What is territory management?
Territories can be used in sales, service and franchise businesses to define areas of responsibility. Typically, these territories are based on geographic area while also considering other factors, like customer density or pipeline value. The creation and maintenance of territories, which need regular updating as your business changes, is called territory management.
Who needs territory management?
If you have a team working in the field, there’s a good chance you need territory management. Whether it’s field sales, providing service or even managing franchises, having properly designed and maintained territories can help you make more money, lower costs and improve employee morale.
You should start mapping territories if you:
- Provide on-site service to clients
- Rely on relationship building to sell your product
- Sell a product that needs to be locally available to customers
- Struggle to balance workload among field team members
- Have sales reps accidentally calling on the same prospects
- Always end up with one person topping the sales leader board
If any of the above sound like your business, read on to find out more about the benefits of territory management, as well as resources to help you effectively manage and grow a sales territory.
How to know if your existing territories need a refresh
But maybe you already have territories. How do you know if they’re working for you or if it’s time to update them? When working with territories, you’ll often hear about the concept of aligned or balanced territories. Territory alignment is a strategy of distributing resources, opportunities and areas in a way that’s fair and supports your business goals. For example, if one sales territory has too many leads for the sales rep to follow up on while another doesn’t contain enough opportunity, they may need to be realigned to ensure you’re making the most of staff time and not missing out on opportunities.
It’s normal for territories to fall out of alignment over time as markets change, staffing fluctuates and customers are signed or churned. So look out for these key indicators that you may need to realign your territories:
- Pockets of consistently over or under-performing areas
- High employee turnover
- High mileage expenses
- Inability to meet all service appointments in a timely fashion
- Franchises not meeting expected targets
How territory management improves your business
Save money and increase sales by optimizing resources
With territories, you can ensure you’re dividing your resources efficiently. This prevents pockets of under or over-served areas, which can increase costs and leave potential sales on the table.
Eliminate territory overlap
When territory boundaries aren’t clear, salespeople can sometimes end up tripping over each other. This causes conflict within the team and can be off-putting for customers who are contacted by more than one sales rep from your company. Successful territory management involves clearly defined boundaries. Once created, giving all team members access to the maps can eliminate this issue.
Give salespeople the best chance at success
Beyond workload, you can also ensure that you’re providing fair opportunities for your salespeople to succeed by balancing the number of opportunities and pipeline value in each territory. By providing ample opportunity, a balanced workload, and training on how to grow a sales territory, you can increase employee morale and decrease expensive turnover.
Faster on-boarding of new employees
When you have well organized territories, it’s faster and easier to on-board new employees, like sales reps. They can easily see who their clients and leads are and where they’re located. Having this information at their fingertips can also help them understand who to target when prospecting.
Delight your customers with efficient service
If your business provides on-site services to your customers, you know speed and efficiency are key. Services territory management ensures you have adequate resources to cover the number of customers in each area. Faster service means happier customers who will come back to your business time and again.
Identify new franchise opportunities
Building franchise territories that include customer demographics can help uncover areas that are ripe for a new location. Being able to show an attractive new territory can also help seal the deal with prospective franchisees.
How do I start managing territories?
- 1. Evaluate your needs
- 2. Choose a tool that suits you
- 3. Gather your data
- 4. Start building your territories
1. Evaluate your needs
The needs of your business will vary depending on its size, industry and business model. If you have field sales or service teams, regional managers overseeing multiple physical locations or a network of franchisees, you’d likely benefit from territories.
To understand where you’re starting from, you should look at how these systems are currently managed. Are there clear territories or will you be starting from scratch? If there are existing territories, how are they recorded and communicated? Is this system clear, efficient and easy?
You should also consider how many people will need to work on your territories and whether there are other functions that a territory management software can help with. For example, eSpatial has a variety of tools outside of territory management. These can help you analyze your data, maximize your resources and much more.
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 add your data to the mix. This can include customer locations and value, lead 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.
In some cases, there may be data that would be useful in your territory building that you don’t currently have. To keep things moving forward, it can be helpful to build your initial territories and implement new policies for recording this information. In six months to a year, you’ll be able to review your territories with this richer information and follow territory management best practices.
4. Start building your territories
Once you have your data and chosen tool, it’s time to start creating your territories. If you’ve decided to use mapping for your territory creation, check out our guides on how to get started here:
Try a territory map yourself
Why choose eSpatial for territory management?
eSpatial is a professional territory management solution 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 software, you also receive world-class support from our mapping experts. They will walk you through on-boarding and training and are available to answer questions any time you need assistance.
Creating new territories 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 planning and route mapping, their sales reps were also able to double the number of customers they see in a week.
eSpatial saves me so much time. I use it to investigate and target high potential leads, then plan routes for the salespeople on the ground. I used to do this with Google Maps, and it was tedious. Reviewing each lead would take 30 minutes, and I could be checking up to 30 leads in a day.
With eSpatial, it takes only five minutes each. Since we can plan optimized routes for the salespeople on the ground, they can get more done and make more sales. Not only is the program great, but their customer service is top of the line. Someone is always there to answer my questions and provide step-by-step instructions. eSpatial has helped me tremendously!