Between sales kick-off season approaching and another year beginning, there’s a lot of talk about self-sourcing pipeline, prospecting strategies, and territory planning. Even with all the great technologies and big thinkers available to us, I believe there’s nothing better than old school, back to basics, territory planning and prospecting. Now take it to another level and think about what would happen to your business if every seller documented their own territory plan and then video recorded a short and thoughtful five minute version of it? We call this the “Five Minute Territory Plan.” Contrary to what you’d think, if it’s short, relevant, and accessible, feedback is very, very positive:
“I’ve found recording my territory plan to be such an illuminating experience. It helped me identify gaps in my strategy, evaluate what I was saying and why I was saying it. I feel I’m better for it and looking forward to doing more”. – Ben
Turn territory planning into an illuminating experience for your sales teams by making everyone part of the process and accountable for results. I believe our quota carrying, revenue generating sales executives need to own self-sourcing pipeline. Territory planning is the way to reinvigorate it. Here are the secrets to making “territory planning and prospecting” a revenue generating peer activity appreciated versus criticized. 1) Have vision and leadership to make it part of the sales culture.2) Make territory plans relevant, short, and accessible to share best practices. 3) Do territory planning quarterly or even monthly.
Vision And Leadership Make It Happen
Companies that embrace the idea of video recording territory planning on a regular basis, with peer reviews, are seeing tremendous increases in self-sourced pipeline and improvements in new hire time to ramp. Think about it. Imagine if every new hire had access to stack-ranked video recordings of territory plans grouped by tenure. What would happen to your team’s time to first deal and time to ramp metrics? The power and value of crowdsourcing is incredible. We all know that some of us are great at planning and others aren’t so great. Making territory planning a team sport is a chance to get everyone to learn how to plan like those who do it best. It takes vision to turn crowdsourcing territory plans into culture. It takes work to align teams on expectations. It takes discipline to make it stick.
Make The Plan Relevant, Short, And Accessible
Here are the basics of a territory plan proven to create pipeline and generate revenue fast. Share a territory planning template that’s relevant and short. Document the facts of the territory and goals in the first slide. Turn the territory plan into a business review.
What’s my quota?
What’s my quota stretch goal?
What’s my closed business YTD?
What’s my gap?
How much pipeline do I have today?
What’s my pipeline gap?
What are my goals for the year?
Then, move into top accounts. In one slide, list out the names of the top accounts and explain why they are chosen (relationships, industry fit, target profile). For each, in one sentence, be clear and focused on the outreach strategy. On a third slide, create an opportunity map and make sure opportunity plans are thorough. It doesn’t take much to know if there is a plan in place. What’s the compelling event? Why now? What’s the strategy to engage with a champion and economic buyer? What’s the mutual success plan? Why no? We’re not doing deep detailed reviews. Finally, for the last slide, close out with strategies to build pipeline. Don’t forget that here in Silicon Valley, we’re living in a 3X or even 5X pipeline ratio world. Putting “pen to paper” on these territory stats makes it super clear what needs to get done to earn a spot on the beach celebrating club. That’s the flow of the five slide and “Five Minute Territory Plan” template.
Territory Planning Cadence
Given the template is short, forward thinking leaders are building monthly and quarterly territory planning cadence. The short plans get sellers to focus on strategy and execution versus too much time filling out slides that aren’t relevant. We want to see more sellers take the time to be thoughtful about their plan and business. What I love most about this process is getting everyone to limit their territory planning to five minutes. Less is more. Less slides and less words is hard. We’ve learned when territory planning video recordings are five minutes or less (and accessible), sellers will invest the time to watch up to fifteen peer territory plans. Let’s push ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and answer the question what do we have to do to achieve greatness?
What are your plans to make territory planing a revenue generating and best practice sharing activity?
Take a look at Apttus’ former Head of Global Enablement, Aaron Farley discuss territory planning and running quarterly business reviews.
Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.
Based on my experience leading Sales Productivity at Salesforce, accelerating revenue from $300M to $3B, we’ve packaged our proven methodology into SalesHood, helping client after client achieve record breaking revenue growth.