When it comes to teamwork, bees set the bar. Every bee knows exactly what to do and where to go, perfectly in sync with the rest of the hive. If you’ve ever tried your hand at beekeeping, you know that complementing the swarm’s ingrained know-how to cultivate a thriving colony is a hefty responsibility. The hive location can’t be too hot or too cold. A source of water should be nearby, but it can’t be one that they’ll drown in – and don’t forget the need for windbreaks and access to nectar. All in all, the best conditions lead to the best results.
If you’re starting to think that beekeeping sounds a lot like territory management, we relate. Just like the beekeeper optimizes the hive location to ensure that the bees are always in an environment that encourages them to prosper and produce, a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to territory management points your salespeople in the most advantageous direction. It helps them channel their time and energy into the accounts and opportunities that generate the most revenue.
No wonder more and more companies, seeking to improve their sales performance, are showing eagerness to see the full benefits of their territory management solution. After all, every sales organization wants to optimize its core business processes, maximize revenue potential, and keep the sales force focused on high-return accounts and opportunities. In the old days, using a territory management tool was enough. No longer.
That’s why we’re seeing a push by organizations to replace their homegrown or transactional tools with a more comprehensive sales performance management (SPM) solution. Indeed, the $850 million SPM software market is expanding by 12 to 13 percent annually. According to Gartner Research, it’s expected to reach $1.4 billion by 2022. As a core SPM business process, territory management is in the spotlight.
Data, front and center
The data – both current and historic – at the heart of all sales territory management processes is all too often scattered at multiple levels across enterprise sales organizations. Only with the help of advanced technologies and expert services are these companies able to clean that data and collect it in a repository that functions as a single source of truth.
After the data’s stored, you can use it to better plan territory definitions, then to spot unbalanced territories and correct inequities. And, of course, along the way, you’ll gain meaningful insights into how salespeople are performing in the field.
Actionable insights on the go
Collecting and streamlining data is a great first step, but to make an impact, that data needs to be distilled into a form that allows for well-informed, strategic decision-making. For that to take place, salespeople, managers, and executives alike need high-level metrics that can help them take a calculated approach to the division of resources and assignments.
When everyone involved in the selling process has quick and easy access to sales performance insights, they can react more efficiently and effectively.
Sales reps, for instance, can use transactional details, quota attainment, and other performance data to plan their activities better and maximize selling time. And with the new mobile first concept that’s rapidly gaining traction in sales organizations, reps can access that information on the go.
With the ability to see how their whole team is performing at any given time, field managers can improve training and retention programs, make decisions about territory exceptions, and correct inefficiencies before they become disruptive.
Executives, for their part, thrive on data that allows them to easily measure YoY metrics, make budgeting decisions, and forecast the outcomes of strategic and situational changes.
Strategizing for change
Adapting to change is the final piece of the puzzle, and it’s a crucial one. Sales organizations need to be agile enough to react quickly to – and capitalize on – new circumstances.
Imagine, for instance, that because of new customers, changes in purchasing behaviors, or rep turnover, it becomes necessary to make critical alterations to territory coverage. Now imagine testing a variety of scenarios and evaluating their potential for success before rolling them out to the field. That’s competitive leverage! With technology that includes territory adjustment capabilities, sales organizations can quickly adapt territory coverage models to new sales conditions – meaning that you stay on top of the game, no matter what disruptions the future may hold.
In the words of Sherlock Holmes: “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!” – which is to say, you can’t reach solid conclusions without knowing all the facts. A high-level approach to territory management lets you make those bricks by consolidating your data and letting you manipulate it in ways that facilitate collaboration, inform decision-making, and drive revenue. It keeps your bees happy, too.
Aberdeen Research – Best-in-Class Approaches to SPM
Best-in-class players not only automate incentive compensation, territory and quota management, but also embrace emerging trends and technologies.