Territory Management: A Leadership Perspective
Tim Henning, a Senior Sales Leader, has 25+ years of experience in the medical capital space. He leads sales efforts for Alliance Imaging, Philips Medical, ADAC Laboratories, and DEFINE. He was instrumental in ADAC achieving the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. He has also transformed poor sales performers into winning sales teams and helped them achieve their highest levels of sales excellence.
These are the highlights from an interview Tin did with him about the pay-offs as well as the challenges involved in managing sales territories.
What is the importance of territory management in relation to all the other responsibilities that a sales executive has?
Sales leaders should focus 75% on territory management. This is because it encompasses the strategy and tactics they must execute in order to achieve their goals. Rest is just minutia. Many sales managers would only put it at 10% because they don’t realize how important it can be.
What are your thoughts on the resistance to setting up a territory management system?
It is hard work at the beginning. It’s hard work at first. Those who don’t do it often don’t realize the considerable payoff when they stick with it.
Sales teams can be very short-term-oriented, so management must motivate them to plan for the future.
Sales teams today are so busy responding to digital inputs that they don’t have the time to think strategically and be proactive.
What can sales leaders do differently to support territory management
The territory management process must be managed by sales leaders.
Convince top management, then sales managers, to support the process.
Salespeople should be trained in territory management by the company and accepted that planning and reporting are essential.
They are assisting their team in executing solid territory plans and “leading from the front.”
We are regularly reviewing and managing a territory.
How does a sales leader implement a territory management system?
Create a template and a process for managing territory. It makes it easier for you to create effective sales plans. This can be done by either creating your own template or adapting a commercially available one.
Training on the process, the templates to create and manage plans.
Make sure the territory reports and plans are reviewed by the sales team.
Can you give us examples that demonstrate how territory management has improved sales results?
I sent a new representative to Houston, where there was no customer support or customers. I created a territory plan with her. Her territory was the best-performing in the country for five consecutive years because she worked hard and refined her technique.
If you are lucky, you might even be able to achieve excellent sales results for one year. If you want to achieve sustainable results, however, you need a plan. It should outline how you will keep your existing accounts and create new ones to increase market share. If you neglect either, you will miss enormous opportunities.
Planning has helped me to allocate resources correctly. When I assumed control of our European operation, I conducted an analysis and found that Germany was not in my best interests. I took the resources from Germany and used them elsewhere to help us win in Europe.
Are there any top four tips you have for sales executives or sales managers?
Take the initiative to establish a territory management system and become a champion.
Your sales team and senior management can offer support
You can take the implementation process one step at a while – baby steps will get you to success.
Learn from a mentor who is successful in territory management.