You’ve just been awarded a sales territory by your sales leadership team. Now it’s up to you to properly nurture and grow that area to drive sales. In tandem with our most recent white paper on Developing an Effective Sales Territory Model, we want to share some best practices that help you maximize the revenue from your turf.
- Plot your time to reach a minimum 65% Customer Contact benchmark.
Sales Benchmark Index found 77% of sales reps waste time and fail to hit the 65% Customer Contact ratio. Indeed, it often falls far below it – sometimes as little as 25%. These failures often come about as a result of poor time management. Reworking your schedule will allow you to make major improvements in this area and touch base with more clients more frequently. As part of that schedule rework…
- Heat map your sales territory.
One of the biggest causes of sales rep time inefficiency is the fact that they haven’t heat-mapped their territory into current customers, prospects, and leads. Doing this will allow you to see where your clusters of activity (or potential activity) reside and enable you to create a regular day/week/month calendar rotation to more effectively service customers and prospects.
Heat maps can be automated electronically with the assistance of CRM software or done old-school via a hard copy map and push-pins. Crafting it via computer allows for faster and easier implementation of changes over time, but the traditional method may allow for quicker pattern and grouping recognition due to the literally bigger picture perspective.
- Organize and complete the paperwork in a timely manner
Yes, it’s a hassle filling out expense reports, order forms, entering in CRM details, looking at notes right after meetings and planning follow-up action items, etc. but doing it punctually and in an organized manner will free up time in the long run, so you’re not faced with a mountain of minutiae at the end of the month.
- Use your existing relationships to expand your pipeline within your territory.
Word of mouth/personal referral is more prevalent in some verticals than others, but in all cases, it’s one of the strongest ways to add leads and prospects to your pipeline, as there’s a degree of pre-established trust. In earlier centuries, this involved things such as literal letters of introduction. These days, it could involve another lead elsewhere in the territory or even someone affiliated with a current customer – for example, if you sell office supplies and have a contract with Joe Schmoe in the IT department at Generic Corp, he could provide you a lead with Betsy Beans in Generic Corp’s Accounting department.
- Construct an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re optimizing customer and prospect contact within your sales territory is to create an Ideal Customer Profile (i.e. what does your perfect client look like?) and Buyer Personas (what are the actual types of personalities are you working with in your territory, and what needs do they have?). Building and using these classifications crafted on key, relevant metrics will make you more efficient at converting leads to prospects, prospects to customers, and weeding out unqualified leads. Knowing the personas in particular provides a baseline for anticipating needs and potential objections and how to handle them.
- Stay persistent.
Depending on factors such as industry, job title, and buyer persona, it can take an average of anywhere from 6-15 attempts before finally making contact with a lead or prospect. Obviously you don’t want to make a nuisance of yourself, but at the same time, keep trying to get through. Plan your efforts so they coincide with your previously plotted cycles calendar.
Optimizing your sales territory can be a difficult task – especially if it covers a vast swath of real estate. But using the tips outlined above will make your job much easier, improving both your conversion rates and your total revenue.
To learn about sales territory planning from a sales leadership perspective, download our white paper here.