How to Start a New Sales Territory to Beat the Competition

Start a New Sales Territory in a race to beat the competition

Start a New Sales Territory
Being asked to start a new sales territory is often full of opportunities and challenges.  Successfully ramping up and running a new sales territory is a big responsibility that could make or break your career and your sales team’s ability to meet its targets.  What do you need to do to maximize your success in this new arena?

Start with Strategic Sales Clarity
The key to hitting the ground running as you start a new sales territory is to make sure that you are crystal clear in three sales strategy areas:

1. Territory Success Metrics
Be crystal clear about what defines high performance for your sales territory in terms of revenue, margin, win rate and portfolio mix. Make sure you can identify the two metrics of success that matter most.  Assuming the metrics are fair and achievable, this sets the stage for you to create a sales territory management plan that makes sense.

2. Ideal Target Client Profile
Identify the profile of your best clients where you should win 75% of the time. Target customers who “fit” better than others consistently produce higher revenue, profits, satisfaction and win rates.  Do not make the mistake of trying to win new customers until you know where you should win in terms of industry, size, geography, buyer, and issues.

3. Value Proposition
Once you know how your success is measured and who your best clients are, your next step is to clearly identify what sets you apart from the competition in the eyes of your target buyers. In order to grow your territory, you must be crystal clear about what differentiates you from the competition in terms of price, speed, and/or quality.

Learn As Much As You Can
Once your sales strategy is clear enough, it is time to put your solution selling skills to practice in order to learn as much as you can about your new target customers.  Who are they?  What problems are they facing?  What can you do to help solve their most pressing business problems?   How can you support their success?   When and how do they buy?

How to Gather the Right Information
Depending on the history of your new territory, how you gather this information will vary.

A Successful Predecessor
If you are inheriting this territory from someone who has moved on, do your best to meet with your predecessor so you can learn what they know about existing customers in the territory. Even better, ask them to introduce you directly to their contacts.  Not only is it in your best interest to have a leg up on the customer’s history and needs, it is in the customer’s best interest to have a seamless transition so they are assured they will continue to be well served.

A Poor Performing Predecessor
When you inherit a territory that was poorly served, you have a steeper hill to climb. Meet with the sales manager so you have as complete a picture as possible about what caused the poor performance and what you can do better.   And, if possible, meet with the former salesperson.

Hopefully, they can shed some light on the difficulties they faced so you can anticipate and plan for any likely obstacles.

A Totally New Area
With a brand new territory, you have a great opportunity but also a great challenge. The good news is that you are the one who will create the history here.  The bad news is that you have to hunt for customers and build relationships from scratch.

It is up to you to do research on where the opportunities lie and who to contact first.  Begin with your sales leader.

  • How did they define the sales territory and what potential did they see here for business?
  • What tips and/or referrals can they give you for a head start?
  • What do they know about existing businesses within your new boundaries?

Then go to the internet, your own network, and trade journals for more information and insight.

The Bottom Line
The more you know about how to start a new sales territory, the better your chances of succeeding both in the short- and long-term.  Use all the resources at your disposal and listen well to those who have had experience with your target customers.  With solid information, you will have to rely less on luck but we wish you Good Luck anyway!

To learn more about how to start a new sales territory to beat the competition, download 4 Big Signs Your Sales Territories Need Redesigning

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