Tibor Shanto points out that creating a great territory sales plan includes building a blended pipeline. It needs to consist of current customers and revenue as well as up-and-comers in the industry. You must maintain the old and be open to the new. Learn more about how he approaches building his territory sales plan in this episode of Sales Reinvented.
Tibor Shantolikes to create a simple graph to help him plan his territory. One axis is the likelihood of a deal closing within the next two cycles. The other axis is the total value of the deal. It helps you look at your best opportunities based on reviewing deals you’ve won and deals you’ve lost. The goal is to spend your time where you’re most likely to close a deal.
Then you drill down further. What factors allowed you to close those deals? You have to understand what it will take to hit your quota and what the addressable opportunities are in your area. Most salespeople want to continuously expand their territory. Why? Because they don’t know how to drill down further into their own territory.
Secondly, Tibor points out that you must start spending time disqualifying prospects. The right opportunities will help you hit your quota and you need to doggedly ignore anything else. It’s hard to accept but he notes that only 56% of B2B sales reps make quota. He emphasizes that you shouldn’t worry about what you’ve missed—worry about what you lost that you were supposed to get. If you can identify the opportunities that make the most sense to you based on data then ignore what doesn’t fit the template. You have to play to your skills and strengths.
Tibor introduces his clients to the concept of the 360 Degree Deal View. It helps them look at why they win or lose deals. When people do deal reviews, it tends to be a lovefest. But you want to go back six months later and ask how you’ve been able to change a customer’s workflow. If you understand how you do this, you can see who's best going to fit your template. Again, you have to ignore what doesn’t fit. You have to be objective and avoid deviating from your plan.
It all comes down to attitude. When people ask Tibor why he was successful, he points out that it’s simple—he wanted it more than the next guy. That’s something you can’t teach. Any competitive athlete completely understands the power of mindset, determination, and self-discipline. The general public doesn't necessarily have these characteristics.
A software company in the late 90s recruited college football players who weren’t drafted. Why? They had drive, the ability to follow a playbook, discipline, and the ability to be coached. That software company got acquired. It worked for them because their exit strategy materialized. Tibor doesn’t believe that salespeople with soft shells will survive. There aren’t participation trophies in life.
You must understand what you’re looking for. What’s worked for you in the past with your accounts and territory? A blended pipeline is key. If you focus on different accounts, you can get much more volume done—and as a result—earn higher commissions. So start by plotting out a clear plan on a grid and be disciplined while remembering to adapt as needed. You can’t just double down on territory planning and stop prospecting. If you don’t prospect, you don’t have a territory.
Tibor also advises salespeople to look for lookalikes similar to your prospects. Why is a lookalike the same? How are they different? Where are the greatest number of interceptions? Go after those. You know the jargon, you know the story, so show up and present how you’ve just succeeded for the last client. Most people tell him they appreciate that he works with a competitor because they don’t have to educate him on the basics of the business—he can hit the ground running.
Tibor looks at the top dozen accounts in his territory. He’ll look at where he’s at with them this year and make projections for the next year. What is the gap in his quota and projections? Doing this allows him to understand how he needs to service his top customers. Secondly, it allows him to look at the up-and-coming in his territory.
Tibor set his sights on someone making noise in the business. Many other people ignored them because they were second-tier. This one small company grew and became a dominant player in the industry. That’s why you have to build a blended pipeline. Even if a prospect isn’t the most sought after, it still has value. Don’t ignore less attractive prospects that might save your hide as long as they fit your plan. Tibor points out that you should always leave room for flux and luck.
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