Dominate New Storm Markets with Smart Territory Management

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Table of Contents

SPOTIO attended the annual “Win the Storm” conference in Las Vegas this past March 3 – 4, 2016.  Hosted by the Storm Venture Group, this conference is for those that want to scale their business in the $100B+ Insurance Restoration industry and it was an amazing event.  Much props to the SVG team for pulling it off.  If for some reason you weren’t there mark your calendar for 2017 now.  Check it out at

I was asked to speak about how to dominate new markets through territory management and threw in some metrics and other good stuff.  My presentation must have hit home and provided value to some attendees because I got a ton of requests for a copy of my slide deck.  Rather than just email it around to everybody I re-recorded the presentation and its now available right here for your viewing pleasure.


Links from Video:

Territory Size & Contact Rate Calculator

Knock Sheet Example


Hi. This is Trey Gibson with SPOTIO. So many people requested a copy of my presentation from the Win The Storm conference this past weekend, that I decided to redo it and put it online as a video.

So here we go, without further ado, how to dominate new markets with smart territory management. So I’m going to share today some of the principles I learned during my time managing, hiring, training door-to-door sales reps, but more importantly what I’ve picked up in working with customers all over the world in all sorts of different industries. And it definitely relates back to the storm restoration industry, because the top tier companies all seem to behave the same way in how they go about attacking territories, holding reps accountable, etc. So that’s what we’re going to go through today. Dominating new markets with smart territory management.

So there’s three steps to domination. I don’t have to tell you all the time is ticking. Every minute you waste is a potential lost customer to your competition. Especially in a storm environment, we need to get there and attack very fast. Now, we don’t want to just kind of willy-nilly go out there and throw everybody to the streets. We need to have a plan of attack that allows us to kind of organize and focus, but also get to the streets as quick as possible. So here’s these three steps.

Step one, we’re going to find where we want to prospect. Step two, we’re going to focus our teams’ effort in that area, and step three, we’re going to freaking kill our sales numbers by verifying, measuring, and managing the sales activities.

So step one, find where you want to prospect. I’m going to kind of gloss over this, because Adam in the presentation before mine went into great detail about finding where you want prospect for the storm restoration industry. I highly recommend a tool like Interactive Hail Maps where you can see the swath. This is the Boston storm that was recommended to me to take a look at for this presentation. So you can see the swath. And as I zoom in, I’ve got a peek into a neighborhood here, and this is the area that I’m going to use for my presentation today here in Boston. So step one, find where you want to prospect.

Step two, focus your team’s effort in your area. Bruce Lee said, “The successful warrior is the average man with laser focus.” Now, look at your boy Bruce Lee here, getting focused on this guy and just drop kicking him right in the side, hitting him 25 feet back into a bunch of U-Haul boxes, and that’s what I’m talking about. Bruce Lee focuses. We’re going to focus our effort. Anybody that tries to come into our territory, competitors are going to be sidekicked right out of there, because we’ve got it locked down. There’s not going to stand a chance. Focus.

So how are we going to focus? Well, first off, we’re going to create and assign territories. You can see a little screenshot of a SPOTIO account where I segmented out my territories for this Boston storm. But what I want you to do is just make it visual. If it’s not SPOTIO, use Google Earth or heck, even take it old school and use a paper map and highlighter.

The thing about making a visual is that then it becomes real. If I look at something on a map, then it’s much different than just my manager telling me, “Oh yeah, Trey, go down to Third and Main Street. There’s a little school over there. Yeah, that whole area right there, that’s your territory.” No, I want to see my area shaded on a map, and then it’s going to become real, because I’m going to own it. This is my specific territory, and so I’m going to put my full attention there, and that’s what you’re going to want for your reps as well, is if it’s theirs, then there’s no excuse why any stone is left unturned. There’s no bouncing around from lead to lead all over town. You have to own it.

I even had dinner with some other storm restoration professionals while I was out there, and two of the guys at the table had consistently produced $1.5 million to $2 million a year, and it was vouched for by other people at the table, and both of them said that they literally lived in their neighborhood. That from sunup to sundown, they knew everything that was going on, and they hit it hard for the first couple of weeks, and then after that there was all gravy. And, again, I’m telling you I’ve seen this not only from talking with storm restoration contractors, but in every industry that does door-to-door-type sales across the world. So it’s real. Make it visual and then own it. It’s going to give your reps an opportunity to focus their efforts in this area.

Now, you’re probably asking, “Why assign a territory? I don’t have 15 different colored highlighters to draw my map. I left art school in eighth grade. Whatever it might be, it takes time. I just want to get out there and start working.” Well, let’s dive into that a little bit. Why assign a territory?

First, we’re going to prevent paralysis by analysis. What I mean by that is you get to a new market, and let’s say it’s Boston, and you see how big that storm swath is. It might be 20, 30 miles long. Well, what do you think happens if you get there, and you just say, “All right, team, let’s go and let’s sell. Let’s go get after it”? They’re going to be driving around for two weeks looking for that perfect area. “We’ve got to have the right home value. I just need a good feel. It needs to feel right, most homeowners.” And it might be two weeks before they actually get out and just start grinding and knocking doors. So paralysis by analysis is going to slow you down. You might think they’re out there hitting the streets real quick, but it’s really not happening.

Step two is increase comfort and confidence. This is the assign, see theory. I love this theory. I actually came up with it a couple of weeks ago, put a blog post about it. Check it out on our blogs, SPOTIO.comblog. And this is the same reason that I don’t fly Southwest Airlines. I only go to movie theaters where I can reserve a seat before, and it’s really because it just creates unneeded stress.

With Southwest Airlines, I used to fly them all the time, because I fly out of Dallas and it’s cheap. Sure enough, I’m always in boarding group three. I board the plane. I’m like three-quarters to the end. All the overhead bins are full, and it’s only middle rows available. I’m looking up and down the aisle stressed out about, “God, am I going to be next to that crying baby or that overweight gentleman that was profusely sweating?” I don’t need that stress, right?

And relate that back to how a sales person feels, especially a new hire. But even going into a new market, if you don’t know where you’re going to go, versus if you as a manager say, “Hey, Sam, guess what, I found this territory. I segmented it all for you. It’s right here. Look at that, it’s perfect. We know that there’s verified damage here. I want you to go there, and I just want you to go start knocking 75 doors a day.”

Imagine that comforting confidence that Sam’s going to have, because he’s going to know exactly where to go, pack his car there, and get out and start knocking doors, right? This is a new market, right? We’re going to dominate new markets, and we have to stay focused, and you want your sales reps to have as much confidence as possible and get started as quick as possible. So by the assign, see theory and preventing paralysis by analysis, we are going to be able to start our sales activities faster. Although it’s going to take a little bit of time to plan upfront, in the end the feet will hit the street to start doing sales-related activities much quicker.

So, now, that we know why we need to assign a territory, let’s talk about how big of an area. And I’m saying 500 houses max. Well, how big of an area is that? You can see my little diagram here to to the right. So for most blocks, how many houses sit on a block, block in a mile? I did the math for you here. So half a mile by half a mile is about 500 houses. That’s our little red square. So if you have your Google Map out, you can do the calculations yourself here, but a quarter a mile by a quarter mile is 250 houses. But why do we want only 500 houses max? You’re probably thinking, “That’s not a lot. I could blow through that in a day.” Well, not really if you want to do it right, and here is why.

It’s because we want to talk to at least 75% of the homeowners. I’ll touch on this a little bit more later. But for us to talk to 75% of the homeowners, you’re going to have about a 33% contact rate. What that means is about one out of three door knocks, you’re going to talk to somebody. And this is what we’ve seen over the millions of door knocks in SPOTIO, 25 to 35% contact rate, so 1 out of 3, 1 out of 4 people you’re going to actually talk with. So if you can knock 75 doors a day, that means it’s going to take 4 passes through your whole territory. That means going up and down each house four times.

Now, keep in mind we’re not reknocking the doors of people that we’ve already talked to. So each pass we have to knock on fewer and fewer doors. So this equates to about 16 days of work. And this is a lot of math here, and luckily I’m going to make it easier on you. We’ve created a little calculator. But here is my inputs. You can see at the top I’ve got 500 houses in the territory, 75 knocks per day, 33% contact rate. That’ll show you four passes. I should hit about 80% of the people.

So download this spreadsheet, and you can input your own houses. Maybe you want to start off with 250, a smaller area, because you can go through it and hit that 75% contact rate in like 5 days. So this is going to let you kind of dial in what you want to do. Now, if you do a smaller territory, then be prepared to rotate faster, because once they get up to that 75%, you might want to put them in a new area and just keep chewing up the marketplace.

Now, we’re going to kind of swing back around to that 75% contact rate. Why is that important? And it’s that a snowball turns into an avalanche. So imagine there’s two little happy snowflakes dancing on top of the ski mountain. They pick up a third, fourth, fifth. Next thing you know there’s this Indiana Jones Temple of Doom-size snowball rolling down the mountain creating an avalanche until it just mows over the town at the bottom. And that’s kind of what we’re going to be doing. So we’ll get a few contacts. So more contacts is going to equal more leads. So we talk to a few more people, more leads, there’s more social references.

And when I’m talking about social references, I’m not talking about somebody that’s going to put their verified stamp of approval on your quality of work. It’s way before that. Maybe it’s a name. Maybe it is someone that you’re going back to inspect later on that week, and you can just refer to him, “Oh, yeah, I’m over at Bill and Sandy’s. Find them an inspection tomorrow evening. I figured out I was already in the area, so I just want to stop by and see if I could help you as well.” So it just gives you something to talk about. Maybe it’s someone that you’re eventually going to end up doing their work. It starts off as just as a name, a lead, something that you can refer to.

It sounds a lot better than, “Oh, yeah. I just parked my truck here at the end of your street, because you look like you have a nice house, and I figured out I’d talk to you.” We want those social references, because more social references equal more sales. The customers are going to start feeling comfortable with us, and that points back to what I’ve had time and time again, is you stay in that area, people build confidence that you’re going to be able to take care of them, especially as you get more social references.

There are homeowners who will think, “Heck, if they’re working with Bill, he’s the HOA president, a real tightass. Surely, he’ll be good enough for us. So the more social references you have are going to lead into more sales. More sales are going to equal more referrals. And that’s the easiest sale of all, is a referral. You want to get that talk with Adam Bensman with Referral Storm about how to get more referrals. He’s got a fantastic program.

So the important part is that…I’m not asking you to knock 75 doors a day for the next 12 months. The point of this talk is smart territory management for dominating a new market, and that’s what we need to do. We have to hit it really hard, focused effort right there at the beginning, and eventually, you’re going to work off referrals. That’s the game plan, and that’s the gravy. So that’s step two, focus.

Step three, we’re going to freaking kill our sales numbers. How are we going to do that? Well, you see this never-ending circle of verify, measure, manage. Verify, measure, manage. It just never ends. It goes round and around. So what is verify? Verify that the reps are performing activities that lead to sales. Right at the beginning of a storm, that’s going to be door knocks. Later on, it’s probably going to be: are they following up; are they pushing those leads through the end and getting contracts? But at the beginning of a storm, it’s going to be door knocks.

We also want to verify that they’re doing so in the territories we assign them. You don’t want them bouncing around, right? They focus in that area, and we need them to not leave any stone uncovered, reach our 75% contact rate.

We also need to be able to prove it through detailed sales tracking. That’s what SPOTIO is designed for, is to track what they’re doing from the very beginning. Use SPOTIO or even a door knock sheet. Now, I’m going to do something here that’s highly unusual and not recommended by any sort of business coach, but I’m going to give you our competitor’s product for absolutely free. Reason is I don’t want anybody to have an excuse why they’re not tracking their sales metrics here. So here we go, free for download the infamous door knock tracker. We’ve probably all seen it, and this is how we started knocking doors, but if you don’t want to use SPOTIO, use this. It’s free. Click the link to download, and you’ll be good to go.

Then we want to measure. So verify, measure. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. That’s the truth here. And when I mean measure it, this isn’t something like you probably do now or maybe your boss did this to you in the past. You call the team at the end of the day, and it’s like, “Hey, how did it go today? How did you do out there?” “I did good.” “Okay, great. Did you get any sales?” “No.” “Oh, but you made some good contacts? Great. So you’re feeling really confident that you’re going to have some paperwork to bring back? Okay, great.” So then all of a sudden you wake up at the end of the month, and you don’t have a damn thing sold, and you’re wondering why.

Now, I’m not talking about that kind of measure. I’m talking about something much more specific, and here’s the numbers we’re going to track. An attempt, which is a door knock. A contact, which means we talk to them. Qualified, for us, that’s going to be a homeowner, and they have damage or they’re in the swath. A lead is an inspection or estimate that you’ve done, and a sale is a signed contract. It’s that simple. There are five things to track, and each one of them relates to a specific part of the sales process.

And there’s also metrics that go along with these. Contact rate, which is how many doors do we have to knock to talk to somebody. Qualified rate, how many contacts do we have to make to find a qualified prospect. Lead rate, so of all those qualified prospects, how many of them turned into leads. Close rate, which is how many leads turn into sale.

Then we’re going to manage off these metrics that we’ve tracked. And so you’re going to use these to uncover problem areas. And let’s just go through a couple of examples here. Contact rate: if your contact rate is low, are you knocking at the right time of day? This could be something you can control. If you’re in the Midwest or a very working class neighborhood, you probably can’t go door knock at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. You might get some housewives at home, but you’re going to have to be scheduling appointments to come back for later. So you might have to refocus your effort to later on in the afternoon. So contact rate slow? Look at the time of day you’re knocking.

Qualified rate is low. Are you in the right territory? So imagine that you’re knocking 75 doors a day, you’re talking to 50 people, but none of them have any damage. You’re spinning your wheels. You’re in the wrong territory. You need to refocus and get in an area that’s going to have damage. So, again, these are things that we’re going to know day one, day two. It’s not waiting till the end of the month before we track our contact rate or qualified rate. We’re going to know day one, week one if we’re doing the right things that are going to lead to sales eventually.

Next, it’s going to be the lead rate. So if your lead rate is low, do I have the right pitch at the door? Is my personality horrible, or do I just look like a bum? If I’ve just finished smoking a cigarette, and I haven’t taken a shower in two days, and my shirt’s wrinkled to hell, is someone really going to want to do business with me? Hell no. I could have the best pitch, and be in the right territory, and getting much of contacts, but if I’m not doing all the right things to get people interested in buying from me personally, it’s not going to matter. So low lead rate, look at your pitch. Are you able to find their pain points, gain interest? Just have a shady personality at the door, you might need to step your game up and get some energy. And then also appearance. Don’t look like a bum.

Close rate: so if my close rate is low, how’s my presentation? Am I asking for the business? Do I need to role-play some more with the team and make sure that they’re doing the right things that we taught them that are going to lead up to a sale?

So when you use these metrics to uncover problem areas, you’re going to be able to answer some of the questions that you’ve probably asked yourself in the past. “Why can John knock 20 doors and get a deal, and it takes Sam 45?” Historically speaking, you’d probably just say, “Well, John’s better. Sam sucks. Let’s fire him and get someone else.” Well, that might not be the case. If Sam’s going out and knocking twice as many doors as John, he’s just not talking to anybody, then he’s willing to put forth the effort. It’s our job to get him in the right area or right time of day in order to actually speak with somebody.

Or likewise, if he’s knocking 75 doors talking to 50 people, but none of them have any damage, maybe I put him in the wrong territory, to begin with. But these are things we can find out right at the beginning. It’s not going to take a month to figure it out. Or, “I wish I could get the whole team performing like Sharon.” Well, you can. If you look at Sharon’s metrics and see what they are, you can replicate that success through specific training throughout the whole team.

“Our turnover is high. We have to be able to make our reps successful faster.” I love this one, because imagine this situation, and I’m going to relate this back to like a new hire training. So you go into a new storm, you bring in new sales reps, and you’re able to tell them, “Hey, here in our company, we’ve shown that it takes 75 door knocks to get one sale. So what I want you to do today is I just want you to go and focus in this territory, this specific territory I’ve created for you. Ton of business in here. I just want you to knock 75 doors.” That’s something that they can control, right?

Again, confidence and comfort. You’re not asking them to go and get you five deals. That’s something that nobody can control. I can try, but ultimately, I can only do those activities that lead up to sales, and I can manage and control that. So if I need to go out and knock 75 doors a day, I can do that, because we know that that leads to a sale. So make your reps successful faster by allowing them to manage their day based on things that they can control, like knocking doors.

To continue on with managing, you’re going to ask yourself, “What does the data tell us, and where should we improve?” Then you’re going to choose a metric that’s low and then train on it in how to get better. You’re going to verify, measure, and manage all over again, and that’s why it’s a never-ending circle. Don’t stop. You don’t do it once and then quit. You’re going to keep doing verify, measure, and manage all over again, and you’re going to see improvement, more sales.

So just wrapping up here on how to dominate new markets with smart territory management. Step one, find where you want to prospect. Step two, focus your team’s effort in that area, and step three, freaking kill your sales numbers by verifying, measuring, and managing your sales activities.

I just want to give a quick shout-out to one of our SPOTIO customers, David, with [inaudible 00:19:39] Roofing. Here’s a screenshot of his account that he let us use. And this is killing a territory, right? This is focusing 92 pins. There’s 46 inspections given, 12 have turned into sold already. He’s still working this. So how many more of those 46 are going to turn into sales? Probably quite a few. But imagine if this is your area, you’d be pretty proud of yourself. So good job, David.


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