One of the most difficult tasks of sales managers is dividing up and assigning territories. Just ask them! Their challenge is to be as equitable as possible. Yet, rarely does the sales force feel that the territories have equal potential.
That said, territories need to be defined. It is the only way for sales team members to do business without tripping over each other in the eyes of your customers.
Sales territory management training experts have spent a lot of time worrying over the best way to approach this task. Here is a distillation of their advice:
- Gather data and use it.. Your goal is to maximize the productivity of your sales force. The better informed you are, the better you will know when and where to send your salespeople. Track, record and analyze the data.
- Know your customers.. Put your customers into three categories: predictable buyers, less reliable buyers, and unlikely buyers. This will help you know where your salespeople should spend their time more efficiently.
- Review at least once a year.. Inevitably there will be changes you need to make. Stay on top of shifts in the marketplace and changes in the customer base for appropriate adjustment on an annual basis.