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What Is a Sales Territory Map?

David Gargaro
David Gargaro

A sales territory map represents geographic data, including current and potential customers, to determine the locations your sales reps should focus on.

Mapping out your sales territory is a key way to reveal your sales team's full potential. Your reps' ability to close more deals is closely tied to the number of qualified prospects they can win over. To do that, they should spend as much time as possible actually selling (i.e., not doing administrative work or traveling too far to customers and prospects). This can be a challenge when dealing with multiple sales reps and large geographic areas. One solution is to create sales territory maps.

What is sales territory mapping?

Sales territory mapping involves creating geographic areas on a map and assigning those areas to field sales representatives. This enables you to define sales targets and resources and create sales strategies for achieving specific objectives.

You can use a number of metrics to map your sales territories, including

  • ZIP codes
  • State boundaries
  • Number of current customers
  • Number of prospects within a target demographic
  • Internal and external factors related to sales territories

With sales territory mapping, you're able to visualize the locations of your customers and prospects, their distribution across target territories, and the distribution of the territories across your sales reps. This tells your sales team who is responsible for covering specific customers and prospects within specific geographic areas. You're also able to create and implement an evenly distributed and actionable sales strategy, which will make more efficient use of your sales reps' available time and resources.

What are the benefits of mapping a sales territory?

Mapping sales territories has several key benefits, including

  • Maximizing the capabilities and resources of your sales reps

  • Creating more sales opportunities for sales reps

  • Increasing your understanding of effective sales processes

  • Identifying which sales processes should be amended

  • Highlighting which sales areas are too large or that are being underserved, thereby preventing missed sales opportunities and the potential for dissatisfied customers

  • Identifying sales areas that are too small or oversaturated, which prevents wasted time and resources

  • Keeping sales reps motivated and able to meet their quotas

  • Supporting the profitability and growth of the organization by maximizing sales opportunities 

FYIFYI: Implementing sales territories can maximize your team's efficiency while improving how you market to your target audience.

How to create a sales territory map

Use the following methodology to effectively create sales territories that provide ideal results for sales reps in the field.

Step 1: Analyze market and sales data.

Begin by analyzing your market and sales data to map your sales territories. The best CRM systems should provide you with the market and sales data you need. Your analysis should include

  • Current industries and markets being served
  • Under and overperforming regions
  • The geographic location of competitors
  • Past sales numbers in different areas

Step 2: Segment customers and prospects.

Group customers and prospects into different segments according to relevant criteria. For example, you can segment customers and prospects based on

  • Geographic location
  • Business size
  • Industry
  • Target demographic
  • Needs by products or services

Using segmentation helps you divide potential opportunities more evenly among your sales reps' territories. You can use one customer segment or combine multiple segments to more effectively map sales territories to your reps.

Step 3: Consider sales goals and objectives.

Use sales goals and objectives to guide how you create sales territories. This helps ensure that sales reps have equal opportunities to meet those goals.

To equitably divide customers and prospects among sales reps using sales goals and objectives

  • Set goals for sales volume and revenue.

  • Calculate how many sales are required to meet your goals.

  • Use your sales reps' average conversion rates to estimate how many customers they must contact to meet the goals.

Step 4: Perform a SWOT analysis.

Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify sales reps' strengths and weaknesses, and determine internal and external factors that could affect their success in different territories. Here's what you should include in your SWOT analysis.

  • Strengths: Evaluate your sales reps' strengths, skills and experiences. Examine the sales teams' overall strengths and which processes work well.

  • Weaknesses: Evaluate individual sales reps' weaknesses in different areas (e.g., education, experience, ability to close sales). Also, look for areas within your overall sales teams and processes to determine where you can minimize weaknesses in different territories.

  • Opportunities: Look for opportunities for future growth in current and potential sales territories. This can include determining which regions are underserved or untapped and whether there is increased demand for specific products or services in areas that lack competitors. 

  • Threats: Look for internal and external threats that affect results in different sales territories. This can include significant changes in market demand, new industry standards and regulations, and an increase in competitors in certain regions.

Step 5: Define and assign sales territories.

Use the accumulated data to map your sales territories. The goal is to develop a fair and balanced plan that provides the greatest chance of success for your sales team. Use the following criteria to help with defining sales territories:

  • Are the account numbers in each territory relatively even?
  • Are the account numbers manageable?
  • Where are high-value accounts located?
  • Do sales reps have enough prospects in their territory to meet sales goals?
  • What resources does your sales team need?
  • How will sales reps generate new leads in their territories?

After defining the sales territories, assign each territory to a sales rep. The most common ways to assign a sales rep to a sales territory are by their

  • Geographic location (i.e., the sales rep is within or physically close to a territory)
  • Expertise (i.e., the sales rep's skills and experience suit the needs of customers or prospects within the territory)

You can also assign territories using a combination of the two. This increases the likelihood of aligning sales reps' skills and abilities with the needs of customers and prospects.

Step 6: Evaluate and adjust your sales territory map as needed.

Sales territories are usually not permanent, as many factors can change over time that affect the profitability of each territory (e.g., demographics, size of your sales team, entrance or departure of competitors). Continue to monitor sales data for each sales territory. Determine why sales data has changed in a specific territory, and then adjust the sales territory plan to address those changes. This helps maximize the effectiveness of your sales territory, and it helps sales reps to be more efficient in their sales activities.

Did you knowDid You Know: Proper territory mapping starts with analysis around your customer and market data, your business goals and KPIs, and your company's strengths and weaknesses.

Tools to draw a sales territory map

Optimized sales territory mapping software helps sales managers make data-driven decisions to create and evenly distribute sales territories among sales reps. These technologies also automate many territory mapping and sales processes to help reduce human error (which can occur when mapping territories by hand) and save time in the sales territory-mapping process.

Sales territory mapping software also benefits your organization through its ability to

  • Optimally balance territories for efficiency and opportunity

  • Use current customers within territories to create referral and upsell opportunities

  • Provide instant demographic data on prospects, increasing your sales reps' ability to convert prospects

  • Reduce the probability of overlooking hidden opportunities

  • Prevent sales reps from infringing on other sales reps’ territories

  • Eliminate time-consuming tasks, such as manually plotting out routes to visit prospects

  • Ensure sales reps spend most of their time visiting and converting prospects and less time driving

Some specific software you may want to consider using include the following solutions:

Geopointe

Geopointe uses Salesforce CRM data to optimize territory mapping processes, create geographic insights and create contiguous territories for sales reps. The Automated Assignments feature enables sales managers to assign and share territories across multiple sales teams.

Map My Customers

Map My Customers is a mobile workflow tool that simplifies sales teams' day-to-day activities. Sales teams can use the mobile interface to map, route, plan, automate and track their day. Sales managers can use the team management functionality to remotely coach sales teams, as well as visualize sales reps' performance and activities on the map.

Maptive

Maptive provides built-in directional tools that reps use to find the most efficient route between prospects. The territory mapping software indicates the prospects that sales reps are responsible for in the area and provides optimized routes for visiting them. It enables users to create and save routes, edit territory maps with customer insights, add new leads to sales territories, and pass along prospects who fall into another sales rep's territory.

Maptive highlights group geographical areas by worth. Sales managers and reps can increase sales efficiency by identifying areas with higher probabilities of a sale. The software combines input sales data (e.g., average or total sales within a territory) with its data on geographical areas to proactively target areas within territories.

Salesforce Maps

Salesforce CRM enables businesses to store and organize key sales data and customer information. Salesforce Maps provides territory management and mapping within the main software. It supports the ability to define specific territories for sales reps, visually observe sales data on the map-based interface, and make location-driven decisions to improve productivity. The software allows for the division of territories using CRM data (e.g., geography, current or new customers, revenue, product requirements, sales types). You can also use it to create optimized routes to reduce drive time and fuel costs.

Sales managers and reps can use Salesforce Maps to create and optimize a seven-day schedule for visiting prospects. Visits can be defined according to various metrics (e.g., Einstein Score, Pardot Score, potential revenue) to maximize time spent with the most valuable customers and prospects. Users can use mobile or desktop devices to view schedules on exchange-based calendars.

Using Google maps to draw your sales territory

Google Maps was one of the first electronic versions of territory maps used for sales territory mapping, replacing the traditional method of using a highlighter to draw on physical maps.

However, relying solely on geographic data will limit the effectiveness of your sales territory mapping. Using Google Maps alone prevents you from maximizing your sales reps' efficiency and helping them to increase their revenue, due to the following drawbacks:

  • You cannot provide sales reps with demographic data for a specific territory. As a result, they won't know if prospects in that territory fit the target customer profile or demographic. Sales reps could be wasting their time on prospects who have no interest in buying your products or services, which can reduce their sales numbers.
  • You do not know how many businesses or prospects are located within a territory. This prevents you from balancing the number of prospects assigned to sales reps for each territory. While you might be able to assign territories of the same geographic size, one territory could have significantly more customers and prospects than another. This can reduce the efficiency of sales reps' performance and route planning, the total number of sales, and the number of commissions, which affect the likelihood of sales reps remaining on your team.
  • Google Maps has limited ability to create specific routes. It is time-consuming because you must manually create routes, and you can only plot and complete one route at a time. You cannot combine routes, and you won’t always find the most efficient routes when working on one route at a time. This means sales reps spend more time doing administrative work in creating routes, as well as more time driving, and less time selling.

Examples of sales territory maps

You can see example of sales territory maps at

Image Credit: Vadym Pastukh / Getty Images
David Gargaro
David Gargaro
business.com Contributing Writer
David Gargaro is a content writer and copy editor with more than 20 years of experience in multiple industries, including publishing, advertising, marketing, finance, and small business. He has written on B2B-focused topics covering business technology, sales, marketing, and insurance. David has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Actuarial Science from the University of Toronto. He served as the managing editor of a small publishing company, and self-published a book called How to Run Your Company… Into the Ground.