Every business wants to outshine the crowd and is looking for tactics to help them with the same. These days organizations know that an effective sales territory management plan is crucial to avoid the overlaps between sales reps on the field that leads to chaos and waste of time.
With clearly defined territories, you can come up with strategies so that reps don’t end up competing with each other for the same prospect or get in touch with the same prospect again. Using a sales territory management plan that works well, you save both time and finance.
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Sales territory management refers to the continual optimization and improvement of sales territories. The aim is to use the available resources effectively to increase sales productivity. When your sales territories are well-managed, you won’t lose sales opportunities because of reps being too busy. From the point of view of sales reps, they would have sufficient work to keep them occupied. It seems to be a win-win situation.
You have to review your sales territories from time to time as the market keeps changing periodically. Shifting territories as per the changes is essential. Hence, sales territory management is not a one-time project but a continuous process.
Previously, a sales territory plan was based on geography, and sales reps used to concentrate on prospects in a particular area alone. However, it is quite different today. These days you can choose to target leads based on industry, size of the business, the potential of the deal, and much more. It is far better than keeping geography as the base alone.
Here are the reasons why businesses need to have a sales territory plan no matter what size they are,
You can segment opportunities based on industry, business size, type of business, and other factors instead of targeting them based on their geographical location alone. It helps make you concentrate on the specific needs of customers and target prospects that have more inclination to purchase your product or service.
Not all sales reps are the same. Each person has their strengths. Some reps may possess a lot of experience in selling to a particular demographic, while others may have immense knowledge of a specific industry. You can make this work well for you with the help of teamwork. When you align reps with prospects’ specific needs, it is possible to close more deals successfully.
Setting realistic goals is essential in sales. Also, tracking those goals and understanding what’s working in your favor and what’s not matters a lot. When you can track your progress, it is possible to make changes in areas you feel need additional work.
With a proper plan, the sales team can put their effort into selling to prospects who have a higher likelihood of making a purchase. When you know your customers and the problems they face, you can help them get the desired outcomes, making you close more deals.
Here’s how you can create a successful sales territory management plan,
To sell your product or service to people, you first have to learn about them. To learn about them, you have to interact with them by conducting interviews, surveys and racing out personally with frontline employees.
It is essential to categorize your customers to stay organized. It is possible to do that based on their geographic location, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral traits. After you categorize your audience and customers, it is essential to learn about them in detail. Once you do that, your sales team will easily create a sales territory management plan.
After you identify your customer and segment them, the next step would be to carry out SWOT analysis. Regardless of the size of your organization, you can do a SWOT analysis to develop strategies for your business.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Using the analysis, you get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your business and what are the opportunities and threats. It will help you understand what you need to do for your business to scale up.
Your strengths are what make you stand out in the crowd of competitors. Ask yourself what your team is good at and find out what the individual strengths of the sales reps are. Once you know what everyone is good at, it will be easier to assign territories to each of them.
Overall, once you know the strong point of your team, you can focus on it and improve it to get an even better outcome.
For example, your company’s strength could be a unique sales process that helps you stand out from the competition.
They refer to areas your sales team has to work on to become capable of being at par with the competition. There can be weaknesses in your team members and also your sales process.
For example, find out why prospects turn around from a particular stage of your sales process. There might be a problem, and you have to fix it to be genuinely able to increase conversion rates.
There are opportunities everywhere, but most often, we fail to identify them. You would usually know only when there is a new technology or the emergence of a new competitor. For example, you can have untapped markets or under-served audiences that look promising.
The threats refer to factors negatively affecting the sales of the company. You have to see the most significant threats in every sales territory and how you can deal with them.
For example, you can have competitors in the same segment or new regulations in your industry.
The SWOT analysis helps in understanding where you stand in the market at present. It will give a fresh perspective of your business activities and help you develop strategies accordingly.
There has to be a strategy that puts your company on the right track. Your company’s strategic vision tells where you recently are and what you aspire to reach in the future. One primary step in creating a territory management plan is to keep everyone in your team on the same page as far as the company’s vision, strategy, and goals are concerned. In other words, your team must know well about them.
Try asking everyone in your company and carrying out research to determine which strategy with your territory planning will be in sync with the company’s goals. Once your goals are set, you have to create a measurable strategy to meet those goals. Every strategy should have the following elements:
a. Goal statement – it should contain what you wish to accomplish.
b. Milestones and deadlines – Breaking a goal into smaller milestones can make the journey easier for you.
c. Metrics to gauge success – Measuring the outcome can help you understand that you are meeting the goals of your business. You would know where you are currently and how far your destination is.
Keep in mind that your goals have to be realistic whilst taking your company to the next level.
There is a mix of inside and outside sales in sales territories. There are inside sales for the SMB and mid-level market, and for enterprise-level and above, you have outside sales.
Cold outreach, i.e. cold calling and cold emailing, are an indispensable part of an effective sales strategy. It is possible to schedule meetings with decision-makers with the help of cold emails or cold calls, making them powerful outreach channels.
The sales development and marketing team would keep the pipeline filled with meetings and opportunities. It would enable the account executive to take over from that point and highlight the benefits of your product or service to close deals.
You must consider involving field reps while developing the sales strategy as their opinion matters too.
Field reps usually travel more but still spend considerable time making phone calls, sending emails, and fixing appointments. That is where you can decide how much time and money they have to spend on each prospect.
Try to plan visits in advance because you can decide the travel route based on the scheduled meetings and because traveling is less expensive when you make arrangements well ahead of the travel date.
Reduce the likelihood of overlap by assigning territories the right way. But, before assigning them, you have to find out how to identify them.
Here’s how to identify sales territories and divide them,
It is relatively common to divide territories based on geographical location. It is also helpful in ensuring that there is no overlap. However, the problem is that it is not easy to divide geographic territories because there will be a certain inequality in doing so.
For example, if you assign a territory with a different time zone to a sales rep, they would have to call prospects at odd hours and travel longer distances.
It is logical to divide territories based on the size of the prospect’s company. The more experienced reps with a good track record can take the bigger deals, and the novices can pick the smaller clients.
However, even this seemingly easy way to divide territories has problems as it is tough to accurately find out a company’s size. At times, you have no idea when a small business grows in size overnight by acquiring other companies. On similar lines, a company can sell off a portion and reduce in size all of a sudden. Further, getting updated and reliable information about company size is expensive and can’t guarantee accurate details.
Another way of dividing territories among reps is based on the industry. It works well as it makes reps specialize in the particular niche assigned to them. When given a specific industry, they will put in the effort to study it in detail to build a good connection with prospects and look authentic while overcoming the objections the prospects have.
This tactic of dividing territories too can backfire because some companies have several industry segments. So, there can be multiple niches in one company.
Dividing territories alphabetically seems to be fair as it gives everyone an equal opportunity. However, the major drawback of this method of assigning territories is that your salespeople will not be able to specialize in any industry niche. As they are selling to various industries of different sizes, they can’t sharpen their skills.
Tips for dividing territories
While defining sales territories, you should consider the sales team’s skills, interests, and working style. Find which team or rep matches the territory’s target demographics perfectly.
If a rep has experience selling in a particular niche, ensure that they get more such opportunities while giving them a territory.
If a rep can do well under pressure, put them in a territory with a vast market and more prospects to deal with.
So, it is basically about the capabilities and skills of reps for sales teams.
As soon as your plan is complete, you have to implement it. You can get booked with a sales meeting and explain the plan to the other people involved. You can elucidate the reasoning of the plan and the way it is in alignment with the company’s vision. It is better to get inputs from reps about the same.
It is better to develop goals for the short term to let reps know what you want them to do. Essentially, you have to keep an eye on the metrics of how your reps are performing in the territories you have assigned them and understand what is working fine and what needs changes. Your plan may not work as you expected it to as there is always a chance of a loophole, and that is why you have to track the performance of reps periodically.
It is okay to be flexible even after implementation. Also, inform when you are planning to reevaluate sales territories and make changes to them. Give the reps the chance to ask questions and feel motivated to put in their best.
Well-planned sales territories have a lot of benefits to offer to your organization as a whole.
Here are some of them,
When you distribute sales effort equally in a strategic manner, there’s a chance of getting better results. When you allocate resources to prospects and customers who have maximum interest in your product or service and a better chance of converting, you can earn more revenue.
It is possible to distribute workload events in sales territories, which helps cover the prospects and present customers. Your sales reps can give them better service when their workload is equally divided.
With sales reps being more available to the customers and prospects, there will be an immediate increase in their satisfaction levels which is a good sign for any business.
There is a uniformity in rewards and incentives of sales reps when you plan things well, which will help keep their morale high. It will improve their productivity and make them close more deals, and keep existing customers happy.
Now that you know how to create your sales territory management plan, here are some tools that you will need in the process.
You may want images, graphs, tables, and more to create your plan. That is why you need to use office software with apps to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and much more. It is up to you to choose your office software, but the most widely used options include Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
As sales reps are always traveling, your office phone setup won’t work for them. You must have a sales app that allows reps to make voice and video calls and send messages to the rest of the team members. Heels what you should look for in it,
a. It should have cloud support
b. It should let you monitor calls
c. It must let you record calls
The sales team will make calls, schedule meetings, and note down things every day. With CRM software, you can track all that occurs, including the conversation history and key details of prospects in a single place. This will help you keep stay organized and close more deals successfully.
Fairly assigning territories can be a tough job for sales managers. It is also tricky to ensure that sales reps don’t end up capturing leads from their peers. If you want to be fair, you have to be careful about dividing territories. You can choose to divide them based on the following:
Size of deals: You can assign more customer accounts to reps who are good at handling smaller businesses, and those who can manage larger deals must have fewer deals in number. The count may vary, but the sales revenue goal would be the same for every rep.
Zipcode: The prospects you assign to sales reps have to be nearby so that they don’t spend too much time traveling from one place to another. It can benefit your business as the reps will spend more time nurturing leads instead of wasting time commuting.
Industry: If a rep is more capable of handling a particular type of industry, give more deals of that industry to them. They would be able to fetch you better results.
Sales reps who have a lot of fieldwork have to get reimbursement from the company for their travel overheads. When you compensate them well for their efforts, there is a lesser chance of them avoiding meetings with prospects to save money. It is better to give them compensation based on the current industry standards.
When sales reps contact prospects too frequently, it can be not very pleasant. At the same time, the follow-up has to be regular to meet the needs of prospects/customers. It is best to have a rotating schedule.
For creating the best sales territory management plan, you have to give importance to more significant deals that will fetch you higher revenue and, at the same time, find new potential customers. High-value deals are essential for your business to flourish but acquiring new leads is equally required. Give importance to both types of customers in your plan.
It depends on what kind of product you offer. If your customers have seasonal needs, you have to identify them and reach out to them quickly. Decide beforehand when you need to get in touch with customers so that they don’t get disappointed.
Documenting the interaction with customers and prospects and making it accessible to all the sales reps is essential for streamlining the process. Keep track of all the information related to the prospects so that you know them inside out.
A sales territory management plan is about managing how to target and approach prospects and customers to close more deals successfully. You can make the most of the resources when you have chalked out a proper plan. Ideally, there has to be a territory management plan for all kinds of businesses, both big and small. A step-by-step approach to developing a plan like the one mentioned above will help you out considerably.
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