The Key to Sales Territory Mapping

business planning on map sales territory design
Karrie Lucero
Karrie Lucero
In Sales Planning, Territory Design
Karrie Lucero is a Content Marketing Manager at Xactly. She earned marketing and journalism degrees from New Mexico State University and has experience in SEO, social media and inbound marketing.

In order to manage your sales performance, you need effective sales territory mapping. Sales territory design must be a thoughtful process that involves data and a balancing act to ensure every sales rep has adequate sales potential within their territory. The objective is to create logical and travel-efficient territories that meet the needs of the business and generate revenue opportunities.

Your sales territories should balanced and offer the right amount of coverage to optimize prospective opportunities and ensure every rep has an equal opportunity to hit their sales quotas. Deciding how to divide sales territories is more than just drawing lines on a map, or dividing states among your sales reps.

More than two-thirds of companies still use spreadsheets moderately or frequently for manual sales territory mapping. In today’s digital world, organizations need data-based intelligence to effectively align territory size with sales opportunities. If territories are not aligned well, it can result in low employee morale, as well as lost revenue potential.

To help you take advantage of data-driven sales territory mapping, we’ve put together five tips for territory design.

Download our executive guide “Optimizing Sales Territory Design: Sales Management Association 2018 Research Update” to discover the benefits of using data and automation to optimize your sales territory planning.

1. Use Data-driven Intelligence to Map Territories

Data-driven sales mapping software uses analytics to help you design balanced territories. Using third-party data, territory mapping software visually and geographically displays the areas of greatest opportunity.

By integrating construction permit data, for example, building suppliers can see areas with the most growth; hence, the greatest need for their products. Likewise, a medical supply business might integrate data showing the number of hospital beds in a geography, revealing where their solutions have the biggest sales opportunity.

Combined with your CRM and sales performance data, you get deeper data-derived insights into a location/geography’s sales potential, helping you make well-informed decisions to design balanced, opportunity-rich territories, which can be extremely helpful during a merger or acquisition.

It all comes down to this question: “What makes a good territory?” If you are working with complex data sets, a spreadsheet isn’t going to cut it. Sales territory mapping software automates and streamlines your territory planning process. More importantly, by integrating data-derived intelligence with geolocation data, you ensure that you have the right sales coverage for every territory.

2. Ensure the Sales Team Has an Equitable Stake for Opportunities

To be successful, today’s businesses have to identify their prospective customers, meaning they must design and sell their products to a group within their niche. For sales reps, this means identifying niche customers within their territory and targeting them. For sales leaders, this means building strategic territories that maximize the number of sales opportunities for reps.

When it comes territory design, you must design territories that are balanced for sales rep workload and potential. Start by considering the following questions:

  • How would it affect employee morale if there is a greater demand in one territory over another?
  • Would that territory need greater representation from your sales team?
  • Do sales reps have equal opportunities within each territory to achieve (or exceed) their quota?

For instance, a territory with too many opportunities may be too large for one sales rep to adequately cover. Even if the sales rep(s) in that territory are consistently hitting their quota, you could be leaving money on the table with missed opportunities or when prospects and customers are underserved.

On the other hand, if a territory does not have enough opportunities, sales reps may struggle to meet their quota. When reps miss their targets, it creates a poor-performance domino effect, where they receive a lower compensation payout, which may affect their morale and contribute to an increase in employee turnover.

Advanced data-driven territory mapping software uses your data metrics to prioritize customer and prospect accounts to ensure territories have the same amount of opportunity.

For example, you might classify customers into different value categories, such as “A,” “B,” and “C” clients, with “A” clients being the most profitable, and “C” clients having the smallest potential. By divvying these accounts up equally, based on potential across your team, you ensure fair distribution and sales opportunities for reps.

3. Evaluate the Travel Efficiency of Your Territories

You don’t necessarily have to define the marketing criteria for each territory up front, but it helps to understand the guidelines before you start sales territory mapping. Having ground rules set will make the entire process straightforward and run more. This is especially true as your business starts to grow.

With built-in geolocation data, sales mapping software lets you assign territories to reps by location to improve travel efficiencies. Poorly designed territories can lead to high travel costs.

Using data-driven mapping, you can design compact and travel-efficient territories, giving reps more time to focus on what they were hired to do–close deals. In fact, by implementing travel-efficient territory design, companies can lower travel costs up to 15%.

4. Simplify and Streamline Processes with Automation

When sales mapping territory becomes too complex, it can make the entire process much more difficult. At the beginning, it will take time to ensure your territories are balanced and aligned with your company’s business goals and guidelines. But, taking the simple route is always best.

This will help to avoid any potential confusion along the way that may even cost you money in the future. Today’s world is fast-paced, and businesses must keep up to compete in their market. You can’t be competitive relying on manual processes. Not only are they unscientific, but manual territory design is a tedious and time-consuming process.

Territory planning strategies are shifting towards automation and technology. With sales mapping software, you can automate and simplify the entire mapping process. With a visual and user-friendly interface, organizations can easily view different territories, make changes as needed, and see how those changes might affect balance and workload.

This speeds the territory planning process. In fact, many companies using technology have seen a 75 percent reduction in the time it takes to plan territories.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Sales Management Association, early adopters of territory planning technology are gaining a clear advantage in performance. Companies using technology to design and plan territories had a 10 percent higher sales achievement than the average.

With an automated and data-based approach, sales mapping software also increases your team’s confidence in territory fairness. You want your sales reps focused on maximizing the revenue potential for their territories and not fussing over who has the best territories or whether some territories overlap.

Your end goal should be to develop territories that make sense for every sales rep. This is not an easy task, but it can be done. Once you have configured your primary demographics, and have established key areas, let your sales mapping software do the rest of the work for you.

5. Support Sales Rep Career Progression

As a strong sales leader, you must also think about sales rep progression and career progression. Consider the following question:

Which territories are designed for sales reps who are advancing through your company?

Sales reps who are working their way up might start as hunters and work their way into savvy deal makers who understand the complexities involved in large deals.

With that in mind, there are there are territories in every company with large amount of small businesses opportunities and those with larger companies that offer higher revenue potential. As you design territories, think about sales rep progression and how they can progress through territories as progress in their careers.

Final Thoughts

Sales territory mapping isn’t the easiest of part of sales planning, but it is a critical part of sales success that is necessary for any company with a sales team.

With sales mapping software, you can ensure this process gets completed efficiently and effectively. Moreover, with insight and intelligence, you can build more travel-efficient, balanced, and stronger sales territories that are aligned with sales objectives, motivate reps to hit their number, and drive growth.


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