Off the Cuff Interview Question: What are the key advantages to specializing sales roles in a company?
Specializing sales roles can improve productivity, increase morale, simplify hiring and maximize return on effort in any size organization. Because very few sales executives are masters of each primary role in sales – prospecting, closing, servicing – specialization ensures more predictable outcomes from lead to revenue generation, effectively, with consistency.
One key advantage of specialization is that it better aligns behavioral characteristics of the sales representative. As an example, prospecting typically requires daily execution of activities geared towards starting conversations. A higher number of activities are grouped into blocks of time and performed habitually, day in and day out. It takes a special sales talent to thrive within this more controlled, less flexible sales environment.
Specialization also allows you to align skillsets more effectively. As you move further into the pipeline, different skillsets start to emerge. For example, a high level of negotiation expertise and strategy might be needed to move an opportunity to the revenue stage with desirable outcomes. More thought and planning are necessary to position the sale, and there are, likely, more working parts to manage. Contrast that directly to the role described earlier – one of daily, habitual, activity execution.
The more we learn about multitasking and its effect on performance, the more specialization makes sense. Instead of wearing 3-4 hats on any given day (prospecting, closing, servicing, managing), specialization allows for single-tasking of one primary purpose, with complete focus on achieving goals aligned with that purpose.
Metrics, measurements, and adherence to goals are easier to set, review, understand and act upon. Points of degradation or sluggishness in the pipeline are easier to spot and rectify. Specialization allows for delving into problem areas, one layer at a time, to thoroughly understand where trouble spots lie and how to fix them.
If you’re looking for more consistency and predictability from your sales teams, consider specialization of the sales roles. Start with one split, then work your way towards more specialization keeping in mind that you’re looking to maximize return on effort while at the same time reduce cost of sales.
What has been successful for you in specializing sales roles? Leave a comment and let us know.
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