12 proven territory management tips for sales teams

Greg Dette by Greg Dette  |  7 minute read
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Territory management is critical to your sales strategy if you manage a field-based sales or service team.

How you create, optimize, align and assign sales territories can significantly impact sales performance. And like many things in sales, territory management is not a one-off task. Sales territory management is an ongoing process in a dynamic, fast-changing business environment.

Below we share 12 actionable territory management tips for sales and sales operations leaders. All are proven and actionable.

Combining clean data with a simple and powerful mapping software tool:

  • Saves time and reduces sales admin
  • Creates optimized territories with realistic quotas
  • Drives new revenue growth
  • Reduces the cost of sales
  • Improves sales productivity and utilization

Let's dive in.

1. Develop a territory management plan

First, you'll need a sales territory management plan.

Here is our guide to creating your plan and here is a summary:

Step 1: Analyze your market

The first step to creating a sales territory plan is collecting and analyzing market data. Include an assessment of buying trends, past sales targets and performance, competitor activity, and other relevant data points.

Step 2: Segment your customers

So, you've analyzed your business operations, sales performance, and market context. The next step is to segment your customers into groups.

Step 3: Conduct a SWOT analysis

Once you've organized your customers and prospects into groups, the next step is to assess internal and external factors that affect your business performance.

Step 4: Create your sales territory plan

The final step in the sales territory planning process is to combine your data, market research, and business goals into a single package.

Sales managers should create clear parameters for their sales teams. That includes realistic goals, information on who to target, and more. It will help you develop more balanced sales territories upfront and allow you to pivot down the line.

Some critical questions you should ask include:

  • Where are your highest-value accounts located?
  • How will you organize sales territories to capitalize on your sales team's strengths?
  • Which regions may need more sales support?
  • Where are the primary sources of new leads, and why?
  • What quotas do you have for sales reps?
  • What resources do your sales teams need to grow?

Check out our Conquering territory management guide

2. Get buy-in from all stakeholders

Territory management is data led. You take clean data and territory management software and use them to drive your decisions.

Hard numbers trump gut feel and result in better but not perfect outcomes.

You need support from your reps and your sales leadership. Their additional feedback and local knowledge are crucial for fine-tuning territory designs and ironing out the risk of disruption.

Better territory planning means change, which impacts your sales team, who may resist. You may move customers from one territory to another. Regions can get bigger or smaller, affecting quotas.

To minimize disruption and boost engagement, communicate clearly and often. Share your alignments on maps and get real-time feedback on workloads, quotas, and boundary changes.

Starting early improves your chances of getting support — or at least less resistance — both inside and outside your sales team.

3. Clean your data

Sales territory planning will only work with good data. So, clear out corrupted, outdated or duplicate data. Develop transparent processes for capturing and presenting data. Conduct regular audits to ensure your data is clean and your decisions improve.

Even the best territory management software is only as good as the data you feed it.

Add data from multiple sources like excel sheets or a crm

4. Determine your priorities

When implementing your sales territory management process, remember that it must align with business priorities.

What will you prioritize?

  • Sales productivity and utilization
  • New account prospecting
  • Workload balance
  • Revenue growth
  • Cost reductions
  • Resource allocation
  • Customer service and relationship continuity
  • Product profitability
  • Balanced quotas

5. Balance your sales territories

Balancing territories allows you to ensure that your team members' effort to hit quota matches the workload required to service all customers.

That means enough opportunities to hit their sales target. But not so many prospects that there is not enough time to service each.

By matching sales potential with workload, your sales reps hit quota more often, which means retention improves. Customers are happy, too, as their service needs are met.

6. Align territories with your resources

Balancing territories may require you to reallocate resources. That could mean redrawing a rep's territory. Or even moving them to a new region.

The goal here is to boost sales efficiency. Poorly aligned territories mean waste: wasted effort, lost revenue, fruitless miles and wasted time.

By aligning your territories with your resources, you can drive more revenue while reducing the cost of sales.

7. Set more achievable quotas

Do your sales territories reward your reps? How? If you have a representative managing an area abundant in sales potential, hitting quota is easy. There is so much opportunity you can't fail.

The flip side is true too. A rep whose territory punishes their hard work because no matter how hard they try, there is not enough opportunity or sales potential to hit quota.

Use your territory management process to balance opportunities across territories. Or to adjust quotas based on the actual sales potential of each region.

8. Delight your customers

Good territory management should make it easier for reps to give each customer the attention they need. By balancing workloads across your sales team, your customers get better service, driving more upsells, renewals and repeat business.

9. Save the environment

A big challenge for field sales teams is cutting "windshield time" so you travel less and spend more time with customers. Less windshield time means more meetings.

It also reduces wear and tear on company vehicles and cuts your environmental footprint. You can design your sales territories for less travel with good data and the right tools. Fantastic for you and the planet, not to mention your Finance department.

10. Retain and nurture your staff

A Gallup survey found that 76% of US workers reported experiencing burnout. The report also noted that unfair treatment and unmanageable workloads were the leading causes.

Territory management can help you spread the work and the opportunities more fairly. Reps should no longer be overworked or faced with unachievable targets. With some organizations experiencing a 20% turnover in sales staff annually, it is a fail-safe way of improving retention and boosting morale.

11. Review your territories regularly

Nothing lasts forever, and territory management is no exception. Your market is too dynamic for a static approach to territory design. It is a continuous process of improvement.

Internal reorganizations and promotions can also impact your territory alignment. You have to update alignments based on changing internal and external factors. As a minimum, we suggest annually.

12. Expand your business

Once you've mastered territory optimization for your existing operations, it's time to think about future growth. It may involve adding resources and carving out new territories in high-potential markets.

After seeing what territory mapping can do to enhance the status quo, you'll feel excited about the possibilities ahead. Take these tips and apply them to new opportunities.

Sign up for a free seven-day trial, and experience the possibilities for yourself.

Greg Dette Written by

Greg Dette

Greg is GIS through and through. He earned a degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Cartography from Rutger's University in New Jersey and has enjoyed a career in mapping software sales working with: MapInfo, Terralign, MapAnything, and others. His passion is sales optimization with mapping. Working with customers, he helps them expose hidden inefficiencies and revenue and guides them to achieve 100% sales resource capacity. Greg lives in Albany New York. When he isn't solving mapping problems, he enjoys walking his new Labrador puppy and other outdoor activities, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

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