Profitable Sales Growth in Six Steps — Step 3: Design a Winning Sales Force

Ty Curry, Dan Peterson

Improving the design of the sales force often starts with one simple question: what do our salespeople do all day? 

That’s because good sales force design involves promoting the selling behaviors that will drive the right results. Ty Curry, Regional Managing Principal at ZS Associates, says that, more specifically, good sales force design is all about “structuring your sales force in such a way that you’re cost-effectively driving the right selling behaviors among the right salespeople in front of the right customers.”

Here’s an example offered by one of Curry’s colleagues, Dan Peterson, Managing Principal of Operations at ZS Associates. Recently, Peterson helped a B2B services company redesign its sales force. One of the first things he discovered was that the field salespeople were doing too much of their own prospecting and lead qualification. Experts at ZS Associates often refer to this as “role pollution.”

“Sometimes the issue is that sales reps are spending a lot of time on activities that someone else should be doing,” Peterson says, “for example, troubleshooting problems with existing customers, collecting overdue payments, initial lead generation or qualification, or any number of other things that could take away valuable selling time.”

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About the Experts


Ty Curry is a Managing Principal at ZS Associates in San Francisco, and he serves as regional lead for the firm's offices in the Midwestern and Western U.S. Ty helps his clients develop and implement sales strategies to improve market coverage and productivity. He works with clients on a variety of sales effectiveness issues such as sales force design, sales process design and implementation, resource optimization and incentive compensation. He has worked across a number of industries including high tech, media and publishing, energy, apparel and life sciences in North America and Asia. He is based in the firm’s San Mateo, Calif., office.

Dan Peterson is the global Managing Principal, Operations, at ZS Associates and is based in Evanston, Illinois. He has extensive experience in issues of sales force strategy and marketing resource allocation; geographic deployment and territory design; sales force design, productivity assessment, and performance evaluation; sales force compensation, goal-setting, and reward systems; go-to-market strategy & transformations; financial analysis; international taxation; and mathematical modeling.