Effective sales management must include the ability to harness each individual salesperson’s best traits and leverage those to build and maintain a strong customer base. If they fight amongst themselves, productivity and team cohesiveness suffer.
Various issues can cause conflict between salespeople. Simple competitiveness, perceived favoritism and a bigger office are a few of the many prompts for tension or argument. None of these, however, match dealing with the minefield of selling in the same geographical territory.
Before management throws up their hands and splits the territories geographically for the sake of eliminating an account tug-of-war, consider these ways sales can share the same territory without stepping on each other’s toes.
Keep in mind each of these strategies requires a thorough examination of each salesperson’s key strengths and abilities, as well as a deep understanding of the company and the product or service being sold.
1. Split it up by vertical
For the companies that have customers operating in different industries, this is a viable option. Perhaps one of your sales reps is strong with manufacturing clients, while another one excels at working with healthcare customers. Sharing a geographical territory in this manner still offers the advantage of drawing clear boundaries, which assists in keeping the chances of sales run ins and conflicts low.
Way to make it work: When a company targets buyers in a variety of verticals, especially within a small geographic region, splitting customers by industry category is a productive way to dole out the opportunities.
2. Divide it by size
According to Marketing Tech Blog, more than half of salespeople perform at under a 40% close rate. Some of this could be due to different salespeople performing better with various accounts. For example, one person could thrive with mom and pop shops, but struggle with large, corporate companies with multiple decision makers and long buying cycles. Another salesperson may not feel challenged with smaller accounts, but be energized by the “moving and shaking” of professional demonstrations and in-depth selling that goes into enterprise sales.
For these scenarios, splitting up territories by prospect size offers the perfect solution. One or more salesperson would handle the small and medium accounts, while others woo the large, enterprise accounts.
Way to make it work: Set up different sales quotas and expectations, depending on the type of salesperson. The salesperson targeting small accounts may need to open a large number of accounts, while the enterprise salesperson’s goals may be a smaller number of accounts, but a much larger dollar amount over the course of a year.
3. Segment by sales cycle task
Predictable Revenue estimates that sales reps who function in shared territories spend 20-30% of their time holding ownership over inactive leads and accounts. Reduce this time waster by using a task-based system.
A hunter-gatherer approach is a strong way of accomplishing this, which calls for the salespeople to work in teams. One of them hunts down new prospects, begins the conversation, and the other one handles the product demo and closes the sale. With each of them playing to their strengths, the sales cycle shortens, the closing ratio increases and the instances of conflicts are minimized.
Way to make it work: Analyzing the strengths in each team member, and assigning the tasks correctly are key for this to work. Strong, two-way communication is required, both with management and between the salespeople.
4. Divvy it up by lead type
It is becoming more common for leads to be mined from inbound marketing. Lead generation type is a powerful way to divvy up the potential clients. Perhaps one sales rep receives the inbound leads, while another works on trade show leads, and a third uses cold calling, networking and social selling. Again, it is all about playing to each sales rep’s individual strengths.
Way to make it work: This solution is successful for businesses that enjoy many leads from different sources.
These territory sharing concepts each have their unique benefits and offer specific types of rewards. Not all of them work with every industry or every size business. Whichever approach you choose, make sure it fits within the overall strategic sales focus of your company. Also, it is imperative to foster a team-oriented environment among your salespeople to maximize performance as well as job satisfaction.
Get salespeople to buy-in with the particular arrangement you choose and you will have a sandbox full of productive, high-performing reps who are excited to prospect, engage leads and close sales.