I love your podcasts, and I want to have a little advice: where can I
read/learn something about proper team sizing? I´m a "manager of 2"
and in charge of IT sales to Local Gov accounts in a medium (800
people) size firm. My boss asked my to "dream about your ideal team"
and I´m really a bit confused. Any pointers to info about this? He wants me to guess how much people will I need to hire to get my quotta, but it gets larger as more people I need. I´m really not scared about it, but I need a way of figuring out the ratio between sales/people/sales contacts/ etc.


Mark's picture
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This is not a simple question, and I'm not sure it's the right one, either.

Nevertheless, the right team size for a sales organization is based not on span of control (how many people can a manager in this role effectively manage?), but rather on market size and share.

This is a GROSS, CLUMSY recommendation, but it would go SOMETHING like this:

I would recommend you analyze your market, and determine its size. (I am assuming a defined geography). I would then determine your organization's share of the market, and what your target share is.

Then I would divide your present share by your number of reps (you may be a whole number or you may be only a fraction, depending upon the nature of your present role). That will tell you - ROUGHLY - what each present rep's share of the market is now. Your "dream" team number is your target market share divided by your present rep's average share.


Further, an ideal team size is a highly dependent factor. What does it depend on? Well, that, too, depends.

As a general rule, the ideal team size is about 8 people. THIS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. This is based on lots of research about teams that work together, and sales teams are often quite independent. I have managed twenty people, and I know some folks who can't manage THREE. Some research lately says the ideal team size is 4, but I disagree with many of their premises.

Hope this helps... It's a privilege to serve you.


jpgp's picture

Hi Mark and all out there:

I´m very glad about the little time it took to get that useful reply. I totally agree that it´s a matter of market size and share, so your answer is spot on.
Continuing on this, I see my profile as salesperson influencing my lack of clarity about how to do this. I used to have a boss that had it fine to be seen as "managing me" because in fact he used to send me like 10 or less messages a year and never aided me or mentored or told me anything: I tend to be very independent and I have lots of drive and ideas, so the guy just let me do my job and we both collected the success. Then, I left that job and entered the one I´m in now, and my new boss also lets me do whatever I want with little interaction (what I see as a downside), but as I´m in charge of 2 more, I´m supposed to tell people what to do, but I tend to help them a lot and not using enough time to clarify where we are going as a sales team. If I had below me a few guys like me, conversations would be held to discuss what THEY think about doing and then expecting them to do that, with some corrections eventually. But the case is that one of them is a TOTAL mess, and my boss wants to fire the guy, while I say that it´s all my fault and responsability because I´m not guiding nor forcing him to deliver results.
So...what does this rant has to be related with the question? I feel like if I hire 2 or 3 guys with the "self driven and independent" profile, I will get a lot of stuff done only thinking about what to do and sharing that with them and eventually helping. But with the lack of results with this particular guy I´m afraid of it being my fault not being able to clarify things more and not spending enough time controlling this kind of guys that almost NEVER does what I expect them to :-)

So...I will use your advice on sizing, and also revise my style.



juliahhavener's picture
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Just a quick run by reading this reply on my way out the door to a friend's birthday party.

I'd say...listen to the feedback model podcasts (two of them) and the coaching model podcasts. Oh, and DiSC, definitely disc. Institute one on ones. See where you get, I suspect you'll feel a great deal better about the performance you get!