When it comes to sales, some might think planning your territories based on geography, and building genuine relationships with your leads is old-school. And while this can vary based on what you sell, recent Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast guest David Sioma demonstrates that this strategy should not be written off—they can in fact lead to exceptional sales success.
A Study in Hyperlocal Sales Success
David Sioma, Regional Area Manager, heads up the Philadelphia-based Balsan Group of HVAC giant Johnstone Supply. This territory is Johnstone’s number one region in sales and continues to experience 50% year over year growth rates.
Sioma’s sales reps are responsible for just 30 accounts each, working in just one to two adjacent counties each, close to where they live.
“I want them to be that hyperlocal. I want them to see their contractors at their grocery store,” Sioma says.
A study of 700 buyers representing $3.1 billion in annual B2B purchases found that those who are most successful in sales make strong personal connections at double the rate of second place finishers. Sioma has implemented that hyperlocal and relationship-based approach, and it’s what has led to their success. He says being this plugged into their communities has helped them check their blind spots and not “miss people right on the same road we’ve been traveling.”
Sioma says his mentors encouraged him to always hear his customers’ narratives, and to “lovingly engage upon another’s reality,” not just treat them like a transaction or a means to an end. He and his reps focus on building genuine relationships with their contractors, not just pop in when they need what they’re selling, make the sale, then never see them again.
Sales Territory Planning Techniques
Whether Johnstone Supply’s hyperlocal approach works for your sales team or not, sales territory mapping—laying out the geographic area your reps will be covering, visualizing your sales targets, and strategizing about how to meet them–is a crucial touch point for setting yourselves up for success. Here are two strategies for territory planning to ensure that reps are distributed geographically and align with relevant market factors.
SWOT Analysis for Territory Planning
Spend any time researching this topic, and SWOT is an acronym you’re likely to come across. It breaks down strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis will help you evaluate your sales reps, and see where strategic openings might be for you on the map.
- Strengths: Analyze the strengths of your sales reps. Is there an industry that each is well-versed in? Or, like Sioma’s approach, are they well-connected where they live, so you can capitalize on that and have them sell into their communities?
- Weaknesses: Likewise analyze their weaknesses, but also any weaknesses in your sales process or pipeline.
- Opportunities: Look for underserved regions or untapped markets. Is there growing demand for products or services in an area with less competition?
- Threats: Look for threats such as new competition.
Once you have some deep knowledge of your customer base, and your team, your goals, your customer segments, and some actionable market data, plan out your territories and make your assignments. You want to assign your reps enough accounts to keep them busy and have a shot at hitting their goals, but not so many that they’re spread too thin or neglecting client relationships.
Geographical Field Sales Territory Planning
Assigning reps based on zip code or drive time from a rep’s base to the customer might not be for every sales team, but it can be very effective. It keeps reps in their home territories, where they know the people, culture, and consumer needs. It reduces travel expenses and time away from family. And it allows for heat map reporting of territories.
Get to know your customers, see them regularly, and enter a relationship-driven sales cycle that includes, as podcast host and Map My Customers Senior Enterprise Account Executive JT Rimbey says on the podcast, “consistent face to face meetings, nurturing relationships, following up, and following through on what you said you were going to do.”
See yourself as in a long-term relationship with your customers. Make them feel they’re more than just an avenue to a profit and may that truly be the case. Invest the time upfront, and it’s likely that over time you’ll recoup the cost and get repeat business when you build genuine relationships.
Yes, Relationships in Sales Are Still Important
The average business loses 20-80% of their customers due to poor customer relationships. The easiest way to grow your business is to not lose business. And the easiest way to retain customers? Invest in genuine relationships with them.“The more trust you build, sales and revenue follows” says Rimbey.
When sales territories are planned out well, accounts and reps will thrive and will drive revenue. And you can supercharge the impact of all this by consistently keeping track of data and your customer needs.
Some think relationship-building in sales is old school, but not so. It’s still a proven effective method, especially if you have longer sales cycles.
So, when planning your field sales territory, assign the right rep to each territory the first time, so there’s not frequent change in reps for your customers. Like the Balsan Group has done by having reps sell into their own communities, you want to build trust and loyalty, and form stable relationships, to reduce churn.
Tune into this episode of the Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast from Map My Customers to learn more. Get the full scoop from David Sioma on hyperlocal field sales territory planning and relationship-building, and see what pointers you and your team can start using this week!