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.

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