Opening up a new sales territory is challenging, but a clear plan makes it more manageable.
By Rachel Serpa
Last updated March 24, 2022
Being assigned a new sales territory is a lot like exploring new land. Think Captain Cook or Marco Polo. Sure, all this vast, uncharted territory is full of opportunities and excitement, but the thought of jumping headfirst into the unknown is also pretty scary, if we’re being totally honest.
Well, the good news is that you’re actually not alone. We’ve compiled these three proven tips to help you start getting the lay of the land, charting your team’s path and putting down some roots. Let the adventure begin!
Identifying your ideal prospect
We all want to believe that our company’s solution is the silver bullet for every business out there. But the reality is that leveraging your product or service is not everyone’s number one priority – and that’s okay. What’s not okay is failing to identify who these people are and planning your lead generation and outreach strategies accordingly.
To do this, if you’re dealing with a brand new sales territory, start by looking at closed deals within the closest existing territory. If you’re taking over an existing region, start with the deals that were previously closed there, both won and lost. Segment them by various lead profile dimensions, including:
Number of decision makers
Solutions already in use
Do you notice any trends? Are deals within a particular industry being consistently lost? Is going up against a certain competitor a sure win? To help give your new territory a head start, immediately prioritize accounts with “winning” qualities and seek out these relationships.
Continue to do this exercise as you close more business in this new territory, as you will likely notice distinct differences between this and other regions that can help better target your approach. For example, perhaps a particular title indicates a decision maker in the east, but actually has a different set of responsibilities in the west.
Defining meaningful activities
No one ever hit quota just by thinking about it – it’s the actions that reps take in effort (or lack thereof) to achieve this goal that make or break their performance. So how do you know which activities and how many actions will help your new territory hit quota?
Again, using either your territory’s most recent metrics or those from the region closest to yours, start with your sales goal, and ask yourself this series of questions to work backwards toward the activities you need to succeed:
How many new customers do you need to hit your sales goal?
How many deals do you need to reach this number of new customers?
How many new leads do you need to hit this number of deals?
How many demos or meetings do you need to set to generate this number of leads?
How many calls, emails or other activities do you need to make to secure this number of demos or meetings?
Once you have this final number, set goals that will keep your team on pace to complete the volume of activities needed to ultimately achieve quota. It’s important to also keep in mind that simply making a certain number of dials doesn’t mean that they were productive or successful. As such, you must also focus on the outcomes of these activities. Only then will you be able to continuously iterate your team’s approach and optimize performance.
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For example, if you’re noticing that an excessively large percentage of your phone calls is being bucketed under “not interested,” it could be in your best interest to provide the sales team with a prospecting script. Or, if a large percentage of calls are being marked “no answer,” email may be the best channel for this region, and you should focus rep efforts on this activity.
Priming your CRM for adoption
Just as target prospects and activity metrics can differ from territory to territory, so can your pipeline and sales process. Is your company’s CRM or sales platform structured in a way that facilitates the capture of the data that you need to maintain visibility and move your org forward? If it’s not, CRM adoption is sure to suffer, further limiting your ability to make data-backed decisions.
To make sure that your CRM is primed for adoption and ripe with actionable insights in your territory, consider these tactics:
Consider adding an additional sales pipeline built specifically to reflect the flow of sales cycles in your region and capture the nuances within your territory’s sales process.
Audit your CRM to make sure that there is a clearly labeled field for your reps to capture and easily find each of their most important data points. For dropdowns and pick lists, make sure that the appropriate options are available.
Add relevant tasks and automations for your territory’s workflow to help grease the wheels of your sales process and keep reps on track and on target.
Make your CRM a cornerstone of every 1:1 and sales team meeting to set a good example for reps and ensure that your sales platform is being utilized in the most effective way possible from day one.
These are all great places to start if your company already has a sales platform in place. But if it doesn’t then you will have to start all the way back at square one and find a CRM that meets your team’s needs and unique requirements. For readers in this boat, here’s some advice on how to choose a CRM.
Ramping up reps quickly
By the time new reps reach the output and success rate of seasoned sales vets, most companies have forgone more than a handful of wins. To help bring new reps up to speed and capacity faster, it helps to compare their performance with that of top performers. What are these reps doing that can be emulated by new team members and reinforced in the training process?
One way to do this is to schedule syncs between reps within your new territory and top performers across the company. Another, more scientific strategy is to segment closed/won and closed/lost deals first by the dimension of sales rep, and then by a secondary dimension like competitor or industry.
Doing this will allow you to see certain areas where particular reps excel compared to the rest of the group. For example, maybe one rep closes every deal when dealing with a particular type of decision-maker or company size. You can then have your team borrow from these reps’ playbooks to help your territory start producing as quickly as possible.
Ready for adventure?
Ramping and running an entire sales territory is a big responsibility, but eventually taking a step back and seeing what you’ve built is extremely rewarding. These four tips are a great place to start when it comes to developing your new sales territory. For additional resources to help you out along each step of your adventure, subscribe to our newsletter below.