Without a well thought out strategy that takes into consideration the daily details of territory management, company sales become tougher to land. An effective sales territory plan prevents overlap between sales reps, which often causes confusion and wastes time. The best sales territory planning strategies not only increase sales, but they also reduce a company’s operating costs. Here are four steps to help businesses unlock the secrets to successful sales territory planning.

1. Define Sales Territory Goals

Before  chopping up a sales territory into individual segments, it’s important to define goals. While nearly every company wants to grow both its bottom line and its territory, a singular focus helps to reach that target. Salesforce refers to this element of sales territory mapping as “defining your North Star.”  For example, if a company’s goal is to expand its territory by 25% annually, an investment in quality talent and support services would support that objective.

2. Develop A Sales Territory Strategy

Once a business defines its goals, the next step is to develop a sales territory strategy. According to Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), 77% of sales reps waste selling time due to poorly planned sales territories. A properly planned territory could allow a sales rep to recoup as much as 20 hours per month of selling time. Taking a visual approach to sales territory planning often works best. Territory mapping is one way to divide up a sales territory geographically. When this is done, current accounts that require servicing, as well as prospective accounts for development, are included in the sales territory strategy map. When divided properly, the right sales territory plan can allow a company to lower travel costs, improve face time with current and prospective clients, and have more motivated sales reps on staff.

3. Build A Team Over Time

A company’s sales team is the driving force behind its goal achievement, so it makes sense that strategic hiring will play a factor in overall sales territory planning. It takes time and resources to hire and cultivate top sales talent, so expanding teams should be an ongoing company initiative. Once businesses have assessed each of their sales territories, they have an idea of the resources needed to service those areas. It’s important to allow for such things as turnover, growth, and possible shifts in territories as needed. For example, placing sales people in the right positions and under the right sales manager is just as important as having the optimum number of people on a team.

4. Track & Reassess Plans Often

The most successful sales teams have a system in place to track their sales reps’ performance and activities. A CRM system with insights reporting can provide management with the information necessary to track performance, measure progress, and make any needed changes to sale territory assignments.

Sales territory planning can feel like a risky proposition as there are many factors that contribute to a company’s success or failure. Distributing a team of sales reps efficiently may seem daunting, but a systematic approach to sales territory planning provides businesses with the greatest opportunity for positive results.