Extraordinary Sales Team Structure & Culture

December 28, 2010

There are several dynamics that can affect a sales team’s productivity and success. Teams that are properly motivated and compensated, for example, tend to be proportionately more productive. Or, if there is poor communication between managers and sales teams, it can adversely affect the company’s bottom line.

Several of those issues can be resolved by companies ensuring that the right structure and culture is in place for their sales teams. That structure and culture is especially critical for successful highly transactional sales teams. It increases the likelihood that those sales teams and their managers understand expectations, communicate, produce, and collaborate.

Steps to Reinforce Structure and Culture Within Sales Teams

Hire very committed managers

Sales team managers need to be committed to their teams, their company, and their mission. So when you

evaluate your sales team structure and culture, it’s essential that you hire managers that are going to live by those principles and lead by example.

Hire managers that drive metrics and encourage feedback

That information can be used to manage a sales team proactively rather than reactively, anticipating results rather than responding to them.

Managers should hold everyone accountable, actively coach and participate, and be in the office before — and leave after — every other member of the team. Sales teams will respond to that dedication and feel motivated to follow the lead.

“Model Day for Success”

I’ve discussed my philosophy on setting up a “Model Day for Success” before, but I think it applies to this topic, too. The idea behind that structured day is to establish a salesperson’s ideal workday, reinforcing good time management habits and providing a framework that each sales team member can follow.

General Principles of the Model Day for Success

  • Expect eight hours of productivity from your sales team.
  • Design reactive and proactive activities for the team. An example of a reactive activity includes having your team respond to inbound sales leads. A proactive activity, by contrast, would be outbound prospecting and target account penetration.


One of the sales manager’s primary responsibilities is to discover ways to motivate the sales team and increase productivity. Campaigns can be an extremely effective way to do that. But in order to be efficient and productive, they need to be supported by structure.

  • Define the resources necessary to be successful. Whether it’s emails, scripts, or reference materials, managers need to ensure their sales team is prepared for each campaign.
  • Run contests around each campaign. Great sales people and sales team managers are usually competitive and inspired by goals and milestones. By offering a contest for each campaign, you’re dangling a carrot that will undoubtedly motivate the team.
  • Evaluate and provide feedback. Managers need to think on their feet and use both proactive and reactive processes. Evaluate campaign successes quickly and change course if something isn’t working well. As the campaign progresses, provide feedback to each team member and let them know how they’re doing.

Having a good company culture with visible values, aspirations, and goals goes a long way in developing strong sales teams. With the right structure, you’ll set your sales people up for success and be prepared to help them if they need it.

Related Resources

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SVP Marketing & Sales

<strong>Brian Zimmerman</strong> was a Partner at OpenView from 2006 until 2014. While at OpenView he worked with our portfolio executive teams to deliver the highest impact value-add consulting services, primarily focused on go-to-market strategies. Brian is currently the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at <a href="http://www.5nine.com/">5Nine Software</a>.