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September 5, 2023

How to Grow a Sales Territory

By Ken Kramer, VP of Americas, eSpatial
A hand places a red push pin on a map with many other red push pins near it.

While growing a sales territory is challenging, it’s a requirement for all sales reps, managers, and marketing leaders. It is a data-backed strategic process rewarded with higher sales potential and revenues.

Below are proven ways sales managers and reps can plan to grow their sales territory footprint consistently.

1. Research Your Market

Your data is your friend, and, with some data crunching, you can see your sales territory in a different light. First, understand your ideal customer profile. To help you get started (if you still need a clear customer profile), answer these questions:

  • Which industry and/or verticals should you prioritize?
  • What size organizations fit best?
  • What personas will you target?
  • Which key drivers (such as sales growth, profitability, capital productivity, cost efficiency, operational effectiveness, competitiveness, and customer satisfaction/experience) will enable them to say yes?
  • Do they know they have a problem you can solve?
  • Are there enough of them in your region to justify your focus?
  • When will they look for you?
  • When do they buy it?
  • What is the lead time involved?
  • Are they willing to pay for your product or service?
  • What level of competition will you face?

A screenshot of an area on a map.

Above is a color-coded map showing customer locations by industry vertical. Using zip code, heatmaps, and color-coded maps is the perfect way to analyze your data.

2. Set Your Goals

Next, define your goals. Many goal-setting frameworks can help you; the most popular is SMART. As you frame your goals, be:

  • Specific: Be as detailed as possible. For example, my territory will generate $5,000,000 in revenue by December 31, 20XX. $1,000,000 will be new revenue from five new customers. $500,000 will be incremental sales of product X.
  • Measurable: Be specific on the measures (like above).
  • Attainable: As the saying goes, “Paper doesn’t refuse ink.” Our goal is for five new customers in the year, but did your market research uncover that level of sales potential, or is it a pipedream? Ensure it is believable and achievable. It will motivate you.
  • Relevant: Is the goal in line with your business goals and strategy?
  • Timebound: Our example has a clearly defined end date, but set yourself some weekly, monthly, and quarterly time commitments.

Check out the Conquering mapping software guide.

3. Create Your Sales Plan

Outline your one-page plan summarizing:

  • Your goals (from step 2)
  • Your priorities (ideally by month and quarter)
  • Your tactics. The specific sales tactics you will use to generate sales. For example, upselling, cross-selling, prospecting, account management, events, tradeshows, referrals, and LinkedIn.
  • Your focus areas to improve your skills: A learning mindset is critical to your ongoing development and success. So write down areas you want to improve.
  • Target customers. Do you have specific “logo” accounts you plan to win? Name them.
  • Non-negotiables. Record the critical daily and weekly actions you must commit to that will deliver your desired results.

4. Assess Your Sales Potential

Review your customer base and assess their sales potential. For example, two customers deliver $300,000 in revenue each year. But your research reveals that customer B is part of a larger corporation with three other divisions. Your assessment of sales potential is close to $1,000,000. Customer A has little potential to grow, so you re-prioritize your time to exploit the new sales potential by planning more time with customer B.

Assess your sales territory potential using similar logic. You’ll quickly unleash new ways to grow a sales territory. Prioritize sales potential over historical sales.

A screenshot of different colored counties on a map.

The map above shows sales potential by county, with the red areas showing the highest levels. Heatmaps are perfect when analyzing areas for growth.

5. Manage Customer Relationships

Customers invest in suppliers they trust, so the strength of your customer relationships is critical.

When you assessed your sales potential, you uncovered new opportunities to grow. Leverage the strength of your relationships to generate referrals. Increase your reach by networking and attending industry events and conferences. A key differentiator will be how you manage your relationships and how you sell.

6. Never Stop Prospecting

Your market research uncovered new potential customers. Your customer research revealed new opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. Never stop asking for referrals. They are by far the most effective lead-generation tactic available to you.

  • Continue to leverage social media, email, events, and conferences. And update your customers regularly.
  • Customize your value proposition.
  • Having profiled your ideal clients, you should consider how to tailor your value to their specific needs.
  • You know multiple stakeholders are involved in a buying process and decision, but are you clear on the pain points for each role?

The pain points for a marketing manager differ from those of a sales manager or operations director. So you should work hard to develop a proposition that resonates with each. Avoid a generic “one size fits all” approach and you will engage your audience better.

  • Be a subject-matter expert (SME) on your product or service.
  • Know your products and services like an SME. And know your competitor’s offerings inside out.
  • Modern selling is consultative. Customers appreciate and value expertise, which can be a significant differentiator that gives you a competitive edge.

A screenshot of red pin drops on a map.

Above is a map with prospect account locations.

7. Prioritize Time Management

When planning to grow a sales territory, you must prioritize your time. You have already taken some crucial steps above by clarifying your goals and priorities, assessing your sales potential by customer type, and creating a sales plan.

You set yourself some non-negotiables, and the best tactic for your success is to make appointments with yourself by blocking out the time needed in your weekly schedules to complete your priority tasks.

Build your schedule around your priorities and you’ll see the results.

A screenshot of a map with different colored pin drops connected to each other on a map.

Above is an optimized sales route using eRouting. Sales route optimization is essential if you want to compress sales planning and drivetime.

8. Implement Lead Nurturing

Only 5% of your target market is ready to buy now. 20% will never buy from you. Up to 75% of your target market will buy some time in the future. So you need a consistent lead nurturing cadence.

Regularly stay in touch with customers and leads using email, phone, social media, and face-to-face meetings.

Remember to think strategically about your follow-ups. Ask yourself, “How does this follow-up action help build trust and engagement?”

9. Conduct Your Monthly Review

Track and analyze your results monthly and hold yourself accountable to your goals, priorities, and critical measures. High performers are power users of their CRM tools because they know the tools enable them to win more sales deals. Track your sales activities and your conversion rates. Analyze your results for trends. Analyze your closed lost deals and identify areas for improvement.

A color sensory map of the entire united states.

Integrating maps with your regular sales performance reviews is a great way to boost engagement and insights.

10. Consider Mapping Software

There are so many ways sales mapping software helps you grow a sales territory:

  • Analyze sales potential with heatmaps
  • Identify pockets of new opportunity
  • See your competitor locations
  • See new verticals

If you value face-to-face time with customers, you need route optimization software. It compresses schedule planning, optimizes your working day, and minimizes drive time.

Headshot of Ken Kramer

For over 20 years, Ken Kramer has been bringing sales optimization solutions to enterprise markets. Ken is currently the VP, Americas, for eSpatial and well as the CEO and cofounder of Location Analytics, Inc., a consultancy focused on sales optimization through leveraging location-based data and analysis.  He is the former CMO of MapAnything, which was acquired by Salesforce.com. In 2018, MapAnything acquired TerrAlign, where Ken had served as president. Additionally, he sits on the board of The Joinery, a not-for-profit community-based woodworkers’ shop. He is also an adjunct at his alma mater: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.