Traditionally, a sales territory is created with distinct boundaries and encompasses a geographical area. However, COVID-19 has changed that. As in-person meetings became impossible, it made less sense to define sales territories by physical borders only. In today’s alcohol industry, sales territory management is taking on a whole new look with software playing a more significant role in changing the way we think about sales territories.
New Ways to Think about Sales Territories
Instead of focusing on field activity operations in specific geographic territories, alcohol brands are using different factors to coordinate their efforts. For example, accounts may be based on industry type, buyer personas, the type of product being sold or where the customer is in the sales funnel. Now that territories aren’t being defined by geographic borders, the process of assigning sales reps is being referred to as sales territory alignment.
Defining Territorial Management
Territorial management involves several key factors, but it all comes down to making sure that each sales rep’s skills are well-matched with their assigned territory so that they can successfully close deals. Sales territory managers want to be able to set reasonable sales quotas for strategically-defined territories, reduce costs, and provide their team with the effective tools and processes that will improve efficiency. This oversight is meant to ensure that all resources, including sales reps, are being utilized as effectively as possible.
A solid territorial management approach can have a wide range of benefits. Sales reps will have higher morale and feel like they are a part of a cohesive team with a well-equipped leader and a common vision. Appropriately assigning workloads can also increase efficiency and help improve customer relationships. A truly effective manager brings out the best in their sales team and helps every person feel productive and accomplished. It isn’t necessarily an easy task, but with the right strategies and software, territorial management can yield optimal results.
Building and Managing a Sales Territory
Building a sales territory management strategy from scratch begins with understanding your sales reps and your customers. Here are some tips to get started:
1. Define your goals
Do you want to improve sales? Are you looking for more effective product distribution strategies? Think about what changes are on the immediate horizon, such as a new product launch or new regulations that are about to go into effect. Is your plan scalable enough to address these challenges and meet your long-term goals?
2. Get to know your market
Which markets should you target in order to meet your goals? Think beyond location and consider other factors like customer demographics in order to create a customized spirits marketing strategy.
3. Evaluate accounts in each territory
In order to make sure that you are matching the right sales rep with the right account, you need to understand the value of customer accounts in each area. Conduct both a qualitative and quantitative evaluation and be sure to gather details from sales reps with experience in these areas. Look at figures from depletion reports, sales and inventory numbers while also understanding the preferences of each account holder.
4. Get to know your sales team
You can’t match your alcohol sales reps with the right accounts if you don’t understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. There are two basic performance indicators you will want to consider:
Quantitative performance. How well are reps able to meet goals and other measurable key performance indicators (KPIs)? Tracking these metrics will require investing in an alcohol database so that you can measure performance against goals. Reps who are able to exceed goals may be a good fit for pursuing new clients and taking care of valuable existing accounts. Those who are falling short with certain KPIs may need additional training or to be assigned to a different territory. Some common quantitative KPIs include:
- Sales by client: How much product is the rep selling to each client?
- Event rates: Are sales reps staying busy with appointments and calls, and taking initiative?
- Average deal size: Are reps focusing on the right accounts and able to close valuable deals?
- Opportunity to close ratio: How often are reps able to turn a lead into a sale?
Qualitative performance. This form of assessment can be a little more subjective. You are really trying to see what personal traits they bring to the table that help them do their job more effectively. Sales coach Les Lent has developed the PACE framework to help with this type of performance evaluation.
- Passion: Is the sales rep passionate about what they do and the company or product they are representing? And, does this come through in everything they do?
- Awareness: Which reps are taking the time to conduct research before they approach new leads and listening to the needs of their clients? It is important for them to be able to read subtle social cues and react appropriately.
- Curiosity: Is the rep engaged during meetings and always asking questions? Are they looking for new ways to improve processes and develop new best practices?
- Energy: Is the sales rep willing to stay on-the-go and pursue leads? This also means being able to identify which leads are worthwhile and which can be dropped.
Once you take the time to evaluate your sales reps, you may find that simply reassigning a rep to a different territory yields dramatically different results. Meeting goals may just be a matter of making sure the strengths of each rep are well-aligned with the needs of their assigned territory. Part of the overall success of the sales team relies on the sales territory manager being able to conduct evaluations and make good decisions about territory assignments.
Sales Territory Management Mapping Tools
When it comes to mapping more complex territories that go beyond basic geographical regions, software like the Overproof Platform can be an invaluable tool. With the Overproof Platform, you can create territories based on premise type, account types such as chain or independent, geographic region, and more. Plus, you can set KPIs and goals for each of these defined territories. Overproof allows full control and visibility over in-market execution. You can include your sales and field teams in the translation of brand strategies into market-specific activation plans, and tie these plans directly to goals and KPIs for them to execute.
Best Way to Grow Sales Territory
Again, software plays a critical role here. Gaining insight into how each sales territory is performing and how your sales reps are handling each territory is crucial to making smarter decisions for your brand’s long-term growth strategy. As you capture more data from your field team in the Overproof app, you will be able to gain a deeper insight over time into what type of territory performs best and which areas need improvement. You can also visualize the geographic distribution of sold accounts on a map to see where there are opportunities for further expansion. The Overproof software integrates business intelligence and analytics in real-time, so you can continuously optimize your approach.
While there is certainly a major human component to sales, the right software can lend a hand when it comes to gaining further insights and getting the most out of your sales team. Sales territory management is becoming more complex and technology is the key to facing new challenges head-on while also offering sales reps the support they need to perform their best and grow your brand.
What is a sales territory?
Traditionally, sales territories have been considered geographical regions. However, today’s teams define territories by buyer personas, types of products being sold, or where the buyer is in the sales funnel.
What is territorial management?
Sales territory management works to meet quotas, lowers costs, and provides salespeople with the tools they need.
Why is territorial management important?
Aligning the right sales rep with the right territory and account holders can help companies meet important KPIs.
How would you build and manage a sales territory?
Identify your goals, evaluate your territories, and evaluate your sales team.
How do you map sales territories?
Mapping software like the Overproof Platform can help you better define and understand sales territories.
How do you grow territory sales?
By gaining valuable insights into your business and territories, you can make better decisions when it comes to marketing and sales. Technology can help you find and cultivate areas for growth.