Effective territory management is more than basic geography

Posted by David Costello on 13-Feb-2017 15:27:19

Historically sales territories have existed as a way to simplify the division of accounts between your sales team. Geographic boundaries and sales team availability are used to establish which accounts belong to which account manager. It is then down to the territory manager to service the accounts and leads in their patch.


The problem with territory management is that it treats all customers (and leads) equally. Your field sales reps will typically plan their weekly/monthly/annual visits, cycling through customers site visits in the same way indefinitely. Every contact is afforded roughly the same level of facetime.

In an ideal world, this equality would be fine. But the truth is that some clients spend more than others, making them worth more to your business. It is these clients that should be receiving greater attention from your sales reps.


Redefining your territories

Taking your sales strategy forward, it may help to stop thinking of territories in terms of physical geography. Instead you can create territories around various different factors including:

  • Product range or tariff.
  • Account type.
  • Local competition.
  • Personas – the type of people being targeted in your field sales campaigns.

Even this basic change of definition opens new sales opportunities. You are now able to reallocate leads and accounts to sales reps in new, more effective ways:

  • Product experts can manage specific accounts based on the utility service they use.
  • You can split the sales team between corporate and consumer accounts, allowing reps to specialise in one or the other.
  • You can reallocate additional field sales reps to target regions where your competition is particularly strong – or weak.
  • Your sales team can tailor their strategy and pitches according to an allocated persona.

The dollars in your address book

You may already have divided your territory based on account value – after all, those clients who spend more warrant more of your resources and time. But the truth is that some accounts will have a secondary value which is sometimes quite significant.

In the age of social business, you may find that some of your low-value accounts are actually very good at referring their own contacts. So the value of their contract may be low, but the referral business they bring in more than compensates.

This realisation is another important motivator for changing territories and account allocation. These clients will need similar nurturing and encouragement as you would provide your highest value accounts. Losing these high secondary value clients could have a serious effect on your sales.


Get flexible

Changing the way you define and manage territories is not a one-off task however. Your customers’ needs and preferences will change frequently, as will market conditions. And where territories are defined by any factor other than geography, they too will need to be updated to reflect the changes.

In the data driven sales environment, this is more complicated than changing a few lines on a map. The factors used to segment advanced territories are not so immediately obvious.

The sales operations manager needs a sales platform that allow them to manage every aspect of their sales strategy and supporting data quickly and efficiently. This flexibility allows you to change strategy whenever required to maximise conversions and sales.


To learn more about building future-ready territories, and equipping your sales reps to work them, please get in touch.

 

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Topics: Sales Tips

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