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Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Sales Territory Management

December 2013 By Bill Farquharson, TJ Tedesco

The holiday season is here, and while not all of us celebrate Christmas we can all agree on one thing: Santa Claus is the world's best sales territory manager.

Think your authors have been dipping into the holiday eggnog a little early? Consider the tremendous territory challenge that Santa faces. Not only does the old guy have to visit millions of houses all over the world, he has to deliver the right toy to every kiddie. And he does it all in one night. You thought your territory was tough!

How does Santa do it? Simple: He keeps going until everyone has a present, no matter how tired his reindeer get. And he never sacrifices quality for quantity—he's always prepared with the right presents for the right kids.

In other words, Santa combines the best aspects of the old and new schools of selling. The old school says "knock on doors until your knuckles bleed," while the new school says "prepare properly and offer customized information on every sales call." As Santa shows us, both approaches are essential for effectively covering your territory.

You will sell more if you make more of the right types of sales calls. Period. Here's a territory management guide to help you do just that, inspired by lessons from Jolly Old Saint Nick himself.

Step 1: Determine How Many Calls You Need to Make. Santa never leaves the North Pole without knowing how many houses he needs to visit and how long he should expect to spend at each. Since kids on his nice list get more presents, for instance, they require longer visits. Knowing how much time will be required to finish his route helps Santa plan out his night to ensure every house gets presents.

Similarly, begin your territory management planning by determining how many calls you need to make in a given year. Divide all your sales calls into A customers, A prospects, B customers and B prospects, and figure out how many calls you should make to each batch. Here's a quick exercise to help you do this.

A Customers—Let's assume you have five "A" customers, and that you need to see them once a week on average over the course of a year. This means these five customers will consume 250 calls per year (5 clients x 1 visit per week x 50 weeks = 250).

 

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