Teams
As a rule of thumb, an inside sales team works from within an office, via the phone, email, or the web. They don’t reach out to talk with clients face-to-face.
Inside team members can be full-time employees or hired consultants that create new sales opportunities, foster customer relationships, and target qualified leads to identify the best opportunities for closure.
External Sales Teams
External salespeople, on the other hand, reach out to potential customers on the field, outside the office.
Since the role of inside sales team members is complex, creating a well-oiled B2B sales team structure is not an effortless task.
The term ”office” has changed its meaning and no longer represents a physical space. It is extended to the virtual digital environment. Therefore, the sales team structure is different, carrying both aspects of inside sales teams and external sales teams.
How do you structure your B2B team sales team when you need to scale against a huge competitor (e.g. a large-sized corporation)?
Listen to Episode #39 from the Virtual Frontier Podcast to learn more:
Internal vs. External B2B Sales Team Structure
An internal sales team working in your company has major advantages: they know the ups and downs of your sales, can tell the next bottleneck is around the corner, have a deeper understanding of the specific market, and can build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with customers. The last bit is crucial for B2B sales as most businesses focus on nurturing and long-term prospects.
As a small-sized company, it is a handful to build a B2B sales team that encompasses all roles. A solid internal sales team that constantly reaches targets requires role specialization.
External sales teams are limited by geographical boundaries. When you are short on cash, you cannot build multiple sales teams and let them take care of the needs of various customer segments.
Roles on B2B Sales Teams
Ask yourself this key question: do you need to have a full-time internal sales team with all of the following roles (and can you?):
- MQL Manager. A marketing person who reviews and manages potential customers to seed them through to the sales team as Marketing-qualified Leads.
- SQL Manager. A person who manages SQL (Sales-qualified Leads) or the customers who are highly likely to make a purchase.
- SAL Manager. A person who approves and accepts SQL from the SQL manager and instigates a sales process for Sales-accepted Leads.
- Account Manager. A person who oversees and invests in customer relationships on behalf of the company, ensuring customers are delighted and identifying opportunities for new sales.
- Account Executive. A primary point of contact in B2B sales, responsible for account acquisition, account management, account growth, and developing a B2B sales strategy.
- Customer Service Rep. An employee who responds to and solves customer complaints, purchase orders, or information requests. The Customer Service Rep ensures customer needs are prioritized in the correct order and offers personalized solutions for each step in the sales process.
- Customer Success Manager. A person that helps customers get the tools and the support they need to successfully reach their goals and needs by offering advice for making the best possible purchasing decision.
Marketing and customer management are inseparable from sales. Therefore, the structure of a winning team must include these extra roles if you want to cover all bases.
Learn more: Do You Really Need All 5 Roles in a Team?
How to Build a B2B Sales Team Structure when You Are Small
The secret to building a winning B2B sales team is by creating a scalable, flexible structure that can be automated along with company needs, evolving markets, and customer preferences.
Here are six strategies for creating a solid foundation for your sales team that keeps up with changes:
- Develop onboarding and offboarding plans for new hires to get them used to processes faster. In this way, you can switch roles when needed and manage the role scope according to the current resources.
- Set action-oriented goals for your sales team. Link those goals to your B2B sales strategy and clarify how you measure goal success.
- Scale virtual sales capabilities. As long as you are clear about the sales process, you can recreate it digitally by using virtual workflows. This is the means to assign as many sales, marketing, and customer roles as necessary for any funnel at any given moment.
- Customize sales based on customer needs, knowledge, and priorities. Always aim at your ideal customer and improve the B2B sales team structure as you gather feedback from your target audience.
- Watch out for evolving markets. As markets evolve, so does your sales team. An inside sales team is too robust and devours resources. Instead, build a sales team o already trained freelancers. Freelancers for hire solve three problems of small businesses that struggle with B2B sales facing large competitors: scalability, adaptability, and customer success.
- Use data and sales automation tools for easier decision-making and process optimization. Since you don’t have the time to keep an eye on every little detail, let automated sales funnels do the nitty-gritty. Delegate more demanding sales tasks to the team roles.
Build a B2B sales team structure that can handle the pressure of changing markets.