Why is Territory Mapping a Challenge?
Often people don’t attempt territory mapping because it’s considered a tedious process. Mainly this is because of the way it’s been done in the past.
Using paper-based Google maps and highlighter leaves a lot of room for error, not to mention muddle.
You can’t see how many customers are in an area nor how many target homes or companies each territory owner will have. Neither are there any business statistics or demographic information to guide the team where best to target within their territories.
Basic mapping software is a big improvement in mapping territories but far from perfect. Generally you have to fit your way of working to the software. The background cartography may be inflexible and difficult to apply to your team. Customer updates are often difficult with customer visit history being overwritten.
Territory Optimisation: A Better Way to Do Territory Mapping
Effective sales territory and franchise territory mapping is a mix of skills, the right data and specialised software. Get these right and your team will be visiting the customers and prospects most likely to buy. They’ll also be moving around their territories more efficiently so can fit in more visits. This will impact sales performance for the better. So to delve into the factors involved, review the steps below.
1. Select the right target market demographics or business stats
2. Calculate how many high quality customers are needed to sustain a salesperson or business
3. Calculate the workload necessary (number of visits, follow-ups) to bring in the sale
4. Look at the logistics – can a territory owner realistically make the necessary visits
5. Size territories by visit workload in each territory (for sales) or target demographics (for franchise)
6. Assign the team and allocate current customers and prospects
Let’s look at these points in a bit more detail.
Territory Mapping and Target Market
When mapping territories and sizing them, you need to start with your target market.
How big is it? What are the different groups (segments) within it? What do you know about them. If you’re selling to other businesses, what is their profile? Consider business size, type, sales value and future potential.
If targeting consumers, is home market value important? Home ownership v renters. What about income levels. Do you sell to families, young singles or the elderly?
The more information you have about your current customers the better. You’ll understand the type of customers you’re most successful with and find it easier to identify higher quality potential new customers.
But remember that products and services all have a core set of higher quality “best” customers – your offering must solve their problem or be something they aspire to own or a service they would benefit from; this must be coupled with sufficient means to make a purchase.
This is why accurate targeting and segmentation is so important. If your sales team or franchisees are clear what a “best” customer looks like, visits can be better targeted, the close rate should increase and sales made are likely to be of higher value.
If you need help grouping your customers into viable segments, identifying higher value types and geographic “hot-spots”, Tech4T’s analysis services will deliver the benefits you need.
How Many Customers?
Once you’ve defined your target market and high quality customers, you need to work out how many customers your business requires to be successful (actual and potential). Your business objectives will drive the numbers – for example, sales and product targets, capturing market share, combating specific competitors.
However, it is unwise to look only at this side of the equation without considering the workload logistics and team size and skills necessary to achieve your business objectives.
Logistics are important to ensure good sales coverage is achievable across a territory, country or region without being cost prohibitive to service.
So how many visits realistically can someone make in a day in your business? You need to take a wide view here and answer a number of questions.
- What are the types of visit your team make – new prospect first visit, prospect follow-ups, regular customer visits, specialist visits with a technical expert and so on
- How long are the different visit types – prospect first visits or technical expert visits are likely to be longer than a regular catch-up call for instance
- How much repeat business is likely
- What is the average travel time between calls
- What is the typical sale close rate (this will drive the number of prospect visits)
- How many days in a week/month/year are not available for selling due to holidays, sickness. exhibitions and training
- How much time does each salesperson spend on administration
- Do you need to allow time for each salesperson to set their own appointments
One other thing to bear in mind. If you use an indoor team for appointment setting, how do you determine which salesperson is nearest and when is the best time to visit? Your indoor team need to see where your salespeople will be geographically so they can avoid making appointments that result in your teams criss-crossing territories several times a week. This wastes valuable selling time.
So once you’ve got a clear target market and a firm sales plan logistically capable of implementation, you can then start looking at mapping territories.
Calculating the ideal number of customers and salespeople required to achieve sales and product objectives is an iterative process. Tech4T can test potential coverage scenarios for your consideration.
Sizing Your Territories
Customer numbers, territory size and number of salespeople are all inter-dependent. You should design geographic territory boundaries based on the workload needed to visit a pre-defined number of ideal potential customers. You’ll also need to take account of the road network and the terrain.
If a territory is too big geographically, a salesperson or franchisee will never be able to cover all of it, competitors can gain a foothold and income is lost to the company. You’ll miss sales targets if territories are too small as there won’t be enough good prospects. The right size territories are essential so you can set stretch but achievable targets.
Mapping Your Territories
To map your territories, you’ll need to work out where your ideal customers are located – not all areas will be equal. Get it wrong, and you can waste a lot of money marketing and selling in areas where your market is thin on the ground.
For this exercise you’ll most likely need a territory mapping system with the right postal boundaries and demographic/business data in to match your target market. You can then size territories properly with enough (but not too many to handle) customers and prospects matching the descriptions of your high quality customers e.g. xx families with young children, xx businesses with over 5 employees in industry sectors xxx.
With the right system able to take account of the road network and terrain, your team should also have equal sales opportunities and achievable workloads. This all helps to keep your team motivated and stable. It’s also easier to spot salespeople in need of extra support.
Tech4T can design optimised territories for you, build cost-effective territory mapping solutions with just the data you need to do the work yourself or a combination – we design the territories, you have a system to make adjustments.
Assigning Territories & Allocating Customers
With mapping systems becoming ever more sophisticated, why rely on spreadsheets and static maps for sales planning and appointment setting. Centralised and individual planners can carry out these tasks more easily with dynamic maps. These show territory boundaries and ownership, customer and prospect data and overall customer “hot-spots” (ideal if “door knocking”).
Modern systems enable sales teams to:
- Zoom into territories, view customer/prospect locations
- View customer segments and the underlying demographics/business statistics
- Easily share maps instantly with colleagues
- Select who to visit in close proximity to each other
- Automatically create the best route to get round
- Create weekly or monthly work zones
For more guidance on planning territories, check out our Free Sales Calculators
Effective territory mapping is a complicated subject. The points above should give you a steer on the factors impacting team success. However, please give us a call on 01733 890 790 if you would like help to effectively implement optimised territory mapping in your company.
Tech4T – Experts in sales team and franchise territory mapping services and customised software. Our Territory Runner systems are used worldwide for improved sales planning and operations and franchise territory sales. We are also exceptionally skilled in merging internal company data with new demographic and business stats, blending the two together to give you the insights needed to drive your business performance.