[VIDEO] How to Structure a Successful Sales Team

Does this problem sound familiar?

We spend an enormous amount of time searching for and then hiring what we think to be “A” players.  We then invest time (hopefully) training those reps before releasing them into the wild, only to ask them to do several different roles.  We’ve essentially taken our A players and forced them to do 2-3 different roles making them B or C players at both.  I hear this time and time again, and it’s a mistake we made personally too.

Watch the Video Below:

How to Avoid the Problem

  • Specialization
    • We always had AE’s (Account Executives) and CSM’s (Customer Success Managers) – AE’s focus on strictly net new, CSM’s focus on the Customer and any upsell, renewal opportunities
  • What we did first:
    • Scale an SDR team – eliminate the AE role where reps were self sourcing their own leads and closing them.  Reps that were born closers weren’t great prospectors and vice versa
    • Then we made the mistake again, forcing SDR’s to do both inbound and Outbound
  • Next step we:
    • Created Inbound Role & Outbound SDR roles
    • Then we divided our AE team:
      • Ramp Team – SMB accounts
      • Mid-market Team
      • Major Accounts team
  • Creating a team mentality:
    • Inbound SDR’s round robin leads across all teams
    • Paired AE’s up with dedicated SDR’s – this alignment provides for far better account penetration and they know each other’s tendencies

One thing to be sure you don’t overlook:

  • The knowledge transfer – everyone needs to speak the same language from your inbound/outbound SDR all the way to the CSM
  • We’ve built required fields and automation of data transfer in SFDC (ie surveys that auto populate the key data, call sheets that tie data to opportunity & account, sales handoff that ties data to account for CSM, etc)


What have you seen work for your organization? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

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Steven is responsible for Enterprise Sales at DiscoverOrg. Steve has grown with DiscoverOrg with positions in Research, ..read more

  • Ryan McCarty

    I agree with the specialization. My organization has tried both the approach of SDR’s handing inbound and outbound and SDR’s working on only one of the two. We see much better conversions when the reps are more focused.

    • Claire McEachern


      Claire McEachern

      Director, Digital Marketing & Communications

      +1 360.718.5642 | claire.mceachern@discoverorg.com

      Better Intelligence.

      Stronger Relationships.

      Faster Growth.

  • cntactmax

    This is helpful as we’re growing!

  • Scott Shy

    Thanks for sharing your “secret sauce” with respect to your sales org. I 100% agree with your approach. Providing a career path is is also the only way that I have found to develop quality inside reps. It`s an often thankless role, where it`s very easy to burn out. Knowing that had work is rewarded (something that I have seen happen over and over again with my assigned reps at DiscoverOrg) is an incredibly powerful motivator. Best yet, your breed loyal and well-trained closing talent in the process!!

  • Ariana Ioannidi

    I think career paths are very important, especially in my company. Career paths help motivate employees to work hard and do well so they can eventually move up within the company. Having reps focus and work hard really helps them make the connections they need to make and do better in their role.

  • Jake Senechal

    I think placing players in the roles is the best way to gain success. I also think it is great starting them all at inbound to get them used to the whole process and moving players through the ranks. It allows for a full understanding of all the parts of the sales org

  • andy

    I think career paths are important, but it is also important to remember that someone in an inbound role may not necessarily have the skills to be successful in an outbound role and vice versa. It is important to look at the individual and determine where their talents align with the role.

  • Leslie

    We have a similar set up with with the exception of splitting inbound and outbound. I don’t know if we have enough of the inbound to necessarily split the two at this time but I do think it is something I could see being successful in the future. I do also like how you have the career pathing set up as we have something similar. That is something we are really focusing right now. It motivates employees and gives them future goals. We do also know that we have some people who may not necessarily move through that entire path as they are much better at prospecting than closing and those people are also okay with that.

  • Kristen

    Nice to see that the growth we’ve been doing in the sales organization is in line with what DiscoverOrg does today. That’s a nice validation!

  • Annette

    As our company grows, it’s interesting to see a outlined roadmap and to verify we’ve been one the right track. Great input as we grow.

  • Pat Hussey

    Absolutely in-line. Always great content

  • Tony Andriani

    Agree that specialization is the key. We are doing the same thing in our org although we are slicing the pie a little differently.

  • Jessica

    Career path, that is the one and only thing on any successful persons mind. How it weaves and grows is unknown but exciting. Love seeing it!

  • @kpwelde

    Awesome structure, really helps round out all skill sets needed and dangles the carrot to keep teams motivated. Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephen Budlong

    Reps that were born closers weren’t great prospectors and vice versa… scale and specialize. Couldn’t say it better.

  • JoelatOptio

    Great content. Spot on!

  • Cynthia Randolph

    definitely needs the structure to have a great sales team. Love it

  • LeAnn Perkins

    This is so smart! I’m really impressed. I need more leads in the top of my funnel as well. SDR teams are awesome.

  • Cyrus Moody

    Great stuff!