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  • Writer's pictureEric Heine

How to Use Territory Planning to Identify the Path to Quota Attainment, Part 1 of 4

Eight Characteristics of a Sound Unified Territory Planning Process.

It’s an age-old question for B2B sales reps and sales managers, alike: “How am I going to hit my quota?” Surprisingly few enterprise sellers and managers can answer the question with surety and evidence. Instead, many reps and sales organizations rely on past results as an indicator of future performance, gut-feel, hope, and even downright luck to make their numbers. As a consequence, too many quotas are missed, and sales organizations and companies survive on a mixed bag of sales performance, with some sellers significantly missing their quotas, a swath in the middle coming close to target, and a handful of “heroes” saving the year with significant over-quota performance.

We certainly don’t want to disrupt the success of those top performers. But wouldn’t it be great if we could both lift up the performance of those who dwell further to the left on the bell curve, while also gaining greater clarity to how everyone, including the top performers, will make or exceed their bookings quotas? And wouldn’t it also be wonderful to understand what that means for the projected revenue performance of the company at the beginning of the selling year, rather than figuring it out as the year unfolds?

This is where the importance of an effective unified territory planning process comes in, and the best time to start this process is in the several months ahead of the start of a selling year, so come Day One of that new fiscal year, every sales rep is ready to attack their territories vigorously and efficiently.

At minimum, I consider the following eight characteristics to be core to a sound unified territory planning process:

  1. First and foremost, the territory planning process makes the sales rep THINK, deeply, about accounts, product & service mixes, which opportunities to pursue, and more;

  2. A good territory plan enables sales reps to identify the accounts which are most likely to yield the opportunities that will help them attain quota;

  3. The plan allows the sales rep to categorize accounts based on the a set of criteria that will inform the selling approach for each account;

  4. The territory plan helps reps understand what product / service mix they may best try to sell into each account;

  5. The territory plan identifies the specific opportunities a rep believes are available to prosecute within his or her territory;

  6. The plan requires the sales rep to assign some level of probability to each opportunity on the plan, and to do so in a consistent manner across opportunities;

  7. The territory plan calculates quota attainment potential in terms of expected revenue, not just total deal size;

  8. A properly constructed territory plan becomes a living document that answers two key questions -- before the selling year starts, “Can I make my number in the upcoming selling year?”, and, once the selling year is in progress, “Am I still on track to make my number during the remainder of this selling year?”

So, how does a unified territory planning process, and its resulting territory plans, do all of that? We will explore these concepts in more detail in the remaining portions of this four-part series on Territory Planning.

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About the author

Eric Heine, Founder of Growth Point Solutions LLC, draws upon over 25 years experience in marketing, sales, service, and IT leadership to advise C-level executives and boards of directors of growth-stage companies, as well as growth-equity investors, to help organizations develop, refine, and execute the revenue strategies that power significant, sustainable year-over-year growth.


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