Imagine you want a new suit. You go to a bespoke tailor and you ask for one to be made according to your precise needs. You select the material to be used, you give your measurements and then you leave the shop, full of visions of being the sharpest dresser in the office.
You return a few days later, you try on the suit. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel comfortable.
- “It hasn’t turned out the way I expected”, you remark to the tailor.
- “But it’s exactly what you told me you wanted”, they reply (somewhat miffed).
- “I know, but that was a few days ago. Things change.”
- “Well, in that case, you ought to become a tailor to get what you want.”
Everyone can be an expert
There was a time when you needed to be an expert in Global Information Systems (GIS) in order to create a detailed – and useful – map to cover the territories populated by your sales teams or representatives. Now mapping software means that, in just a few clicks, you can generate a bespoke map on your computer screen.
But why should you tailor your territories in the same way an expert might tailor their own suits?
Primarily: you know your product, and you are the tailor when it comes to creating success or failure. You have access to unique data and good territory mapping software should help you use that data to best effect.
Effective territory mapping
Let’s imagine you’re selling chainsaws. It doesn’t really make sense if you distribute your sales team based on population size or on distance. Really, the primary data you need to include is not the general population of a territory, but the number of trees. Therefore your territories’ allocation should evenly reflect the spread of trees, in terms of sales opportunities.
However, maybe this is only providing half the picture. There may be other data that could help create a better ROI.
Consider the real market, not the perceived one
For instance, although a large territory may offer a huge amount of trees, resources needed to cover this territory may prove uneconomical. The dataset that will enable you to make a decision on how you proceed might be one that reveals distances from your chainsaw sellers to the trees in question.
Looking at the market from this perspective allows you see the benefits of having a facility for territory mapping – you can adjust your territories to suit the actual (rather than the perceived) market, as more and more data becomes available. It’s no longer simply a matter of selling to markets within fixed borders – you create your own borders, not based on geography, but rather market opportunity.
Visualize your newly-minted territories on a map, include color-coding to show up hot spots and – wham! – a powerful and instantly accessible market picture emerges. You can assess team needs quickly and assign resources as appropriate.
The confidence gained from such a map should instill confidence in your team. In addition, there will be an accompanying boost to team morale. This comes through “balancing” – that is, clearly revealing the distribution of resources, for all to see and share.
So, in a team of 5, if Team A gets 20% of territory opportunities, you have the option of assigning 20% of the opportunities to the other 4 teams. Alternatively, you could break up the territory mapping percentages in terms of experience (the more experienced teams getting greater percentages) or any other criteria that you choose.
Adjust where necessary
The message is: if you want to tailor your market to achieve your goals, then make sure you start out by having the right material – the correct data – with the best available modern tool: comprehensive, easy-to-use mapping software.