When you think of sales people, words that come to mind are “go-getter, ambitious, and driven.” They are known for being outgoing achievers, and whether you like them or not, they’re usually pretty good at their job. So you might also assume that hiring a team of talented sales reps would guarantee your SaaS business success.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Hiring a team, teaching them the product, and then sending them on their way may get you quick results, but it doesn’t grow your company in the long run. As your business becomes more complicated and team members filter in and out, your startup or thriving SaaS business can crumble.
But developing a sturdy sales organization structure allows you to track sales metrics, create team synergy, and set up your sales team to rock your product. To structure an effective sales strategy, it’s essential to identify the different roles in the sales process and know the proven models available at your disposal.
There are essentially four roles in the stages of the sales cycle. One or multiple plays can assume these positions, and your business industry and niche will determine them in the long term.
Every user of your company will filter through each of these stages and come in contact with each of these roles. You can create the new sales culture you wish to facilitate in your company by laying the following groundwork.
These are members of your sales team who are responsible for finding your users. They will develop qualified leads and gather data such as names, addresses, contact information, etc.
Depending on your company and services, this process may involve cold-calling, developing advertisements, or conducting market research. Lead generators overlap or work close with your marketing team in outbound sales to ensure they reach the right audiences.
These sales people do not have to be the best salesmen as this stage is not responsible for selling or closing a deal. Their prime responsibility is finding users who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
Members working in this sales cycle stage are responsible for qualifying leads. They take the information your lead generators found and determine whether those people are prospective clients or not. Qualifiers will ask questions about customer needs and point leads in the direction that best fits them.
In many cases, this team member will be the first point of personal contact that your potential users interact with. Qualifiers are not necessarily responsible for closing deals.
Still, they need experience in sales tactics to interact best and point prospective users in the right direction.
These account executives are responsible for closing the deal or making the sale. In the SaaS world, closers answer pointed questions, explain and demonstrate the user experience, and sell subscriptions to onboard new customers.
These team members must be very familiar with your products and services, quick on their feet to answer questions, and skilled at moving a sale forward.
Your sales team does not end at the close of a deal or the sign-up of a subscription. Good sales management requires personnel responsible for retaining customers, ensuring high-quality user experiences, and reducing churn.
Customer success team members are your account managers and technical support available to users for troubleshooting, interface direction, and upselling new products and features. They may not need to make the initial sale, but they are responsible for keeping the sale.
There are four different sales roles mentioned above, but these roles do not necessarily have to be played by different people. There are three popular structures that SaaS businesses use when organizing their sales teams. All of these have proven successful for different areas of SaaS business and have their pros and cons.
The Island Sales model relies on highly experienced sales people familiar with each sales cycle stage who excel at sales from start to finish. Users will only interact with one salesperson with this process. Island salespersons will develop their own leads, determine if the lead is quality, move to close the sale and manage customer expectations and satisfaction.
This is a model that many small businesses use with small teams. It is also very popular to use this model in highly competitive realms that encourage aggressive sales and competitive attitudes. This model is successful for intelligent, high-energy go-getters that thrive on competition, but they must be very organized and driven because they are on their own.
For SaaS businesses, the Island model is great for easy-to-sell products and does not require much oversight and organization between teams, but it is not great for tracking specific metrics.
Assembly Line Model
The assembly line model is great for larger teams, especially for companies that already have individualized sales roles ironed out. It is also a great option when your sales team is comprised of members who have distinct talents.
For instance, if you have a sales team member who is excellent at marketing, one who is not turned away by cold-calling, another who is charismatic and versed in sales tactics, and yet another who is patient with customer relations, then you have a perfect assembly line team.
In many cases, your assembly line does not have to be comprised of 4 different individuals but can be split between any number of individuals. This is great when you have a complex product or service or offer various services because it allows team members to specialize in a specific area.
It is not always a welcomed model by users, though, as they can feel like they have changed hands through too many team members and don’t build any rapport or relationship. Determining your assembly line sweet spot depends on your individual service and team.
The pod model is a combination of the two models above. A pod comprises team members who specialize in different areas but work together to accomplish a sale.
You will have several small teams who funnel leads through each other rather than having individuals working through each step. This method also prevents hiring different individuals for each step and them handing the potential customer off to a random team member.
It operates much like the assembly line, but your sales members work in small, predictable teams that rely on each other through each step. This helps to foster a competitive attitude with other pods but camaraderie with each other that aids in a culture of teamwork and togetherness.
Developing your SaaS Sales Team Structure
Creating your sales team structure is an important step to ensuring your success as a company. Whether you are still in the start-up phase or already up and running but need more team structure, it takes capital to develop a successful team and strategy.
We specialize in delivering capital to profitable SaaS businesses that need assistance getting to the next growth level. If you are ready to look at your sales team structure and need advice and financial assistance, call us today at (602).909.5888.