Sales Role Clarity Drives Revenue

June 23, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Do the individuals in your sales force understand their roles and spend a majority of their time on activities that drive a business result? Chances are not likely. In a previous blog post we discussed some common role issues that can lead to inefficiencies; these issues are often deep rooted and thus hard to diagnose. In this blog we will lay out a solution to pinpoint those inefficiencies and help assign clarity, accountability and responsibility to the correct sales resources. As a refresher, I have listed the four top sales force structure role issues below.

Corrupted Role: tasks from other departments contaminate the sales role. (e.g. customer service, collections, lead generation) 

Transformed Role: This job was designed to serve a purpose at a moment in time. For example, a hunter rep was assigned to grow a new market. After years of prospecting and growing the market share, the market is approaching saturation and the rep is now spending a disproportionate amount of time farming. The Sales Rep in this territory is now performing a role that does not meet his competencies and is less effective.

Blended Job: Multiple roles blended into one job. Example: Sell new business, Manage Channel Partners and existing customer relationships. The lack of emphasis can lead to an inconsistent cadence and sales reps will end up thrashing between different job functions

Overloaded Job: assigning too many responsibilities to a role. Sales Reps become overwhelmed with the job requirements and are unable to effectively execute within the role. This can happen with Generalists that are spread across multiple industries or product lines that are complex in nature.

If you are trying to drive more revenue and maintain the current cost structure you need to resolve these role issues.  One way to solve is a RACI role exercise. You can download the RACI Role Excercise template for free here.


Role Mapping

What is a RACI role exercise?

It is a process mapping exercise that defines task accountability and responsibility.  The output is a clear understanding of how each key process is executed.   Performing the RACI exercise on a white board with constituents from each role in the room becomes an eye opening experience; individuals realize they have owned the wrong task and see the benefit of making a transition. 

When performing the exercise, you should have the main sales processes (e.g. Lead Generation/Prospecting, Sales Methodology, Account Management) across the top of the horizontal axis.  Below the listed processes should be the tasks that are performed within each process.  On the horizontal axis you should list all of the sales roles that engage in these processes.  You will then fill in the boxes next to each role with one of the following letters for each task.

  • R – Responsible: Does the work to complete the process/activity/task.
  • A – Accountable: Owns quality control, signs off on process/activity/task completion, is answerable for ensuring desired result is achieved.
  • C – Consulted: Contributes to and provides input into the process/activity/task.  Involved in 2 way communication as work is completed.
  • I – Informed: Receives updates on process/activity/task progress.  Involved in one way communication as work is done.

The result will be enhanced role clarity and ownership.  This level of task ownership will allow you to diagnose where the broken link lies much faster and make corrections.  Your sales force wants to be successful and spelling out exactly what success looks like will lead to an uplift in productivity. 


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Topics: Sales Force Structure, Go To Market Strategy

Posted by Scott Gruher

Scott Gruher
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