It is surprisingly common for company Sales Representatives to neglect large segments of their assigned territories. Like many Anglers, they’re overwhelmed by the size of the lake. So, they tend to work a few favorite fishing holes. Here are some simple guidelines to help the Field Sales Professional design a winning territory coverage plan. In my series, “The 1st 100 Days…”, I have laid-out some Best-Practices and a few unique ideas for the Sales Professional who wants to “Hit the Ground Running” in their new sales territory.
Whether your sales territory is geographically huge or, is small with thousands of call points, you will benefit from a smart coverage plan. Regardless of the type of field sales you do, there are some basic and simple ways to maximize your success. A smart sales territory coverage plan should be designed to provide you the following benefits:
– More opportunities in your Sales Funnel
– More Sales
– Increased commission Income
– Reduced travel expenses
– More and better customer relationships
– More quality-time with your family
– Greater job security
– Top rankings in your company’s sales organization
The best territory coverage plans begin with a well thought-out categorization of those you call on. You will want to define what type of businesses or accounts represent your best opportunities. Start by making a list of the general characteristics of the “Ideal Prospect” to call on. These general characteristics should not require an intimate or Insider’s knowledge of the prospective account. This task should end with 2 simple and clean definitions: 1) for an “Ideal Sales Prospect” and, 2) for a “General Sales Prospect”.
Define your “A”, “B” and “C” sales call targets in your territory. Your “A” List sales call targets will include the following:
– All your “Ideal Sales Prospects”
– All current “Sales Leads”
– All accounts currently in your “Sales Funnel”
– All accounts that you consider significant “Current Customers”
– A strategic selection of your competitors’ biggest and best customers
Your “B” sales call targets will include those accounts that make up your “General Sales Prospects”, along with all those who fell-a-little-short of making the “A” list.
Your “C” targets will be the remaining universe of sales call opportunities in your territory.
Create the “Sales Zones” of your territory. Divide your territory into 4 to 10 Zones. The number of Zones you have in your territory will be dependent on the size of your territory (both geographic and number of call points) and the type of selling you do. Devise a couple of your own rules-of-thumb for the mapping of your territory subdivisions, similar to the following. This will serve as a guide to help you establish the number, size, and location of your territory’s Zones:
I) A guideline related to travel or overnight stays in a given week:
“When I visit a Zone in my territory I will stay or Work-the-Zone for 2 to 4 consecutive business days.”
II) A guideline related to coverage of “A” list accounts and targets:
“I should be able to see all my “A” list accounts every 1 to 2 visits to that Zone.”
III) A guideline related to canvassing your “B” and “C” list accounts and targets:
“I should be able to see all my “B” list targets every 3 month time-frame and, all my “C” list targets every 6 month time-frame.
You will need to adapt these Zone creation rules-of-thumb to your selling environment.
I typically warn Sales Professionals about scheduling patterned visits or “Cycles” to their Zones. The practice of pre-assigning Zone visits to specific weeks of a month or a quarter often fails. A Sales Professional will be “Pulled” into a Zone more often than “Cycling” into a Zone on a scheduled visiting pattern. Customer issues, sales leads, and sales funnel activity will often be the reasons for scheduling a visit to a Zone. Whenever you are “Pulled” into a Zone, be sure to pre-plan your time there and extend your stay.
Do you remember the old riddle about attacking large tasks?
“How do you eat an elephant?”
“Answer: One bite at a time.”
A smart Sales-Zone plan is the way to maximize your time and give yourself the absolute best opportunity to achieve success in “…Your New Sales Territory.”