Unbalanced sales territories are still a lingering problem in most organizations and a primary responsibility of sales operations leaders. With the uneven distribution between workload and opportunity having a direct impact on sales performance, it's time to redesign your territories with a data-driven approach in mind.
During our Territory Carving Webinar, we had two phenomenal panelists from Box and Tealium take a deep dive into their territory carving process, discussing nuanced details about their sales structure and how to achieve fair territory design.
Data-Driven Territory Design
In search of fair and equitable territory design, it's important to be able to evaluate and compare the strength of territories to make minor changes as territories evolve. Doing so requires focusing on data analysis, understanding the criteria that defines territories, and allowing flexibility in your design.
"Our goal was to really drive focus and build fair and equitable territories so that everybody could be successful in the territory that they had. So we started looking at DataFox because we went out looking for better data than what we had in our systems today." - Laurie Schrager, VP of Sales Operations at Tealium
Relying on data-driven territory management has its benefits. It provides ongoing analysis, streamlines efficiency, identifies high-value accounts, and empowers your sales team to work in the right place at the right time. Designing data-driven territories requires a multi-step process - here's how the sales ops teams at Tealium and Box did it.
Territory Design At Tealium
Before their redesign, the sales team at Tealium was split geographically with the first person to claim an account receiving that account. This structure incentivized sales reps to continue building out the number of their accounts without regard to the actual quality of an account. Essentially, existing AEs were hoarding accounts, new reps couldn't get traction, and there was no structure for distributing accounts.
Tealium's new mission was to "be fair and equitable. We wanted everybody to have the opportunity to be successful beyond their quota and overachieve. That meant that everybody needed a fair and equitable territory," said Schrager.
The first step was taking an account-based approach where each company would be represented by an AE. To do this, Tealium needed to match all of their account-level data, which proved challenging. "There's no unique identifier that goes across all our systems, and so the most complicated thing is matching multiple accounts to the same company, especially when you have 35,000 accounts in your Salesforce system. So DataFox was critical in helping me establish that one-to-one matching," recalls Shrager.
The second step was making sure that the sales team was engaging with quality accounts. To do this, Schrager identified criteria attributed to high-value accounts and rolled them up into a score to evaluate the quality of every account. At Tealium, a quality account is an existing customer, has marketing technology maturity, and/or is leading digital initiatives. Account scoring with DataFox is always transparent and controllable. Easily create and apply weights to as many criteria as you'd like and prioritize accounts accordingly.
"We're not building territories based on square footage or landscape covered. We're basing it on the number of accounts that scored high." - Laurie Schrager, VP of Sales Operations at Tealium
Lastly, Schrager defined rules of engagement so that the sales team wasn't holding onto outdated accounts or taking opportunities from new reps. "Strategic AEs have roughly 30 named accounts, Enterprise AEs have roughly 100 named accounts, Corporate AEs have 200 named accounts and the remainder were held by the SDR team - this is really important because we've driven a lot of new opportunity out of our SDR team this year," said Schrager.
Schrager redesigned Tealium's territories based on strategic regions that make sense according to data analysis. The resulting outcome showed boosted performance and a healthier pipeline. While the total pipeline went down after implementation, 55% of pipeline was created in the last 180 days, meaning that aging pipeline was removed and there was more addition of new targeted account pipeline.
Territory Design At Box
Ashlee Redden, Senior Go-To-Market Strategy Analyst at Box, described how the sales team was segmented by company employee headcount and geographical location. This lack of equitable territory design structure caused various problems:
- Balancing a territory based off of the number of accounts an AE is covering was not providing any visibility into the associated workload
- Judging territory quality based on the sheer number of accounts an AE received was inaccurate
- Account ranking was primarily reliant on the AEs ranking their own accounts
- An inflexible model meant that unexpected attrition was not being addressed
Already having an internal scoring algorithm in place, Redden highlighted that "as the sales team grew we knew we needed to get more strategic with our scoring in order to make sure that we were supporting that growth." The primary goal was finding the flexibility needed to redesign territories based on the growth of Box.
With the rapid growth Box was experiencing, the number of accounts an AE held was also increasing because of rigid territory design. This caused coverage to begin dropping, so Redden looked to find a balance between sales potential versus workload. Evaluating this metric meant figuring out where coverage is being driven, how hard it is to sell to different customer types, and what was influencing different amounts of ARR for different regions.
This analysis was responsible for implementing some critical changes. Sales potential was adjusted by creating a segment structure that changed segment lines to drive coverage. Workload was adjusted by creating a new sales organization that aligned selling structures through the entire sales team and supports growth. These changes ultimately provided an adjusted TAM evaluation to consider when redesigning territories.
The new territory design focused on flexibility stemming from ongoing analysis that constantly reevaluated territory strength. Rather than creating rigid geographical regions, the new design accounted for growth of the sales team, prospects' ever-changing propensity to buy, and AE skill sets. This focus on analytics allows Box to forecast changes and prepare in advance by making small adjustments throughout time.
Territory carving is not a one-time process; it should be an ongoing evaluation that prioritizes your sales team's abilities and your top accounts. It's also a time-intensive process! Don't recalibrate every quarter, but make sure you're running analyses and checking data to see if you're solving your top goals, making only minor adjustments and tracking changes.
Learn more about how to carve intelligent and fair territories based on quality account data.
Watch the full Territory Carving Webinar and learn more about the territory management of Box and Tealium.