Seeing the Forest Through the Trees; Making Sales Data Work for You
Creating a sales map on the right platform allows for constantly updating it with new or revised data. As a result, both sales reps and management can analyze sales performance by simultaneously creating granular and big-picture perspectives. This is invaluable for making strategic decisions.
At AlignMix, a leading provider of sales mapping solutions, we have a unique perspective on this approach. One of our guiding principles is that customers and potential customers are not of equal value to a company. The process of deciding who is more or less important for future growth is the process of Customer Segmentation, also called Customer Prioritization by some companies. The most common customer segmentation mistake is to segment based on current sales. This can result in ignoring high-potential customers. After all, growth is the key to any successful company. Yet managing that growth and maintaining your customer relationships are crucial to the company’s ultimate success.
It is a best practice to segment customers based on sales potential including total market sales for each customer. For example, is there data about the sales effort required to make a sale ratio with the client? In other words, are they categorized on an efficiency basis of ease of sale to time spent in making the sale? If a company has poorly designed or non-existent customer segmentation, then nothing else will deliver as much value in the short term than a well-designed customer segmentation analysis.
Create Your Map and Begin Your Journey
Efficient and effective data analysis begins with planning the map correctly from the outset because any territory mapping software is only as good as the data that goes into it. So as you begin the planning stage it is essential to consider some key elements. To start, what are the company’s strategic sales/revenue goals including both realistic and reach targets? What internal or third party data is available and how it will be used? It’s also critically important to understand how easy (or difficult) it is to use a potential mapping platform.
When starting a new sales territory design project, it’s wise to begin with a predetermined number of sales territories. This number can always be changed in the future, but you need to have initial territory numbers before starting a new sales territory design. You need this number in order to create a sales territory index that allows you to create balanced and optimized sales territories based on the total number of sales territories you plan to create and implement. You can then use the touch align tool to make changes to your sales territories and see in real time how those changes impact the territory index. This type of instant feedback is essential when it comes to sales territory mapping software.
A few other crucial elements to consider are:
- In addition to the initial base number, what territories need to be created, adjusted, merged, or realigned?
- Are their legal, franchise, or affiliate elements to consider when creating the boundaries?
- Understanding your customer through the segmentation process.
- Are your customers virtual, physical, or both?
- Aligning sales reps with the best fit for the territory. What is the current headcount and may this change over time? How will this affect the map and maintain workload balance to avoid cannibalization or potential unfair internal competition?
- Is the territory based on the accounts themselves, on a geographical designation (zip codes, county, etc.), or both? To help with this process, AlignMix has three hierarchical territory levels: Normal, Districts, and Regions.
In addition to the points above, when considering a mapping platform it’s very important to consider whether the platform offers geographic regions with low importance, regions with potential, and does it track older sales areas that may provide new growth? What hidden opportunities exist in the data and how can you discover them? To that end, it’s also important to know what customization options are available for visualization, displaying and understanding the data. While in the planning stage, consider design elements for maps, tables, charts, thematic analysis, etc. In short, will your team understand the data?
Is Sales Mapping Software Easy to Use?
AlignMix is available in two versions. AlignMix Pro in house and AlignMix Pro Consulting. There is a two week trial of the Pro version. The AlignMix Pro Trial is the only free sales (2 weeks) territory mapping solution which comes with up-to-date zip codes, and enables the user to create unlimited sales territories, map your sales reps, sales managers, and sales data. AlignMix Professional has unlimited customer types, can import multiple data series and enables the assignment of territories to districts/regions. Ensuring robust data sharing and exporting options are integral parts of the mapping platform. AlignMix enables you to export maps and Excel reports to create high-impact presentations, and to upload to your CRM system. The two week trial of AlignMix Pro allows you to export your sales territory design to pdf, ppt, kml (which can be imported into Google maps) and Excel, but there will be an AlignMix watermark on the images, and exported Excel files will be missing every other row of data.
No matter which AlignMix version you use, it’s imperative to periodically review the map, it’s alignment and personnel assignments. The attitude should never be “set it and forget it.” This limits the value of the platform and harkens back to the days of the ballpoint pen and printed phone books. Experimentation and tweaking along the way are normal, so don’t hesitate to do so. In order to maintain proper territory management it is important to update the mapping software on a continuous basis so that you make sure you are using the territory mapping software with the most up to date data as possible. However, always consider how your customers and sales reps may react to incremental versus radical change.
The key power features which set AlignMix apart are:
- A simple drag-and-drop interface to load sales, zip code or customer data.
- Visualize customers, sales territories and sales representatives using custom maps.
- Use thematic maps to highlight the geographic hotspots and spot hidden potential in your territories.
- View individual geographic variables using the chart view to highlight the spread across sales territories.
- Group territories into districts (or regions) to show the sales reporting structure.
- Balance multiple alignment objectives by creating a sales territory design index.
- Use the lasso and filter zip codes and account and re-assign to existing sales territories (or to create new sales territories).
- Patent pending Touch-Align capabilities make it quick and easy to change territory boundaries (it’s as easy as finger painting).
- Batch export maps and reports for each territory.
- Export any maps to a high resolution PDF file
- Create zip code maps.
What Story is the Data Telling?
When embarking on a sales territory mapping endeavor, it’s paramount to remember that while there are many automated pieces within sales and marketing, in the end, sales are often based on the company’s relationship with its customers. Ensure that experienced managers and long term employees are part of the mapping project. It should be a collaborative project as territory mapping helps you visualize your team’s activities, now and in the future. In many ways, it is like a good story that’s open to interpretation and invites discussion along the way. In the end, it’s vital that your team understands what the data is telling them and AlignMix makes it a simple, straightforward process.
As your team starts their journey into sales territory mapping they’ll thank you when they discover the incredible insights that it provides. After all, no one wants to find themselves lost in the sales wilderness, and now you can easily lead them out of it.
For more information about how AlignMix can help you, click here.