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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Do You Have a People Problem or The Wrong Sales Structure?

Do You Have a People Problem or The Wrong Sales Structure

How do you know if you have a sales structure problem? Too often, sales organizations are evaluated single-handily by their results. If your company isn’t hitting targets and sale goals aren’t being achieved, the blame falls on not having the right salespeople. But, is the source of lost revenue really a “people” problem?

Underperformance is easily blamed on salespeople because data often helps support the claims. However, while we always seek to improve the performance of sales teams, there are a few indicators that show you may have more than a people problem.

Indicators of a Sales Structure Problem

Ask yourself, “What is our current sales structure designed to do?” You should be getting consistently strong performance in the revenue areas most important to you.

In our Impact Leadership System courses, we introduce the Rule of 3s and using them to determine if you have a People or Process problem. If more than 1/3 of your salespeople are underperforming in your top three performance metrics, you likely have a sales structure problem.Learn more about Impact Leadership System

Typically, there are indicators even if you don’t immediately default to your problems being a structure issue. Some of these indicators are:

  • Not meeting revenue goals
  • Not super-serving top accounts
  • Not retaining enough of your top accounts year-over-year
  • Not generating enough leads for new business activity

Missed Opportunities with the Wrong Sales Structure

According to a Harvard Business Review, a clearly documented sales structure helps streamline the chain of command, and the increased transparency leads to more efficient decision-making.

Practically speaking, most organizations currently use a hybrid of sales structures. It’s a model that’s been put into place years ago to ensure their sales team maintains an efficient workflow.

However, sales leaders often prioritize quick fixes and short-term tactics while putting the longer-term needs of the organization on the back burner. Sales teams must constantly meet the immediate needs of customers and hit sales quotas. This causes more issues to evolve over time, and structural problems will go unnoticed for years.

Changing a sales structure is considered high-risk, and adoption is slow because change often means a loss in revenue. Depending on what part of the sales structure isn’t correct, different problems and missed opportunities may arise, such as:

  • Task get dropped. Somebody thinks someone else is responsible for something that they aren’t
  • Enough leads aren’t generated
  • There isn’t enough qualified activity
  • Key Accounts are not being taken care of well enough
  • You’re not adequately grow existing business

According to a 2020 analysis by Sales Xceleration, where they assessed over 1,600 current and past clients in a wide variety of industries, business owners and executives, 88% rated themselves as poor or below average in Sales Organization - hiring, staffing, having defined roles, onboarding, and training.

A solid sales structure is critical to increased activity, a lower attrition rate, and overall business growth. The proper sales structure helps identify where the issues are and enables you to address them quickly and efficiently – without automatically placing the blame on your people. New call-to-action

Topics: sales performance IMPACT