Old-School Territory Management is Dead: A Q&A with John Stewart, CEO of MapAnything

Following the recent acquisition of TerrAlign by MapAnything, I asked MapAnything CEO John Stewart to explain the relationship between map-based geo-productivity and territory optimization.  What I got was an insight into modern, data-driven territory planning.  The premise is that enterprises can no longer afford to design geographically equivalent territories that are unbalanced in terms of value of potential sales, number of accounts, and travel and schedule efficiency. In fact, Harvard Business Review research shows that data-optimized territory design can increase sales by two to seven percent without any change in total resources or sales strategy.

New technologies combine CRM data, location data, routing, and scheduling optimization and business goals to build intelligent territories that consider three things: location, prioritization of customers and prospects, and routing and scheduling constraints.  These “intelligent” territories ensure more client/prospect contact, drastically accelerate revenue, and empower a motivated sales team. So, I asked John to tell me more.

Q:  Why are “intelligent territories” more productive than territories that are solely geographically built?

A: In the old model, reps that own good territories do well. They blow out their quotas and get pats on the back. Everyone assumes they are all-star sales geniuses. In fact, the opposite is true. Often, “all-star” sales reps are costing the company money and potentially losing market share because their territory is so overloaded that they cherry pick and leave opportunities for competitors to take.  Plus, when those star reps blow out their numbers, they get paid accelerators over and above their target incentive comp, costing their companies even more. Moreover, because these reps’ numbers seem so great, managers often are afraid to adjust their territories because they’re afraid that doing so will cause the top-selling reps to jump ship and run to competitors. Meanwhile, capable, hard working sales reps in other territories suffer because, though their territories may look to be the same size as the top performers’ territories, the quality and location of prospects is lower, and closing revenue is harder.

Q: Why haven’t more companies cracked the code and figured out how to properly build well designed, intelligent sales territories so that all reps can be equally successful at bringing in top revenues?

A: Because, until recently, the only way to understand how many reps you need, and how best to assign their territories, could only be answered using a variety of siloed solutions and a lot of guesswork.

But integrated geo-location services that consider CRM, location, schedules and routes, and revenue goals is now available. More and more companies are starting to adopt Intelligent Territory Design, and the benefits speak for themselves.

Q: Are there measurable differences between the old approach and the new one?

A: The benefits span revenue generation, cost reduction, and rep satisfaction.  Here’s how:

  • Shorter drive time: When territories are aligned properly sales reps can optimize routes and slash drive time. This enables existing sales teams to service 10 percent (10%) more accounts.
  • Optimal scheduling: By integrating territory planning software with CRM data, sales leaders can get an accurate understanding of the typical length of time required across different accounts. By knowing how long it takes reps to service various types of accounts, territory plans can consider schedule constraints, and be optimized for a typical work week, avoiding long hours and rep burnout, while ensuring that customers receive excellent service.
  • Prioritization for Revenue: Intelligent territories enable sales reps to prioritize accounts based on a multitude of factors and to focus on accounts that have the potential to drive the highest revenues. Integrated scheduling and routing technology enables reps to plan their days, weeks, and months accordingly, and ensures that the proper level of attention is given to each account.

To sum it up, John asserts that territory planning is now a critical part of sales success. It not only underpins where reps are placed but allows field sales and service managers to truly understand the revenue potential of each territory and to manage their team to achieve it. Simply put, there is no excuse for poor territory alignment.  High performing sales organizations are turning to data-driven, intelligent territory design that melds map-based account visualization with CRM data and scheduling and routing. Those that implement intelligent territories will achieve greater revenues, reduced cost of sales, and higher rep satisfaction.