Effective sales territory mapping is the key to unlocking your company’s full sales potential. As a sales manager, you know that the more qualified prospects your outside sales reps visit, the more deals can be closed. It all comes down to time equaling money. Your team must be spending as much time as they can out of the workday actually selling.

But, when you are dealing with multiple reps and multiple geographic areas, it can become tough to make sure that is happening as effectively as possible. This is where sales territory mapping comes into play.


Thumbnail of professional woman standing with arms crossed

In this article, we’ll break down exactly what is sales territory mapping, its importance, and how to map territories effectively. As well as some of the top options in territory mapping tools to help you do just that.


What Is Territory Mapping in Sales?


Put simply, sales territory mapping is laying out the geographic areas on a map that each of your field sales reps will be assigned to cover. By creating a sales territory map, you can clearly lay out your sales targets and resources and create a strategy to reach your objectives.

When mapping out sales territories, many different metrics can be taken into account to determine how the territories are divided. Some of these include:

  • Zip codes
  • State boundaries
  • Number of existing customers
  • Number of prospects that meet your target demographic
  • Internal and external factors that will affect your territories

Sales territory mapping, a form of location intelligence, allows you to visualize where your customers and prospects are located, how they are distributed across the target territories, and then how those territories are distributed across your team. Your team then has a clear direction on who is supposed to be covering particular customers and prospects.

Utilizing effective sales territory mapping helps you and your team create a clear, actionable strategy that is evenly distributed. Without it, your sales reps are, in a sense, flying blind trying to determine which customers and prospects to visit and when without any kind of direction. This will very often lead to time and resources wasted.


Illustration of man looking at pins on a map
Source: LinkedIn

The Benefits of Sales Territory Mapping


Data-driven, clear, and effective sales territory mapping creates well-balanced territories. When you have well-balanced territories, you will get the most out of all of your reps, cultivate more opportunities, and get a better understanding of what is effective and what processes need to be tweaked.

You’ll be able to quickly see, for example, if an area is too large or under-served by your reps. In this case, there are too many customers and prospects for your rep to effectively manage and will quickly lead to dissatisfied clients and missed opportunities.

Alternatively, if a territory is too small or over-saturated by your reps, there won’t be enough opportunities to keep them busy. This will lead to money and time wasted and building resentment from the assigned rep who will be struggling to meet quotas.

Well-balanced territories will keep your sales team motivated and meeting quotas, and help your company continue to be profitable and grow. Your reps will want to take full advantage of the opportunities in their territory (and create more opportunities) without overwhelming themselves or fighting against their own team members.


Illustration of a dial reading "sales"
Source: SalesPOP!

Sales Territory Mapping With Google Maps


For a long time, sales territory mapping was done by hand using printed maps and highlighters. Then, Google Maps was the first step in creating electronic versions of territory maps and became the preferred choice for sales territory mapping. You could rely on the geographical data to draw out territories distinctly for each rep to cover.

But in today’s digitally advanced sales environment, solely relying on Google Maps has become the “old school” method and leaves too much room for error.

By using Google Maps as your only tool, you are forced to rely only on geographical data for the territories you want to assign. If you are trying to maximize your sales team’s efficiency and increase revenue this can be problematic for several reasons.

One of the biggest issues is the fact that you can’t pull demographic info of a specific territory from Google Maps to quickly give your reps. Without this information, there is no way to know if the prospects within that territory fit your company’s target profile or demographic. Would businesses or people in that territory even have an interest in your product or service? By relying just on information from Google Maps, you are essentially sending your reps in blind and possibly wasting a lot of time on “prospects” that have very little chance of buying.


Screenshot of Google Maps
Source: Google Maps

Another problem with relying on Google Maps is that there is no way to know exactly how many businesses or prospects are located within a specific territory. Then, there’s no way to balance how many prospects are assigned to each rep per territory and the route planning will be far from optimized.

You may have two reps with the same geographically-sized territories and one rep ends up with an area that has 100 customers and prospects and the other gets half that number. That will quickly end with inefficient time management from sales reps, fewer sales overall, and sales reps that might not feel they have any reason to stay around if they keep getting fewer commissions than others.

Also, with Google Maps, creating specific routes is time-consuming and limiting. Routes have to be determined manually and only a single route can be plotted and completed at a time. This creates even more administrative work for your reps and takes them away from what matters most: selling. A study by Salesforce showed that reps spend an average of 64% of their time on admin and routine tasks. That’s only 36% left for actually selling.

By implementing some effective strategies and automation tools, especially within territory management, just shifting those numbers even slightly in more favor of actually selling will do wonders for your company’s bottom line.


How to Map Sales Territories Effectively

A step-by-step breakdown for starting your sales territory mapping


You know now how effective sales territory mapping can be for your team and your company. But you may still be wondering where exactly do you start? Here is a step-by-step methodology of how to map sales territories that will empower your reps.


Step 1: Evaluate Market Data


The first place to start when starting your team’s territory mapping is to look at your market data. This will help you base your territories on data-driven insights. Evaluate things like what industries you are currently serving, regions that are under or over-performing, location of any competition, etc. You should also evaluate your past sales numbers (from your CRM) alongside this market data.

Taking these things into consideration will help you plan for opportunity and workload, as well as basing the territories on present and future needs.


Step 2: Create Customer Segments


Grouping your customers and prospects into different segments will help you divide opportunities out evenly throughout your reps’ territories. You can separate them into segments by things like geographic location, business size, industry, target demographic, or product/service need.

Use one segment or a combination of customer segments, depending on your business needs, to effectively divide your sales territories.


Illustration representing customer segmentation
Source: LiveAgent

Step 3: Factor in Your Sales Goals and Objectives


Before actually mapping out your territories, you should also factor in your company’s overall sales goals and objectives. This will help give you direction and help ensure the territories you create will provide equal opportunity to meet those objectives.

Look at the goals for sales volume and revenue and how many sales will be needed to meet those numbers. Factor in your sales team’s typical conversion rates and you can estimate how many customers will need to be visited to meet the sales goals. This will help give you a place to start when determining how to divide up customers and prospects.


Step 4: Use a SWOT Analysis


A SWOT analysis breaks down strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When performing a SWOT analysis for your sales territory mapping, you will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your sales reps. You’ll also look at any internal and external factors that could affect the success of your territories.

Strengths: Evaluate the specific skills, strengths, and experiences of your sales reps. Is there a rep that is experienced with large corporate clients?  One who has a background in IT and would be well-suited to clients in the technology industry?

You also want to look at the broad strengths of your sales team and processes as a whole. For example, what part of the sales process does your team really excel at? By factoring in strengths of your process and your sales team you can ensure reps are assigned territories that will work in favor of your sales process while providing equal opportunities and workloads.

Weaknesses: Alternatively, you should also factor in any weaknesses that may be present. In doing this, you can allow your territories to work for you and develop more effective sales processes. For example, are there any leaks in your sales pipeline? Or are there specific areas where your resources are limited? Looking at your weaknesses will help you create territories that minimize your weaknesses.

Opportunities: Looking at and understanding opportunities will help you plan territories with the future in mind.  Are there any under-served regions or untapped markets? Is there a growing demand for specific products or services in an area with less competition? When you are mapping sales territories, factoring in future opportunities will encourage the continued growth of your company.

Threats: The final part of the SWOT analysis is to factor in threats that could be damaging to your territories. Understanding both external and internal threats in your selling environment makes a significant difference. Have there been significant changes in demand in some markets? Are there new industry standards that will cost more time and money? Has there been an influx of competitors in a particular area?


Step 5: Define and Assign Your Sales Territories


You now have your market data, goals, customer segments, and SWOT analysis. Combining all of this will create a data-driven big picture, allowing you to effectively map your territories. When defining these territories, you want to ensure you are creating a balanced plan that will set your team up for success. Some things to consider at this point include:

  • Are the number of accounts in each territory close to even and is it a manageable number?
  • Where are the highest value accounts found?
  • Are there enough potential prospects in each territory for your sales reps to meet their goals?
  • What resources does your sales team need?
  • How will your reps generate new sales leads within their territories?

Map of the United States divided into sales territories by color
Source: Angel Oak Capital Advisors

Once you have your territories defined, you can then assign each territory to a sales rep. Two common ways to do this are by each rep’s location and by their expertise.

If you are assigning territories by the reps location then they would simply be assigned based on the rep’s location within each territory or their proximity to the territory. If you are assigning based on expertise (remember your SWOT analysis?) then you would make the assignments based on matching skills and experience to the needs within each territory.

You can also assign territories based on a combination of both the location and expertise of your reps. This will ensure your customers are effectively being managed while also aligning your team’s abilities with the specific customers and prospects they will be servicing.


Step 6: Continue to Evaluate and Shift as Needed


The important thing to remember is that your sales territories are not a set and forget it system. Once you have drawn and assigned your team’s territories, you should continue to monitor sales data from within each part of your territory design.

In some situations, such as changes in a territory’s demographics, a change in the size of your salesforce, or new competition in the area, you may have to readjust your sales territory plan. This will ensure your territories are continuing to work for you and not against you.


Step 7: Take Advantage of the Right Tools


When it is time to map your sales territories effectively, this is where optimized sales territory mapping software comes in. While it is possible to do your sales territory mapping by hand, or even using Google Maps, optimized territory mapping tools will help lessen the chance of human error, allow you to make data-driven decisions, distribute prospects and customers evenly, and save you and your reps valuable time.

Most importantly, with territory mapping tools you can more easily create and distribute sales territories based on data-driven decisions to optimize efficiency and sales productivity.

Using a sales territory mapping software takes the guessing game out of optimized selling, ensuring that:

  • Your reps are selling to the prospects that have a higher chance of converting with the availability of demographic data in an instant.
  • There is much less chance of great opportunities falling through the cracks.
  • Existing customers within territories are utilized for referrals and upsells.
  • Your reps won’t be crossing into each other’s territories.
  • The territories are balanced for maximum efficiency and opportunity.
  • Your reps are visiting more prospects and reducing windshield time while doing it.

Photograph of tablet and paper with text reading "sales territory plan"
Source: HG Insights

With the abundance of automation tools available to us in the sales industry today, if you are still relying solely on Google Maps as your go-to it is time to step up your territory management game. In using Google Maps for your territory mapping, the lack of data, room for error, and missed opportunities could potentially end up costing you significant time and money in the long run versus investing in effective territory mapping software.

Upgrading your sales territory mapping can be done a lot easier than you think and will quickly get your reps in front of more prospects where it matters most. This equals a happier team overall and means an increase in the company’s bottom line.


Top Options for Sales Territory Mapping Tools


Here are a few of the options available to help you optimize your sales territory mapping and create a winning strategy:


Map My Customers


Map My Customers is an industry-leading all-in-one sales solution built specifically for outside sales reps, bringing together visual sales territory management, sales process automation, and data visualization software into one. Map My Customers saves you valuable time while creating and assigning territories and saves your sales reps an average of 30% in windshield time by optimizing routes for the shortest drive between target prospects. This significantly increases efficiency, profitability, accountability, and the number of deals closed.

Another one of the things that set Map My Customers apart from other platforms is its robust mobile app that syncs with the desktop version, allowing you and your reps to optimize productivity, even offline.

For managers, Map My Customers offers a birds'-eye view of the entire team, allowing you to make informed decisions and optimize your territory management. Via either the web or mobile application, you can easily see your team, their territories, and their daily activities like visits and calls. This provides the ability to coach from afar while making fewer interruptions in your reps' days. Plus, because all the field and territory data is stored in one place, you can onboard new reps quickly.


Image of the Map My Customers territory management function
Source: Map My Customers

Maptive


Another territory mapping software available for field sales reps is Maptive. Once you assign your team their respective territories, your reps can utilize built-in directions tools to calculate the most efficient route between each of the prospects planned for a day. The territory map you created will tell them which prospects they’ll be responsible for in the area and then the route can be quickly optimized within the software to save time.

You and your reps can also create and save routes, which helps to cut down on time spent on administrative work in the office and gets them out selling faster. There are a lot of collaboration abilities within Maptive. Your reps can edit the territory maps as well so they can add their customer insights. If a new lead that falls within their sales territory is identified, they can add it to their map. If the new prospect falls in a teammate’s territory, they can easily pass it along or add it to their teammate’s map.

In Maptive, you can also group geographical areas by worth. The tool can tell you and your reps where the higher probabilities of a sale are and they can hone in on a single area and increase efficiency. This can be done by inputting information like the average or total sales within a specific area. Then, the software will narrow this information down by using its own data about geographical areas to help you target areas proactively.


Salesforce Maps


Many businesses and sales teams utilize Salesforce CRM to maintain all of the important sales data and customer information they need on a day to day basis. What you may not know is that territory management and mapping is also available within Salesforce through their software known as Salesforce Maps.

Within Salesforce Maps, you can quickly and easily define specific territories for each of your reps and ensure that time is being spent where it matters most and to where the best business opportunities lie. You can visually observe sales data on a map-based interface and make location-driven decisions that drive productivity.

This software is great for businesses that operate across state lines or have many prospects within their area. Territories can be divided up by CRM data including geography, new or existing customer, customer revenue, product requirements, or sales type. You can also create optimized routes based on these territories. Reducing windshield time, fuel costs, and ensuring timely-arrival to high-value prospects and clients.

Salesforce Maps also allows you and your reps to optimize a full 7-day schedule with prospect visits prioritized based on Einstein® Score, Pardot® Score, or potential revenue. This ensures sufficient time is spent with the most valuable customers and prospects. Easily view the optimized schedule via exchange-based calendars on mobile or desktop devices.


Image of Salesforce Maps
Source: Salesforce Maps

Geopointe


Another sales data and territory mapping tool that integrates with Salesforce CRM is Geopointe. The Geopointe mapping tool location-enables all of your Salesforce CRM data, allowing you to effectively map your team’s sales territories, apply geography to business processes, and streamline efficiencies. The mobile-friendly platform can also transform your Salesforce data into easy to understand business insights and help you visualize your data geographically.

With its powerful visual editor, you can optimize your territory mapping processes, get geographic insight, and create clean and contiguous territories for your sales reps. These can then be easily assigned and shared across multiple teams through Geopointe’s Automated Assignments feature.

Geopointe can also give you a bird’s eye view of your Salesforce data using advanced visualization and filtering capabilities to identify trends and patterns you may have missed. The platform also helps to automate many of your sales reps’ daily activities, including routing. Your sales team can create optimized sales routes for one day or pre-plan routes weeks or months in advance.


Utilize Effective Territory Mapping to Optimize the Potential of Your Sales Team


Outside sales reps need more than just a map with territory boundary lines on it to truly have the most success. Reps should be armed with demographic data, optimized sales routes, existing customer information, and prospecting capabilities while out in the field. To do this, follow the steps outlined above and go with a mapping platform that allows you to automate as much of your territory mapping and sales processes as possible.

As you can see, there are some great sales territory mapping software options available. In using one of these, you are almost guaranteeing an increase in revenue for your company and a sales team that can sell smarter and more efficiently. Optimize your sales team’s potential today through effective territory mapping!