Managing Territories in Salesforce: 3 Options

The three recommended options for managing territories in Salesforce, which will allow you to structure your data to reflect your unique sales territories.

­Implementing territory management in Salesforce can be invaluable when working with complex sales territories or large sales teams.  There are several options for managing territories in Salesforce, which will allow you to structure your data to reflect your unique sales territories. As a result, Salesforce users may be granted access to accounts based on criteria such as postal code, industry, revenue, and even custom fields.

Here are the three options we recommend for setting up territory management in Salesforce.

Salesforce’s Enterprise Territory Management

If you’re working with 1,000 territories or fewer, Salesforce’s Enterprise Territory Management may be a viable option. Using this tool, you can set up a highly structured model for assigning accounts to one or more territories. The core components of this feature are your assignment model, territories, and account assignment rules.

When you’re satisfied with your model, you will activate it, then assign users and accounts. Then, you can roll it out to your organization, run reports to assess its impact, and make adjustments as necessary.

There are many benefits to choosing this route. Enterprise Territory Management is a highly configurable, Salesforce native option with a simple point-and-click setup. Territories are automatically assigned on account creation, and can be reevaluated on update. Also, unlike with Salesforce roles, a user can be in more than one territory.

However, there are a number of limitations to note when considering this option:

  • If your org is using Customizable Forecasting, you can’t enable Enterprise Territory Management.
  • If you are using zip-code-level territories, the 1,000 territory limit will be a barrier.
  • There are limits on assignment rule filter length.
  • This feature does not always play well with bulk record processing.
  • Only assigns territories to accounts, not to leads or contacts. (Therefore, it will not automatically grant ownership of accounts to associated leads and contacts.)
  • Does not support assigning to a queue or assigning multiple owner fields or initiate round robin type distribution.

Custom Solutions

A custom-built territory management solution typically has two components: fields on the account to indicate the territory attributes, and business logic stored as workflow rules, triggers, and more to automatically assign an account to a territory. A typical organization will apply this setup to leads, contacts, and accounts.

Building territories yourself is highly flexible to change, which is a major benefit if your model is evolving. This option will also provide clear fields on the account, and will have a limited impact on your existing features. At the same time, this route can be time consuming and costly to set up. A custom solution will not connect to sharing rules or standard Salesforce features. Finally, this option will require further custom development as the model becomes more complex.

Third-Party Software and Services

There are several third-party applications on the market that help sales organizations build new territories from zip codes, counties, or states, and balance them by opportunity and workload.

On the pro side, third party vendors maintain and support their tools, so you don’t have to. Some will also accommodate assigning territories to leads and contacts as well as accounts, and will support assigning to a queue and/or round robin distribution.

On the con side, many of these solutions are too simplistic, and offer only a narrow set of capabilities. For example, they may define territory structures based on a very limited set of attributes. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that whichever tool you select to manage territories in Salesforce can accommodate your unique territory needs. In addition, third part software will only be effective if you’re able to integrate it fully with your CRM.

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