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How to sell into vertical markets

Coverage models can make all the difference in driving sales success.  Here we look at the options for selling into vertical markets with a summary of the pluses and minuses.

Pluses (+)Minus (-)
Generalist sellers supported as needed by sector specialists:The generalists open the  opportunities up and then the specialists come in at key points.Specialists focus on live opportunities an expertise is provided at the critical points in the buying cycle.Initial approach can be much less effective and opportunities may be missed.
Knowledge managerBackground expert who provides collateral for generalists but is not actively involved in selling.Inexpensive way of gathering information and sometimes insight
No sector drive on activity. Creates intelligence but not always activity or result.
Sector head (equivalent of a product manager)Senior player with responsibility for the result from the sector but using resources from across the sales teams.Provides resource and expertise for generalistsDoes not control the means of production and so is at best an influencer
Dedicated sector teams
Team members focus entirely on he sector.High level of focus and expertise. Needs a broad enough sector to provide enough opportunity.Risk of becoming too narrow. Also if the sector recedes, what do you do with the sector team?
Core sector team with part-time specialistsA limited number of experts dedicated solely to the sector but supported by a group who spend 30-70% of their time in the sector. The balance spent either as generalists or in another sector.
Provides enough expertise but does not create over-reliance. Works well in a geographical or product matrix where an individual may be a local sector leader but retain local generalist or service line responsibilities.
Can cause tensions and conflicts of interest.

If you are involved in selling into different vertical markets or considering your coverage options please contact the SalesLevers team at to get insights into the options and the critical success factors.

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