How to Write a Sales Territory Plan

Today’s post was written by Ron Snyder, president of Plan2Win Software. Plan2Win Software provides territory and strategic account planning apps that run in SalesForce.com. Ron has helped companies improve results in competitive, high-value, complex selling environments.

What are the critical steps in writing a successful Sales Territory Plan?

You may be wondering, “Where do I start?” The key is asking the right questions to harness the insights you need to create a winning plan. Use this checklist as a guide.

1.    Analyze Your Territory/Business

Start with what is going on in your territory/vertical market.

o What are the key trends in your geography/market?
o Who are your top prospects and customers?
o What are customers buying?
o Based on your conversion rates, how much business do you need in your funnel?
o What is the gap between what you need in your funnel and what you have now?

2.    Understand What Drives Customers to Buy

You must understand why they are buying or not buying your products.

o What are the characteristics of your high-payoff customers/prospects?
o Are there verticals that you are winning in more than others? Why?
o What “pain” or business issues do you solve?
o What compelling events drive the purchase?
o Are there specific products/services that you are selling more than others? Why?
o Why do they not buy your products/services?

3.    Clarify Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)

Conduct a SWOT analysis that examines the following:

o What Strengths will you build upon (for example, a unique business model or capabilities)?
o Which Weaknesses do you need to respond to? This includes the strengths of competitive and alternative solutions.
o Which Opportunities in your marketplace will you take advantage of? How do you uniquely meet your buyers’ compelling needs?
o What Threats in your selling environment will you defend against? Consider competitive moves, changes in technology, industry and regulatory standards.
o What is your unique selling (value) proposition

4.    Determine Your Objectives

Consolidate the above trends into a few powerful objectives. Write specific, measurable goals (i.e. “I will add 5 new accounts in this vertical market”).

o Which vertical markets or geographies will you focus on?
o Based on the characteristics of your high-payoff customers/prospects, which accounts/opportunities will you concentrate on?
o What products/services/capabilities do you need to highlight in your plan?
o At your average selling price, how many opportunities do you need to add to your funnel?

5.    Develop Strategies to Accomplish Your Goals

Generate the top strategies to succeed.

o How will you further penetrate current accounts?
o What is your strategy to leverage current successes?
o What will you do to generate new leads?
o How will you improve your conversion rates?
o Where do you need to improve your selling process?

6.    Engage the Resources You Need

Enroll the people and gather the knowledge you need.

o Which internal resources have the skills/connections you need?
o Who inside the account can help you win?
o Are there external resources who can support you (partners, people “in the know”)?
o What additional product/industry information do you need? What sources can provide it?
o How could you improve your selling and territory/account management skills?

7.    Create an Action Plan

List the key tactics.

o What are the high-leverage actions?
o Which resources are needed for each task?
o What are the due dates and key milestones?

8.    Work Your Plan

Use your plan as a guide to proactively produce your intended results.

o Do you take action and fine-tune the plan on a regular basis?
o Are you engaging your management, internal and partner teams?

“It’s not the will to win that matters…everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

–Paul “Bear” Bryant

Creating and implementing a well-thought-out plan greatly improves your probability of success!

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