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B2B Sales Team Structure: A Simple Strategy for Creating a Winning Team

In the dynamic world of business-to-business sales, a well-built sales team lays a foundation for long-term growth. Your sales team plays a vital role in your business, from finding leads to closing deals. They have a big impact on your revenue growth. Whether you’re a startup founder or a seasoned CEO, the intricacies of building a team that excels aren’t always apparent. 

It can be difficult to find the right structure for your sales team without knowing how to translate your goals into a strategy. This is why we’re unlocking the secrets behind creating a top-tier B2B sales team in this blog. With this guide, you can save time and transform your sales ambitions into unparalleled success.

How Should I Build My Sales Team?

STEP 1: Hire Your Sales Leader

When it comes to building your ideal sales team, the first thing you need to understand is the role of an influential sales leader. Hiring your sales leader (commonly known as your VP of Sales) is your opportunity to cut your hiring workload drastically. Having a powerful sales leader also gives you a head start on deciding what kinds of professionals you’ll need and how many of them, what team structure will work best for your company, and how your team will organize the sales flow from start to finish.

Hiring your sales leader first allows you to hand off the building process to an expert who can assess what your company really needs in its sales team. They can then hire your sales force accordingly. A sales leaders role in developing the sales team should include:

  • Monitoring key sales metrics
  • Overseeing the entire B2B sales process
  • Impact company revenue
  • Impact company reputation
  • Influence the ability to scale

Having the right sales leader in place is vital. At Peak Sales Recruiting, we further simplify the process by helping you find a sales leader who is a fantastic fit for your team. This leader can take team-building off of your plate completely.

STEP 2: Structure Your Team

The team structure that your sales leader decides to build on will depend on what you’re selling and in what market. For example, in tech, small deals are often done over the phone, while more extensive sales are made in person. Meanwhile, in industrial sectors, an outside sales model is more common. Details like this inform if you need more inside or outside sales support and how many sales hunters and farmers will be needed. 

Along with determining a solid sales organization structure for your team, your sales leader will take over talent acquisition, ongoing training and development, and retention of your sales team members. They will be an expert in preparing job descriptions for hiring, interviewing for your unique sales needs, and ensuring that your sales culture aligns with your company values and goals. This person may conduct conversations with customers to learn about their past experiences with your sales department to discover what works and what doesn’t work for your company. 

STEP 3: Build Your Specialized Team

Startups and scrappy, early-stage companies often have to find ways to get by and hire one person, or a tiny team headed by a leader. These teams do everything from new customer acquisition to account management. This is what is commonly known as the island structure. While this can work temporarily, we don’t advise it as a long-term solution. 

In the island structure, one sales leader or ‘owner’ is responsible for a team of sales representatives. The sales representatives in this structure handle every part of the B2B sales process and have very little differentiation in their sales roles, if any. This provides sales representatives with many opportunities for competition and very few for collaboration. 

A team model where each sales professional fully embraces their strengths and operates within their specialties is ideal. This is typically an assembly line, or the closely related pod structure. In this structure, people maintain distinct sales roles and responsibilities in the sales process just as workers in a physical assembly line would. 

An example of this structure is a junior sales development representative responsible for making cold calls and appointments, an account executive who closes the deal, and an account manager who upsells and onboards the new client. This structure creates more opportunities for collaboration and can drastically increase a team’s efficiency. It also parallels a B2B sales funnel, which makes troubleshooting bottlenecks much easier.

When you’re building out your well-defined sales team structure (or your VP of Sales is doing it for you!), you’ll want to keep in mind the ‘who and how many’ of your team. B2B sales teams ideally have 6-8 people (and no more than 10) reporting to each sales manager. A well-structured team could look like this:

  • One sales director or VP of Sales who oversees the sales department.
  • Two sales managers (each with eight reports).
  • 16 inside sales representatives. 

What Makes a B2B Sales Team Successful?

No matter the role of the sales professionals you hire, they should all exemplify an eagerness to learn and improve their skills, display resilience and the ability to overcome challenges, and have a record of consistent achievement. Each sales professional will have unique strengths and skills beyond these qualities that make them better suited for specific sales roles. 

In the ideal B2B sales team structure, there is ample opportunity to leverage the skills of each sales professional, starting with your marketing department. The marketing team can funnel leads to the sales representative, who can connect with clients to close deals. A hunter salesperson could be a great fit for this role. A hunter salesperson thrives in lead generation, is an expert at making successful cold calls, builds quick rapport, always looks for opportunities, and handles rejection well. These are the representatives who seem fearless and are highly motivated to close deals.

Farmer salespeople typically nurture leads, upsell, and onboard clients. They are motivated by service and stability rather than by quotas and the thrill of the chase. Farmer types are essential on any team looking to build long-term success, so you’ll want them in positions such as account manager, customer service specialist, and customer success representative.

→ Read more about inside/outside sales on our blog here.

→ Read more about hunter/farmer sales types on our blog here.

What Structure Should I Choose for my B2B Sales Team?

The optimal structure of a B2B sales team is, simply put, the structure that best serves your organization — no two businesses are exactly the same. The most effective and efficient sales teams are strategically built to ensure that your profits are maximized, that the customers you’re serving have a seamless experience buying from your company and that there is a healthy balance of collaboration and competition in your team members’ careers. 

The chemistry within your sales team, the diverse strengths its members exhibit, and the leaders you hire to guide and train them will be keys to your success. From fostering healthy competition to nurturing collaborative excellence, the right sales team structure can catalyze remarkable success.

If you’re still wondering how many salespeople you need, what your ideal synergy is, and how to hire ambitious, creative, and resilient members for your team — we can help. Reach out, and we’ll start your hiring process with our network of top-quality sales talent today.


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Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting

Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless. Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner. He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.