Tackling a new territory is something every salesperson does at least once during their careers, even if it’s getting established in the territory they’ll be working for decades.
Many salespeople are regularly sent into a new market as well – having to research new prospects, develop new relationships and sell to new customers every few years.
Regardless of whether opening a new territory is something you do regularly or not, there’s a lot to be learned from how the best have systemized the way they and their sales teams pursue a new set of customers. That’s why we sat down with Jerry Martin to learn how he advises his salespeople in opening up new territories for themselves.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Jerry recommends doing some legwork before turning a salesperson loose on a new territory. First, he says we need to understand the product or service we’re selling and what impact it has on the lives and businesses of the prospect’s we’re targeting.
From there, we can identify likely targets to begin pursuing. Whether that’s achieved through a data buy to create a lead list or relying on old-fashioned research, we’ll start on the right foot in a new territory by understanding how our product or service makes a difference and who, specifically, it can make a difference for.
R – Repeatable: To ensure we’re creating a repeatable system that we can use any time a salesperson opens a new territory, we need to ensure we’re creating a repeatable plan. Jerry says this involves first understanding the sales cycle for the folks you’re pursuing. Are they able to buy immediately or do we have to wait until a contract comes up for renewal before we can sell?
That allows us to build an outreach plan to ensure we’re learning what we need to know today so that we can sell to prospects tomorrow. Building a pipeline like that will quickly allow a salesperson to take a new territory and stand up potential deals in a short amount of time.
I – Improvable: Jerry says it’s important to keep our eyes out for the small changes we can make to fine-tune our outreach in a new territory. That might look like a few more contact points a week or discovering which trade shows prospects may attend in your geography.
Of course, asking senior team members what they’ve done to improve sales when they’re in a new territory will always yield a few ideas to try.
M – Measurable: Jerry says there’s little difference between the things to track for a new territory or an established one. The only difference may be the size of team in play, because new territories seldom have large teams pursuing them.
This means being great at the basics and tracking the leading indicators of success, such as leads entered into our CRM, outreach conducted, meetings set, proposals submitted and closed business.
Opening a new territory doesn’t mean having to re-invent the wheel, if we have great systems to guide us.