What does that even mean?
The definition of sales territory plan
Dictionary definition of a sales territory plan usually refers to a geographic area, defined accounts or defined market area in which the seller is concentrated.
Depending on the complexity of the product or service offered, the scale and scope of the territories have a remarkable impact on the number of sales reps involved in sales in a given territory.
Creating the extent to which a sales person or sales team work is not new, nor is it rocket science when it comes to marketing. An experienced sales director knows well how to separate the territory between the team to maximize the opportunity for success, for example based on how far realistically a salesperson can travel to a meeting within one the day. However, it is still about establishing territories based on the needs (and capabilities) of the company, not the needs of the client or potential client. This may cause a sales representative to appear weekly in some areas and once a year in other areas. Either way, the result is not optimal.
What’s missing here?
Defining where are the greatest sales opportunities, where sales and marketing activities have historically existed, and what their effect was, what factors will generate opportunity and revenue at a set time in the future.
Why set up a sales territory strategy in the company?
You can work as usual, be successful and keep working hard for the results you set. However, the pressure on greater success and the expectations of managers and stakeholders mean that a more systematic approach to sales territory planning – and even sales goals and incentive models – is now needed.
How to start?
Systematically target specific sectors, regions, opportunities, and customers.
Planning your sales territory encourages you to carefully consider who your potential client will be and why. With that in mind, you can research where to find which companies and people are most likely to buy, and potentially understand the issues and factors that can make them buy.
Adjust the sales and marketing functions to your needs.
Sales wants the marketing to generate leads and run campaigns that drive success. Marketing, on the other hand, requires the sales team to be clear about their plans and priorities so that they can combine their efforts and knowledge. A well-established sales territory plan can help fill this gap to maximize sales efficiency. Marketing is then able to determine which sectors, segments, companies and individuals are most likely to buy in the coming months, as well as factors and attractive events that sales teams can benefit from. An advanced sales territory planning solution can help change these insights into sales territories that will bring your business success.
Set a realistic goal, check your progress, refine strategy.
A comprehensive sales territory planning process allows you to set realistic goals based on your customers’ ability to act. Setting realistic yet ambitious goals can help differentiate a company from a competitor by attracting and retaining sales people who understand the market, customers and their concerns. Sellers want to be successful and maximizing their chances and, therefore, their earnings can only help the company.
An effective sales plan also helps managers check progress over time. With a plan based on customer needs rather than intuition, sales managers can have a complete picture of what works and what doesn’t. If they are ahead of the goal, they can review the model to understand why and take advantage of their success even more. If they are lagging behind, they can see where the problem is: pipeline, or is it insufficient leads? By understanding the opportunities available, sales managers are much better equipped to deal with challenges.
Effective sales territory planning allows to focus on sales.
Instead of looking through excels with potential clients and options for acquiring them, review the sales territory plan at the beginning of each sales year. This will help you maximize the impact of your sales and marketing campaigns. It can help ensure that you reach customers in the right way, at the right time, with the right message and the right product.
How to build the perfect sales territory plan?
Define goals and tasks.
The key to a successful sales year is a great understanding of sales goals. These will vary depending on company, but common themes will likely include revenue metrics, market share metrics, product or service-related revenue metrics, and potentially customer enrollment or renewal metrics.
Ideally, they should be focused on growth, but not always. Companies that are long time on the market will strive to maintain their existing customer base and maintain their financial position. Each company combines positive, neutral and declining growth models, depending on the portfolio of offers.
Other dynamics may include growing customers in a specific sector or developing new transaction models such as subscription pricing and different types of customer relationships in the future. Similarly, migrating customers from existing products to new products can be part of the plan. Another possible tactic is to take over your competitors’ customers.
Whichever approach you want to take, decide on your goals before designing your territories. It’s also a good idea to get the plans approved initially by other stakeholders in the company before going any further. Just make sure everyone is always wanting the same.
Know the needs and problems of your customers.
With a clear idea of what you want to achieve, the next step is to carefully think through the other half of the business equation – your customers and potential customer.
It is almost impossible to know much about a customer from a sales and marketing perspective. In addition to building professional relationships and relationships with potential clients, it is especially important to have a deep understanding of industry issues and their impact on the business.
The scale, scope and complexity of the potential customer issues will strongly affect the length of the sales cycle and the purchase process. In short, the more complex and expensive the product, the more people will be involved in the purchasing decision and the longer the sales cycle. Most likely, the sales area will be smaller as a result. Similarly, products and services that address less complex issues will have shorter sales cycles and possibly larger territories. Understanding these dynamics and how they can change over time helps you design and manage the optimal sales area plan for your company.
3. SWOT analysis.
The business environment is dynamic, with great potential to use, and the threats you can defend against. The market standard to understand this dynamics is the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Although less commonly used in territorial planning, it offers a valuable perspective on dynamics and therefore points out ways in which to use your company’s time, budget and resources to maximum effect. Defining and understanding the opportunities and dangers to which your business is exposed, and the interrelationships between them, can help you define the ideal sales strategy and later optimally design your sales territories. It can also serve as the basis of the marketing to create additional campaigns for specific sectors to solve specific sales and marketing issues.
Create a strategy.
With a solid understanding of what you want to achieve and the dynamics of the market you are engage in, you have a good position to build your sales strategy. Your sales territory plan will be a key element.
Your sales strategy will vary depending on whether you are the managing or focusing on development. It will also vary depending on the complexity of the product or service being offered. It may also vary depending on how you close the transaction, face to face or using an e-commerce.
Everything is written in the action plan for the sales territory.
With your goals and strategy set, the next goal is to achieve.
Each sales territory will have an activity created and owned by the sales representative responsible for the area.
The action plan will vary from one territory to another. Some will generate revenue by presenting new products and services to existing contacts. Others will build markets from scratch. Some plans may include directing the business for the first time and determining who is the best person to solve problems. It will be wise to work with your marketing department to identify who should be targeted, but also to help create proposals based on any problems your potential clients may have.
Review and evaluate your plan regularly
With your sales territories and support plans in place, you are in a good position to check your progress regularly. Detailed information should give you confidence that you are engaging with the right sectors, segments and personas. You can measure both inputs (sales calls, meetings, marketing campaigns) and results (leads, opportunities and revenues) and see whether you are ahead or behind.
After looking at how your sales territories fit into a broader market strategy, take a look at how you can design a sales area that will help you achieve your goals. But this is a subject for a separate article.
Interested in learning more?
Book a conversation with a software developer – Varicent or with us – a technology implementation partner; to find out how we can help.