Without a well-considered strategy for territory management, sales will be difficult to close in any circumstance. Here are five tips for maximizing sales territory profitability.
1. Ranking Territory Profitability
Knowing your clients and what you can expect from them in terms of generated revenue, is essential to maintaining effective sales territories. In order to keep your territories aligned, optimized, and balanced, you must be able to anticipate and accurately project what type of production you can expect from your clients.
One of the best ways to do this is to rank clients as A, B, or C.
• A’s are reliable. You know that you’ll make a decent profit from them, yet the effort expended on them isn’t too substantial.
• B’s are a little trickier. You have confidence they will come through, but often they take more effort to do so. They are more unpredictable in generated revenue than A’s, but it’s often worth your while.
• C’s take a large amount of effort from your sales force. In many instances, the amount of revenue generated is not equivalent to the effort expended.
The ultimate goal of this process is to distinguish one account from another so you know where to spend your time most effectively. This builds sales force and territory efficiency.
2. Varieties of Contact
Look at your current customers and targets, and decide if they need in-person visits, phone calls, emails, or marketing promotions, and how often. An active, high-volume account may need a monthly in-person visit, plus regular phone calls.
Once you've assigned frequency, start confirming and slotting in meetings for your top priorities. After you've scheduled your top priority accounts, fill in gaps with lower-priority accounts and prospects. Each day, fill in gaps with phone calls, emails, and spur-of-the-moment meetings.
3. Look at the Big Picture
With each phone call and each lead forwarded to you, it's common to lose track of your overall plan. But losing track of your sales strategy will result in losing control of your territory. One way to avoid this is having a series of questions so you can determine how critical it is that you drop everything to focus on specific clients.
1. Do they want what you sell?
2. Do they have the ability to effectively use your product or service?
3. Is there a compelling event with a time deadline?
If all three criteria are met, you can consider rearranging your schedule to accommodate theirs. If not, then you can judge the immediacy of the request.
4. Build Existing Relationships
When you're covering a large territory, you may see a customer or prospect just a few times a year, and every meeting needs to be memorable. Use every resource to take integral relationships to the next level. 53% of CPSA members believe that face time is so critical; they would lose over half of new business without it (2014 Member Survey Results). Clients need to know you care about meeting them face-to-face. There is no better way of gaining respect and trust, than showing interest, empathy and integrity in person. Face-to-face meetings are rare and are typically make or break scenarios, so treat them as such. 92% of CPSA members agree that face-to-face meetings build stronger relationships and 92% agree that clients are more eager to spend more money after a face-to-face meeting (2013 Member Survey Results).
5. Territory Review
Conducting the correct type of review for your territories is critical to long term success. Reviews should be conducted at least two times a year, if not at the end of every quarter.
1. With long running territories that have long past their validity stage, it’s time to review your strategy based on their current status. It is not necessary to completely rewrite your strategy every year, but you should be aware of the tweaks necessary as their business landscape develops.
2. Despite your findings, don’t make changes in your territories to compensate for weaknesses or accountabilities in your sales force. It will only complicate your territories down the line.
3. Anticipate your growth so that new sales force members can mesh easily with your system, and you won’t need to perform a full-out territory redesign each time you grow. It’s more financially wise to design your territories a year into the future and leave some open until you can fill them.
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