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As we race to close 2012, many of us are already looking ahead at how we can make our sales even better in 2013.  The Data.com team started this process with an Account Planning ebook with actionable tips for how to make individual reps more productive.  But making individual reps more productive at doing bigger deals is only part of the story. So we decided to offer a webinar on how to plan territories and organize sales.  If you missed it, an encore webinar is being offered Thurs. 12/6/2012 10:00 a.m. PST: How salesforce.com Plans Territories & Organizes Sales using Data.com

Territory planning, done correctly, can help you align your sales team with the most appropriate region or group of customers—increasing the overall revenue by ensure you are touching all segments of the market.  The importance of assigning the correct sales rep to the right account is key to ensuring both the rep succeeds and the deals get done.

5 components of territory planning

Here are the five key components to how the team at salesforce.com plans the territories to drive its multi-billion dollar business:

1. Segment

The competitive nature of sales frequently leads sales reps and teams towards tackling the biggest deals first.  However, when this happens companies lose out BIG TIME in the mid to low range deals that are closed faster and are always more abundant.  Most companies segment using geography, employee size, and/or revenue.  Salesforce.com segments accounts into roughly three groups: global enterprise, mid-sized business, and small business.  Doing this helps to place the Account Executive (AE) with the right skills with the proper customer and the right sales team with the right account at first contact, ultimately maximizing higher quality first touches.

2. Balance

We create regions that are both urban and rural for our AEs and sales teams.  A diverse territory allows for more of a measure on an AE’s performance than on a territory’s performance.  This allows AEs to be confident with the territory they’ve been given, creating a more diverse approach and a more well-rounded and happy team.

3. Focus on Data Quality

Who are we targeting?  What do we know about the company?  How big is each territory?  The answers to these questions require good data sets. To stay on top of these answers we keep up with changes in the data and have a good data plan.  Having a set data strategy in place to keep our data clean and accurate, such as using tools like Data.com, allows us to answer all these questions and operationalize our plan.

4. Empower Managers to Drive their Territory

Confident managers should feel like it is their territory.  Provide a self-service tool that allows them to interchange reps and move things around.  By providing them with the necessary autonomy while still maintaining overall control of the territory, we can get the most out of  managers.

5. Enforce Your Territories in Salesforce

After we’ve defined a territory, whether it’s a city, state, or region, we have to enforce rules around each territory.  Then we need to assign a resource to the defined territory.  Using rules and workflows in Salesforce, the engine takes over and assigns AEs to accounts.  The associated selling and support team is then is cascaded down to Opportunity/Order objects.

If you do follow these steps, you are ready to get organized and get the most out of the new year!