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GTM, Sales

Best practices from designing SaaS Sales Organizations

Jacco van der Kooij

Written by Jacco van der Kooij

Founder, Winning by Design


Over the past months I have been sharing best practices gained from working with dozens of SaaS Sales organizations with CEOs and VPs.  The results were presented in blueprints detailing everything from the customer journey, detailed cost analysis, all the way into floor plans for sales operations centers.

The findings were split across five categories;

  • Methodology: Customer Centric – Today, SaaS sales organizations can no longer just be pushing product through volume based email and call tactics.  Instead, SaaS sales organizations need to focus on diagnosing customers, and helping them make an educated trade-off. At the same time, sales organizations need to improve quality, increase velocity, and create a radically improve the overall experience.  Today, most sales organizations are hampered with a maniacal focus on monthly results, not on the process of actions that get you there. 
  • Tools: Pick tools that act as a force multiplier – The amount of new sales tools, and the velocity with which they are entering the market is overwhelming sales leadership. Tools can help companies scale (velocity, volume) at a low cost of resources ($, training on use, implementation time) in context of your business environment? Many sales leaders have no time to do an extensive review of every tool, yet the tools are so impactful and for many they can be the difference between success and failure. We discussed and presented a variety of tool stacks and the primary gap most sales organizations struggle with.
  • Skills: Online selling as the key differentiator – The gap between experienced sales skills from veterans vs. The ability to navigate seamlessly online by Millennials. Traditional training is focused on traditional skill sets. We need a new kind of training for a more modern customer centric sales team. There is a clear need for an overview of the skills needed per position, SDR, AE, CSM, AM, etc. with the aim to excel in online problem solving (and not social selling).
  • Content: Use of insights as the outbound sales call – With the continued decline in open rate on email, the use of content is rapidly becoming the #1 way to make an outbound “call”. Of course email/inmail and outbound cold calls will continue for the time being. But it is clear that content is going to play the biggest role in the very near future.  That requires a sales force that is able to generate their own content that starts a conversation.
  • Organization: Agile, Self Learning organizations designed to withstand turnover – We need to build self learning sales organizations similar to soccer teams. These organizations are built for a velocity environment, they use lower cost resources that operate across the entire customer journey. Amazingly the tenure is measured in months. A big change from the distributed field sales force operating as lone warriors with an average tenure of 4 years. This new organization needs a “dugout” to operate from, and with it comes the need for centralized sales operations center.

These are just some of the lessons gained working with over dozens of SaaS sales organizations in the past months that were shared with the audience.  For more insights into how you can build your SaaS organizations we recommend you read the book we recently published “Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization”, available on Amazon.