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Evolution of a Sales Organization

Every sales organization can be classified into a “Build,” “Compete,” “Maintain,” “Extend,” or “Cull” stage based upon its development. The Build stage is when the sales organization is first establishing itself. If successful, it will proceed to a high-growth Compete stage and then to Maintain stage that is contingent upon predictable success. As the sales organization ages, it will enter either the Extend stage and enjoy longevity or the Cull stage, where it declines and is forced to reduce its size.

The challenges sales organizations face is dependent upon the stage of their development. The top sales challenge in the Build stage is creating sufficient sales coverage to push the product into the market. The Compete stage challenge revolves around quickly scaling the sales organization so it can compete effectively against larger established competitors. The focus shifts to maximizing sales productivity by lowering the cost of sale and increasing the average sales price in the Maintain stage. The Extend stage challenge is to attain widespread customer adoption so their solution becomes the de facto standard. The Cull stage challenge is to revitalize a demoralized and marginalized sales force. These challenges directly influence the sales organization’s structure and whether a field or inside sales model will be deployed.

Phil Heft – Sales and Marketing Specialist, pheft@hotmail.com

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