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8 sales team structure models – plus scenarios to build them out

Strategically construct your sales team for maximum impact and adaptability using these sales team structure models and real-world scenarios that can make or break your goals as a sales team leader with high expectations.

Keith MacKenzie
Keith MacKenzie

Passionate about human resources, employment, and business management, and an expert at sharing that expertise.

sales team structure

You’ve got the budget, now let’s put it to work. Whether you’re launching, scaling, or pivoting, the key to exceeding your goals lies in the anatomy of your sales team.

Dive in and start building the perfect blueprint tailored to your unique challenges – your future star performers will thank you.

Related: Build a high-performing sales team: your comprehensive guide

Let’s start with common sales team organization structures and org charts for each:

1. Functional sales team structure

A software company has a sales team that is divided into three main functions: lead generation, account executives, and customer success.

The lead generation team is responsible for finding and qualifying potential customers, the account executives are responsible for closing deals, and the customer success team is responsible for onboarding and retaining customers.

functional sales team structure

2. Geographic sales team structure

A multinational pharmaceutical company has divided its sales team based on geographic regions: North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Each regional team is responsible for all sales activities within its assigned region, allowing them to cater to the specific needs and regulations of their respective markets.

geographic sales team structure

3. Market-based sales team structure

A financial services company has different sales teams for each of its market segments: individual investors, small businesses, and institutional clients.

Each team understands the unique needs and challenges of its specific market segment.

Market-based sales team structure

4. Product sales team structure

A large tech company with multiple product lines, such as laptops, smartphones, and software services, has separate sales teams for each product line.

Each team specializes in understanding and selling its specific product.

Product sales team structure

5. Hybrid sales team structure

A large consumer goods company uses a hybrid structure. It has a geographic structure for its field sales team, with different teams responsible for different regions.

It also has a product-based structure for its inside sales team, with different teams specializing in different product categories.

Hybrid sales team structure

6. Account-based sales team structure

A B2B software company that sells high-value enterprise solutions has an account-based sales structure.

Each sales team is assigned a set of key accounts that they are responsible for managing and growing.

Account-based sales team structure

7. Channel sales team structure

A manufacturing company sells its products through a network of distributors and retailers.

It has a channel sales team that is responsible for managing these partner relationships, providing them with product training, and supporting their sales efforts.

Channel sales team structure

8. Customer success sales team structure

A SaaS company has a sales team that focuses on acquiring new customers and a customer success team that focuses on retaining and growing existing accounts.

The sales team works on bringing in new business, while the customer success team ensures that existing customers are satisfied and identifies opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

Customer success sales team structure

Different team building plans to think about

Regardless of which organizational structure you follow above, there will be different scenarios for you to consider when building your sales team. Some of these are longer-term, others are quick and nearly off-the-cuff.

Related: Build a sales team with ChatGPT – with prompt examples

Let’s start with a potential scenario, variables to consider, and what the sales team organizational structure might include for each of these. Consider bundling one or more of the following scenarios into your overall sales team structure to align your sales system with overall business strategies.

Scenario 1: you are just getting started


  • Limited resources
  • Small customer base
  • Need to establish market presence

Organizational structure:

  • Startup sales lead: Multi-tasker who handles account management and some admin tasks
  • Generalist sales reps: Team members who handle everything from lead generation to closing deals
  • Customer success associate: Focuses on onboarding and retaining the initial customer base

Scenario 2: you have landed a new funding round and you’re looking to grow


  • Sudden influx of resources
  • Aggressive expansion plans
  • High growth targets.

Organizational structure:

  • Growth manager: Specializes in scaling businesses and managing large teams
  • Recruitment specialist: Fast-tracks hiring of new team members
  • Sales reps by tier: Separated into junior and senior reps, each focusing on different customer segments
  • Sales analyst: Uses data analytics to optimize sales strategies

Scenario 3: you’ve got a new product in place and you’re looking to push it


  • Newly launched product
  • Need for market adoption
  • Focus on product-specific sales

Organizational structure:

  • Product sales manager: Specializes in the new product and its market positioning
  • Product evangelists: Focus on storytelling and explaining the product’s USP
  • Cross-selling sales reps: Leveraging existing customer base to introduce the new product
  • Technical support: On-call for product-specific inquiries and demonstrations

Scenario 4: you’re facing high attrition rates


  • High turnover
  • Low morale
  • Dissatisfied employees

Organizational structure:

  • Team lead: Responsible for morale and personal development
  • Retention specialist: Focused on employee engagement
  • Sales reps: Generalists with rotation across different accounts to prevent burnout

Scenario 5: you’re transitioning to remote work


  • Remote work
  • Need for smoother communication
  • Need for streamlined coordination

Organizational structure:

  • Remote team manager: Oversees remote operations
  • Communication liaison: Ensures effective communication and project tracking
  • Sales reps: Allocated to regions/time zones for customer convenience

Scenario 6: you’re entering a new market


  • Unknown market dynamics and consumer behavior

Organizational structure:

  • Market specialist: Expert in the new market’s nuances
  • Cultural advisor: Provides cultural training and guidance
  • Localized sales reps: Hired from the local market for authentic engagement

Scenario 7: you have a seasonal business


  • Fluctuating sales depending on the season or time of year

Organizational structure:

  • Seasonal team lead: Oversees seasonal hires and operations
  • Stock analyst: Focuses on inventory and demand prediction
  • Temporary sales reps: Hired for peak season, focus on short-term goals

Scenario 8: you’re facing stiff competition


  • Increased competition affecting sales and market share
  • Sudden ascent of a new presence in the marketplace

Organizational structure:

  • Strategy lead: Focuses on competitive tactics and market analysis
  • Product evangelist: Specializes in the USP and brand storytelling
  • Sales reps: Special training in negotiation and advanced selling techniques

Time to start building

Building a sales team isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Depending on your company’s unique circumstances, goals, and challenges, your organizational structure should adapt and evolve.

Whether you’re just breaking ground, scaling rapidly with new funding, launching a product, or grappling with issues like high attrition and remote work, the right setup can be a game-changer. It aligns your resources and focuses your efforts, serving as the backbone of your sales strategy.

Remember, an effective sales team is not just about the number of people but about putting the right people in the right roles. These eight scenarios offer a versatile blueprint for assembling a sales team that’s not just built for the present, but also adaptable for the future.

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