Territory Management – The Best Way To Run A Business

By Jay Valentine

Territory Management Costs Less, Delivers More and Sales Reps Love It

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A reported 65 percent of all sales reps don’t make quota.

Sales turnover has never been higher.

VC funded B2B companies raise over $100 million yet never find profitability.

Cost of sales for a B2B company often exceeds total revenue.

B2B tech companies are desperately seeking to get revenue up, costs down and VC’s liquid. CRM, Account Based Marketing, sales personas, selling platforms – personalized SPAM; these are the usual candidates virtually all B2B companies try.

Sadly, the results remain the same. Actually, they are getting worse.

Prospects do not want to talk to salespeople. They hate it so much there is a burgeoning industry in technology that flagging incoming calls so sales pests, cold callers and business development reps are kept at bay.

If customers hate this, why does almost everyone do it? Well, because it is what the Sales VP did at his or her last company. It can be measured. It can create a sales funnel and get marketing types some campaign feedback.

It is a major logical fallacy to keep doing what manifestly fails just because it can be measured.

Is there an alternative? Well, for companies who are VC funded, probably not. If you are VC funded, skip to the end.

For those firms who are not VC funded, here is a novel thought.

All this SPAM generation to strangers who may not have any interest in your offerings is an inorganic way to sell. It is the equivalent of tossing grass seed around a parking lot. Even if you are lucky and find a potential prospect, there is zero leverage because that prospect is unrelated to those you have SPAMMED.

Let’s sell technology the way it was sold 30 years ago when our VC friends were in third grade.

Let’s look at selling organically where many, actually most prospect touchpoints have leverage.

Leverage means those interactions touch others and give one a multiplicative result.

Welcome to territory management.

Territory management means a rep owns a territory. The word “owns” is important. He or she has a franchise and their job is to get the most out of it as long as possible.

Sounds pretty obvious. Here is the part that is NOT obvious. They run the business dev for that territory, setting up partnerships. No VP of BD with great hair back at corporate.

The territory manager sets up the territory-level marketing programs. They work to get to an individual, and from that one person, they branch out to others he or she may know. This is organic selling.

Organic means that the territory rep is continually building a cadre of interested parties and is connecting them via a series of clever programs, events, lunches so they reinforce each other in their interest in the technology being evaluated.

By definition, the territory manager is in a territory for years. Think 4 to 5 or more years. They understand in any territory, let’s say Texas to make the point, if you know 50 key people in a specific tech area you can get to almost any buyer with credibility. They find out who those 50 are and get to know them.

See anything different here boys and girls?

The account lists are NOT passed out every December and reps scramble to see who to call. Marketing does not SPAM homogenous messaging to purchased email lists not knowing if any of these people have the slightest interest in a product.

The sales rep uses her or his brain, their gut instinct to leverage one very interested prospect, later customer to bring them others. They are in a successful credibility game when their customers are being leveraged with other interested parties.

If you are a VC funded company, you can skip territory marketing. It takes 6 months to really get going and when you get going, revenue comes in but not necessarily every quarter. Your sales managers will not be able to measure it, nor will they be able to find the reps to actually do it.

If you are VC funded you must, by definition, do things that do not work but can be measured endlessly. Since territory marketing works, but cannot fit into VC funded, transaction sales mentalities, it is almost never tried.

Reprinted from Software Executive Magazine OnLine

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