In years past, a sales team may have consisted of only a few roles. Mainly, there were managers and salespeople. Salespeople were provided with collateral, such as printed documents and business cards, and they were expected to close deals by prospecting and speaking to potential customers.
But gone are the days of relying on cold calls and pounding the pavement. As technology becomes more integrated into the sales process, the modern sales team is always evolving as well. Today’s sales teams are results-oriented, and they are empowered by technology, automation, and data to identify trends and make gradual improvements to their processes.
The reason for this evolution is clear: Closing deals is getting more difficult and customers are becoming more empowered in their decision-making. The modern sales team requires a wide set of skills to be successful, and new roles in sales are emerging to bridge the divide.
Key Players on the Modern Sales Team
Think of the modern sales team as an assembly line. Each role serves as a link in the sales machine. Whether you’re a direct-to-consumer seller or a B2B solution provider, you’ll need specific and well-defined roles on your sales team to ensure the assembly line functions properly.
The specific roles within your sales team may depend on your company. For example, technology companies will likely need more tech support roles to enable their sales teams.
Still, from a conceptual standpoint, there are a few roles that are essential for the modern sales assembly line.
Sales leaders set the company’s sales strategy and define the target audience for prospecting and outreach efforts. These are the masterminds behind the sales assembly line. They lead the team and define how each role will work together to close deals and deliver success for the company.
Sales operations specialists are the experts who build the assembly line. These days, these roles are often filled by technology experts. They’ll work to integrate the sales enablement software the team needs to complete their tasks, and they’ll work with sales leaders to identify the best tools for their technology stack.
The demand generation role feeds the sales assembly line. They engage in prospecting and work with the marketing team to drive awareness and interest in the company’s products or services.
Demand generation experts may operate in a creative capacity, generating educational and sales-ready collateral for the sales team to use in their interactions. But often, the demand generation role relies on technology and data-driven insights to optimize every touchpoint of the buying journey.
Hunters are generally considered “the doers” on the sales team. They are more active in their sales efforts, and they usually aim to close as many deals as possible.
As part of the assembly line, the hunters on your team are like the people at the front of the line who process new items as they come in. They are generally more independent than other experts on the team, and they have a keen eye for quick acquisitions and big deals.
Farmers are salespeople too, but they focus more on nurturing leads and building long-term client relationships. They excel at building customer loyalty, which is essential for generating repeat business. Returning customers spend about three times more than new customers and have a much higher chance of converting.
This role generally occupies the middle and end of the assembly line. In a figurative sense, professionals in this role might be packing the boxes and sending the product out to the customers. They are responsible for maintaining engagement with the customer base, and they take an outsized role in customer satisfaction and retention.
Creating Predictable Outcomes Through Clear Role Delineation
The main purpose of establishing clear sales roles is to build a system that creates predictable outcomes. The sales landscape is always evolving, but no one on your team should have any confusion about their role in the process of generating demand, closing deals, and retaining existing customers.
Clearly defined roles also have a direct impact on analytics, reporting, and, more importantly, forecasting. Sales leaders need clear information about what their company’s sales will look like in the future if they are to make decisions about technology investments, new hires, and other costs.
Of course, forecasting future sales is often a difficult prospect. You can’t predict the market, so you must focus only on what you can control and make predictions with market changes in mind. To do so, sales leaders must come together to define an assembly line for their sales process, determining how each role contributes to sales prospects in the immediate and far future.
It should be easy to report on what is working in the sales process and what isn’t. Only through clearly defined roles can you identify kinks in the sales process as well as the necessary solutions to fix them.
For example, if you see a distinct drop in customer loyalty, you can analyze the performance of your “farmers” to determine why long-time customers are switching to competitors. Similarly, if you don’t have enough sales leads coming in, you can meet with your demand generation team to develop a new, more effective strategy.
Empowering Your Assembly Line with Sales Technology
Naturally, it’s impossible to build a modern sales team or a sales assembly line without the right technology solutions in place. Some of the most important solutions include the following:
- Cloud-based CRMs
- Email tracking software
- Analytics tools
- Sales automation solutions
- Social selling platforms
- Productivity applications
For example, sales automation tools can free sales teams from menial tasks like research and data entry, so they can focus more on prospecting and social interactions. Analytics tools are essential for any sales team that wants to measure the results of its strategy and make gradual improvements.
With clearly defined roles for your team, you can integrate these technologies to create a truly efficient sales assembly line.
Build Your Modern Sales Team
If you’re ready to develop a modern sales strategy with defined roles, if you want to empower your team with technology and start generating predictable sales outcomes, A8 can help.
We have the industry knowledge and expertise to identify the best sales solutions for your business. We know that the disciplines of marketing, sales, and customer success are interconnected, and we have years of experience helping companies of all sizes develop actionable sales strategies.
Contact us today to start transforming your sales team.