3 years ago
June 3, 2021

How Much Sales Admin Support Is Too Much? How to Calculate the Right Sales to Support Staff Ratio

A strong sales process involves a lot more than your sales professionals. It is truly a team effort. You need the right combination of management, sales professionals, and support staff….

sales recruiter Liz Vixner
Elizabeth Vixner

A strong sales process involves a lot more than your sales professionals. It is truly a team effort. You need the right combination of management, sales professionals, and support staff. Too little support for your reps and they will not be able to focus enough time on selling activities. Too much sales admin support and you could have bloated staff.

Successful sales organizations are efficient. They have a good sale to support staff ratio. They have the right combination of sales reps and administrative support to complete all tasks involved in the sales process.

What Do Sales Support Staff Do?

Sales support staff are in charge of making the sales process easier for salespeople. They assist with managing leads, updating client files, creating customer reports, processing sales, customer service, and other functions to support salespeople.

It is an important role on the sales team, but how much administrative support is too much?

What Is the Best Sales to Support Staff Ratio?

5:1 sales rep to sales support ratio is ideal for maximum efficiency. A research report by HubSpot titled Best Practices In World-Class Sales Organizations looked into the question of how much sales admin support is needed. They found:

“Organizations that perform best on this metric have eight fewer sales support resources per sales rep than do the laggard organizations and one lower than their benchmark peers. Companies with WorldClass Organization Performance have a 9:1 Sales Rep to Sales Support Ratio, while companies with World-Class Individual Sales Rep Performance have a 5:1 Sales Rep to Sales Support Ratio.”

Key Factors to Consider When Setting Your Sales Support Staff Ratio

While the 5:1 is a benchmark to work toward, it is not practical in all situations. There are a variety of factors you need to consider at an organizational level. Some companies will inherently require more support staff than others. Here are some key things to consider when choosing the ideal ratio for your company:

  • Time of year: There are certain times when sales will spike and dip. This impacts the support staff needed.
  • Products/services: What you sell will have a direct impact on support staff requirements. Basic or common products can be self-explanatory and require less customer support than bigger and more technical offerings.
  • Your industry: Some industries offer more complex solutions that require more support from administration to assist sales reps.
  • Customer service requirements: Your ability to meet your customers’ needs are paramount.

How do you know if you have the right ratio? The report offers this advice:

“The key to understanding, if your organization has the right number of sales support resources, is through a time study of how salespeople spend their time. If greater than 25% is spent on non-selling activities, you need to add additional sales support resources.”

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sales recruiter Liz Vixner

Elizabeth Vixner

Elizabeth is a sales recruiter that has led and developed multiple top sales teams in Canada in the Automotive, Retail, and Sports Industries. With 6+ years of corporate sales experience, she knows what separates a good salesperson from a great salesperson. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Specialization in Marketing and Accounting with Honours from the Schulich School of Business at York University.