Optimizing your sales team’s territory planning used to be a major problem for businesses globally. However, with the latest tools and trends, you can transform this challenge into a powerful asset for your sales force. Territory planning can be a genuine opportunity to redefine your sales strategy and energize your team.
Traditional territory mapping methods are no longer effective.
Having worked in the industry for more than two decades, I can address challenges around this with a wealth of experience. In years past, most sales leaders would find themselves drawing boundaries of their territories in a manual process. The result of this would lead to disparities that caused reps to be swamped with accounts and struggling to meet quotas. That’s missed opportunities, high turnover and frustration for all.
Performance visualization reveals this problematic trend for sales teams: an inverted bell curve. In an ideal scenario, we’d expect a typical bell-shaped curve, but that’s not the reality.
Most teams experience a high number of outliers. There’s a select group of salespeople exceeding quotas, while another group falls short. And only a few in the middle.
Trying to diagnose the cause is a challenge. Could be an ill- conceived compensation plan. Could be inefficient target marketing. Some claim that corporate culture plays a factor. But the bottom line is there’s a decent chance poor territory mapping is a key culprit, and it results in excess costs and higher attrition rates.
Why not distribute territories equally? It’s not a straightforward task. Territory mapping is complicated and time-intensive, requiring multiple tools and a precise valuation system to ensure equitable distribution of sales opportunities. Some teams take the easy route by allocating accounts based on geographic location, but this overlooks the critical factor of account value. This is only a temporary fix for a problem that demands a more sophisticated solution.
Position your business for smarter territory planning
To establish a more effective sales territory strategy, it’s essential for leaders in our industry to gather a thorough dataset on customers and prospects. This data can then be used to develop a sophisticated scoring algorithm that considers factors such as customer demographics, company characteristics, location and revenue potential. Only in using this algorithm to assess account value on an individual basis, territories can be structured in a way that ensures equal opportunities for every sales representative to build pipeline and generate revenue. This approach delivers a fair chance to excel and succeed — and I can’t overstate the downstream effects on the business.
Modernizing territory planning goes beyond conventional tools like Excel and CRM systems. These tools, used by over four out of five organizations, too often lead to inefficiencies due to their limitations in visualization and scalability. A more sophisticated approach is to invest in dedicated planning software for automation and optimization. To adapt and succeed, consider these strategies:
- Expand focus beyond geography to customer segments or product lines for specialized territories.
- Leverage data more frequently to identify trends and adjust strategies to customer behavior.
- Invest in video conferencing and digital marketing for a comprehensive view of trends.
- Explore AI integration for enhanced planning and opportunities to add business value.
These strategies can help your organization improve territory planning — as well as empower your salespeople with a fair shot at success.