The Complete Guide to Sales Territory Mapping (and Software)

Want to Improve Your Team's Sales Performance?

Table of Contents

There’s a lot of strategy that goes into proper sales territory mapping. It can be a tedious process, but it’s necessary to ensure your team is canvassing the right areas.

In this post, we’ll look at sales territory management — what it is, what it entails, and how you can improve it.

 

What Is Sales Territory Mapping?

Sales territory mapping is the creation and assignment of sales territories, based on factors like geography, revenue potential, and the individual expertise of sales reps.

 

What is a Sales Territory Map?

A sales territory map is a visual layout of your sales territories. With territory mapping software, you can define territories that meet your criteria and assign them to the reps that are the best fit for each one.

Not only does mapping out and assigning territories mean you’re only targeting prospects that are viable contenders to make a purchase, it keeps reps from overlapping and poaching each other’s sales.

 

 

The Old School Approach to Sales Territory Mapping

One of the reasons this process has been so time consuming for so long is because of how it’s been done.

Territory mapping with Google Maps and a highlighter leaves a lot of room for error and confusion. You have no way to determine how many prospects you’re assigning to each rep, how many customers you have in each territory, or whether prospect demographics in each territory align with your ideal customer profile.

Not to mention once you send a rep out with their printed sales territory map, you’ll rarely get it back therefore have no idea where you’ve worked or haven’t worked.

 

 

Consider this situation:

  1. A rep made a sale outside of the territory you assigned them, claiming they weren’t sure where it ended.
  2. The rep who was assigned to that territory lost the opportunity to make that sale.

Who do you give the sale to — the rep who closed the deal, or the rep who covers the territory where the sale occurred?

The same issues occurred with other legacy solutions like Streets and Trips and MapPoint. Today, sales territory mapping software can help prevent territory disputes and provide the insights sales managers need to adjust territory boundaries or reassign reps.

 

The Benefits Of Modern Sales Territory Mapping

Modern sales territory mapping tools help sales managers:

 

Assign territories strategically

You wouldn’t assign a junior sales rep to your highest-value territory. With the multiple data points in sales territory mapping platforms, you can assign reps to territories that align with their experience level, which positions them for success.

 

Balance workloads

To maintain harmony among your team, you should be mapping sales territories in a way that balances the workload. That means looking at more than just the geographic area of each territory — a small territory could contain just as many leads as a territory that spans two ZIP Codes.

 

Increase rep selling time

The way you define your territories can help reps maximize their selling time. For example, you might find that shifting the territory boundaries gives each rep a simple sales route, with little distance between stops. Route optimization is one of the best features of territory mapping apps.

 

Boost rep productivity

In the days of analog territory mapping, field sales reps wasted countless hours jotting notes on paper and marking up maps to keep track of their progress. Digital territory maps integrate with CRM data, giving reps instant access to important data when they’re in the field. And they can update notes from their mobile phones, which eliminates the need for manual entry and increases sales productivity.

 

4 Ways To Map Sales Territories

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

  1. Target Market Demographics
  2. Include Current Customers In Each Territory
  3. Evenly Distribute by Number of Prospects
  4. Evenly Distribute by City/ZIP Code

 

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 on doors. This will minimize unproductive time for your reps in the field. 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 targeting prospects 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. This is one of main features that is causing many outside sales reps to switch from the competition.

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.

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

 


 

2. Include Current Customers In Each 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).

 

Mapping existing customers

 

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 in 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 Distribute By Number Of Prospects

Making sure that sales reps have enough prospects to visit 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 contacts you want each rep to work at one time.

 

 

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

As you start drawing out a sales territory plan in SPOTIO, the app will tell you the estimated number of prospects in that territory. You can always adjust it if there’s too many or not enough.

Using a territory mapping software will allow you to create equitable territories for your entire team in less than 10 minutes.

 

Territory Size Estimations for Sales Territory Mapping

 

4. Evenly Distributed By City/ZIP Code

Creating territories by city or ZIP Code is a little bit trickier because of the size of the area. Even so, distributing territories by city or ZIP Code is one of the easiest methods, because there’s no room for misinterpretation.

You can tell a rep, “This is your 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.

These territories won’t be quick to work through and shouldn’t be changed frequently like smaller territories may be.

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

 

How To Evaluate And Optimize Sales Territories

You’ll need to periodically review your sales territories, because circumstances change. Your prospects might move to a new area, a competitor may begin working your territories, or your staffing levels may increase or decrease.

 

Review Your Rep Count

If you’ve gained or lost sales reps since you first defined sales territories, you’ll need to reevaluate. You may have new hires with expertise in a certain aspect of sales that makes them a good fit for a territory, or you may find you need two people to cover one territory, if you’ve lost the superstar who once covered it.

 

Analyze Existing Territory Performance

Poor territory performance might not be a result of sales performance. B2B and B2C prospects might have shrinking budgets or new priorities, or a competitor might be luring your prospects away. An underperforming territory always merits closer inspection.

 

Reassess Market Potential

Has the spending potential within your territories changed? That’s an important question to consider as you review your territories. Review your sales data for the past year to detect any trends that may help you forecast market potential.

 

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 (#) x Average time to service an active account (#)] + [Prospects (#) x 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 mapping software 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.

 

The Business Case for Sales Territory Mapping Software

Science is finally backing up what you’ve always known: A picture is worth a thousand words. According to an MIT study, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.

An Aberdeen Group study revealed that managers using visual data tools are 28 percent more likely to be able to find the information they need to make informed decisions.

With all this talk about the value of visual data, it’s no surprise that visual management tools are especially helpful for sales leaders. One of these useful tools is sales territory mapping software, which provides a simple way for sales leaders to visualize geographical areas and ensure:

  • Territories are a manageable size for reps
  • There is no overlap between reps
  • Sales leaders and managers are thoughtfully and strategically assigning the top performers

If you adopt the best sales territory planning solution, your organization will experience the following benefits.

 

1. Prevent deals from falling through the cracks

If one territory has too many leads, some leads will fall through the cracks. The result of this unbalance is lost sales.

Sales territory mapping software helps you ensure territories are correctly balanced and each territory reaches its full potential.

 

2. Uncover new leads in existing territories

The temptation to expand to new territories is only natural. But it’s extremely likely that your team hasn’t covered all potential leads within their existing sales territories.

With territory management tools like SPOTIO, you can use insights about your territories to reveal new leads in your existing territories.

 

3. Save hours with segmentation

Without territory mapping software, sales leaders often have to spend hours creating sales maps.

Solutions like SPOTIO make it easier to categorize areas or regions by:

  • High or low potential
  • High volume
  • High quality leads

These features make it easy to map territories quickly while providing a simple-to-use interface for the reps in each territory.

 

4. Improve close rates with data-driven area assignments

Sales territory mapping solutions help sales leaders place their reps strategically.

With integrated key insights like sales performance, geographical history, total revenue earned and leads converted, sales leaders can use SPOTIO to place people where they can make the most impact.

Whether this is about placing high performers where they’re needed most, or placing average performers in an environment that allows them to reach their potential, consider your team’s strengths and opportunities as you adjust your mapping strategy.

 

5. Optimize sales routes and improve productivity

Without an effective and comprehensive system, territory mapping and sales route planning tend to be two separate activities.

 

Mapping sales routes in SPOTIO

 

Using smart features like those offered by SPOTIO, you can quickly see which territories landed the most accounts, and where the highest value clients are located.

Sales route planning is adjustable on the fly. When new leads arise, the app helps users adjust their route and plan efficiently.

 

6. Measure performance across territories

A dynamic sales territory mapping software solution makes it easy to measure and compare performance across multiple territories.

 

Measuring lead volume by territory in SPOTIO

 

Using smart features like those offered by SPOTIO, you can quickly see which territories landed the most accounts, where the highest value clients are located and more.

This gives you strong visual data to understand where to invest as well as how sales reps are performing by region.

 

7. Boost Team Morale

When sales territories are unevenly distributed, morale takes a hit. Whether a territory is too small and lacks enough potential to enable success, or the territory is too big, causing a sales rep or team to be overworked, a poorly balanced territory can kill your morale.

With the data you gather from smart sales territory mapping software, you can closely monitor the level of work required to support each territory and allocate your sales team accordingly.

 

Supercharge Productivity And Increase Revenue With Sales Territory Mapping

Organize and divide territories: Define and reorganize territories in just a few minutes, with SPOTIO’s intuitive interface.

Visualize lead and customer data: SPOTIO lets reps color-code map pins based on any data point, such as previously contacted leads, new prospects, and existing customers.

Monitor territory performance: Click on a territory to see performance data, and run reports that show performance metrics for all territories.

Find out how SPOTIO helps field sales teams stay organized, increase productivity, and close more deals. Request a demo today!