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Achieving Agile Territory Management Without Stressing Out Your Sales Team

Nov 04, 2021
5 min read
Territory changes can affect performance and influence sales team churn. Learn how keeping your team involved in territory design processes creates a more productive sales team.

It’s territory realignment time and your sales team’s stress is at an all-time high. Designing, managing, and optimizing your sales territories can be a ‘make it’ or ‘break it’ initiative. And since change is inevitable, modifying sales plans continuously throughout the year is a must for organizations looking to secure growth. This means you need to have the tools and data available for your teams in order to sustain or even increase performance in the midst of plan adjustments. 

As organizations grow, they need to be able to divide territories in ways that are clear-cut and manageable. In other words, the way you structure, map, and distribute your territories has a massive impact on your organization's revenue potential.

Frequent Plan Optimization Can Help, Not Hinder Your Team

Harvard Business Review research shows that optimizing territory design can increase sales by up to seven percent, without any change in total resources or sales strategy.1

Constant change can hurt sales team performance if it is not planned using the right insights. Data-driven territory management allows you to optimize plans more frequently by putting hard numbers behind intuition and giving a clear justification as to why certain changes are needed. 

When you are able to leverage real-time metrics and information, changing territories frequently isn’t an anxiety-inducing activity for a rep. Territory changes are intended to give your reps a fair and balanced opportunity at hitting quota which is why it’s important to constantly evaluate the plan to observe how it’s impacting sales. When a sales organization is more collaborative and data-driven, organizational targets are even more clear-cut and obtainable.  

4 Ways Intelligent Solutions Make Continuous Territory Changes Easier on Reps

With any plan, nothing is set in stone. Whether it be the industry, economy, or organization, conditions are going to change.

To maintain relevant and successful territory designs, leadership should continuously measure rep performance and tailor team maps to reflect market changes. Ongoing evaluation of data can go a long way in prioritizing the attainability of goals. Being able to visualize territory alignment and adjust parameters as needed can be a strong component when maintaining team cohesion. Organizational communication is another key component of effective sales planning. The changes being made have an impact on the livelihood of reps, so sharing clear and concise information related to the adjustments is critical. 

Below are four ways implementing an intelligent solution, like Xactly AlignStarTM, can help:

1. CRM / Internal Data Integrations

Integrating data from both internal and external sources can give your organization more confidence in the plans and forecasts you make because they are based on real data. With access to detailed and layered data, additional models and breakouts can be created which leads to more room for optimization and the ability to tackle inefficiencies. By easing these territory inefficiencies, sales teams are able to focus on what they do best—selling.

Xactly AlignStar Feature: A centralized planning process requires analytics backed by sound data. It’s easy to load information from multiple sources into AlignStar which allows for the creation of balanced and travel-efficient territories. Integrated data can then be used to enable key features such as the Optimizer feature, which feeds into the Territory Expert Report Card feature. The ability to import and export data into AlignStar plays a huge role in driving efficiency of the planning process.

2. Automated Territory Optimization

When using any solution built with your organization’s needs and goals in mind, implementing changes to sales plans becomes much easier. Built-in data and analytics automatically create balanced and fair territories based on team parameters. This allows organizations to both optimize market coverage between reps and maximize revenue potential across their designs. 

Xactly AlignStar Feature: Using the data uploaded into AlignStar, the Optimizer feature leverages a set of algorithms to automate the territory creation process. Territories can be created by optimizing for a chosen parameter, allowing for drafts of alignments to be created. This feature is also useful for “What-if” scenario modeling.

3. Team Cohesion and Visibility

When it comes to something as sensitive as sales planning, knowing who is responsible for a specific task, assigning credit for work to the right people, and feeling secure in knowing who has access to your data is crucial. This means that clarity and fairness are key factors in territory design. 

AlignStar Quick Tip: Our map-based interface allows for easy and clear visualization. This gives reps transparency into territory creation and also a way to communicate with management about assignments and opportunities. 

Extending the functionality of Xactly AlignStar with Xactly TerritoriesTM gives front office sales leaders and reps the ability to view, edit, and collaborate on their sales territory alignment in the cloud. Back office admins can assign, align, and optimize territories in AlignStar, and those changes can be saved and downloaded in Xactly Territories. This promotes team cohesion and collaboration, allowing for total focus on optimization and execution. 

4. Organizational Agility

Research from DePaul University shows that it takes an average of 6.2 months to fill an open sales position.2 The operational ripple effect of change like this can be hard to contain without tools that encourage cohesion and visibility.

Xactly AlignStar Feature: AlignStar’s Territory Expert Report Card feature provides a diagnostic report designed to give a letter grade for a specific set of territories. The score is built on six metrics, each with the ability to be weighed against the user’s preferences. This can come in handy for instances of rep attrition or onboarding. As headcount fluctuations happen, management can leverage this report card to see if and where improvements are needed. If adjustments are needed, the Report Card can work in conjunction with the Optimizer and available data to ensure it happens quickly and fairly.

Combining Data and Technology to Create a Winning Sales Environment 

Sales territory management is a never-ending cycle of planning, evaluating, and optimizing. Today’s data-rich world provides access to all kinds of solutions and resources to help sales stay ahead in a hyper-competitive environment.

Taking a more visible and collaborative approach to continuous territory adjustments will give reps a higher sense of pride and motivation in their role since they are more involved and in the know. 

Furthermore, since transparency and visibility are inserted into the territory planning processes, teams can play a more hands-on role when it comes to setting targets and planning for the year ahead. This allows everyone in the sales planning process to have more confidence in the fact that their targets are attainable and plans are more agile as changes occur.

To learn more about how implementing an intelligent territory management solution can help your sales organization, download the guide. How to Create a Sales Territory Plan: 7 Best Practices You Need to Know.


  1. Harvard Business Review
  2. DePaul University  
Abhishek Kesanupalli, Product Marketing Specialist at Xactly
Abhishek Kesanupalli
Product Marketing Manager

Abhishek is a Product Marketing Manager at Xactly. He is a graduate of Purdue University, with a degree in marketing and management. He has experience in social media, digital marketing, and product marketing.