World Class Territory Design Process Step 3 resized 600


Having analyzed existing customer spend to determine a potential for each customer/prospect segment in Step #2, the next step is to apply this potential to the entire universe of customer/prospects.  Your primary challenge will be acquiring the comprehensive list of customers/prospects your organization could sell to and match your Ideal Customer Profile.

It is important that adequate attention be invested in building this list.  The list must be comprehensive and complete as the goal is to understand the overall market potential.  If you focus too heavily on existing customers or those prospects that are easy to identify, your picture of market potential may be skewed and the relevance of your territory design reduced.  Possible sources of data you will want to consider using to compile a complete list include:


  • Your CRM system (for both customers and prospects)
  • Your organization’s marketing department
  • A list provider (Hoovers, OneSource, Jigsaw, etc)
  • Trade Associations
  • Government/Tax Agencies


When evaluating the list sources and compiling data, there are many considerations to take into account.  For example you may want to include only headquarter locations if your customers buy centrally, or you may want to include all regional locations/branches if your customers buy locally.  When it comes to account assignments and targeting strategies, you may want to understand the family hierarchy or the relationships between subsidiaries and their parents to coordinate selling efforts.  The attributes you found that most closely correlated with customer spend in Step #2, must be included for each prospect as well.  Requirements such as these may help you decide which list source is optimal, or they may require you aggregate multiple data sources.


If multiple list sources are leveraged, the data may need to be standardized and de-duped.  This is a time consuming and tedious process if done manually.  List providers also have services that may make this easier on your team.  It is important not to overlook this step as the quality of the market potential will be determined by the quality of the prospect/customer universe upon which it is based.


With the list built out, it is now time to map each prospect to the proper “segment” and apply the frontier potential from Step #2.  By assigning potential at the prospect level, the data can be cut and/or aggregated at many different levels.  One type of analysis that is particularly useful for a geographically based sales force is a heat map of potential as shown below – the darker the green area, the greater the potential.  As we begin to define territories in subsequent steps, it will be useful to know where the greatest opportunities lie.


Territory Market Potential Heat Map resized 600


On the surface Step #3 may seem simple and straightforward.  While it is light on analysis, it may be a heavy workload when it comes to compiling the universe of customer/prospects.  To help keep the team focused, it is important to define the level of precision required to drive decision making.  If complete accuracy is sought, the team can waste many cycles exhausting list sources with diminishing returns.  World Class companies strive for being able to identify 80-90% of the prospect universe as this optimizes resources while ensuring the territory design is meaningful and relevant to the sales organization


Aaron Bartels

Helps clients solve the most difficult challenges standing in the way of making their number.

He founded Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) with Greg Alexander and Mike Drapeau to help business to business (B2B) leaders make the number. The world’s most respected companies have put their trust in and hired SBI. SBI uses the benchmarking method to accelerate their rate of revenue growth. As an execution based firm, SBI drives field adoption and business results.

His clients describe him as a consultant who:


“Makes transformational impacts on me, my people and my business”


“Solves my most difficult problems that to date we have been unable to solve ourselves”


“Brings clarity to an environment of chaos”


“Has real world sales operations experience making him qualified to advise us on a variety of sales and marketing challenges”


“Is able to spot proven best practices that once implemented will make a material impact on my business”


“Constantly challenges status quo and compels us to act”


“Focuses on execution and driving change to stick in our environment”


“Makes good on his promises while enabling our business to realize his projected results”

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