Businesses that want to grow into a successful, nationwide organization often need to send sales representatives out into the field to meet prospective clients. After all, there’s nothing like face-to-face interactions to build a relationship and seal the deal, especially in today’s impersonal digital age.
Sales territories have historically been divided up geographically, but this method isn’t necessarily ideal for every company. We asked a panel of Forbes Business Development Council members about the best ways they’ve found to organize and optimize sales territories. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Organize Geographically By Default, But Allow For Exceptions
As a default, I’ve found the best way to organize is by geography. Each sales rep covers a territory and dedicates all time and effort to saturating the area to get the most optimal results from it. However, my policy is the customer dictates what sales rep they’d like to see. If that causes some crossing over territories from time to time for the better of the company, it’s always allowed. – Craig McGraw, Trans American Trucking & Warehouse
2. Organize In Multiple Ways That Are Best For Your Team
We’ve built our own round-robin system to better organize our team’s effectiveness in their territories. Being a small team, we have an additional layer of optimization with our assignments based on the franchisee’s needs (think resale, new build, non-trad, etc.). This allows us to offer a more consistent onboarding experience based on the franchise’s goals when investing in the brand. – Bill Chemero, Wayback Burgers
3. Pair Opportunity With Talent
Doing a headroom analysis and pairing your best talent with the territories with the greatest opportunity is a roadmap for success. It’s mutually beneficial to the salesperson and the company as both parties maximize earning/growth potential. While some may argue that geography is a starting place, I believe a highly talented, highly motivated salesperson doesn’t view geography as an obstacle. – Jen Tadin, Gallagher
4. Maximize Cross-Border Opportunities With Great Communication
Yes, geographical location matters, but the real opportunity lies in facilitating and incentivizing your teams to communicate with each other across borders. While one team is trying to close a local contract in one city, the client headquarters may be located in another’s territory. If your teams share information freely, there may be an opportunity to approach that client and close a bigger opportunity. – Mary Frankham, The Community Company
5. Prioritize Meeting Customers Face-To-Face
There is no substitute for meeting customers face-to-face. Having feet on the ground is a competitive advantage. At Mondo, we strategically pick our locations so they are central to all of the industry hubs. We cover everything we can drive, take the train or walk to. – Tim Johnson, Mondo