“Are your territories managing you… or are you managing your territories?”
This is a question that has helped improve the results of many sales organizations.
We have worked with many senior sales executives who have set up, ramped up and turned around a number of sales organizations; enabling them to achieve dramatic growth even in tough selling environments. One of the common elements of their systems for sales success is installing a good territory management process and template to ensure the sales team is making the most of the opportunities in their areas of responsibility; including territories, vertical markets and channel partners.
Further, it is important to always look for ways to “connect the dots”… to understand what was happening in a territory, who the power brokers are, how they affect opportunities across the territory and how to leverage our contacts to make progress in target accounts and sales opportunities.
How do you know if your sales people are being managed by their territories?
- Find out about opportunities late in the sales cycle.
- Are always in react mode.
- Don’t use resources effectively… either on the wrong deal or at the wrong time.
- Lack important strategic relationships to identify and guide opportunities.
- Are not leveraging partners, colleagues and key opinion leaders in their territories.
What can you do about this?
1. Prioritize it
If you want to improve sales results via effective territory management you must make territory management a priority. As with any important endeavor, the first step is committing to making it happen.
Require territory managers to have territory plans with clear goals, strategies, tactics and action plans. Review them on a regular basis. Refer to them when you review individual and team progress.
2. Analyze it
Sit back and take an honest look at how your sales people are managing their territories.
Identify the important territory management practices. Create a chart of best practices and how each of your people is performing them. Identify the top few practices that the entire team needs help with. Work with the people who are doing the best job with each of those practices and create a summary of the key elements of each best practice. Cover these best practices over your next few sales meetings/conference calls; having that member of team present the best practices and lead a discussion with the team.
Work with the people who need additional help. Leverage the above best practices and work with them on other territory management issues to improve their overall performance.
3. Process-ize it
Create a quarterly process for territory management. This should include steps you can take each week of the quarter to drive better territory management. Here are some key elements to include:
- Month 1: Territory review (last quarter’s results) and planning for this quarter
- Month 2: Territory and target account/opportunity action plan implementation
- Month 3: Close target opportunities, actions to achieve objectives for this quarter
In the first quarter you do this, have each territory manager review last quarter’s results and generate a territory plan with a few target accounts and target opportunities. With each subsequent quarter, add the next most important accounts, opportunities and strategic relationships.
It is important to have a common tool for conducting territory reviews. This makes it easier to conduct territory reviews; ensuring that everyone is covering the same key elements and capturing similar information. Further, this makes it easy to aggregate results, identify issues and course-correct. It is ideal if this tool resides within and uses data from your CRM.
For a more detailed look at the key elements of the process of managing a territory-oriented sales team across the 13 week quarter, click here for our Sales Manager’s Territory Planning Weekly Checklist.Tags: sales management, sales plan, sales plan template, territory management, territory planning