Sales Cannot Afford to be Jack of All Trades

Over the past few decades the structure of sales organizations have remained unchanged. That was up until recently. Now, as sales organizations are embarking on a change from field to inside sales—Sales leaders must realize that Sales cannot afford to be Jack of All Trades anymore.

This year, we’re predicting an organizational change in Sales teams from Jack of All Trades to Masters of One. Salespeople simply cannot do it all anymore. Studies show that 33% of a sales rep’s time is spent on actually selling. That’s only ⅓ of their time. The rest of their time is spent on data entry and tasks that impact the sales cycle, but doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re focused on the deal at hand. Not convinced that reps need to focus and be Masters of One? Here’s a short-list of the top Sales problems:

  • 70% of the buyer’s journey happens before they talk to Sales. Read: Buyers no longer depend on Sales to inform their decision as much as in the past
  • Sales is unable to connect with buyers earlier on in the journey because they’re focused on non-selling activities
  • Sales has too much to do with too little time to do it all
  • Quota realization continues to go down, and that’s worrisome for your sales revenue goals

As buyers become more sophisticated and the sales cycle becomes more complex as more stakeholders are involved—something needs to change. It worked in the past, these Jack of All Trades reps that did everything from updating Salesforce, outbound prospecting, running discovery calls and closing deals. But, the buyer and sales cycle have evolved. It’s time Salespeople evolve as well and focus on being Masters of One.

Master of Segmentation

Here’s the new sales strategy: segment your sales team, twice. The first arm of segmentation should be between your closers and prospectors or Account Executives (AEs) and Sales Development Representatives (SDRs). Though both roles are essential to the business, the context switching between closing and prospecting is taxing on the rep, lowers productivity and is a leading factor in the 70% stat from above.

If reps are dividing their time between two separate threads of the sales cycle—they’re unable to merely focus, specialize and thrive on being a master at either closing or prospecting. It’s kind of like playing basketball for a few hours and then playing baseball for few hours next. A professional sports player would never do that, so why should your sales team? Instead, give your team the focus and segmentation that they deserve.

The second arm of segmentation is around territory planning and processes. When sales leaders are drawing their market segments, they should also think about segmenting both their AE and SDR teams into the appropriate markets. Meaning having specialized reps in Enterprise, Mid-Market and Small Business. With this hyper-segmentation, it allows your reps to give the appropriate amount of strategy and attention to every customer.

Master of the AE-SDR Handoff

With the emergence of segmentation between closing and prospecting roles, that doesn’t mean that there should be a gap between the two parts of the Sales team. Companies still have to bridge the gap between the roles and get them to collaborate with one another, because your revenue goals depend on it.

Meaning, when an SDR prospects into a company and then books a meeting for an AE, there should be a transfer of knowledge along with the Salesforce opportunity. Everything that an SDR has learned about their prospect should be relayed to the AE, so they can both work together and move the prospect through the buyer’s journey. This transfer of knowledge helps reps create highly-personalized outreach to prospects and creates a connection and foundational partnership with the prospect.

Your organization can take the AE-SDR handoff one step further by pairing AEs with SDRs. It’s sort of like a 1:1 sales process. The SDR prospects into a company, and instead of a round robin handoff to an AE, that opportunity goes straight to the AE that they’re paired with. The advantages to a process like this means a greater bond between the two segments of your sales team and a streamlined process where reps are hyper-focused and incentivized for peak performance.

Master of the Collaboration Beyond the Sales Floor

The change in the Sales team doesn’t end at the AE-SDR handoff, but it extends beyond the sales floor. Sales needs to turn into a full-collaboration machine that extends to all arms of the organization from Customer Success, Support, Marketing, Engineering, Product and Business Operations.  

As the sales process gets more complex, Sales is going to need to partner with all departments in order to move deals forward. Sales needs Customer Success on the post-Sales side. Sales needs Support to help prospects out during their product trial. Sales needs alignment with Marketing to provide relevant content throughout the buyer’s journey. To foster collaboration beyond the sales floor, here’s are four steps to follow:

  • Hire or train your Sales team to be collaborators within and outside of the sales floor
  • Make time for the work that matters
  • Invest in tools that improve collaboration and productivity across an organization
  • Don’t be afraid to have transparent meetings

Conclusion

The days of Sales working in vacuum are over. For Sales to have a future, we need to collaborate with all arms of the company to scalable growth. The future of Sales isn’t a Jack of All Trades, instead it’s a Master of One.

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