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 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.
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.
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 territory-management systems 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.
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.