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Sales Team Structure for Success: Practical Tips, Types, and Best Practices

The sales team is the powerhouse of revenue generation in every organization. The sales team handles intrinsic sales tasks from selling a company’s product or service to networking, cold calling, sending out cold emails, or even following up with clients and prospects with the sole aim of increasing sales and revenue for your organization.

Although different factors such as the qualification of the sales rep, their sales specialization, and other personal issues can affect the performance of the sales reps. So much more goes into the smooth operation and success of the sales team – one of these is the sales team structure.

Your sales team structure is the foundation of your sales operations. The way you design and structure your sales organization can have a lasting consequence for your sales and business’s long-term success. If your foundation is weak and undefined, your entire sales process and performance would suffer.

If you want to scale your efforts and coordinate the operations of your sales team, you need to set up a solid sales organization structure that will help you boost your growth and business profitability.

While we continue to emphasize sales organizational structure, it is important that you know that the process goes beyond just hiring smart sales representatives to ensure that the reps are well set up to thrive and succeed. In this article, we have identified the seven most important types of sales team structure, and practical tips to create a winning sales team structure.

Table of Contents

  • What is a Sales Organization Structure?
  • Sales Organization Chart
  • What Does A Sales Department Do?
  • 7 Popular Types of Sales Team Structures
  • How to Structure Your Sales Organization for Success
  • Practical Tips For Building Strong Sales Teams

What is a Sales Organization Structure?

sales team structure template
Close CRM

Sales organization structure in simple terms refers to the design of the sales team, it is basically how you segment your sales team into different roles or departments.

Due to the different specialties in sales such as inside or outside sales, customer service, email marketing, or a combination of any of those, etc., sales teams can be structured into different models. For example, sales teams who specialize in either inside sales or field sales can be split between business development reps, sales development representatives (SDRs), and account executives

Creating a well-structured sales team helps you assign everyone their distinctive role and identify the strength of every team member to boost sales performance. A sales team structure goes beyond just setting up the front-facing structure to working on the internal organizational structure for your business.

It also focuses on the effective coordination of the sales team by arranging their workflow and assigning tasks to every sales rep. Structuring your sales team helps you to coordinate the functioning of the team and enhance the sales performance, but you need to understand that not all structure works for your type of business.

To choose the most appropriate structure for your business, you will have to go through some trial-and-error to find the right fit. Essentially, you also need to understand that the sales team structure could be determined by factors such as,

  1. Regions served
  2. Size of the sales team
  3. Number of products/services offered
  4. Size of customers

Categories of Sales Organizational Structure

Sales organizational structures can be divided into two types – centralized and decentralized systems.

1. Centralized Structures:

A centralized structure relies on a single point person to make and manage major decisions for the team. A centralized structure keeps all levels of an organization focused on a single purpose and is best appropriate when the business owner is heavily involved in the company.

Using a centralized structure has been reported by experts to enable faster communication and execution of decisions.

2. Decentralized Structures:

On the other hand, decentralized structures allow for sharing of decision-making responsibility among teammates. Unlike a centralized structure where this role is fixated on a single person, a decentralized structure allows sales reps to split into groups headed by sales professionals/managers.

Using this structure has been reported to give sales representatives more freedom to decide on the best way to work.

Sales Organization Chart

A sales organizational chart is a record that shows the position of every sales reps in the sales teams. For clients and other stakeholders, a sales organization chart is a sales prospecting blueprint that can be used to identify decision-makers at target accounts.

Below is an example of a sales organization chart from Lucidchart

b2b sales team structure

What Does A Sales Department Do?

sales team structure models

A sales department is responsible for generating revenue and making sales for the company/business. They handle a lot of sales-related tasks from networking to cold calling, sending cold emails, following up with old and new clients as well as nurturing the prospects to a sale.

The success of an organization is highly dependent on the plans, activities, and organization of the sales department. Most sales teams have the following roles:

1. Sales Director

Most sales organizations have a sales director whose role and responsibility is to oversee the strategic leadership of the sales department.

They are also in charge of setting the sales targets, measuring the team’s KPI, and coordinating the overall sales performance of the sales team.

2. Sales Manager

Sales managers mostly report to the sales director and are charged with the responsibility of managing sales teams by recruiting, training, and mentoring the sales force. They are also in charge of creating timelines and goals for the sales reps and creating the sales reports.

3. Hiring Manager

Although hiring is the responsibility of a sales manager, most organizations have hiring managers that are in charge of talent acquisition, onboarding, and employee retention.

In a much bigger organization, these tasks are handled by the human resources department, where a whole team manages recruiting and team engagement.

4. Sales Trainer

As the name implies, a sales trainer is a professional charged with the responsibility of improving the performance of the sales team by providing the reps with the proper tools, resources, and skills needed to thrive in the sales role.

These individuals are also responsible for orienting recruits about the sales process, structuring training plans, and evaluating the sales reps’ performance.

5. Sales Representatives

Essentially, sales representatives are the face of a business and are mostly responsible for promoting the benefits of a company’s products or services to clients, prospects, and the target market in general.

Sales reps are also in charge of generating leads, identifying prospective customers, providing resources and support for clients, and importantly, closing deals. These individuals manage the sales cycle to add, nurture and convert leads into paying customers.

6. Account Managers

Account managers act as an intermediary between the sales team and the customer. In most cases, when a sales rep qualifies a lead as a potential customer that will most likely make a purchase, they pass on the lead to an account manager that will nurture the lead and help them successfully pass through the sales pipeline to onboarding.

Account managers must maintain mutually beneficial relationships with existing clients to encourage and increase repeat buying.

7. Sales Development Representatives

Sales Development reps work in inside sales and are mostly responsible for managing sales prospecting and lead qualification.

SDRs also help move leads through the sales pipeline but are not responsible for closing deals. Instead, they bring as many leads as they can find and qualify them as disqualified or unqualified for sales.

8. Customer Service Reps

Once a customer account has been set up, customer service reps now take charge of managing and solving the customer’s complaints, queries and concerns.

For example, if there was an issue with the product delivered or its been damaged or needs to clarify the purchase process, they have to go through the customer service rep first before transferring it to the appropriate sales rep. Essentially, customer service reps also serve as an intermediary between the customer and the company.

7 Popular Types of Sales Team Structures

A sales team structure is the organization of a sales team. It identifies the goals and responsibilities of every member of the sales team.

For better understanding, we could see a sales team structure as the division of a sales team into different groups, each with its functions. Here are the seven popular types of sales team structures that you can use for your company.

1. The Assembly Line

saas sales team structure

The assembly line model organizes the sales team according to every individual’s job title. This model divides and conquers an organization’s sales process using a linear structure and specific methodology.

Just like an assembly line, leads are split across different specialized teams. In essence, every phase of the sales cycle under this model has a specific job connected with it and every job is handled by a group of experts. The goal of the assembly line model is to move prospects through the different stages of the sales cycle. The categories of these tasks are shared among the following sales professionals:

  1. Lead Generation team to conduct market research and generate business/sales leads.
  2. Sales Development team to use information gotten from the lead generation team to evaluate and qualify leads by calling them.
  3. The account Executive team is in charge of nurturing qualified prospects to close deals.
  4. The customer Success/Support team provide support for the clients to help them get familiar with the products/service to have a good experience.

Pros of Assembly Line Mode

  • It promotes specialization to allow sales reps to become experts within their respective fields.
  • It allows for easy tracking of sales metrics and benchmarks
  • It enables customers to move through the sales process faster and more efficiently.
  • Enable the teams to find problems in the sales funnel easily.

Cons of Assembly Line Mode

  • There is a high risk of poor customer experience due to many handoffs from team to team.
  • It can create friction between customers and the sales team.
  • It is not suitable for a smaller team with limited manpower.
  • It can make the teams feel disconnected from the business goals.

2. The Island Model

how to build a sales team structure

The island model tasks a sales representative with the responsibility of managing their prospect from the lead generation stage and nurturing them until they become a customer.

Sales reps under this model are their bosses in the team and take charge of generating, qualifying, nurturing, and closing all of their leads. These sales reps are in charge of handling their sales process. Sales reps under this kind of model tend to be competitive and are usually up against a greater market and their colleagues.

The island model is mostly used by smaller sales teams to increase their output. Sales teams who also benefit through one on one customer interaction could also adopt this sales structure. Most financial services and real estate are the ones that adopt this team structure.


  • It creates a competitive culture.
  • It requires less interference and monitoring from the management.
  • It is suitable for simple sales procedures, especially, products that require one or two calls to close.
  • It helps to maximize the individual output of the sales reps.
  • It fosters creativity among sales reps.
  • It creates more streamlined relationships and interactions between salespeople and customers.


  • It creates unhealthy competition among sales reps.
  • It prioritizes individual success over team effort.
  • It puts a strain on peaceful coexistence and collaboration among sales reps.
  • It makes it hard to control how the brand is portrayed and marketed by every sales representative.
  • It makes it hard to manage and track sales KPIs, metrics, and benchmarks because everyone does everything.

3. The Pod Model

inside sales team structure

The pod model is a combination of the assembly line and island model. A pod consists of specialized sales representatives who handle and manage prospects through various stages of the sales cycle.

Like the assembly line model, sales representatives in the pod model are assigned different roles to fulfill however instead of being sent to a team that performs only one specific task, these professionals are assigned to a focused group or a pod with different team members performing different roles.

Sales managers in the pod model put one or two sales professionals with each specialized role to create a group of people that have the right skills and expertise to complete the sales process within their little pod. Sales professionals in this pod compete as groups against other groups as against individuals in the island model. The pod model is most appropriate for large business organizations to divide the sales team into smaller groups.


  • It enables smooth handling of leads and allows adjustments to sales teams according to skill.
  • It allows for deeper and friendlier collaboration among sales reps where they can learn about and work on every step of the customer journey.
  • It helps people understand and appreciate the full client journey.
  • It enhances communication between members of the pod.
  • It creates less friction among customers.
  • It helps in the development of sales personnel’s agility and adaptability.


  • It is a less competitive model that can make team members complacent.
  • Does not encourage specialization of the sales reps.
  • It makes individual motivation a lot more challenging
  • It shields poor performers and makes them hide behind successful teammates.

4. Geography & Territory Structure

b2b saas sales team structure

This sales team structure allows sales representatives to become familiar with their geographical surroundings and develop a rapport with local businesses and conduct research on their competitors.

Due to the organizational design of the team, the sales team members can get to know their local area better to improve their relationships. Using this sales model makes it easy to evaluate sales reps’ performance and potential based on a specific location.

5. Product & Service Line Structure

sales team structure roles and rewards

In this sales team structure, sales teams are organized or grouped based on the services and products they sell. It enables sales reps to connect with people who are interested in the same product or service as well as those who are located in the same geographical location.

This sales model encourages sales teams to become specialized in their products, master the sales process, and ultimately increase revenue.

6. Customer & Account Structure

pre sales team structure

This is a popular sales team structure that works well with account-based marketing (ABM). Usually, companies with strong ABM team structures focus more on the customers and accounts, allowing the sales teams to master the ins and outs of working with a specific customer or account.

Doing this puts the sales representatives in a much better position to meet the specific needs of the client.

7. Industry & Vertical Structure

best sales team structure

Under this model, sales teams are structured or grouped by industry or vertical. Sales teams with more specialty in a particular industry usually have more experience and understand the in and out of the industry enabling them to close more deals.

Essentially, if your organization handles sales across multiple industries or markets, you should consider segmenting or breaking the team by vertical.

How to Structure Your Sales Organization for Success

Here are the factors to consider when creating a structure for your sales organization

1. Consider your budgets and yours

Budget is an important factor to consider when structuring your sales team. Although a budget is not the most important factor to consider, it can significantly impact the type of sales structure that will most likely work best for your organization.

For example, if your company budget can only serve one or two sales pods, then you know that a pod model won’t work. Similarly, if you have a small organization, then you know that the island model works best for you. In the same way, if your customer has a low budget, then they should be managed by the same rep compared with customers with higher budgets.

2. Be Focused on Customer-intimacy

digital sales team structure

There has been an age-long misconception that sales are more concerned with profitability and increasing market share than fulfilling the goals of the customers.

With this in mind, you must ensure that your sales team chooses a structure that helps you focus on customer intimacy and retention. Depending on your organization, you could choose between the Island model or the Pod model to improve the relationships between sales reps and customers.

3. Consider your Organizational Structure

Lastly, the final factor to consider is your organizational culture. Ensure that the sales team structure you choose best fits your company’s culture.

Practical Tips For Structuring Your Sales Teams For Success

Here are some practical tips to build stronger sales teams.

  1. Be focused on the prize: The ultimate goal of every sales team is to make sales and increase company revenue. Make sure that your sales teams contribute to the success of your team’s performance.
  2. Don’t overcomplicate your sales team structure by working with many methods. Instead, keep things simple by choosing the structure that best suits your team size and goals.
  3. Focus on your customers and always consider the options that best fit their interests. Remember the success of the sales department depends on the ability to create and maintain successful relationships with the customers.
  4. Be Data-focused: Ensure that you select the right alternatives for your sales force based on the structure of your sales team to enhance your data collection and help your team find the information they need when they need it.
  5. Hire enthusiastic sales reps who are willing to sell, have full knowledge of all the product or service benefits, and can emphasize with the customers to close sales.
  6. Invest in your salesforce: Your salesforce is at the helm of your organization’s success, they put in the hard work to help your company grow and increase revenue. Investing and motivating your team can foster a positive sales culture that is critical for enhancing their performance.
  7. Ensure that your salespeople know how to put other effective presentations and are charismatic, goal-oriented, and able to communicate to sell almost anything effectively. This skill enables them to display the products in such a way that influences customers to make a purchase.


Sales team structures are critical to the successful operations and performance of the sales team. As something so important, you need to consider your team size, budget, company goals, and capabilities of your sales representatives to choose the sales structure that best fits your company and could help your team perform better.

We have identified the seven popular types of sales team structure with their pros and cons as well as the factors to consider and the practical tips for creating successful sales team structures, take a close look at this information to help your sales team perform better.