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Karthik Nagendra

Chief Marketing Officer at DemandFarm

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    Org Charts for Sales and Account Management

    Are organizational charts (org charts) really important? Will your sales team performance be affected if you do not have a sales organization chart and org charts for key customer accounts? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes.

    Org charts are not a new invention. The world’s first org chart was created in the 1850s by Daniel McCallum, a railroad engineer in America. Why? To increase operational efficiency in managing what was then the world’s longest rail system.

    More than 160 years later, org charts continue to play a crucial role in sales and account management. The main reasons behind that are similar to why McCallum created the world’s first org chart: to break silos and complex operational structures; and build cohesive, connected, efficient teams.

    When it comes to account management, too, org charts play a key role. They are roadmaps that your sales and business development teams can follow, to cut through a whole network of contacts, and reach the person who truly matters — the one signing the cheque.

    If you are planning to create a sales org chart for your own company or org charts for key accounts, read on! In this definitive guide to org charts, we take you through:

    • What are org charts?
    • Why do you need org charts for your sales teams?
    • Org charts for key account management
    • Key elements of org charts
    • Types of org charts
    • How to build more efficient teams with org charts

    By the end of this guide, you will gain an understanding of what org charts are, which will then allow you to determine what kind of org structure works best for you, and learn how you can get started on creating your own custom org chart — whether for sales teams or account management.

    What are Org charts?

    An org chart is a visual representation of a company’s structure, or chain of command, or hierarchy. Org charts can give you both, a broad look at a company’s structure, or a detailed look at one part of the company. 

    For instance, a company’s sales org chart will show in detail the way its sales team is designed, in detail. Some of the elements a sales org chart could contain are:

    • Company name
    • Names of all members of the department
    • Their location, contact information, tenure, and other details
    • How they function in relation with each other, i.e., who reports to whom
    • Sales channel breakdown (i.e., online, offline, internal, external etc)
    • Relationship between sales teams/departments and other teams
    • Other information that helps demonstrate how the sales team functions

    Org charts for account management contain similar elements, except it is information regarding another company/client/account. It could include:

    • Company name
    • Names of top, senior, key management, other stakeholders
    • Their location, contact details, roles, responsibilities, departments, tenure, etc
    • Relationship between various stakeholders, teams, or departments
    • Reporting structure of the company
    • Other relevant information

    Why do you need org charts for your sales teams?

    As we mentioned earlier in this guide, having an org chart for sales and account management can benefit teams immensely in terms of efficiency. They can:

    • Help a company understand how their teams operate in relation to each other
    • Help an organization identify, clearly define, and demarcate responsibilities and reporting structures
    • Tell a company where there are gaps or voids that need to be filled, where there is overlapping of responsibilities, and where there are siloes.

    If you are a senior executive in sales, say the sales director, for instance, an org chart can help you make more informed decisions about team structure, roles, and responsibilities.
    Like McCallum did back in the 1850’s, using org charts can help you break silos between teams and departments. If your sales team is working in silos because of a structural flaw and is not communicating with your marketing team, it can throw your entire revenue target off course. How does that happen?
    When sales teams do not work in tandem with other teams, it can create an awkward working environment, reduce insight and clarity across all teams, lower efficiency by creating unnecessary complexities and layers, and ultimately circle back to impact a company’s sales and overall performance.
    But, by using org charts to examine the relationship between the sales and marketing teams, senior management can solve this challenge by breaking down any barriers before they can take firm root.
    On the other hand, how do you know if there are certain sales roles within your company that have conflicting or overlapped responsibilities? One of the ways to find out is to use an org chart. In this way, you can improve clarity on who ‘owns’ what part of the responsibility.
    It is important to establish this clarity to avoid clogging up workflows or creating red tape, due to conflicting overlaps in responsibilities. Therefore, an organization chart can ultimately become a tool that can be used to improve revenue and income.
    Org charts are also critical to the HR/people/culture departments of a company. Using them allows these teams to foster an inclusive culture where information is shared, siloes do not exist, and collaboration comes easy. A conducive working environment and culture, as we know, is also a key factor in determining how a company performs.

    Org charts for account management

    There are a few crucial outcomes of org charts for key accounts that make them an invaluable resource.

    • Charting a course: Account org charts help you visualize a path, or a course, to reach your customer. Think of it as a key to solving the maze of reaching the end customer, the one who is actually calling the shots. Along the course, you may also find that there are other teams or departments within a company that you could target.
    • Expanding reach: They can expand your points of entry to the client, or account, beyond the single point of contact you may have on file. Org charts can do this by mapping out relationships between stakeholders, reporting structures of target customers, team structures and hierarchy, etc. Since org charts give you access to this level of information, they also make it easier to cross-sell and upsell within existing accounts.
    • Gaining traction: We circle back to a crucial point that all salespersons hunt for – being able to access the person who is directly responsible for deciding whether or not to buy a product or solution. Org charts help you get there by giving you more traction. Using them, you can identify the stakeholders involved in influencing the decision, and work your way through them to the primary decision maker.
      You will be able to understand who reports to whom and work your way up, or laterally, or even go in for a top-down approach. You could copy in your primary contact’s manager on an email if you’re working your way up the chain of command, for example. This particular method could also boost your chances of getting a response from your primary contact. Why? Because their manager has been copied on it!

    In a nutshell, org charts are crucial for account management and sales. Sales teams should use them if they have to have a more complete understanding of the target account or the business of the customer.

    Find out how Org Chart helped Slalom manage over 50,000 key contacts

    Key elements of org charts

    The beauty of org charts is that they can give you a wide-angle look at the way a company is structured, and yet get extremely detailed. The result is a comprehensive understanding of how companies, accounts, or departments function. We introduced you to a few key elements that ought to be part of designing a good org chart, whether your own company’s or a key account’s. In this section, we delve deeper into these elements, or levels, of an org chart.

    • Company name: This is an obvious element while creating account org charts. The name should be at the very top, especially for sales teams that are targeting a large number of accounts or customers. If you have teams that are targeting specific brands within those accounts/customers, then the names of those brands should also go at the very top of an org chart.
    • Department: When it comes to your own org charts, breaking it down into separate charts for various departments is a good idea. For example, if we take the sales department, the org chart for it should include various teams or functions or sub-departments that fall under sales. But you can take it a step further and also indicate how the sales department itself fits into the rest of the company, i.e., is there a broader/larger department within which the sales department resides, how does the department function in relation with other departments, are there any overlaps with other departments/functions/teams, and so on.
    • Team: This is the stage where org charts get more granular. If you are zooming in to the org chart of a team, it should show you – where the team resides within the company’s structure (i.e., which sub-department, and which larger department), and list out names/titles/responsibilities/locations/contact details of all the members of the team. For example, if you are crafting an org chart of a regional sales ops team, the sub-department would be Sales Ops, and the larger department it belongs to/resides in within the company’s structure would either be just Sales, or Sales & Marketing.
    • Channel: Using the same example as above, a regional sales op team can further be divided into org charts that show a channel breakup of the structure. For instance, is there a separate “pod” within a regional sales operation team that focuses only on online sales? How do the online and offline sales channels collaborate?
    • Reporting structures: This one is self-explanatory. It’s the element of an org chart that shows you how a particular individual, team, department, or function works in relation with others within a company. It’s what gives immense value to org charts because it helps understand the spheres of influence, power, collaboration, adjacencies, while also identifying siloes and conflicting or overlapping responsibilities. As we mentioned earlier in this guide, this knowledge is all-crucial for both internal org charts and org charts for key account management.
    • Tenure: The final element on our list is tenure. Does experience matter? Absolutely. And that is why it may be useful for it to find a place in your internal org chart. Is there an individual who’s extremely well versed at selling tech to manufacturing companies, for example? But due to reasons unknown, has that individual been inducted into a team that sells to pharma companies instead? Including tenure and experience details in an org chart can help you identify and solve this.

    Types of org charts

    Org charts for account management could be categorized into various types depending on the elements they highlight or what they map. DemandFarm’s Org Chart Software, for instance, can be classified into:

    • Hierarchy Mapping: This helps you to know who reports to whom among your contacts in a particular account.
    • Relationship Mapping: This allows you to understand who the supporters, detractors, and neutral contact are for an account.
    • Influence Mapping: The sphere of influence is all-important. This tells you who influences whom inside an organization.
    • Power Mapping: And finally, this feature lets you map the power of each contact and ultimately, reach the decision-maker who will actually be signing off the deal.

    Generally, too, org charts are classified into hierarchical, divisional, matrix or flat. Hierarchical, as the name suggests, shows you the “ladder.” Divisional org charts can be used to map out a company based on specific parameters, like product lines, or geographies. Matrixes are a combination of both the hierarchical and the divisional and allow you to see cross-functionalities. A flat org chart, visually, will be more lateral than vertical and is typically used by smaller businesses with fewer layers.

    Building better teams using org charts

    How do you organize your company or departments or teams better using org charts? For that, you need to strategize right at the beginning, i.e., while you are sitting down to design your company’s org chart. You can do so by answering some critical questions:

    • What is the vision of the company?
    • Who are you selling to?
    • What do you want the company structure to look like?
    • Is that structure going to help you achieve your vision?
    • If so, how do you want various departments and teams to operate within that structure?
    • How will each department work in collaboration with other departments to achieve that vision?
    • Are there already areas where you foresee possible siloes being created, or overlaps in responsibilities?

    Answering these, and other related questions, should be a precursor to actually designing your organizational structure. Once you have answers, you can begin to actually map out the org chart. While mapping out the org chart, focus on various elements (which we covered in a section above) and how they fit in together.

    There are companies that can help you map out org charts using specialized tools. DemandFarm is one of them. Using DemandFarm’s enriched org charts gives you deeper visibility into stakeholders, provides you with actionable insights, and helps drive revenue growth.

    In conclusion, org charts are a cardinal part of building relationship intelligence. That, in turn, can give your company the necessary advantage to solve both internal and external goals. Internally, it can help break through siloes and create more efficient teams. It helps simplify complex structures, provide more clarity on roles and responsibilities, and create an inclusive and collaborative working environment.

    Externally, it can be a useful tool when it comes to targeting potential clients and better managing existing ones. It can expand the points of entry of your sales team to an account or customer, give them more traction, and help them reach the decision-maker who truly matters to the sale. Ultimately, it adds to revenue and income growth and betters the overall performance of a company.

    Ready to discuss your Account Management Needs?

    About The Author

    Karthik Nagendra

    Chief Marketing Officer at DemandFarm

      Dr. Karthik Nagendra carries close to two decades’ of B2B technology & SaaS marketing experience. He has held senior marketing leadership positions earlier in leading brands like Wipro, Accenture among others.He has worked closely with leading universities, industry bodies, analysts and research firms globally and acted as a catalyst in providing best practices and insights to customers across sectors. He has authored papers & articles that have been featured in leading publications like Forbes, Business World, People Matters, and Economic Times among others.He has been a guest speaker at Wharton, Duke University, UCLA among other Ivy league Universities globally. He has been featured among the top 10 marketing consultants by CEO magazine and CMS Asia.

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