Building a Territory Action Plan

“58.1% of all companies surveyed stated that the most important goal for 2015 is capturing new accounts” CSO Insights 2015

By developing and executing a territory business your company will experience stronger customer relationships, higher opportunity winning percentages, more balanced sales pipelines, more accurate sales forecasts and higher margins due to less discounting. But it takes time in the territory to realize these benefits – and this speaks to the importance of sales management filling sales territories with the right territory managers, investing in their development and then coaching them to higher levels of productivity. No one can do it alone – but an effective Territory Plan orchestrates all of the resources in the company and directs them to win more business.

“57% of the sale is completed prior to the prospect calling you” CEB 2015

This number varies depending on the survey – but the fact is – if you wait for the prospect to call you – they have made a decision to buy. Now they are either shopping price and / or validating their decision. You are coming in when most of the selling has already been accomplished; someone else has set the bar.

Your sales team needs to be proactive in identifying your “perfect prospect profile” and then put into place a well-orchestrated Territory Action Plan to enable them to proactively reach out and set the criteria to win more business.

Best Practice: Territory Business Management

High performing sales teams manage territories like businesses to build strong sales pipelines, advance their sales opportunities and grow relationships with selected accounts. They have realized through experience that the sales territory is the superset of our sales assets, and that without the proper care and attention, we can put these assets at risk. What is a sales territory? In our work with clients we have seen practically every possible flavor and derivative of “the territory,” including geography-based territories, industry-focused territories, product-focused territories, named-account territories and even territories that consist of one and only one account.

Most effective territory business plans include seven core components, whether the territory is based on geography, industry or named accounts. In situations where strategic account management programs have been deployed named accounts are typically grown through the development and deployment of strategic account plans, a type of business plan for extending and expanding the relationship with an individual account (to be discussed in a future article series). But in the case of the more typical sales territory, the core elements of the territory business plan should include:

  • How much do I have to sell (quota)
  • Where do I sell (territory)
  • What do I sell (solutions)
  • Who do I sell it to (the best profile for a viable prospect)
  • What should my message be (UNIQUE, compelling business impact messaging)
  • What is the best way to create awareness (routes to market)


The Outcomes of a Territory Action Plan

When the sales territory is managed and developed properly, Your Company can expect to see several predictable outcomes. Effective territory management and planning will typically result in a “target rich” business environment in which the territory manager is selecting and growing existing customers and accounts, as well as advancing and winning targeted sales opportunities.

In an effectively managed territory, we expect to find a portfolio of existing customers that are providing (or will potentially provide) new business opportunities, as well as references and proof statements of the business value that has been created for them through their previous experience with their territory manager and his/her company.

There are several key areas of inspection that can provide significant insight into the overall health and performance of the territory and an effective territory plan, and these include:

  • Growth of Strategic/Key Customer Relationships
  • Identification and Advancement of Opportunities in the Sales Pipeline
  • Development and Closure of Targeted Sales Opportunities
  • Accuracy of Sales Forecast
  • Increase Margins

Prior to launching Mprove Sales 12 years ago, our team of sales executives held the lead sales positions with several companies, ranging from startups to Fortune 1000 organizations. Mprove’s team of sales executives has led sales teams through the good times and bad, from Y2K through seven recessions – and we have been fortunate enough to make our numbers by the implementation and utilization of practical sales skills. In the last 12 years as a sales recruiter, consultant and trainer we have had the pleasure of working with thousands of sales people focused on technology solutions in six of the seven continents.

There are three key areas where we see significant issues with today’s sales people: Territory / Account Planning and Management to proactively build a solid business pipeline and business, Compelling Business Conversations to clearly quantify and articulate the business impact of the solutions and Effective Negotiations enabling stronger margins through negotiating with regards to business value, not price. In the coming articles we will address Compelling Business Conversations and Effective Negotiations.

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