Planning equitable territory distribution may cause sales managers their worst headaches. So much is at stake but so much is open to dispute. How can you keep your sales team challenged and happy while at the same time making the most of the opportunities?
Here is one approach that covers all the bases while helping to take controversy out of the equation.
1. By deal size.
Big deals are the most appealing to sales because they have the highest deal numbers. But it is the small and mid-size deals that form the bulk of a sales team’s revenue. And they are usually on a faster sales cycle and easier to get. Assess your team members’ strengths… who are most effective with high-powered decision-makers and who are most effective at working with buyers of lesser priced offerings… then assign them accordingly.
2. With reliable data.
Know your customers, their business and their potential. All this requires data… a lot of it. Make sure you have a system that gathers data that you care about and then analyzes data in a way that you can use.
3. With a fair mix.
Be sure you offer a sales territory mix that provides some variety. If you give all the urban sites to one team and all the rural locations to another, there is no balance. And you will be measuring not the salesperson’s ability but the territory’s potential. Each team should have the challenge and the pleasure of working in a diverse environment.
4. With some flexibility.
Using a system to segment your territories is an impartial way to assign them. But then give your sales team managers some latitude. Within their territory, they should be able to adjust the players and tweak the assignments. Don’t take away all their authority. They should have a stake in the game and use their knowledge of their own team members and of their territory customers to make some choices about who can best serve whom.
Take the serious headaches out of sales territory management by deciding what criteria you want to use and then finding a software program that will give you the data you need and slice it in a way that helps you make sound decisions. Then make sure the data feed is accurate and updated on a regular basis. Remember that in the final analysis, it is people who sell to people. Machines can help us look at situations with objectivity but it is the savvy sales manager who knows his team and his territories best.