Build a Scalable Territory
4 ways to drive less miles, call on more customers and be a more effective salesperson
It sounds too good to be true, but every salesperson can drive less miles, call on more customers, AND be a more effective salesperson by building a scalable territory.
It is very likely that if I asked your salespeople if they were busy, they would respond with an emphatic, “Yes”. I have trained and interviewed thousands of salespeople and this is the #1 complaint they have on why they aren’t building more business.
Too busy to prospect for new customers. Too busy to stay up to date on email, CRM or any other admin functions. Even too busy to follow up with customers. You get the idea; They are busy. But busy doesn’t mean effective. Nor does it mean they are doing the right activity, with the right customers.
Often, the reason they are so busy can be summed up in the word scalability. They boxed themselves into a small territory. In this case, scalability is referring to growing the business. Whether it is units sold or dollars in sales, we want our sales team to be as effective as possible.
They can’t grow. They are too busy! Even if they were simply given more customers, they would not have the time or ability to call on those customers.
the 4 key components to building a Scalable Territory:
- Segment your customers – to spend time where it’s most important.
Calling on the wrong customers is what I call the #2 Salesperson Killer. It happens way more often than you think and it kills your ability to be more effective. There are multiple ways to segment. Size of the accounts (acres, # animals, dollars in sales), buying habits, geography, etc. Focusing on the correct segment of customers doesn’t mean you won’t sell to the other segments of your market. It simply means your focus is on your primary segment.
- Zone your customers and your schedule – to reduce driving time and to focus on the most important activities.
These two areas are what I call the #1 Salesperson killer: Disorganization. As salespeople, we have one precious resource that we bring to our company: Our time selling customers. The more we are zig zagging all over the territory, the less time we are in front of the right customers. Nobody really shows us how to do this. We are given a large geography to go sell. Three states in my case. But, nobody really explains how to cover that geography in a sane manner.
- Become a champion Fire Fighter – to reduce the chaos of reacting to every “emergency”
Not all fires are three alarm emergencies. However, as over-servicing salespeople, we treat them that way. Some are small brush fires but we treat them as if we have to drop everything and run to the rescue. We do this with the best of intentions: superior customer service. That is great and certainly has its time and place. A customer warehouse fire, a missed order left animals unfed, death loss at a farm we were feeding were all good examples when I postponed what I was doing and spent the entire day focused on the fire. However, fighting fires should not be an everyday activity. If it is, then you need to sit down with your manager and support team to get your business out of that mode. Which brings me to point #4.
- Use all your resources – lay down your cape superman and unleash the power of your whole team.
You can certainly go it all alone out there, but that is a long and lonely road to sell on. It might be good in the beginning, before you get a lot of customers. I have seen salespeople who do it all. They entered all their orders. They entered all their crop insurance policies. They delivered a lot of feed and agronomy supplies in their own vehicle. They never really involved their teammates in the selling process. Full disclosure, some of those things I did as well. However, if you look at the company organization chart, it all filters down to supporting you in your efforts to sell and serve your customers. Use those resources to develop your company as a team of experts instead of one super salesperson.
As with any journey, it should start with a goal. In sales, this might be a standard territory size. It might be a number of customers of a certain size. From there. It’s no different than a GPS journey. Where is my current territory? Where does it need to go to? And how do I get there?
If you or your team would like to work with me on the scalability of your territory or your sales team, let’s have a discussion on it (608) 751-6971.
If nothing else, we can talk about the one question you should ask every one of your salespeople, today!