The Ins and Outs of Territory Growth Planning
Often, when a group of sales managers get together, one of the common concerns they express to each other is how few of their salespeople come close to truly meeting their potential…and many are challenged by meeting the goals and expectations that have been set for them. Certainly, this is a big problem in all walks of business, and especially in the selling profession.
But what many of these managers fail to see is their own role in the difficulty. That is, they never fully express what it is they expect their salespeople to do, beyond possibly giving them their financial objective, and most certainly don’t take the time to get the producers’ input on those goals.
When you stop and think about it, that doesn’t really make a lot of sense; you have to have plans for your salespeople if you want them to achieve those plans. That’s where territory growth planning comes in.
Sometime in the near future, sit down with each and every one of the salespeople on your staff, and make a set of goals that you mutually agree upon. These should be more than simple sales figures. Make sure you note the number of target accounts you both believe can be opened, the number of prospecting calls you want them to have completed, etc. Although a lot of sales managers never even go that far, it’s not nearly far enough. You can’t just verbalize the sales goals, or have them written on a piece of paper. To make them into reality, you have to follow up.
For that reason, we recommend having a meeting every once in a while, every three or six months for example, specifically geared towards territory growth planning. In this meeting, you let each of your salespeople formally present their plans for meeting their goals. In other words, you asked them to explain exactly how they are going to meet the goals that the two of you have set together.
And then comes the easy part: every few months, you get together to review progress on their plan. This isn’t new advice, per se; as the old adage goes: “inspect what you expect.” But what makes it different, and what’s so hard for a lot of sales managers to accept and understand is that, over time, your salespeople will actually start to look forward to these meetings. Why is that?
Because they aren’t concerned with you asking them to do something anymore – they already know what’s expected. Instead, they’re looking to you for help, feedback, and encouragement to keep making progress.
Sales reviews are only stressful, for you or your salespeople, when they don’t know what to expect, or don’t have the tools to meet the quotas that have been set for them. Bear that in mind and make territory growth planning meetings a regular part of your sales management routine.
It might be a little different than what you’re used to at first, but you’ll be surprised at what sort of difference they can make.