The good thing about territory management is that it helps avoid any turf wars over customers that could break out within your sales team. The bad thing about territory management is it requires a battle plan all its own.

It’s not enough, for example, to simply break up the total addressable market for your products and services and assign various geographies to the reps. Instead, sales territory management ensures that those working within a particular territory will be successful, and that the combined results of reps working across their particular territory will help the organization crush its monthly or quarterly numbers.

Some organizations tackle this process by conducting what’s known as territory mapping, which essentially means looking more granularly at accounts within each territory to help prioritize and hone the approach for closing more deals.

Whether you’re a large company or a small and medium-sized business (SMB), sales territory mapping should be on the to-do list long before reps start conducting outreach. It will save time, allow more efficient use of resources and, most importantly, help reps make or exceed quota.

There are all kinds of ways to approach this process, but here are some of the most common building blocks:

Map By Customer Share Of Wallet

Say a rep has more than 20 active accounts they could pursue within their territory. It’s probably not reasonable that they spend the same amount of time and effort on each one. It’s probably not profitable, either. Instead, the territory mapping process should look at things such as:

  • How much each account within a territory has spent historically
  • The scope of purchases across each account (i.e., do any of the accounts in this territory buy a suite of your products and services, or are they more one-off buyers?)
  • Typical purchase cycle and process — which customers are easy to do business with, and which require more legwork?

You’ll find all the data you need if you’re using a CRM solution such as Sales Cloud. But don’t stop there. There are lots of other points to include in your territory maps. Like:

Map The Touchpoints, Timelines and TLC Required

Some firms mistakenly give reps their territory and encourage them to hit the phones. Even if they’ve already mapped which accounts have the capacity to grow the volume of business they do with you, they should be approached in a more one-on-one fashion. Again, CRM data will tell you a lot of what you really need to know here, including:

  • Optimal channel by funnel stage: Maybe phone isn’t the best mechanism for contact at all. Reps might have better luck with email, SMS or even social media in some cases. A few will prefer in-person meetings over anything else.
  • Ideal schedule for outreach and updates: There will often be a lot of variation within a single territory in terms of which customers should be contacted on a quarterly, monthly or even annual basis. Some customers, for instance, will only be open to a pitch once their final budget has been confirmed for a given period.
  • Value-added information: If you’ve already sold to a particular customer before, you should have data about the kind of details they may need to share with other members of their buying team, including their boss. Don’t wait to be asked for this information again and again. Plan it out and look to see how often the same details are requested across your territory map. This could be valuable for the marketing team as well.

All this only covers the existing business a company may have for a particular territory, though. Don’t forget to:

Map Out How Leads Will Affect Density

When urban planners look at growth in a city, they track things like density — the population in a certain neighbourhood, for example — to make sure overcrowding doesn’t strain resources. It’s a bit similar with sales territory mapping.

As your reps receive more qualified leads from marketing, they’ll need to parse the available data as much as possible to go through a similar exercise as what’s been described above. In other words, they’ll need to figure out which prospects have the highest potential for conversion, what amount of business they might generate, and the degree of heavy lifting required to close a deal with them.

Based on that you see here, a company may need to look at carving an existing territory up to multiple reps, or perhaps assigning certain accounts with well-established relationships to one rep and asking more junior reps to pursue newer business opportunities.

All good so far? There’s another crucial step in all this that so many organizations neglect. Here it comes:

Map The Bigger Picture

Even if you do a great job of sales territory mapping for a particular geography or set of customers, the impact on the overall business is limited it if it results in a bunch of silos among your sales team. Sales territory management should also strive for a more holistic perspective by comparing and contrasting what you’ve learned along the way.

In your sales team meetings, for instance, think about the following questions and encourage reps to use the data they have in CRM to contribute their expertise:

  • What’s similar: Which products are most popular across all territories? What buying habits seem consistent? What factors almost universally lead to a higher win rate?
  • What’s different: Why are some territories chronically under-delivering in terms of revenue, or are more subject to customer churn? What kinds of resources -- whether it’s people, technology or something else — could move the needle in particular territories?
  • What’s unknown: You can’t answer everything about your business by looking at your territory maps, but what kinds of things should reps be thinking about and keeping in mind that may be more discoverable over time?

As your sales territory mapping process becomes more mature, your revenue and business growth should become more predictable. This requires an ongoing commitment by everyone, and the use of essential tools such as Sales Cloud. Of course, the best sales teams are no strangers to hard work and data-driven thinking — those are things that just come with the territory.

Learn more ways to help your sales team succeed with our ebook, “4 Steps to Transforming Your Sales Process.”