Salespeople in their territories

The Complete Guide to Sales Territory Mapping

There’s a lot of strategy and leg-work that goes into proper sales territory mapping. This is a crucial part in setting your team up for success.

It can be a tedious process, but it’s necessary to ensure your team is canvassing the right area and not just going in blindly.

What is a Sales Territory Map?

A sales territory map is a plan of attack for your sales reps. Mapping gives you the ability to designate areas and assign specific territories to each rep. With Territory mapping software, cut territories that meet your criteria and allocate across your sales team. Not only does mapping out territories mean you only targeting prospects that are viable contenders to make a purchase, it keeps reps from overlapping and poaching each other’s sales.

Benefits of a Clearly Defined Sales Territory Map

Cut territories. Map out territories and assign to  reps.
Territory hierarchy. Create hierarchies so everyone on the team knows exactly where to go.
Real-time visibility. Managers and reps can work together to ensure every territory is fully covered.
Stay organized. Easily edit, manage and delete territories as reps move around.

The Old School Approach to Sales Territory Mapping

One of the reasons this process has been such a pain for so long is because of how it’s been done.

Using the “highlighter and Google Maps” method leaves a ton of room for error and confusion. You have no way to determine how many homes you’re assigning to each rep, how many customers you have in each territory you assign, or the demographics for the homeowners you should be targeting.

Not to mention once you send the team out with their printed maps you rarely ever get them back therefore have no historical idea where you’ve worked or haven’t worked.

Using highlighters and maps leaves a lot of room for dispute between sales reps.

Consider this situation:

1. They’ll knock outside of the territory you assigned them claiming they weren’t sure where it ended.
2. Then, the rep who is assigned to that territory will get upset about the sale another rep made in their territory.

Who do you give the sale to; the rep who closed the deal or the rep whose territory that sale is assigned to?

Turning what should be a celebration into a dramatic debacle.

4 Ways to Map Sales Territories

To save time, be more efficient, eliminate confusion and increase performance, create and assign territories for your team using the following strategies:

1. Target Market Demographics
2. Current Customers in Each Territory
3. Evenly Distributed by Number of Homes
4. Evenly Distributed by City / Zip

1. Target Market Demographics

One of the most effective strategies for creating territories is to gather the demographics of your target market before sending your team out to knock doors.

This will eliminate the amount of time your reps spend in the field knocking aimlessly. You shouldn’t want your reps making attempts on homes you know either won’t close, or have a low possibility of closing.

Using a tool like SPOTIO’s Lead Machine will help you to identify key territories, target qualified customers that match your ideal customer profile (ICP), and ensure that your team is knocking doors that have real buying potential.

You’ll also have the ability to track the progress of each of these leads in your funnel through the app. This will prevent leads that you’ve spent money on from slipping through the cracks and increase the return on your investment.

Obviously you have to be able to identify your target market in order to purchase any type of leads. Some criteria are more important than others, like homeowners vs. renters, credit score, home market value and median home income.

The more information you have about your current customers, the better. It will allow you to understand where you’re having the most success and help you to identify higher quality potential customers with a greater chance of buying.

Another tool you can check out is a website called City Data.  Scroll down and choose your state and then you’ll have access to hundreds of segmentation options.

To learn how to best use this site download our free ebook below:

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2. Current Customers by Territory

Your current customers are extremely valuable to your business, and not just because they purchased your product or service.

Your customers can provide you with some of the highest converting and cheapest leads – referrals. You just have to ask.

Start by generating a list of all of your current customers. If you use a sales tracking app like SPOTIO, it’s simple to upload this list into your account, or you can simply sort the pins in your account by the status you created to signify a closed-won deal.

If you’re not using a sales tracking app, you’ll have to map these addresses by hand individually. It will be a much longer process, but well worth it.

Once you’re able to see all of your customers on a map, draw out territories for your reps to work based on these locations.

There’ are two strategies to this approach:

1. The first is to evenly distribute the number of customers in each territory for your sales reps.
2. The other option if your customers are more spread out is to assign a couple smaller territories to each rep, but still distribute them as evenly as possible.

The goal by doing this is to use your current customers as references when pitching a new prospect. You can also have your team visit satisfied customers to ask for referrals.

3. Evenly Distributed by Number of Homes

Making sure that sales reps have enough doors to knock is essential to their performance and production.

Without a sales territory mapping software, you can spend hours on this process. A sales territory mapping software significantly simplifies this process, saving you many hours and ensuring greater accuracy.

Create and assign territories based on the number of houses you want each rep to work at one time.

Start this process by determining the number of houses you want each rep on your team to have. As you start drawing out an area in SPOTIO, the app will tell you the estimated number of homes in that territory. You can always adjust it if there’s too many or note enough.

Using a territory mapping software will allow you to create even territories for your entire team in less than 10 minutes. If you choose 500 as the total number of homes you want to be in each territory, you just need to be close to that number. It’s not important for it to be exact; 475 or 525 is close enough.

If you want to guesstimate the number of houses in a sales territory consider that on ¼ acre lots which are common you will get 1,000 houses in a 1 mile by 1mile areas.

Territory Size Estimations for Sales Territory Mapping

4. Distributed by City or Zip Code

Creating territories by city or zip code is a little bit trickier because of the size of the area. Even if every city was the exact same size, the number of homes wouldn’t be.

There’s a variety of factors in play when creating territories by city or zip code. The demographics in each city can vary dramatically and will influence the number of potential customers for a rep to visit.

Distributing territories by city or zip code is one of the easiest methods because it’s black and white; there’s no grey area.

You tell a rep, “This is your city or zip code, and if you get a lead or sale outside of your territory, it’s going to the rep that territory belongs to.” Creating territories this way eliminates a lot of the conflict and guesswork for sales reps.

Because cities or zip codes vary in the number of houses, you may need to assign two or three to a rep.

These territories will have a ton of homes to work. They’re not going to be quick to work through and shouldn’t be changed frequently like smaller territories may be. Using a territory mapping software will help you to ensure you distribute the number of houses for each rep to work evenly by the city or zip code.

Bonus: Here’s a free Zip Code map you can use to slice and dice your marketplace by zip codes if you want to create your sales territories this way.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in the Territory Mapping Phase

Here is a short list of issues and errors managers can implement, which will improve their effectiveness in territory mapping:

Mistake #1:  Using limited data – and using the wrong territory management tool.

If you don’t know your client and, or account data, you can’t accurately know how well the sales rep is doing let alone make improvements. You also want to refrain from making continuous changes to sales territories, as it will negatively impact client engagement. However, you will want the ability to make modifications in the territories occasionally. Key here, find the ‘BEST’ CRM tool to aid you in this process.

Mistake #2: Leaving your sales team out of the picture.

In order to be effective in territory mapping, you NEED to involve your sales reps and teams. Taking into account the experience of your sales reps/teams will help to motivate them. This will encourage you to have the right reps in the right territories and make sure that the business is in their prospective territory. By doing so, you will ensure you have a plan in place that your sales reps/teams can embrace, and get behind.

Mistake # 3:  Getting overwhelmed with spreadsheets.

If you want to ‘win’ in sales performance and motivate your reps/teams, you MUST incorporate the right tools and applications to help you manage and evaluate your reps/teams. This will give your reps/teams the visibility into their targets, schedules, and the ability to align the right reps with the right accounts/products, which will minimize the sales assignment process and increase sales.

In defining a sales territory and determine if the territory mapping is efficient, you need to make sure of a few things:

Make sure the product that’s being sold in the territory is in demand, in the right market, and that there is the adequate transport facilities. You also need to know your competition! If sales are being made on a consistent basis and sales goals are being met, you’ve got the right territory mapping in place!

EXAMPLES of how to determine territory workload:

Workload (#) = [Current accounts (#) * Average time to service an active account (#)] + [Prospects (#) * Time spent trying to convert a prospect into an active account (#)]

The sales potential in a territory can be determined as follows:

Sales potential ($) = Number of possible accounts (#) x Buying power ($)

There is no ‘one size’ fits all when it comes to territory mapping. The most popular territories are done via geographical lines, and doing so will prevent companies from leveraging and optimizing revenue.

The round-robin method is best if going after a targeted market. Geographic distribution is best if you have boots on the ground. With the new advancements that technology is providing via account-based marketing, the best method is obviously going to be scattered among the states aiding in the new territory of adding a time-zone territory as well. So, as you can see, you really need to know your product, competition, market and sales reps to determine the best territory option for your organization.

Highest performing territories – sales by client, new contacts, opportunity-to-win rates, average deal size?

The best and highest performing territories are those that have been ‘optimized’ as read in this article from Alexander Group. Basically, if you’re not ‘optimizing’, you’re throwing caution to the wind and losing revenue while helping your sales reps underperform. Here are 5 things to consider when ‘optimizing’ your territories:

1. Define the most important targets.
2. Weigh each target accurately.
3. Calibrate your index.
4. Review your results.
5. Make changes to the territories based on those results.

As stated, you can have great products and great sales reps BUT if you don’t ‘optimize’ your sales rep’s territories, you’re losing revenue and not utilizing your best sales reps.

What to Do Next

At this point you’ve either already been creating sales territories for your team or you haven’t.  If you have, congrats! You’re one of the organized ones. Feel free to modify your approach based on the information above and if you have anything to add feel free to chime in.

If you don’t currently use sales territories for your team don’t fret.  It’s not too late!

Check out these other blog posts to learn more about Territory Management

Below you will find great information on territory management and how you can set your team up for success by utilizing the best practices associated with it.  Feel free to check it out and if you have any input let us know.

Stop Guessing: The Truth about Territory Management

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