Why Territory Planning?

Posted by David Wallace on April 9, 2021

Curving RoadMany sales reps and sales managers extoll the importance of territory planning. They toss around phrases like “know your territory,” “understand your customers” and, my personal favorite, “plan your work and work your plan.” However, despite the lofty talk, territory plans are rarely documented and less frequently reviewed and adjusted during the year.

What are the real benefits a well-thought-out, documented territory plan?

I see six immediate benefits.

  • Control – a plan enables you to target the best opportunities, however you define them. By planning what you will work on, you have control over your time, resulting in a better work/life balance. When you are proactive, YOU create, sell and close the opportunities you target. Without a plan, you become reactive where luck (good or bad) determines deals – size, where, how many.
  • Leverage – a plan allows you to identify opportunities that best fit your company’s strengths. You can create opportunities while defining the needs and decision criteria that fit your business. You can guide your customers to recognize your competitive advantages. And, best of all, you may avoid competition.
  • Resource allocation – a plan enables businesses to put resources where they are needed. With a plan, you can schedule needed resources in advance. Plans give you the time to financially justify using scarce resources. If resources are not available, plans give you time to adjust and develop a “plan B.”
  • Customer satisfaction – a plan allows you to guide your customers and opportunities. Sales calls and actions are determined in advance, on a schedule. Customers and prospects receive your full attention; they are never an afterthought. Customers and prospects feel they are a priority for you and your company. Plus, higher customer satisfaction means more follow-on business.
  • Shorter sales cycle – a plan helps you anticipate challenges and opportunities. By anticipating obstacles, you may be able to avoid them before they arise. A territory plan leads you to continually fill your sales pipeline, enabling faster future business.
  • Increased earnings – a plan keeps you focused on larger and better opportunities. By focusing on larger and better opportunities, you’ll have greater probabilities of closing each deal. By accomplishing specific activities regularly, you can move deals through the sales cycle faster. Higher customer satisfaction means more follow-on business which in turn means increased earnings.