Since COVID-19, field sales teams across the US have had to learn how to prospect, create opportunities and close deals in challenging and unfamiliar circumstances.
Field sales reps have had to switch to video calls and have seen their sales pipelines dry up as customer budgets are frozen.
This has placed a renewed emphasis on sales leaders to prioritize efficiency — cutting waste and finding ways to do more with less.
Sales efficiency and territory mapping
A relatively quick and simple way to find efficiency savings in your sales operation is by re-aligning your sales territories.
Good territory design helps sales managers visualize active accounts and leads across different geographical areas. They then use this information to assign sales reps and develop their strategies.
Even under normal circumstances, sales teams should maintain good territory alignment. Periodically, you need to update sales territories based on changes in your sales data.
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on factors that influence sales territory design. Customers might have dropped off, leaving an uneven spread across territories. Video calls might have cut time spent on the road, meaning some reps can take more accounts.
Territory mapping software allows managers to integrate several data points as they design territories around new information.
How COVID-19 has impacted sales
COVID-19 has touched every sector of the economy and changed how we live and work. In the wake of the first lockdown, US GDP contracted by almost a third and unemployment topped 14%.
The COVID-19 recession has impacted sales teams specifically in two ways:
First, coronavirus-related restrictions have hindered traditional selling strategies. Sales reps in the field have had to handle entire businesses shifting to remote work.
Essential businesses that retained in-person stores have altered their operations. For some, that means different hours. For others, that may mean fewer in-person meetings, including for outside visitors.
Second, consumers and businesses have faced budget constraints. To shore up their financial security, many customers have terminated contracts with vendors. Businesses and households are also delaying discretionary purchases due to cash flow concerns.
But how has this impacted sales performance? Here there is reason to be cautiously optimistic.
HubSpot, which creates software for sales teams, has released aggregated sales data showing the impact of the virus on opportunities, meetings, deals and other metrics.
Industries like travel and entertainment still face significant challenges. Overall, though, the number of deals created on HubSpot has outperformed pre-COVID benchmarks since July. Closed deals have been more uneven, but they have often been in the positive range since June.
Online sales territory mapping, territory alignment and sales post COVID-19
Whatever the next few months holds, a lot of businesses will be prioritizing salesforce restructuring. They’ll be looking closely at their sales operations and trying to find ways to better align their resources with their opportunities.
The top performers will do that work based on what the data tells them. They will leverage smart tools like sales territory mapping software to achieve greater efficiency.
Specialist territory mapping software can help you visualize your mis-allocated resources. Too many reps assigned to one territory or your best rep in the territory with the weakest leads. Getting your data up on a map can unearth these problems right away.
Benefits of online sales territory mapping
Here are the top benefits you can enjoy with the right sales territory mapping software:
- Higher sales: Territory mapping enables you to distribute promising leads among sales reps. This reduces the risk that any individual worker will become overwhelmed. As such, all high-potential leads can be appropriately nurtured, leading to closed deals. Online sales territory mapping means you can adjust maps on the fly. If a sales rep is sick, you can temporarily adjust the map accordingly.
- Lower costs: Territory design should account for driving distance. The time that sales reps spend on the road is time that they’re not meeting with a lead. Fuel expenses can add up, too. With an online solution, you can readjust to accommodate changing COVID-19 restrictions.
- Operational optimization: Territory mapping software with intelligent route mapping can streamline field visits. With mapped territories, sales reps can also quickly pivot when a lead cancels. This should be a high priority during the slow and gradual recovery phase.
- Strategic decision-making: Pandemic-related concerns could impact your sales strategy. Are you conducting regular market research? Import those datasets into your online sales territory mapping tool. This can help you ensure that territory alignment matches the facts on the ground. Circumstances can change quickly. You’ll be ready to change with them.
How to implement effective online sales territory management
There are several steps you need to take for your sales territory design to be successful. Ongoing territory alignment and balancing will help you remain current as the new normal unfolds. This is how you do it with eSpatial:
1.Create a snapshot of the current status.
Assess where your current sales reps are located. Verify which accounts and leads they oversee. If you do have territories already established, record that, too. You should also find out the priority level and value for all active accounts and current leads.
2.Input territories or create them from scratch.
In a separate stage, you can import existing sales territories. If you’re creating them for the first time, follow guidelines in the software to complete this step.
3.Run reports, reconfigure territories and share your information.
With an online sales territory mapping tool, you can integrate with other software solutions. This way, you can regularly run reports for updated data. Share access with sales reps so they understand the plan. Further territory alignment based on evolving circumstances helps you adapt to the new normal.
Territory mapping software can help sales teams improve efficiency. These tools also promote resiliency during the uncertain times ahead. The best way to ensure you’re well positioned during a potentially slow and uneven recovery is to improve efficiency. A free seven-day trial from eSpatial can help you better understand the potential behind online sales territory mapping.
Liam is an eSpatial account manager and mapping expert. He specializes in helping businesses solve problems and increase sales through mapping visualization, territory management, route optimization and more. Liam holds a Master's Degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.