Charlie and Mapping Sales Territories

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Many companies have a “Charlie.”  He is a seasoned sales rep, who works at over one hundred percent, meets quotas, and is dependable.  Charlie calls on key accounts and hits his numbers consistently.  “Good old Charlie” – sale managers love him...


But, what if Charlie is making those numbers without calling on all prospects in his territory?  Although, Charlie’s sales manager has analyzed his reps’ territories with traditional spreadsheets, could he be missing opportunities for potential sales in Charlie’s three-state territory?


To find out, something more than a spreadsheet is needed. Looking through pages and pages of spreadsheets is cumbersome, time consuming, and doesn’t let management “see” the true sales potential of any given territory.


Map outline of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky with red and blue map points
Looks like Charlie is still missing out on quite a few potential sales. (Blue Circles = Current Customers -- Red Triangles = Missed Opportunities)


Location Intelligence” Displayed Through Mapping

That “something” is “location intelligence,” revealed in a value-adding map.  Not just an ordinary road map, but a multi-dimensional map which is part of a computer-based Geographic Information System (GIS).  This is not surprising because ninety percent of sales-and-marketing data is geographic (such as address, city, zip code, state, phone, and demographics)


Indeed, looking at a GIS map of Charlie’s territory shows that eight out of ten of his clients are within 50 to 100 miles of his home base in Cincinnati.  But over nine out of ten of his prospects are outside his home base area.  Mapping analysis makes it evident that hard-working Charlie is missing potential sales in an undervalued territory.  Perhaps two sales reps are needed in the three-state area.


In addition to displaying the location of customers and prospects, a GIS map can show demographics, such as company size, sales volume, and type of product/service bought.


And a map can be more than just a “data-presentation” device.  It can be a “querying tool” to analyze spatial data such as, “Show me the names of customers and prospects, along with their locations and sales in a particular geographic area, and print a summary table and chart with this information.”


To emphasize the significance of this example, let’s contrast a non-geographic-related query with a powerful spatial query.  A basic spreadsheet query for a list of database customers with, say, sales greater than $x, would be clear-cut.  Now add a simple geographic query, such as a list of customers with sales greater than $x who are located in, say, Ohio.  Because the spreadsheet database would have customers’ sales volumes and addresses, this query would be easy and would not necessarily need a map.


But what if the query is for the names and locations of customers with sales greater than $x and who are located within, say, 5 miles of each of a company’s  branches/stores or Highway I-99?  Although this could be laboriously determined with push pins on a road map and looking up individual items in a database, with mapping, it would be quick and easy.


Adjusting sales territories with mapping is as simple as identifying all of the prospects that are like your “best customers” within a specific geographic area, then moving boundaries as needed, and viewing the report.
A mapping analysis for Charlie’s situation:


  • Determined if the territory could be adequately and profitably served
  • pinpointed areas for greatest opportunity and minimum penetration
  • maximized selling time by minimizing travel time
  • discovered new opportunities before competitors found them
  • concentrated on new sales opportunities while growing an existing customer base
  • focused advertising and direct-mail efforts



When Is It Time for Mapping and Analyzing Your Sales Territories?

Sales managers don’t have to wait until a “Charlie” undervalued-territory situation arises to review territories.  Indicators of such a need include:


-- reps think their territories are unfair
-- a merger or acquisition in which sales forces have been combined
-- territories are over three years old
-- territories are based on sales history, not workload or sales potential
-- a new product launch is shifting market opportunities


Mapping sales territories provides analysis that may uncover problems and opportunities that aren’t currently known unless a database is viewed with a spatial relationship.  And with increasingly fragmented customer marketplaces, a “shotgun” approach is no longer cost effective when you have to understand and adjust to local variations.


If you have a “Charlie” or “Charlies,” consider analyzing their sales territories with mapping.  A picture may be worth a thousand words . . . and a map may be worth thousands of dollars in sales.


Blue and Green Treasure Map with an X
You won't be able to find the additional treasures without the map.

by InfoGrow

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