sales territory is a group of customers assigned to and managed by a sales or service person. There are 3 sales territory alignment types:
Sales territory mapping is essential for sales and revenue operations teams. With a territory map, you gain new levels of insight into resource allocation, revenue growth opportunities, and ways to rightsize your sales footprint. Trying to manage sales territories without territory maps is like playing chess with a blindfold.
Spreadsheets are an integral part of your business lives, but they have severe limitations for territory management. Designing, realigning, and optimizing sales territories without a map is a nightmare. The visualization of a map helps in planning, tracking, and adjusting routes in real-time and enables the identification of trends in sales productivity. This alignment of your team's priorities with their tasks empowers them to effectively meet and surpass their goals.
Creating balanced, equitable territories that maximize sales potential for organizations requires sophisticated approaches. Sales territory management removes the complexity and accelerates your workflows. Put simply, you get optimized sales territories faster.
This guide will teach you how to build your sales territory map and leverage a workload index and weighted balances to perfect your alignments. It will also show how using sales territory software can benefit businesses through increased collaboration, automation, and tracking capabilities.
What is sales territory mapping?
Sales territory mapping is the process of building sales territories based on productivity metrics like resource allocation, revenue growth opportunities, and your sales footprint. Trying to manage sales territories without territory maps is like playing chess with a blindfold.
What is a sales territory?
It is the most popular and involves assigning your rep to a geographic area.
Organizations assign account managers to their highest-priority customers and ignore geographic boundaries. The relationship is critical, not the location.
Organizations require a mix of both geographic and account-based alignments. Sales territory mapping involves visualizing your alignments on a map. So you can see color-coded territories and customer locations. It makes it easy to analyze your sales data and refine your territory management process.
There are several important considerations when optimizing a sales territory alignment:
1. Assessing sales potential
Think of sales potential as your primary growth metric. It is a measure of your TAM (total addressable market). So, for example, you know your market size is $100,000,000, and your share is $10,000,000 (10%). You have set 20% (or $20,000,000) as your achievable target growth as an organization. Next, you break your goal into customer verticals and individual customers and assign a sales potential target per customer. Now, you can optimize your sales territories based on your analysis and design your perfect alignments for revenue growth.
2. Calculating workloads
A secondary consideration is workload. You have your revenue goal of $20,000,000. And each territory has a quota, but next, you must match the target with a rep's workload. Assigning a rep to a grouping of customers is pointless if the workload (in time and effort needed) surpasses capacity—an overworked rep will not realize the territory sales potential. Mapping software for your sales territory should include a workload index. It eliminates all of the heavy lifting.
Territory management is a dynamic process requiring continuous analysis and updates. Your market changes continuously; competition grows, customers acquire others or get bought, and demographics shift. Not to mention sales personnel turnover (for some, it is as high as 20% per annum). Every industry differs, but the principles are consistent.
In the past many sales and operations managers relied on physical maps and documents when realigning areas. The process may have involved face-to-face meetings and often took weeks to complete. Territory mapping software eliminates those headaches. Sales operations create new alignment scenarios and share their findings on maps with key stakeholders. They get to see the suggested changes and give their valuable feedback. The territory software technology accelerates the project time and dramatically improves the results.
Who needs territory mapping?
You need territory mapping if you have a field-based team, be it sales, service, maintenance, or a Franchise chain. Maximizing your field-based team's time with customers and productivity leads directly to higher revenue and a lower cost of sales.
An equally important result is that your team turnover declines and morale improves as each team member has an equal opportunity to succeed and maximize their earnings.
You should start mapping sales territories if you
- Have a large sales team
- Have multiple sales teams
- Rely on relationship building to sell your product
- Want better visibility over sales performance
- Regularly meet with existing clients face-to-face
- Struggle to balance the workload among field sales reps
- Have salespeople overlapping
- Have some sales territories that reward the seller (there is so much sales potential that they hit quota with ease)
If any of the above sounds like your business, you need efficient sales mapping.
How to manage a sales territory
There are a few elements to include in any territory mapping strategy, including:
A clear view of geographic coverage
Managers and salespeople need transparent and in-depth visibility into their geographic areas. A sales mapping solution that can display each salesperson's territory eliminates any overlaps and duplicate work, ensuring that you and your team are all on the same page.
Account locations and leads
Besides your sales team's geographic coverage, sales territory management extends to your existing high-value accounts and your most promising leads. The best solutions combine account locations with detailed demographic info about your target audience, transforming raw data into an interactive territory map.
Divide, prioritize and conquer
One of the greatest advantages of having a highly visual sales territory map is the ability to quickly and efficiently split the workload and allocate your sales resources where they're most needed. Mapping your sales territories means decision-makers have access to the insights they need as quickly as possible.
How territory maps drive higher sales
Common pain points can impact sales performance. Issues like imbalances in workloads or overlapping reps affect effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
If you have a salesperson who tops the leaderboard because their territory rewards them (so much sales potential they can't fail), it can create a lack of motivation with your other sales team members. The bottom line is that you can do better — for your sales team, customers, and revenue.
Decision-makers with access to detailed and thought-out sales maps can quickly and easily prioritize sales team resources and get salespeople out to customers and prospects more efficiently than ever. And when you eliminate duplication and overlap, your sales team can become a productive and highly motivated machine.
But the ability to quickly and effectively prioritize and allocate resources isn't the only way territory maps can boost your sales performance:
- Evenly balance territories among salespeople: Ensure even workloads and assign your top salespeople to the regions that need the most attention.
- Review and realign your accounts: You may need to realign if customers expand into new geographies or become acquired. Sometimes you decide to shake up your account management, or a customer insists on dealing with their preferred sales reps. Visual territory mapping makes all alignment decisions easier.
- Double-check decisions with data: Territory maps also allow sales team managers to engage in what-if analysis scenarios. Sharing scenarios with key stakeholders encourages feedback and leads to better designs.
- Continually reoptimize: Your sales territory management strategy should include regular reviews that create opportunities for optimization. Decision-makers can use these reviews to ensure customer satisfaction, better balance workloads among salespeople, and boost sales.
The business case for sales territory mapping
Sales territory mapping allows you to maximize the benefits of your sales territory management strategy. Managers using visual data discovery tools are 28% more likely to be able to find the information they need to make informed decisions. You can better decide how to run your business effectively by visually analyzing the data.
This analysis can help your business in several ways. For example, sales territory planning software allows you to visualize the geographical area to ensure that a salesperson can cover territories. 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.
1. Increase sales
If a salesperson's territory is abundant with hot sales opportunities, some potential customers can slip through the cracks, leading to lost sales. But when sales territories are correctly balanced, salespeople can meet with all their promising leads and close more opportunities.
Sharing maps with your team allows you to 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.
2. Reduce costs
When territory geography is too large, salespeople 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.
3. Improve morale
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 opportunities to be successful. It can also lead to conflict among the team if there's an appearance of unfairness. By considering the size, the number of customers, and the amount of opportunity in the pipeline, you can increase employee satisfaction, lower turnover, and 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 nearby, so they can still use that time well. You can 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 & 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 more. It is a life-saver when calculating bonuses and maintaining transparency and accountability with your sales team.
Share maps with team members or export them for use in presentations.
6. Make data-driven decisions
Adding other datasets to your sales territory maps lets you gain insight and make data-driven decisions. For example, mapping each territory's demographics and comparing them to your target customer can help explain why some areas perform better than others. If you're selling alarm systems, you may have greater success targeting older properties with a more senior owner profile.
Sales territory mapping use cases
1. Evaluate your existing account value
If you need to analyze sales territories to understand if there are imbalances, like some reps having more high-value accounts than others, your map is your friend.
eSpatial features a weighted balance tool so you can refine your alignments using criteria that are a priority for you. For example, you may prefer your sales reps to spend 30% of their time prospecting. Add a weighted balance of 70% existing customers and 30% prospects, and eSpatial's algorithms will perform the task automatically. You can eye the updates and fine-tune results on the fly.
2. Uncover pipeline value
Another approach is to consider your sales pipeline values by territory.
Like the example above, you may skew your balance toward new sales opportunity development rather than account management.
It is also a way to balance new sales opportunities among your sales team and territories.
3. Reviewing your supply chain
In many industries, providing your product or service faster than your competition is your competitive edge and can make or break a sale. As a result, your supply chain infrastructure can play a part in your sales reps' success.
If Rep A consistently closes sales at a higher rate, access to the product may be a factor. 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.
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 regions. However, you know that one area is further and will have more difficulty closing sales. In that case, you can compensate by including more opportunities in that territory or readjusting the quota.
This information can also be helpful when considering adding more distribution points to your network. You can easily see which territories are under-serviced when you've mapped your regions and supply centers.
4. Analyze your competitor density
Knowing competitor locations can help you better understand patterns in your sales and make strategic decisions. Adding this data layer to your sales maps lets you strategically plan your territories, marketing, and even future business expansion.
A sales rep in a particularly competitive area may require more support to reach the same level of success as those in other locations.
5. Understand your customer demographics
How well do you understand your customers? If you know your average customer, 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 many retirees has a much higher chance of success than one covering an area with younger demographics. And by mapping demographics and competitors, you can identify under-served regions of potential where you can create new territories.
How do I start mapping sales territories?
1. Evaluate your needs
Your business needs will vary depending on its size, industry, and business model. You need sales territory mapping software if you have field sales or service teams, regional managers overseeing multiple physical locations or a network of franchisees.
- What is your starting point?
- Are there clear territories, or will you be starting from scratch?
- If you have territories, how do you share your alignments with others?
- Is your territory management system straightforward, efficient, and accessible?
- What resources will you need?
- What other stakeholders are involved (HR, operations, IT)?
- Do you need a complete mapping platform?
eSpatial is unique as you can access advanced maps like heatmaps, ZIP code maps, territory mapping, and route optimization on one platform.
2. Choose a tool that suits you
Whether you're creating territories for the first time or looking for a better system, you'll need to choose a territory management tool. In the past, many companies laid out territories using maps and markers. Modern methods make the process much easier, assist with reporting, allow you to share the details with your team, and allow for regular updating.
Smaller companies often start by planning territories with a simple column in a spreadsheet. This can do the trick in the very early stages, but quickly becomes difficult to manage. Having thousands of lines of data in a spreadsheet also makes it difficult to discover any insights about performance. Visualizing your data makes it easier to understand for team members, reporting and identifying trends.
Professional mapping software allows you to easily visualize your territories. This makes it easy to understand the mountains of information contained in your spreadsheet and helps clarify each team member's responsibilities. Above all, easy territory creation and management is key, otherwise your new solution may not be used to the fullest.
3. Gather your data
While you can start by laying out territories based on geography alone, you'll benefit most if you add your data to the mix. Include customer locations and value, prospect and opportunity location and potential sales size, your business or employee locations, and more.
If you're using a CRM, much of this data may be available there. With this information, you can ensure the territories you create are manageable with the resources available and provide fair opportunity.
You may not have a perfect dataset now, but build and iterate over time, and you'll get the necessary alignments.
4. Start building your territories
Once you have your data and chosen tool, it's time to build a sales territory map. If you've decided to use mapping for your territory creation, check out our guides on how to get started here:
Take your sales territory mapping to the next level
When creating sales territories, most managers will look at geography. They may visualize where accounts are and loosely group them for one salesperson to handle. It is a good start, but it can take time to tell where the edges of each territory should be.
Choose mapping software for sales that offers a radius function. eSpatial lets you create radius buffers based on distance or drive time, making it easier to tell where the edges of each territory should be.
How data enhances your geographic sales territory maps
A variety of boundaries to create territories
When you start creating your sales territory map, think about the level of detail you need. eSpatial includes boundary options, including US state, county, and ZIP codes, postal codes in the UK, Canada, and Australia, and much more. It allows you to drill down and divide up territories even at the local level.
Visit our dataset library to learn more about the boundary data available for free with eSpatial.
Add context to sales territory maps with demographic data
Creating a sales territory map is more than just drawing lines. The more information you have, the better you can optimize your territories for performance and efficiency. Including demographic information in your territory process can add context to your business data, giving you more insight into why some territories perform while others struggle.
Based on the above maps, you can see that Territory 2 and Territory 7 have good demographics that will match well with your target market. If areas like Territory 4 have struggled to generate business, you may want to look more closely at whether there is enough potential business in the area due to the lower median household income.
Why choose eSpatial as your sales territory mapping software?
eSpatial is a professional sales territory mapping software that can help you with territory planning, balancing, re-organization and more. Once you've created your territories, sales reps can use eSpatial as a field sales planner with filtering and route optimization, helping them to organize their day and make the most of their time. If you need to analyze your markets, report on sales performance and more, eSpatial can help there as well, with a variety of advanced analysis tools like heat maps, radius buffers, drive-time and more.
Along with the power of professional sales territory map software, you also receive world-class support from our mapping experts. They'll walk you through onboarding and training and are available to answer questions any time you need assistance.
Creating new sales territory maps can be done in just minutes. In fact, Engel & Voelkers, a real estate services company, was able to make the process of defining new territories 32 times faster. What previously took six business days now takes only 90 minutes. By taking advantage of other eSpatial features, like field sales territory planning and route mapping, their sales reps were also able to double the number of customers they see in a week.
eSpatial is a bulletproof program. Without it we would only be half as effective as we are in opening new markets and finding areas of opportunity/weakness for our clients. And the customer support is off the hook. Their people should be teaching every other company in the world what support and customer service mean. Seriously your team should start another company teaching organizations how to deliver support. I can't recommend eSpatial highly enough
eSpatial is packed with professional features
eSpatial is a sales mapping software that provides a wealth of features to help you with your sales territory mapping. In turn, optimized sales territories can increase sales, reduce costs and more. They include:
- Streamlined territory building: Create, realign, and optimize sales territories in minutes.
- Always up-to-date maps: Continuous data updating through integration with Salesforce CRMs or automatic data uploading.
- Granular territory building and analysis: Dig into the details of your sales territory maps with eSpatial's third-party boundary and demographic statistics.
- Create fair and efficient territories: Balance your territories based on criteria like population, number of accounts, pipeline value, and more.
- Keep territories at peak performance: Keep them current and performing at their best with effortless editing.
- Communicate clearly with your team: Use customizable styling and labeling for easy-to-understand maps and territories.
- Uncover new insights: Discover key insights about your business and market with various analysis tools, including heat and radius maps.
- Maximize sales performance: Choose the ideal prospects and clients to visit with advanced filtering.
- Save time and work efficiently: Plan the most efficient route for a field sales rep to maximize their time on the road.
- Keep everyone on the same page: Save, print, and share your territory maps so the team works from the same information.