Fixing Salespeople’s Biggest Complaint: My Territory is Too Small

Have your ever heard a salesperson say “how can I compete, my territory isn’t as good”? As Andris Zoltners says in the Harvard Business Review:

If you spend much time around salespeople, it won’t take long before you hear them griping about the issue that is the profession’s biggest trouble spot: disagreement over the market potential of a group of accounts or a territory.

So, how do your deal with this common complaint? Zolterns suggests focusing on the market potential:

Consider how market potential estimates helped a business within GE that leases over-the-road trailers to trucking, retail, and manufacturing companies. The business had ambitious revenue growth goals, and sales leaders wanted to focus sales efforts on the most attractive opportunities. By using customer profile characteristics (such as fleet size and composition, company size, and industry) to predict customer potential, the sales force experienced a 33% increase in qualified leads in one year. GE also used the information to redeploy several sales territories into more lucrative markets. This allowed the business to grow sales productivity by 7 percent and give back a budgeted $2 million for additional headcount — the productivity improvements allowed the sales organization to meet growth goals without adding people.

via Fixing Salespeople’s Biggest Complaint: My Territory is Too Small – Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer – Harvard Business Review.