Territory management is one of the toughest parts of ops. With so many variables to consider, including team size, rep expertise, historical revenue data, business needs, and future growth, it can cause headaches for even the most experienced ops professional.
For companies of smaller scale, using a custom solution or Salesforce Enterprise Territory Management is fine to get you up and running. But as your company starts to scale, it’ll become more and more difficult to execute territory plans that reflect the changing needs of your business.
Territory Planning vs Territory Management
People tend to use the terms territory planning and territory management interchangeably. But you may want to rethink their meanings to fully understand your territories.
Think of the two as theory and practice. Territory planning is the theory – when you plan your territories, you’re designing the concept of how your model should work. Things that come into play include:
- The best way to divide territories to meet your business needs
- The amount of coverage each rep should have
- Models that account for future headcount
Territory management is the practical component of executing these plans. This is all about how you’re going to carry out the vision for your model. Some relevant questions include:
- How do I get inbound leads to the right reps?
- How do we change territories when needed?
- Can our model incorporate both SDRs and AEs?
It’s nice to dream up the territory plans you wish you could work with. But they’re only as good as your ability to execute them. Matching and routing is a core tool that can make the most strategic territory plans a reality that you can easily manage day to day.
How does a matching & routing tool impact territory management?
As your business scales, the challenges for your territories become more demanding, leading to three core challenges:
- Increased manual work
- Constant and rapidly evolving needs
- Uneven distribution
Implementing a matching and routing tool will solve these challenges in several ways. Firstly, you can house (and manage) your territory logic in one place. This eliminates the need for external spreadsheets and documents and dramatically decreases your manual workload.
Next, matching and routing connects Leads to Accounts in Salesforce, giving you complete visibility into what’s happening with inbound leads and existing accounts so you can adjust your plans as your business grows.
Finally, we can’t talk about matching and routing without talking about round robins. Enabling automated round robins with a matching and routing tool ensures equal distribution among your reps, no matter how or when your team grows.
With these three challenges solved, you’ll have the freedom to develop growth-oriented, long-term territory plans. Here are four ways you can plan your territories when you have a matching and routing tool that can set your team up for sustained success.
1. Using Multiple Attributes
Most teams have to plan sales territories around the one or two attributes that exist on Leads, such as geography and industry. Strategically and logistically, there are a lot of limitations to slicing up the pie this way. For example, it’s hard to optimize customer experiences with such a simplistic formula, and it’s tough to wedge in a new team member when these territories have already been assigned.
Matching and routing tools bridge the gap between your Lead and Account records in Salesforce, which is the seat of most critical sales data. They also allow you to enrich the data on your incoming lead before it’s assigned it to a rep. So, instead of planning territories around the one or two attributes from your lead form, with a tool in place, you can now base your territories on any combination of attributes you have in Salesforce, such as company size, region, vertical, or revenue.
The use case for this is important. We all know that different personas buy differently: selling to a director of a New York based enterprise is a completely different experience than selling to the founder of a California based start-up. Managing your territories based on multiple attributes allows you to cater your territories to rep expertise, serving leads to reps that have the highest chance of winning the deal.
2. Account-Based Selling
There’s no way around it: successful account-based strategies depend on lead-to-account matching & routing. When you’re running an account-based strategy, it’s not really about assigning leads at all. It’s about strategically assigning accounts. This makes it absolutely critical to connect leads to accounts in Salesforce, especially so that you can identify inbound leads from named accounts and get them to the right reps (for example, the existing account owner).
Without a tool, every inbound lead will need to be filtered by a human before it can be assigned. This is a time-consuming process that involves looking at the incoming lead information, checking Salesforce to see if the account has an owner, manually assigning the lead, and notifying the appropriate rep. Not only is this time consuming, but you also risk the chance of mishandling leads at target accounts.
Having a tool in place is also useful for handling more complex ownership scenarios. For example, if your account-based strategy has both named accounts and a geographical component to, you can leverage rules to easily adjust coverage on the fly. With all of your rules housed in one place, there’s no risk for errors within complex formulas and tables on a spreadsheet.
You can also leverage this kind of tool to manage your account-based territories by automatically recycling accounts that aren’t getting worked. For example, if a rep doesn’t reach out to an account on their list during a prescribed window of time, it can automatically be re-assigned to someone else.
Without a tool to automate the process of connecting incoming leads to existing account data in Salesforce, it’s almost impossible to be truly account-based.
Matching & Routing
3. Two-Tiered Assignments
Manually tracking and assigning leads once is daunting and time-consuming. Doing it twice for a two tiered model? Pretty much impossible to pull off. But not to worry, matching and routing makes the impossible possible.
A typical two-tiered assignment system assigns leads twice: once to a BDR and then later to an AE. This is a particularly useful system if you don’t have a robust enrichment tool. Instead, the first round of routing to a BDR acts as your enrichment process.
But the success of the two-tiered method depends on superior speed to lead. Using matching and routing rules, you can set the first tier of routing to be a broad round robin. This allows BDRs to receive leads faster, establish contact more quickly, and enrich the lead through a discovery call.
When the lead is ready to be handed off to an AE, it’ll go through a second, more thorough round robin based on the enriched data. This is how the lead gets routed to the appropriate AE based on any combination of data collected. For example, a first tier assignment might simply be based on geographical regions whereas a second tier assignment will often include a combination of region, company size, and industry.
Remember, all of these actions happen automatically behind the scenes. Once your rules are set up, they will run themselves like clockwork. As a result, you’ll have more time and resources to focus on revenue-generating processes (like strategic territory planning that’s going to land more deals).
4. Planning For Increased Head-Counts
Have you ever thought to yourself: “There has to be a better way to handle territories for the constant influx of new reps!”
Well, you’re not alone. And you’re right. Too often, operations teams have to adjust territories right before (or, realistically, after) the arrival of a new hire. This inevitably leads to complaints from reps whose territories have now shrunk. It’s impossible to manage your territories this way without making someone upset: after all, you’re essentially taking away revenue potential that they once owned.
But matching and routing functions enable a much more flexible way to do this, which allows you to plan way ahead for your growing team and keep existing reps happy. It comes down to the ability to set up automatic round robins and layering them on top of existing routing rules. Here’s how it works.
When you’re planning your territories for the year, you’ll need to divide them up among your existing reps. But you’ll also need to think about what’s happening ahead in Q1, 2, 3, and 4. How many reps do you expect to add at each stage and when? For each expected hire, create an open patch. Do this even if you don’t have reps to cover the patches until later in the year.
Until your new reps come on board, incoming leads from open patches can be assigned to your existing team via round robin. Planning open patches lets everyone know what their patches are for the year. Plus, for existing reps, this temporary round robin provides a fair solution to dividing open territories. As for incoming reps, they can be slotted into their own patch from day one, so new reps will never have to sit around waiting for management to divide territories.
Which Model is Right For Me?
While we would all love for a simple answer to this question, there simply isn’t one. How you plan and manage your territories ultimately comes down to your company’s unique context.
However, there are certain things to consider when deciding on the model that’s right for you:
- Current revenue model
- Current tools
- Territory information at your disposal
- Inbound lead flow process
- Current and future head-count plan
Having a clear sense of these five considerations will help paint a picture of your ideal model. And, with a matching and routing tool creating both flexibility and stability for your territories, your model can lead your sales team into a new renaissance.