The Four Areas of Sales Rep Specialization in Startups

Continuing with yesterday’s book review on Predictable Revenue, there’s one critical takeaway: specialization of sales functions is paramount. The idea is that sales reps are often juggling multiple tasks and even the best intentioned ones spend time where they can maximize their personal commission. Inevitably, when the near-term opportunities grow, the long-term prospecting fades. When the near-term opportunities grow, the farming and account maintenance of existing customers fades. Enter specialization.

Here are the four areas of sales rep specialization in startups:

  • Market Response Rep – Qualifies and nurtures inbound leads that are handed off to an account executive once engaged in the sales cycle (one rep can handle approximately 400 inbound leads per month)
  • Outbound Sales Development Rep – Cold calls and emails potential prospects and nurtures them until they are ready for an account executive (one rep should generate 10-20 qualified leads per month)
  • Account Manager – Manages the relationship with existing customers and continually looks for ways to add more value
  • Account Executive / Sales Rep – Carries a quota and is responsible for taking leads engaged in the buying process through to close and hand-off

When a person on a sales team spends 30% of their time on one of the above functions that isn’t their primary function, that’s a good sign there’s enough work available for a full-time person dedicated to it. After you hire a sales rep (before a VP of Sales!), the next hire should likely be a sales development rep.

What else? What are your thoughts on the four areas of sales rep specialization in startups?

2 thoughts on “The Four Areas of Sales Rep Specialization in Startups

  1. Great article. We can relate at our company. We are currently looking for an Outbound Sales Development Rep. In fact, I’ve recently posted the posting on my new blog (sort of a beta version blog) for other entrepreneurs who may be interested in how to compose the requirements for this type of position.

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