Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sales Territory Management Made Easy

at a fork in the road a businessman has to choose between the easy and the hard way

OK, sales territory management is never easy. It is often the cause of a sales manager’s most annoying headaches. Why? Because it is a challenge to define territories so everyone on your sales team has an equal chance to succeed with the highest chance of overall success. But if you adhere to the following four steps to sales territory management, it will be easier and the results will be much closer to that perfect balance you strive to achieve.
  1. Create a sales territory plan
    Work with your reps to develop a sales territory strategy for serving and growing current customers and for reaching out to new customers. Decide with your reps how much time should be devoted to current clients, to potential clients and to prospecting for future clients.

  2. Identify and prioritize your target clients
    You will have to decide what criteria make the most sense for your sales strategy and in your marketplace as a whole before you assign sales territories. You can segment your customers by geographies, by size, by similar need or product, by buyer and by the problems they face. Then tier them according to how likely they are to buy. This will depend on how strong your relationships are, how great their need for what you offer as compared to other business priorities, how effective your differentiation vis-à-vis the competition, etc.

  3. Assign sales territories
    Be clear about who has which territory so there is no confusion or overlap. Make your decision by including such factors as the specific strengths of your sales reps and where they have existing relationships and then match them with where they would be more successful. Try to balance clients so there are current, potential and possible customers in each territory.

  4. Continually evaluate sales territories
    Keep close track of how well your reps are doing and what challenges they face. Meet regularly as a team to air frustrations and celebrate successes. Problems will surface that you must as sales manager resolve. It may require a shift in territories, assignments or extra support from you. If you have set up individual as well as team goals, you can work together as a team to overcome obstacles and maximize revenue.

If you have a collaborative sales team and have a solid plan, defining sales territories will be easier than you think. 



Thursday, September 22, 2016

How to Manage Your Sales Territory So It Does Not Go Off Track

2 cartoon figures riding in a roller coaster about to run off the track

Sales territory management training should focus not just on taking advantage of current opportunities but also on planning for future opportunities. 

Did you know that the main reason for failure in sales is failure to line up new business? It’s thrilling to be on a roll, when opportunity after opportunity seems to be coming to fruition. But the minute you stop prospecting and filling your pipeline, you risk future sales success. 

Here is how to manage your sales territory wisely so you cover both current and future clients. Be forewarned…the plan requires some discipline. Are you up to following sales territory management best practices?
  1. Divvy up your current clients.
    Whether you are operating in a geographical territory or organized around different client industries, you have to find some way of prioritizing your sales opportunities. Some do it by colors…green clients are the most likely to buy, yellow need more time and effort to coax toward a deal, red should be relegated to only occasional contact since they are least likely to need or want your solution. Others codify their clients by tiers that are well defined by size, maturity, interest, need and budget. However you sort them, plan on spending two days a week on your top clients, one-and-one-half on the next level, and half a day on the lowest level of client. You need to spend your precious selling time where there is the greatest potential for success.
  2. Prospect for the future.
    That leaves one full day for prospecting for new clients. Set aside time on your schedule—just like a real appointment—to research new opportunities, network for referrals, make those calls, and schedule discovery appointments.
  3. Fill in with non-sales-related activities.
    Unfortunately, you cannot escape the activities that take you away from customer contact time. You will be asked to attend meetings, to keep your CRM up-to-date, prepare reports, answer company emails, and set sales targets. Take care of these responsibilities but minimize them. Can you handle them in one hour at the end of each day, after all your customer calls have been made and you’re winding down? Or are you better at knocking them off as soon as you get into the office in the morning? Choose your time—you know how you work best—but don’t let these activities take more than 10-20% of your time. Your sales success will be defined by the time you spend with current clients and with building future clients.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How to Save Time with Smart Sales Territory Management


Wouldn’t you like to have more time to spend with your best customers? Sales territory management experts know that time is a precious commodity. Make sure you don’t waste it by unwise sales territory management.

Unfortunately, too many salespeople are great at wasting selling time…often because they don’t have a plan for prioritizing and maximizing the time they spend with their best target clients. When you can manage a schedule that keeps you in front of your best customers without wasting time on non-customer facing travel or poor prospects, you have a recipe for success.

Here, from our proven sales territory management training program, is a process that takes advantage of what we have learned about saving sales time:

  1. Define your sweet spot client.
    Top performing sales teams know the attributes of clients who most need your solutions and are most likely to buy. For example, at LSA Global, we work best with savvy leaders at U.S. based, high-growth companies in the High Tech, Professional Services and Life Sciences with a commitment to their people and a readiness to commit to moving an important business metric. The more 
    specific you can be in your definition of your ideal target customer, the better you can target your sales and marketing efforts.  

  2. Identify prospects who fit your sweet spot definition, make a list and prioritize them.
    Use one of the available software programs to compile a list of potential target clients and then prioritize them in 3 tiers by whatever success metrics and criteria apply in your situation. Consider geography (so you can efficiently go after those customers close at hand), known business needs that your solution can address, referral possibilities from your current network, etc.

  3. Organize your schedule so you allow for direct customer contact about 70% of your time.
    Plan your days, weeks and months so you cover the list with highest priority prospects first. Then stick to it. 
If you want to build and grow a sales territory, take advantage of sales territory management training best practices to maximize your selling time with the target customers who are most likely to appreciate and buy what you have to offer. With a methodical approach based on your ideal target client, you will join the one-out-of-four salespeople who use their time most wisely by capitalizing on the sales opportunities most likely to bear fruit.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Drawing Sales Territories That Work

A cartoon boss is drawing a box around his employee

The process of delineating and assigning sales territories is never easy…but it must be done. 

Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball that will be 100% reliable in predicting how the market will change, how much customers will buy, and how effective individual sales reps will be. But there are some useful tips from sales territory management training that can bring you as close as possible to a wise and accurate forecasting of how to draw those boxes and keep your sales reps productive and happy.

  1. Gather and analyze your sales data.You should be regularly tracking your sales. It doesn’t matter which program or method you use, but the output should be what begins the process of mapping sales territories effectively. You need to know where and when to focus the efforts of your sales reps for maximum return. The numbers will inform you of how to put the right sales reps in the right sales territories at the right times. For instance, if your sales vary with the seasons, then adjust your sales calendar accordingly. It makes no sense to collect data if you don’t use them in your decision making.

  2. Know your clients and prioritize them.You should establish a system for predicting what you can expect from your clients in revenue from year to year. Your top tier clients are the reliable ones…the clients you know will come through and the ones that don’t need a lot of tending. Your mid-tier clients are those for whom you have high hopes. They will take a lot of effort but you think the potential revenue is worth it. The bottom tier clients deserve only peripheral effort; the likelihood that they can be converted to mid- or top tier clients is small and you know they will suck up a lot of your reps’ time. Now that you know which clients deserve your time and attention, you can prioritize your sales reps’ time and raise efficiency.

  3. Conduct an annual (at least!) review.Sales territories are meant to be adjusted as situations change. You don’t want to drive yourself crazy by reacting to every shift, but a thorough review at least once a year is only smart. A few words of wisdom: do expect that you will need to make some changes; don’t make changes that are a result of poor sales performance on the part of your reps; and do try to take into account how a sales territory might grow in potential in the future. 

Your thoughtful, data-driven approach to designing sales territories will pay off in increased revenue and happily productive sales reps.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/sales-territory-planning-and-management-training/

Friday, May 27, 2016

Feeling Helpless in a New Sales Territory

A cartoon of a bruised man flapping his arms in flight while a duck, also in the air, says, "Tomorrow I'll teach you how to land."

Does being assigned a new sales territory make you feel helpless? There you are up in the air with no clear way to land safely. You are working as hard as you can but, apparently, without a viable sales territory management plan for success.

When sales leaders and sales reps finally get into the classroom for effective sales territory management training, they often have the same sad story to tell. They were both excited and overwhelmed to be given the new sales territory. Eager to prove themselves worthy, they hit the deck running…from one prospect to another. They were consumed by the need to find new customers fast. Then when they had made some appointments and those connections were turning into sales, they were consumed by following up on the opportunities. 

They ran from one extreme to another in a cycle that just kept repeating itself. Because when the sales opportunities ran out, they began prospecting full-time again. This is a short-sighted and not very productive way to work a new sales territory. Instead you need a sales territory management strategy, plan and some discipline. 

Here is how we guide our clients when they have been handed the challenge of developing a new sales territory:

  1. Segment your sales territory…by geography, by industry, by potential, by buyer-type…any way that makes the most sense for you, your sales strategy and your business. It can be easiest to divide it by fourths so that you spend one day a week on each quarter and then the fifth on unexpected opportunities, sales team meetings or office work. Discipline yourself to stick with your sales plan so you don’t waste time and energy going from one segment to the next.  Either you’ll be darting from one end of the sales territory to the next or you’ll lose your focus on what matters most to the customers in that quadrant.
  2. Define a time every day to prospect. You must be religious about making those sales calls every day so you keep your sales pipeline filled and so you maintain a steady line-up of potential new target customers.
  3. Maintain your contact database. Make sure you keep your contact list up to date with each and every client interaction. This is your most valuable resource as you build out your client network and follow up on likely sales prospects.

When you plan ahead and have a systematic approach to mine your new sales territory, you will not be left up in the air without a safety net.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/sales-territory-planning-and-management-training/

Saturday, April 30, 2016

How to Best Start a New Sales Territory

a man stands in an open field staring at a road map

So you have been assigned a new sales territory. Does it feel as if you have been abandoned in unexplored terrain with no one to guide you? Do you feel utterly lost and alone? 

Here are some tips from our twenty years of experience in sales territory management training as we help our sales clients get over that feeling of being on their own with no help in sight. 

1. Take a deep breath and think of the wide open possibilities
Hopefully you will have a few contacts to get you started, either from the person who ran the territory before you or from your own network. If not, you’ll need to do some research to ferret out the most likelyprospects that fit your ideal target client profile

Use whatever source has served you well in the past and dig in. Know what your sweet spot client is and begin your search for those who fit in terms of industry, number of employees, annual revenue, position, business strategy, organizational culture and industry challenges. Then dig deeper for the names of target buyers within those companies at the positional level you work with and serve best. Start as high as you can and be prepared to offer compelling proof that you can help.

Because you are new, you have a good excuse to contact these companies. If you can mine your previous network to gain an introduction or warm referral, all the better. We know that referrals are the best way to gain access to potential customers. If you have served others well, they should be glad to give you a boost. After all, it is not just to do you a favor but also to help their friend find a solution that they can be sure will work.

2. Stay organized and maintain discipline
Understand from the get-go that, even with a few referrals and a thought-out target client list, you will need to make many cold calls and, therefore, will face many rejections. This “comes with the territory” as they say. 

Eventually, some of those sales calls will pay off in appointments on your calendar. Don’t waste them. Follow a proven sales process by first doing thorough research on your potential client. Know what important problems they face. Arm yourself with questions that are relevant and come from an understanding of their situation. Be ready to listen and, only then, begin to offer insightful ways that you could help.

Then keep the activity level high. It is very tempting to focus just on the appointments you have been able to set. But you need to keep your pipeline filled. Nurturing referrals and making sales calls must be done religiously in order for it to pay dividends. 

Don’t be overwhelmed by the challenge of a new sales territory. Tap into any sales leads or referrals, cold call target clients, do your research and follow a proven sales prospecting and qualification process. That new sales territory will be familiar soon and populated with your new, promising target clients.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/sales-territory-planning-and-management-training/

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Not to Waste Your Time with Bad Sales Territories

Graphic of a man tossing a clock into the trash

We are all being asked to do more with less…especially in sales. 

Sales quotas are up, but the performance of too many sales teams is not where it needs to be. This makes it even more important that sales teams use their time wisely and productively. It is a question of returning to what we learned in sales territory management training…establishing a consistent sales process that targets the right customers rather than wasting time in front of customers who are less likely to buy. 

Here is how we recommend you go about organizing your time for maximum return…

1. Figure out each customer’s potential both in terms of yield and predisposition to buy. Simply review a list of all your current customers and assign them to one of three tiers. Number One is reserved for the high potential customers…the ones who have the need, the means and the readiness to buy your solution. Apply your Target Client Profile. This tier should contain only those clients that fit that profile.

Tier Number Two is for those customers where you may have an advantage but that miss the target profile on just one level. Let’s say you have a customer organization that is smaller than your ideal but you have a great relationship with the target buyer. There is potential here but maybe not as great in terms of sustainable revenue or profit as a Tier One client.

Tier Number Three is reserved for those customers who for several reasons do not fit your ideal profile. They present very limited upside compared to the top two tiers. They may be the wrong size or you may not be working at the right level in the organization or a competitor may be securely embedded or they may not be near the point of recognizing that they have a need. The list goes on…

2. Plan your time. This is where your sales discipline comes in. Spend your time where there is the greatest likelihood of success…with your Tier One clients. Do not be tempted to spend your day chasing Tier Three clients. Ration them to less than 5% of your selling time just to keep in front of them in case circumstances change. Spend about 15% with your Tier Two clients always with the objective of raising them a level. That leaves 80% of your sales time to focus on your Tier One Target Clients where you should have the greatest client impact. This is where you will see your greatest return. 

Be smart about the way you manage your time in your sales territory. Your planning and discipline will pay off.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/sales-territory-planning-and-management-training/