Sales territory mapping is a critical part of running any field sales team. When done well, they help increase sales, lower costs and improve employee morale. However, creating balanced territories requires more than blocking out areas on a map.
To help you make the most of your sales territories, we'll be looking at:
What is sales territory management?
The benefits of territory management
How to take your sales territory mapping to the next level
A sales territory is a group of customers that’s managed by an individual salesperson. For many organizations, the first step is to create territories based on geographical areas. While this is a good start, there are several factors you should take into consideration to ensure you're creating fair and balanced territories.
Territories aren’t something you can set and forget. Your market will continually change, whether it’s new competition, winning big new accounts or a shift in demographics. How quickly these things happen will depend on your industry, so it will take some time to pinpoint how often you should be reviewing your sales territories. Carrying out these regular reviews and adjusting your territories for maximum efficiency is called sales territory management.
In the past, many regional sales managers would have gotten out a map and drawn lines to segment out territories. Thankfully mapping software has made this process simpler and allowed managers to consider valuable data when making their decisions.
As organizations advance in their sales territory mapping, many start to consider the value of accounts and historical revenue in each area. We’ll take a look at these options, as well as other things you should consider in your planning.
The benefits of sales territory mapping
Sales territory mapping is a way of making your data work for you. By visually analyzing the information, you’re better able to make decisions about how to effectively run your business. In fact, managers using visual data discovery tools are 28% more likely to be able to find the information they need to make informed decisions.
For example, mapping software allows you to visualize the geographical area so that you can ensure territories are a manageable size for a salesperson to cover. But filters also allow you to check the value of the accounts and pipeline in each area so all salespeople have enough opportunity to be successful. This analysis can help your business in a number of ways.
If a salesperson’s territory has too many leads, some potential customers can slip through the cracks, leading to lost sales. But when sales territories are properly balanced, salespeople are able to meet with all their promising leads and close more opportunities.
Since the maps are shared with your team, you can also make live adjustments if a sales rep needs additional support or is off sick. The field sales team will immediately be able to see the adjustments and start picking up those leads.
When a territory covers too much ground, salespeople are forced to spend more time driving and less time meeting with leads. By adjusting for driving distance, you can bring down mileage costs and ensure your sales team is working effectively.
Mapping your customers and territories also allows you to optimize your workforce, ensuring you have the ideal number of field sales reps to cover your customers.
A poorly balanced territory — whether it’s too big or too small — can have a significant impact on morale. Too large and salespeople feel overworked and overwhelmed. Too small and they don’t have enough opportunity to be successful. This can also lead to conflict among the team if there’s an appearance of unfairness. By taking into account the size, number of customers and the amount of opportunity in the pipeline, you can increase employee satisfaction, lower turnover and as a result reduce costs.
4.Optimize daily tasks
eSpatial offers intelligent route mapping, which allows your salespeople to find the most efficient route to visit all of the day's appointments. As a result, they make the most of their time in the field and use less fuel. If an appointment cancels, the mobile app lets them see other clients and leads that are nearby, so they can still make good use of that time.You can also connect eSpatial directly to your customer relationship manager (CRM), like Salesforce, to always have the most up to date information. In addition, the mobile app allows your team to update CRM records on the go.
5.Measure and report performance
Having territories mapped makes it easy to see and compare sales. You can quickly compare who has closed the most accounts, where the highest value clients are and much more. This can help with calculating bonuses, as well as maintaining transparency and accountability with your sales team.
By adding other datasets to your sales territory maps, you can start to gain more insight and make data-driven decisions. For example, mapping the demographics in each territory and comparing it to your target customer can help shed light on why some areas have stronger performance than others. If you’re selling home care services, then an area with a lot of retirees is likely to perform better than a university town.
Take your sales territory mapping to the next level
When they first start creating sales territories, most managers will look at geography. They may visualize where accounts are and loosely group them together for one salesperson to handle. This is a good start, but it can be difficult to tell where the edges of each territory should be. In this case, it’s useful to use a mapping software that offers a radius function. eSpatial lets you create radius buffers based on distance or drive time. This makes it easier to tell where the edges of each territory should be.
Geography is a great place to start, but there are so many more factors you can consider when optimizing your territories. We’ll look at a few data points you can consider during the sales territory mapping process.
Of course, all businesses are a little different, so the data you use to map your sales territories may vary. But when you consider the right metrics with the aim of creating fair and manageable territories, you'll find it easier to introduce changes. If you use map sharing to implement these changes transparently, then you should see fewer discussions and disputes.
We recommend including the value of your existing accounts when you're mapping client locations. This metric will help you judge whether one person has been assigned a skewed number of high value accounts.
Most companies with an outside sales business maintain a pipeline, whether it's in a spreadsheet or on a CRM. When mapping your territories, it's useful to look beyond the clients you've already won. In addition, consider the potential value of accounts in your pipeline.
Some companies use inside prospecting and appointment setting to supplement their outside sales team. In this case, pipeline value should be a significant balancing factor when creating your territories. If you're looking at reorganizing territories for a field sales team that does its own prospecting, this is still an important metric. By balancing pipeline value, you ensure that your sales reps start out on strong footing in their new territories and have ample opportunity to win new business.
3.Reviewing your supply infrastructure
In many industries, being able to provide your product or service quickly can make or break a sale. As a result, your supply chain infrastructure can play a part the success of your sales reps.
For example, Rep A's territory is within a 60-minute drive of your supply center. Rep B's territory is more than 120 minutes from the nearest supply center. If Rep A is consistently closing sales at a higher rate, access to the product may be a factor.
You can use distance and drive time buffers from your supply or service centers to judge how close they are to each territory. It's not always possible to even this out between territories. However, if you know that one area is further and will have a more difficult time closing sales, you can compensate by including more opportunities in that territory.
Having this information can also be helpful when you're thinking about adding more distribution points to your network. When you've mapped your territories and supply centers, you can easily see which territories are under serviced.
4.Increase your marketing activities insights
You’ve already considered how many customers you have in each sales territory and the value of the pipeline, but what about how these metrics are likely to change? While you can't fully predict the market, you can look closely at the factors you control, like marketing.
Take a look at your company's marketing plan, with special attention paid to things that can have a local impact. For example, does your marketing team plan to invest in billboards, mailers or local tv and radio? Which territories will this affect, and can you balance out this advantage?
The information can also run the other direction and help to inform your marketing activities. Once you've mapped out your territories, you'll be able to gain more insights about each market. If the sales rep in one territory is already booked solid and unable to increase their workload, then increasing your marketing spend in that area may not lead to more sales. The same goes for areas where there are gaps in your sales coverage. On the other hand, if there are areas where the sales rep has capacity to take on more leads, increasing your marketing there could be beneficial.
5.Easily see competitor density
Knowing where your competitors are located can help you better understand patterns in your sales and make strategic decisions. By adding this layer of data to your sales maps, you can strategically plan your territories, marketing and even future expansion of your business.
There are multiple strategies for using this information to balance your territories. Some companies choose to have one territory set up to cover a competitive zone, while others may try to portion it out so that no one sales rep faces too much pressure. In either scenario, it's important to align workload and backup resources to the competitive reality. A sales rep in a particularly competitive area may require more support to reach the same level of success as those in other locations.
6.Understand your customer demographics
How well do you understand your customer? If you know who your average customer is, you can use this information to gain insights about which areas are likely to perform well.
For example, if you're selling home care for seniors, age demographics should be considered when mapping sales territories. A sales rep covering a town with a lot of retirees has a much higher chance of success than one covering an area with younger demographics. This disparity can lead to conflict, low morale and higher turnover. And, by mapping demographics and competitors, you can identify under-served areas of potential where you can create new territories.