While long-standing and often overused, the adage, “time is money” still rings true in the business world. Growing enterprises must continually balance the value of their solutions with how efficiently they can put them in customers’ hands — and bring revenue back to their bottom line.
A sales team’s most valuable asset is their time, and where they spend it can mean the difference between accelerated growth and a stagnant pipeline. Sales efficiency is especially vital in times of economic uncertainty or market volatility when sales leaders need to inform strategies that accelerate revenue without wasting essential resources.
Sales territory design can help sales leaders strategically deploy sales reps across geographies to maximize pipeline growth and ensure they’re pursuing the most profitable opportunities on the market. However, manual territory design is complex and time-consuming, so many organizations don’t do it frequently — or at all.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at the sales territory design process, traditional approaches to territory design, and how to streamline sales planning with tech-enabled solutions.
What is Sales Territory Design?
Sales territory design is the process of assigning sales reps to specific territories by identifying and mapping out sales opportunities by region.
To create a sales territory design, your organization must first define the territories — or geographic boundaries — in which your sales team operates. Territories often include both existing and potential customers, but defining sales territories by physical location has distinct advantages, including consistent legal regulations, sales reps’ local knowledge, and similar factors.
A sales territory design will help your organization match its selling efforts to the opportunities in each region. Sales managers use territory designs to inform account planning and give reps actionable, attainable goals for new and existing business growth.
Territory mapping should inform where you deploy reps and how those decisions relate to your growth goals. Mapping sales territories effectively can help your sales department:
- Reduce time spent on administrative tasks and commuting
- Evenly distribute workload and sales potential across reps
- Boost sales by improving customer coverage across territories
- Identify the most profitable prospects by region, product, and deal size
- Increase revenue potential and accelerate growth
Well-planned designs should be informed by meaningful, up-to-date market insights and input from your frontline sales team. Without these elements, you’ll end up with an inaccurate design that leaves high-value opportunities untapped while reps compete for a finite number of deals in another, oversaturated territory.
How Do Enterprises Approach Territory Design?
Sales territory design is often complex, and it can feel like a guessing game without the right insights and planning exercises in place.
Before you start mapping out territories and assigning reps to specific accounts, you need to determine how your territory design ties back to your sales strategies. Here are some examples:
If your growth strategy centers around expanding into new geographic regions, you’ll need to map out brand new territories and assign them to reps who specialize in new business sales.
If you want to break into a new vertical, you might consider working with channel partners and integrating their salesforce into your territory design process.
If you’re primarily focused on sales team productivity, your territory maps may hinge on minimizing travel time for reps and carefully balancing sales workload across the team.
Creating Your Initial Territory Map
Once you have a clear understanding of your organization’s growth goals and the major sales plays associated with them. It’s time to develop your sales territory map.
- Gather and analyze data. Your territory maps should be informed by a mix of historical sales performance and current market conditions. Start by collecting performance data by rep, territory, and account. Then, collect market data about current and prospective customers — including wallet share, cross-sell, and up-sell potential. You can combine these datasets to assess the total addressable market by each territory where your sales team operates.
- Assign reps to accounts and territories. Once you’ve identified your potential opportunities, it’s time to start building your territory map. Assign each customer and prospect to a specific territory, balancing potential across all territories as much as possible. Then, evaluate your assignments against sales team capacity and potential disruptions to customer relationships if reps are moving to new territories and/or taking on several brand new accounts.
- Get feedback from field sales leaders. Quantitative insights are critical in territory design, but they aren’t the only inputs you need to ensure a successful design. Before deploying reps to new territories, allow field sales leaders to review and modify your assignments based on their real-world experience and knowledge about their reps. Set clear expectations and timelines for review and feedback to ensure this step doesn’t become a bottleneck.
- Deploy your design and monitor its performance. Now it’s time to deploy your frontline teams in line with your new territory design. Like most sales tactics, your territory design and accompanying strategy will require buy-in from reps and a comprehensive change management plan to minimize uncertainty. If assignments are changing, be sure to develop transition plans to support your sales team and customers through upcoming changes.
How to Optimize Your Territory Design
The traditional sales territory design process can be complicated, especially if your organization is in a stage of rapid growth or evolving its revenue generation strategy. However, there are several actions you can take outside of the major steps listed above to ensure your territory design is both profitable and efficient.
Use Segmentation to Capture the Entire Addressable Market
Each customer and prospect is unique, which means your organization shouldn’t take a blanket approach to sales across regions or customer segments.
As you begin territory planning, segment your potential and existing customers and prioritize them by opportunity size and likelihood to buy. Depending on your customer base and current selling strategies, you can segment by region, company size, industry, or sales channel.
No matter your preferred segmentation method, be sure you account for the entire addressable market and don’t overlook high-value prospects.
Take an Iterative Approach to Design and Strategic Improvement
Like most business strategies, sales territory design isn’t a one-and-done initiative. To maximize the impact of your mapping and assignment efforts, you’ll want to routinely update your designs based on frontline insights and sales performance.
Take a gradual approach to territory design and sales capacity planning across customer segments. Closely monitor and measure the success of your initial deployment, then use your findings to inform adjustments to your design or your overarching growth strategy.
Along with performance data, you should prioritize feedback from the front line, whether from reps or sales leaders, on which elements of your territory design are most valuable and which assignments aren’t yielding profitable results.
Streamline the Process With Data-Driven Technology
In the past, sales managers had to manage multiple spreadsheets to assign reps to various territories and accounts. Now, digital transformation is prompting businesses to replace manual processes like spreadsheet-based territory design with tech-enabled solutions.
Digital solutions that combine data-driven insights, automation, and collaboration tools can help your business create balanced and effective territory designs that ignite revenue growth.
Sales leaders can use analytics tools to collect and analyze account-based CRM data, geolocation data, and external market research, then use their findings to inform territory design and account assignments. These technologies give sales teams research-based insights to inform sales strategies while also significantly shortening territory planning time.
Integrate Data Into Sales Territory Design With Coro’s MoneyMap
In today’s business landscape, data is a crucial component of sales territory planning. Without it, your sales team can’t accurately identify and pursue the largest share of wallet and untapped market potential across territories.
Our MoneyMap tool equips commercial teams with the foundational data they need to inform territory design and other revenue-focused sales decisions. It provides your business with proprietary data to inform territory planning, backed by Bain & Company’s tried-and-tested research methodology.
We’ll help you develop a custom MoneyMap that outlines your opportunities and sales capacity by region. Then, our expert customer success team will partner with you to refresh your insights and territory design as your needs evolve or the market shifts.
MoneyMap gives your entire commercial team a single source of truth when it comes to territory design, capacity planning, and other critical sales activities, empowering frontline reps and bringing your organization closer to its growth goals.
Along with territory design, MoneyMap enables sales teams to:
- Identify cross-sell, upsell, and next-sell opportunities
- Inform capacity planning
- Expand into new verticals or market segments
- Segment accounts by propensity to buy
- Prioritize opportunities with the largest upside
Enterprises across the globe use MoneyMap to expand into new markets and realize their revenue goals in the most efficient manner possible.
See how one technology company powered its commercial growth strategy with MoneyMap and used the insights within it to realize ~$600M in total potential upside.