Sales force organization is the process of allocating and managing sales resources to meet sales and marketing objectives. The organization reflects the number of sales representatives and their skills, the size of the product range, the location of customers and prospects, and the market sectors in which a company operates. An effective sales force organization provides account and geographic coverage, minimizes wasted resources and time, and ensures a higher probability of attaining sales quotas, according to consultancy Baker Communications.


The sales force organization must align with overall sales and marketing strategy. Companies that aim to grow their business in different domestic or export territories should organize their sales force along regional lines. If a company wants to increase share in specific industry sectors, such as defense or manufacturing, it should organize the sales force by market sector. Companies with a small number of major customers must focus sales force resources on serving those customers. To service a large number of smaller customers, a company may choose to appoint distributors, with members of the sales force taking responsibility for developing sales through the distributor network, rather than selling directly.


Allocating resources to sales territories is an important element of sales force organization. Companies with customers across the country divide their market by convenient geographical groupings, such as north, south, east and west. Companies that serve industries with a geographic concentration, such as Silicon Valley for information technology companies, Washington for government agencies or Detroit for automotive manufacturers, may create a regional organization focused on territories that reflect their key market sectors.


Sales force organization takes account of a company’s skills and specializations. A company with complex technical products, for example, might organize its sales force by product line. It would recruit sales representatives with good technical knowledge or invest in product training programs so that the sales force can provide a high level of technical service to customers. Companies with specialist knowledge of customer issues in specific market sectors organize the sales force by sector, positioning themselves as experts in the sector.


A key element in sales force organization is the support available to the direct sales effort. Companies can improve sales force productivity by using a telemarketing team to cover time-consuming tasks, such as setting appointments, qualifying prospects or taking routine, low-value orders. Building relationships with marketing to develop lead generation programs can improve the quality of sales force prospecting