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.