A sales organization’s ability to meet or exceed quota depends on the sales manager’s ability to execute. From hiring sales reps to territory planning, creating compensation plans, managing expenses, conducting sales meetings, and training the team, a manager’s role calls for experience and the right tools.
For quite some time, CRM was the tool for sales managers. And it still is a central piece of the sales technology puzzle. CRM is good for forecasting purposes and to get detailed reports on sales opportunities and sales rep activities. But CRM isn’t meant to do a good job with all of the many tasks involved in managing a sales organization. So now, there’s a vast universe of products and services outside of CRM that can offer additional support to a sales manager’s job.
If you don’t assign territories based on account or company name, you likely assign them by geography and/or industry. In either case, it requires a mountain of data — and the time to analyze it — to align and optimize territory assignments. There’s a lot at stake. Making sure that reps have equal opportunity and equal responsibility can be difficult at best. And if unsuccessful, it can have a devastating impact on morale and revenue. Territory management goes beyond the once-a-year evaluation and re-alignment. It may need to be done throughout the year based on business events. And, if you’ve just launched a new product, it might be prudent to rethink your reps’ assignments.
Likewise, if you’ve changed your market strategy, added to (or downsized) your sales organization, or if you will be acquiring or merging with another company, you will also have to reassess the assignments for your sales force. If you rush to realign in the face of these events, your entire revenue plan could be at risk.
The tools available for territory management and optimization include TerrAlign, RegioGraph, AlignStar, and ProAlign.
TerrAlign e-Map is a Web-based tool that allows users to manually move geography and/or accounts via a map interface and view the possible impact of the new alignments. With the ability to analyze territories by zooming and scrolling maps, adding roads, boundaries or other reference layers and accessing customer data, sales managers can reassign accounts and/or geography between territories and print maps and reports – all from a browser. And it eliminates the hassles of assigning all ZIP Codes and accounts by hand.
TerrAlign e-Map appears to be aimed squarely at companies with a lot of feet on the street.
TerrAlign does not reveal its pricing publicly.
GeoMarketing, maker of RegioGraph, provides integrated solutions including software, digital maps, market data, and consultancy services. With RegioGraph, you can do customer and market analysis and sales territory and salesforce optimization.
You can import your own customer and prospect data into this system and it will give you a visual push-pin map of their locations and other data points you’ve provided, such as turnover. RegioGraph automatically plans, optimizes, splits, expands, and evaluates your external sales force structure based on the criteria you specify — e.g., turnover volume and drive-time accessibility.
It seems like a complicated program, but they say it’s designed for easy use by business people with no geomarketing experience.
RegioGraph prices range from $1,485 to $6,675.
AlignStar is a software tool designed for businesses that need to manage, optimize, analyze, align, or realign territories. It combines features used in designing territories together with a database, mapping technology (GIS), reports, thematic analysis, drive time information, territory diagnostics, analysis, and state-of-the-art optimization algorithms.
AlignStar is designed for sales managers with a direct sales force, distributors, and/or resellers. Therefore, it can be used to optimize multiple sales forces or distribution channels. It also can accommodate fixed sales regions, protected areas, and individual account exceptions such as national accounts, house accounts or field specialists.
It offers four editions:
- AlignStar Small Business Edition is designed for simpler applications with up to 25 territories.
- AlignStar Corporate Edition is designed for businesses with fewer than 50 sales reps.
- AlignStar Enterprise Edition includes additional functionality and is intended for businesses with more than 50 territories.
- AlignStar Field Edition is designed to be used in conjunction with the Corporate or Enterprise Editions. It gives field sales managers the power to make changes to territories, print maps and reports, perform “what-if” analysis and send any alignment changes back to the home office via e-mail where they can be approved and integrated into the master document.
In addition, the company now offers AlignStar Online. However, it doesn’t appear to be a true Web-based application. Instead, it facilitates the ability for remote users to review the “headquarters” data which is housed on (and requires the purchase of) one of the AlignStar editions.
AlignStar pricing starts at $2,295.
ProAlign software combines database, mapping, reporting, and graphics, plus optimization algorithms to help you make territory decisions that will improve sales productivity. ProAlign Web provides secure access for authorized sales management to create, view, and propose changes to territory alignments online via a Web browser. Its remote access facilitates collaboration which in turn can shave weeks off the process of developing complex sales territories.
ProAlign comes with a comprehensive data set you need for sales territory balancing, including boundaries for states, counties, ZIP Codes, MSAs as well as highways, roads and city streets. Custom data sets are available.
With ProAlign you can start by analyzing your existing data, which may include your current sales organization hierarchy, your sales reps, customers, prospects and existing territories. A geocoding process then checks for address errors and corrects and updates the database.
The data then gets overlaid onto a map and is aggregated into charts and tables for easy analysis. Then it’s time to add additional data points such as current revenue, forecasted revenue and lead quantities.
The result is a series of maps, charts and reports that provide a “lay of the land.” This first step is invaluable, surfacing inequitable or illogical territories and oversaturated or underserved areas.
The second step of the ProAlign system is building a pro forma territory alignment. Scenarios can be played out based on various criteria such as:
- Revenue potential for each territory
- Number of accounts or workload per territory
- Number of territories required or desired
- Proximity of sales reps to customers and prospects in each territory
The third step is to optimize the pro forma models. ProAlign Territory Optimizer is an optional add-on to ProAlign Web and optimizing territories isn’t necessary for everyone. Territory optimization is used to calculate what the most compact territories are in terms of geography and accounts and what would result in more balanced territories in terms of workload or other factors.
ProAlign Desktop and ProAlign Web (which includes Desktop) start at $6,000.
Nancy Nardin founded Smart Selling Tools after a prestigious career in high-tech and IT market research sales. She is considered the leading expert on sales productivity tools.