The Manager’s Guide to a New Sales Territory Plan
If you are a sales manager who has just been assigned to a new sales territory, it is crucial that you act quickly to turn performance around. When a sales territory is assigned a new manager, it is almost always because the old manager had been following a set of tracks heading straight towards inefficiency and sales disaster. This means that the status quo has not been working, and it is going to be up to you to turn the train around, establish a working sales methodology, and start your territory onto the road to success.
In order to make this happen, you need to act quickly and correctly during your first 90 days as manager. The six steps listed below are the first things you should do. 1. Don’t listen to anyone!
This is only a slight exaggeration. Of course you want to listen to your sales reps, but you need to take everything that they say with a grain of salt. You need to form your own opinions and estimations about where your sales territory stands, and where it needs to go. Since each of your sales reps are going to have an ax to grind, it’s best to form your own analysis rather than depending on hearsay.
2. Go out on the road with every sales rep within the first 30 days.
This is a great opportunity to form your own opinions about the productivity of each of your team members. You will be able to see them directly in action with clients and gain an estimation of their strengths and weaknesses. This is also a great opportunity to let your sales reps get to know you. Let each of them know that you are on his or her side. Once your reps are at ease, this makes it easier to help them find ways to improve.
As a rule there are four categories of reps.
- Chest pounders. These are people who come to you on the first day and brag about their achievements.
- Complainers. People who spend their time complaining about clients and coworkers.
- Excuses guys. People who always have an excuse for not performing.
- Business professionals. These are the pros who have everything in line.
What you want to do, is figure out which of your reps fit into each of these three categories. Keep people who are in category #4 and either help the others to reform or make plans to let them go.
3. Have a formal session with each rep within the first 90 days.
In order to really know what’s going on, you need to have a formal meeting with each of your reps. This will continue to help you form opinions about them. Find out if they know how to properly deal with customers and get as much information about their individual practices as possible.
4. Assume that all business in the forecast is bad.
You really need to imagine that you are starting from the ground up. You have no guaranty that the territory you are inheriting has the value assigned to it by the former manager. Come at everything with skepticism and take nothing for granted. If you ascertain the value of your territory independently from past predictions this will make it possible to establish realistic goals for your sales territory and to meet those goals consistently.
Do you feel like you need more information about establishing sales goals and boosting sales? Then it’s time to get educated! There is plenty of information both on- and off-line that you can tap into about maximizing your sales potential and correctly ascertaining the value of your sales territory. The Sales Roundup Podcast is one excellent resource that you can tap into for free.
5. Fill all open positions first.
This is the most important thing to do when you inherit a new sales territory. This should take first priority even over closing deals. Get competent people into those positions as soon as possible.
6. Develop a replacement strategy for any bad eggs within 90 days.
It goes without saying that you need to let any sales reps go who are not performing up to standard. Just make sure that any open positions are filled first. Once this is done, you can start weeding through and getting rid of people who are limiting your sales success.
As a sales manager in a new territory you need to follow these steps and follow them quickly. Every day that goes by is money lost if you don’t take the proper steps in an efficient manner.
This post was inspired by the SalesRoundup Podcast episode titled “Ten tips to a territory turnaround plan”
Mike & Joe