To you, is territory sales planning as simple as, “I’ve got a territory, so my main goal is grow the client base within my territory”? If so, this episode’s guest, Paula White, says you could be missing the practical details that will enable you to do just that. Paula is a returning guest on this episode of Sales Reinvented and provides a significant bit of insight into how intentional and detailed planning, broken down into bite-sized pieces can help you grow sales volume within your territory.
When Paula thinks about her sales territory, she doesn’t allow herself to view it as a huge, nebulous whole that has to be grown over the course of a fiscal year. She breaks it down into possibilities, by quarter. This enables her to work with manageable groupings of existing clients and potential clients without being overwhelmed… and she does this on a quarterly basis.
When asked what that quarterly plan consists of, Paula says that in her approach she’s identifying who she’s going to target each month within the quarter. The rhythm that works for her is to focus on target customers or prospects during month one, what she calls “bottom customers” during month two (those who perhaps do a lower volume of business or have made minor purchases to date) and then her “middle customers” during month three. One of the things Paula likes about this approach is that it allows her to fit seasonal targets into her planning in a practical manner.
As you hear Paula speak about her approach to planning for her sales territory, one thing becomes evident: she’s intentional. She sets goals and integrates the steps she’ll have to take in order to reach those goals into her day to day planning. This plan guides her preparation for appointments and calls and even helps her stay on track during those calls. It also enables her to create what she refers to as a “leave-behind” for each appointment — a review of everything discussed during the call for the prospect or customer to review once the call is over. This kind of intentionality increases your confidence as a seller but more importantly, enables you to serve prospects and customers in a professional manner.
Paula integrates intentionality with her quarterly planning by breaking each quarter down into further blocks. She creates 30, 60, and 90 day plans for herself, much like a new salesperson may be required to do as they onboard with a sales organization. She says it’s a discipline that serves veteran sellers as well as newcomers. In these smaller plans, Paula writes down who she wants to meet with, what she hopes to accomplish, how she wants to get those things done, in detail, and more. At the end of these 30, 60, 90 day blocks, she evaluates by asking a number of questions...
To sum up Paula’s perspective on planning for success in territorial sales, she offers three “DOs” and three “DON’Ts”:
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If you are a sales leader, how do you go about planning your organization’s sales territory approach? Whether you’re dealing with geographic territories or industry niches and companies within those niches, you need to use every resource available within your team to establish your territories wisely. Brynne Tillman has a wealth of insight into this sort of planning and specializes in using LinkedIn to find the best territorial fit between the target territory and the sales professionals on your team. Listen to this episode to get all the details from Brynne’s experience.
Strategically approaching your sales territory planning will yield tremendous results if you take the time to do it. And those in leadership within sales organizations especially need to learn how to establish and assign territories for maximum impact. Brynne says that when doing so, every element that goes into creating a lead list should be very focused. When you can define not just what to do but with whom to do it, you can be much more productive and focused. This is where Brynne’s expertise with LinkedIn shines.
She suggests that sales professionals search their ideal buyers (titles, positions, companies) and their geography using LinkedIn. Even the free version can perform searches like this on a granular level. You’ll be able to build a sizeable list of leads to qualify and approach using the advanced search functionality offered on the platform. When you do this, you don’t waste time cold-calling people who aren’t a good fit for your offering. That results in more targeted conversations, which will impact bottom-line sales.
Many sales leaders grab a map and set of pins to begin their sales territory planning, but Brynne says that’s one of the least effective ways of going about it. She suggests that you examine your existing book of business to first, understand who your target market is and what they typically buy from you. Using that data, look at the territory in question and find the companies and organizations that possess what you might call a “look-alike” profile. In the end, you want to ensure that the filters you’re using to create your territorial sales plan produces a list of prospects that are achievable for the sales rep, both in terms of profile and geography. Brynne calls this “the planning before the planning” and says it’s a huge step toward empowering sales reps for success.
Too often, sales leaders don’t consider their sales team’s existing relationships when assigning territories. Brynne says this is a huge mistake. As a sales leader, you can do your own research to ensure you are assigning the right sales rep to the right industry niche or geographic territory using Linked In. First, ensure you have connected with the sales rep yourself. Next, use LinkedIn’s search functionality to research your sales rep’s connections by industry and geography. You may find that a rep you intended to assign to a specific city has very few existing relationships there while another on your team has many. A successful sales rep rises and falls on relationships so don’t leave out existing connections when devising your territory strategy.
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