As the year comes to a close, many businesses are finalizing their plans for next year. That includes the dreaded task of territory planning. Why is territory planning such a dreaded task, though? We’ve been asking that question for some time now.
Throughout this year, we’ve collected responses to a survey all about territory planning. In doing so, we were able to learn more about what people find most challenging when it comes to planning their sales territories.
The responses were relatively predictable, considering how few solutions exist to help sales leaders with territory planning. Sales leaders have more data than ever before at their fingertips to guide them in carving out sales territories. This helps to make more informed decisions, but it can also become a barrier.
All of that data and the way it’s used can make it challenging to balance sales territories, update them throughout the year, and do it all in a timely fashion. That’s precisely what our research found. So what’s the solution?
Let’s dig in.
Challenge 1: Ensuring Sales Territories are Balanced
Out of all potential challenges that come up in the process of carving out sales territories, making sure they’re balanced is one of the largest pain points. In fact, nearly 1/3 of the individuals we surveyed reported balancing territories as their top barrier.
This statistic isn’t surprising, first and foremost because companies often rely on data stored across multiple systems. Having data scattered all over the place is one problem, but then you have to figure out how to analyze those numbers. This often looks different for everyone.
The first step is to define your KPIs and weigh them. Figure out what’s most important for your business activities and go from there — average deal size, prospect accounts, revenue, number of employees, etc. From there, you can assign and execute on your plan.
Easy enough, right? Well, it can be. The first step is to rethink the way you’re most familiar with planning: spreadsheets. Because combining data with a robust solution will be the answer to your problem.
With a solution like Territory Planner by Ascent Cloud, you can bring all your data into one place — no matter where it’s stored. Unlike with spreadsheets, bringing a solution into the mix will help automate a large part of the process from a visual and mathematical perspective.
Balancing sales territories is all about combining the power of spreadsheets with territory planning, but doing it in a way that returns an output that makes sense. Territory Planner is that way.
Challenge 2: Difficult to Update Territories During the Year
Anything can happen — which seems so true now more than ever. Our survey indicated that updating sales territories throughout the year is another major roadblock for many in charge of the task.
There’s a popular misconception that territory planning is something that only needs to be done once a year, but there are a number of reasons you’d have to revisit and make changes to your sales territories. Employees can leave, someone might be crushing their quota, your company could launch a new product with new market needs, the economic climate could shift, etc. Regardless of reason, your territory plan might need to change at the drop of a hat.
Our survey also indicated that most individuals build out their sales territories using spreadsheets, and that gets to the heart of this problem. An inflexible plan is born from an inflexible solution, which is the case when relying on legacy technology for territory planning needs. Spreadsheets are time consuming, hard to digest, and not always up to date.
You need an area to go play around with your data and visualize it in real time. Without Territory Planner, you don’t have a scratch pad to quickly and easily get the whole picture of what your territories could look like in action.
Let’s say you have a few employees leave. With a solution like Territory Planner, you could see what your territories might look like if you hired one, two, three, etc. more people. The same is true for reassessing territories for an employee who’s doing particularly well, or with someone who may be struggling.
Mid-year territory updates being challenging makes sense, really. Carving out sales territories is a difficult enough process as it stands for many, so naturally needing to do it more than once would feel like quite the headache. But if the planning process was simplified right off the bat with the proper tools, then the issue could resolve itself.
Challenge 3: Territory Planning Process Takes Too Long
It’s not surprising that we’ve found a large number of people who think the biggest challenge when it comes to territory planning is the time it takes. Especially when you remember that most people are working inside of spreadsheets.
When you’re working with legacy tech, you’ll always run into this problem. Your data is all over the place, you aren’t sure where the most relevant data exists, etc. Pooling everything you have into one place is the first part of the solution, but you need to make sure you’re choosing the right technology to help.
If the territory planning process is taking too long, and it’s because of mountains of data, you will more than likely benefit from a tool that leans on visualization. With Territory Planner, you can combine all your relevant data into one place and have it come to life on an actual map. The power of data visualization when it comes to digesting information and well-rounded planning is invaluable.
With tools like Territory Planner, there’s no reason for territory planning to take up a massive amount of time. A few clicks to import data, some optimization, and opinions from your key stakeholders is just about all you’ll need to deal with. Of course, making sure everyone is on the same page never hurts.
The Solution: Territory Planner by Ascent Cloud
We uncovered the top 3 challenges when it comes to planning sales territories, and we have an answer for all of them. Balancing from a visual perspective, rethinking your reliance on spreadsheets, and combining all your data into one place will help make the whole process easier. Territory Planner enables you to do just that.
Learn how you can build, balance, and optimize better sales territories by booking a demo with Ascent Cloud today.