Sales Disruptors: Territories Edition

Apr 20, 2020
2 min read
Change is never easy, but in times of uncertainty, you need to be able to pivot your sales plans. Learn how companies can quickly adjust territories during market changes.

​Your whole organization is likely working from home, and the entire global economy has been knocked on its head. So what does this mean for the sales industry? As our current situation unfolds, we have been choosing a variety of specific sales topics to address. We want to help you be thoughtful and purposeful about your sales performance management. 

First, we want to acknowledge that it’s very frustrating to change sales plans that were JUST finalized and have to re-do territories that you had previously felt so confident about, but this is also an opportunity to make sure that you have strategic sales territory maps to drive the very best behavior from your sales team. And right now, it’s imperative that you rethink these plans. You can start by considering the following territories-related FAQ.

Q: With recent market shifts, many organizations have put a freeze on hiring. How should territories where nobody is backfilled be managed? 

A: Many companies will just jump in and chop the territory in half between other salespeople. Unfortunately, this sets up a dynamic where no one follows up on the difficult deals because the territory is so rich that they don’t have to and can cherry-pick the deals they want to work. With tools like Xactly AlignStar you can flexibly plan for changing market conditions and re-assign territories based on data and heat maps rather than gut instinct. 

Q: What are some of the worst mistakes we’ve seen companies make when planning territories? 

We saw a company that had a small enterprise team and just assigned a rep to all areas that had an NFL team. The assumption being that any territory with an NFL team there must be business in that zone. Managing territories manually is the worst mistake that you can make. In times like these, you need to be able to be agile which cannot be done effectively in a spreadsheet. Many of us default to thinking that big cities are the only areas with lots of business, which may not be the case. 

Q:  How does historical data inform the territory changes you should be making in current times? 

Historical data is important, but it will not give you all of the information you need. For example, If you have been wildly successful selling to the airline industry across territories that needs to dramatically change and quickly. Then, be ready to pivot back once those industries start to recover. You have to be willing to tweak and change on the fly—flexibility is key. That being said, don’t abandon any customers or industries during this time—you need to be a partner no matter what to your current install base. 

To hear more about sales experts’ thoughts on territories and variable compensation in times of change, view the on-demand webinar, “Sales Disruptors: Territories Addition,” hosted by Erik Charles, VP, Solutions Evangelist, and Kaitlyn Fantasia, Solutions Consultant.

  • Sales Planning
  • Territory Management
Erik Charles Headshot
Erik W. Charles
VP, Business Operations, Japan

Erik serves as a subject matter expert on the interlocking fields of revenue intelligence, revenue performance, and revenue optimization. Erik focuses on helping Xactly drive expansion and growth by better aligning positions, responsibilities, and incentives to be in sync with achievable strategic and tactical goals. He is an accomplished professional with more than two decades of experience in marketing, consulting, and product evangelization.