The Beauty of Flexible, Intelligent Territories
Territory planning is typically an arduous annual process that forces square pegs into polygon holes. It has historically been a manual exercise of using past sales data, gut feel, and a touch of favoritism. Even as technologies have improved and companies have put more resources toward sales operations roles, those responsible for improving field resource utilization have struggled to get it right. Why? Because the potential outcomes in assigning thousands of accounts to hundreds of reps are almost endless–and therefore choosing the right mix is nearly impossible. Performance, rep satisfaction and overall efficiency suffers in this old, antiquated model.
All of this has changed with the availability of geo-enabled field productivity solutions that start with intelligent territory planning. At its core are optimization algorithms that determine how territories should be designed to mathematically maximize the capacity of each rep. Aligning reps with the appropriate accounts and prospects, and maximizing time with those accounts, can transform lackluster performance and lead to great success.
Realignment no longer has to be a quarter-long effort undertaken just before the new selling year. It can be accomplished in less time, and whenever deemed necessary, to account for corporate changes such as headcount, mergers, acquisitions, or new product releases, etc.
Leveraging geo-enabled field solutions, leaders can define the most promising territories and give sales reps the ability to succeed by making the management of these territories easier and more intuitive. Optimal territories leverage the geographic location of customers combined with Salesforce CRM data. These well designed territories enable reps to see more accounts in less time, as the accounts are logically grouped together by location. Optimal territories maximize customer face-time, minimize drive time, and balance workload equitably. Then, leaders can add in scheduling and routing capabilities, to help reps focus on tighter geographic areas and reduce the time necessary to drive between accounts, leaving more time for selling.
MapAnything believes that Territory Design the critical first phase in the overall process of determining how many reps are needed and how to best utilize them. There are five basic steps to building highly-productive sales territories.
1. Segmentation - Not all accounts are created equally and not all reps have the same product or vertical expertise. It is important to segment accounts into alignments, or teams, based on the products being sold to them, their size, or other specific criteria. The vast majority of large enterprises have overlays, or unique alignments, for small to medium businesses, enterprises, and for different product types. It’s quite possible that an account will fall into multiple alignments. For example, one rep will sell product A, and another product B to the same account. Or, if a company has solutions suitable for multiple industries, it may have a team that sells to telcos while another manages the life sciences industry within the same geography. In order to optimize each alignment, those accounts need to be segmented first.
2. Reach and Frequency - How often do reps need to call on accounts and how long should each call take? This is critical information when determining overall capacity. While not all companies have this data, most are starting to gather it. Automated check-in/out features that utilize geofencing capabilities, like those available in MapAnything, make it easier to capture actual rep activity so it can be analyzed against sales outcomes. When reps make too many unproductive calls to the same account, plans should be adjusted. Focusing on high-potential, productive accounts increases rep efficiency and helps to determine how many reps are actually needed to meet the number.
3. Sizing - Based on historic or current data, companies know how many reps they have now, and how many they intend to have in the future. Designing territories for today, based on current numbers, is a great place to start. But leveraging the data can help a sales leader more precisely determine how many reps the company should have.
4. Territory Alignment - Once companies understand the accounts that are in each alignment, how often reps should visit the accounts, and how long those visits take, sales leaders can optimally design territories. The goal is to create territories that are a) balanced with respect to workload or another business metric; b) compact to reduce drive time; and c) less disruptive, so the amount of accounts that change hands from one rep to another is minimized. While these goals are mathematically at odds with one another, technology and decades of experience can help find the right balance so that every rep is fully utilized and productive.
5. Call Planning - While the steps above get to a set of well designed territories, the ultimate goal is to service each territory. Understanding business and geographic constraints simultaneously, and knowing how to overcome them, will lead to optimal schedules and optimal routes for reps to follow. Account prioritization models enable reps to visit the right account at the right time, while optimized routes enable reps to do see more customers in less time.
We believe that being able to design the “right” or best sales territories can be a competitive differentiator for a company. Proper territory design delivers results by:
- Identifying whether or not a company has the right number of reps to service their accounts;
- Determining which accounts should be in each territory;
- Enabling sales leaders to analyze territory performance in an equitable manner;
- Allowing each rep to accomplish more in less time while increasing customer service, maximizing revenues, and decreasing expenses.
MapAnything’s geo-enabled field productivity platform allows savvy sales leaders to adjust with changes in their market, rapid growth, change in business priorities or staffing levels. It makes it easier for sales leaders to assign the greatest number of resources to the greatest areas of opportunity.
Chief Marketing Officer