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Putting your sales team on the map: Five keys to great sales territory-mapping


The platform for orchestrating performance.

In the sales sphere, sound territory mapping has always made sense — though it hasn’t always been foremost in the minds of managers and executives. A study led by Prof. Andris A. Zoltners at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management revealed that poor territory alignment can cost a company as much as seven percent in sales. Here’s how that adds up: “For many companies millions of dollars are being forfeited,” he says.

But the good news is that the territory mapping process has become more precise than ever thanks to the advent of high-tech solutions that apply modern know-how to classic challenges. Because these options rely on solid data as opposed to misguided guesswork, they may take what was once a pen-and-paper process into a realm of sleek digital blueprinting that easily evolves with the needs and staffing of a sales team.

keys to great sales territory-mapping

As you investigate sales territory mapping in the digital age, here are five factors to consider when searching for the best tools to produce superior sales performance.

Flexible, fluid optimization

Can your solution easily redraw itself to account for added or split territories, or test potential coverage scenarios before you commit to action? Today’s software not only makes these tasks easy to visualize, but also saves countless hours of time in the long run. Whether you’re evaluating alternative size options or adjusting workloads to keep your sales force productive, the right software allows you to simultaneously forecast the future and focus on present realities.

Layering performance metrics

Cutting down on travel time has always been an achievable goal of the mapping process. But it’s another story to cross-pollinate this with other efficiencies such as travel expenses, salesperson performance, or percentage of territory covered. Ask yourself whether your software can give you a more three-dimensional picture of where your team is running in the fast lane, and where they need to get up to speed.

Better balancing

You might balance your territories based the number of customers or sales volume, for example. But what if you could swap out for other factors such as sales potential, workload, or the ratio of current clients to sales? Taking a second or third look at how you achieve balance leads to more nuanced decisions in your mapping methodology.

Data analysis that pays for itself

Smart data analysis paves the way for possibilities many of your competitors haven’t even considered. Think about how sales territory mapping software can both manage huge national data sets and drill down to local areas to spot overlooked opportunities. We also live in an age where it’s possible to analyze and visualize buying behavior by region more clearly than ever — practically in real time. To the extent that your software can keep these numbers straight, you’ll watch your profits shoot straight up.

Overall ease of use

The digital age ended the convention of static territory maps that sit on a page. Yet in the quest for sophistication, you don’t want to end up with intimidating software with a steep learning curve that no one uses. Be sure to look at the realities of everyday work: effortless zooming in and out of sales territories, or working in harmony with your current CRM system to mine it for valuable insights. Drag-and-drop features that allow realignment via zip code, for example, also create a sense of user-friendliness — an important consideration in a sales culture that might resist change.

3 Benefits of Moving Your Sales Territory Mapping and Management Off Spreadsheets

  • Accommodation of sales hierarchy changes: Accounting for changes that occur during the quota-setting process is one of the most difficult administrative tasks that organizations face. Anaplan’s core functionality solves the dynamic assumptions issue by establishing a single source of truth for your quota-setting data, and by forcing all parties to work off of both the same numbers and the same hierarchy alignment.[gap height:5]
  • Territory design as a continual process: The process of designing sales territories and deciding how to balance them is a significant endeavor that establishes the foundation of a sales organization. While most companies understand the importance of redefining territories on an ongoing basis, very few revisit this analysis with enough frequency to ensure that it’s up to date. Not doing so puts your territory design approach at risk of becoming obsolete and ineffective.[gap height:5]
  • Improved speed of plan delivery: Starting the fiscal period without knowing your actual quotas is all too common in sales organizations. One of the primary reasons that companies miss this deadline is both simple and frustrating: The consolidation process takes too long. For companies still using Excel as their primary platform, especially those that have to combine hundreds of spreadsheets, this is an arduous process that can take several months.

There’s one more benefit to stellar sales mapping that can’t be measured in dollars and cents yet is nonetheless valuable: salesperson morale. As your software increases mapping precision, your team will experience better sales with less stress and fewer dead ends. That’s a winning combination where digital muscle helps drive flesh-and-blood sales might.