Guide: Specialize Your Sales Roles

specialize your sales roles imageThe single most important thing you can do to improve your sales and lead generation results is to specialize your roles.  

The 4 Core Sales Roles are
1) Prospectors,
2) Inbound Lead Qualifiers,
3) Closing and
4) Account Management / Customer Success.  

*Note: specializing means also the reps doing “inbound lead response” are not the ones “prospecting”!

Specializing is easier for early stage companies who are more agile; and harder if you already have a team of generalized reps who mix leadgen work with closing.  You can’t be ‘too small to specialize’: all you need is two people (and sometimes just one) to begin.

Do you send new leads straight to quota-carrying salespeople?  Do you have junior sales reps who both prospect and respond to inbound leads (website registrations)?  Do your sales reps also need to manage all the customers they close?


  1. Why executives MUST buy into specialization (and the few exceptions)
  2. When to begin specializing
  3. How to transition an existing team of generalists to specialists 


If you’re new to Predictable Revenue and haven’t read Why Salespeople Shouldn’t Prospect or the book, here is a very brief review…

If you’re a company that still has its salespeople prospect, close, respond to leads and manage customers – you will see incredible productivity, morale and reporting benefits from dividing up the sales team into at least 4 specialized functions. Here are the four basic functions or themes:

  1. “Inbound” Lead Qualification: Commonly called Market Response Reps, they qualify marketing leads coming inbound through the website or 800 number. The sources of these leads are either marketing programs, search engine marketing, or organic word-of-mouth.
  2. “Outbound” Prospecting / Cold Calling 2.0: Commonly called Sales Development Reps or Business Development Reps, this function prospects into lists of target accounts to develop new sales opportunities from cold or inactive accounts. This is a team dedicated to proactive business development.Highly efficient Outbound reps and teams do NOT close deals, but create & qualify new sales opportunities and then pass them to Account Executives to close.
  3. “Account Executives” or “Sales”, are quota-carrying reps who close deals. They can be either inside or out in the field. As a best practice, even when a company has an Account Management/Customer Success function, Account Executives should stay in touch with new customers they close past the close until the new customer is deployed and launched.
  4. Account Management / Customer Success: Client deployment and success, ongoing client management, and renewals. In today’s world of “frictionless karma”, someone needs to be dedicated to making customers successful–and that is NOT the salesperson!  “Account Management” usually implies a quota-carrying salesperson working with current customers.  “Customer Success” implies someone without a quota (that is, unbiased) who’s job is solely to help customers get more value from your product, whether through hands-on help, education and training, etc.


Why Executives Need To Buy Into Specialization

  • Eliminate the “jumble” and get clear insight into what’s working and not working
  • Less “I win you lose” competition; more teamwork & collaboration
  • Simplify jobs to make it easier to focus & have a structure for repeatable success
  • Develop true experts…not dabblers
  • Create a sustainable source of the best sales talent with an internal career path and “farm team system”

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