Is Your Territory Plan Truly Customer-Centric?

Is Your Territory Plan Truly Customer-Centric?

…or just convenient for your company?

Territory planning might seem like a straightforward task, but it’s fraught with complexities that many organizations overlook. When done well, territories empower you to get the right resources on the right opportunities. However, many companies miss the mark on this. Two common missteps include misaligned segmentation and carving territories for seller convenience rather than the customer journey.

It seems obvious that the customer journey should be first and foremost in your territory planning process. So why do organizations make these mistakes? Teams often default to familiar segmentation or use an ‘industry standard’ that doesn’t fit their customers. Such seller-centric territories prioritize company convenience over customer needs. We’re not here to shame Ops teams that make these mistakes; without a doubt, Ops is often seriously under-resourced. Plus, it’s understandable that sometimes the optimal territory structure simply isn’t feasible given your constraints.

With all this in mind, this blog will guide you through assessing your current territory planning approach. We’ll explore seven critical areas of planning, discussing potential missteps where organizations might prioritize their convenience over customer needs. Alongside each topic, we offer questions to prompt introspection and suggest best practices to ensure a customer-centric focus.


  • Geographic Planning: Border Bound or Buyer Bound?
  • Quota Calculations: Simple Division or Strategic Decision?
  • Resource Allocation: Playing Fair or Playing Smart?
  • Segmentation Choices: By the Book or By Buyer Behavior?
  • Carving Metrics: Serving Stats or Serving Customers?
  • Account Family Alignments: Broad Brush or Business-Specific?
  • Channel Choices: Leaning on Legacy or Listening to the Market?

1. Geographic Planning: Border Bound or Buyer Bound?

For many businesses, geography remains an important factor for territory planning. However, in an increasingly remote world, it’s necessary to scrutinize your reasons for having geography-based territories. For example, if reps aren’t traveling to meet buyers on site, then perhaps time differences are the key reason for using geography. In this case, you may decide to abandon a strictly regional-based territory structure and focus more on broader boundaries aligned with time zones. Within these constraints you can then use more meaningful attributes to allocate accounts to specific territories.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you find vast differences in territory metrics, such as number of accounts, across your purely geographical territories?
  • Are the geographic factors relevant to your customer segments or is it tied to convenience of your existing processes?

2. Quota Calculations: Simple Division or Strategic Decision?

Too often, quotas are determined through overly simplistic math. Such as taking the topline revenue goal and dividing it evenly among an organization’s reps without any further consideration. You should at least be providing the field an opportunity to provide bottom-up feedback to reconcile the quota with the patch. Better yet – estimate the actual territory potential so that you can make sure there is a match between the territory potential and the targets that are assigned to it. An added benefit of this approach: it allows you to explain how the quota was set so that reps feel that their targets have been set fairly and equitably.

Questions to consider:

  • Are your quotas identical across regions, ignoring market dynamics?
  • Have you adjusted quotas for specific territories?

3. Resource Allocation: Playing Fair or Playing Smart?

It’s common to use ratios to allocate resources. For example, every rep gets 40 accounts. Or, each state has 1 rep. Or, for every 4 reps there is 1 assigned SDR. Unless you have a very uniform set of customers, this type of equal resource distribution across territories is probably causing problems. Some of your customers may be struggling to get a reply to their demo request. Meanwhile some prospects may receive outreach from multiple SDRs on the same day. Instead of relying on simple ratios, find metrics that really matter and then align resources accordingly. This could look like allowing flexibility for teaming structures within segments rather than requiring consistency and equal distribution.

Questions to consider:

  • Are resources allocated without aligning with revenue potential?
  • Is your resource allocation equal but not necessarily equitable?

4. Segmentation: By the Book or Buyer Behavior?

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Doing something new and ‘innovative’ just for the sake of novelty is usually a mistake. That said, the most common segmentation strategies may not apply to your customer base. As your market changes, the segmentation you used for the past few years may no longer best serve your customers. Consider all the different attributes you can use for segmentation rather than focusing on the most common ones. Try to find a set of characteristics that captures important differences, without falling into a trap of defining segments that are too narrow to be useful.

Questions to consider:

  • Are you utilizing a static segmentation model without considering evolving customer needs?
  • When was the last time you audited your segmentation criteria?
Consider all the different ways you can understand your customers and the way they engage with your company and products. Use this to inform your territory planning and management to be truly customer centric.

5. Metrics: Serving Stats or Serving Customers?

It’s quite common to design territories based on internal metrics, such as the number of prospects or potential deal sizes. While these metrics are essential and informative, they might sometimes not fully align with the customer’s actual journey or needs. For example, you may find that within small size deals, you have two very distinct customer segments. By melding internal data with customer insights, territories can become both manageable for the sales team and tailored to the customer’s expectations.

Questions to consider:

  • How might your current territory alignments be influenced by internal priorities over customer-centric ones?
  • Are there opportunities to incorporate more customer feedback or behavior patterns into your territory structuring?
  • How can you ensure that territory adjustments, while aligning with internal goals, also cater to evolving customer needs?

6. Account Family Alignment: Broad Brush or Business-Specific?

When it comes to selling, understanding the buying structures of potential customers is a must. Different corporate entities vary in the way they structure account hierarchies that dictate their purchasing decisions. For instance, some might centralize purchasing decisions at the headquarters, while others may allow regional branches or departments to make independent choices. While your organization might have a standardized rules of engagement or selling process, it might not always align seamlessly with the purchasing protocols of your clients. This misalignment can result in misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and even potential conflicts. While it’s tempting to have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for efficiency, adapting to the nuances of each client can lead to smoother interactions and better sales outcomes.

Questions to consider:

  • How might your current rules of engagement be misaligned with the purchasing structures of your clients?
  • Are there specific clients or deals where your standard approach conflicted with their buying procedures?
  • How can you evolve your rules of engagement to be more adaptable and considerate of the varied purchasing hierarchies of your prospects?

7. Channel Choices: Leaning on Legacy or Listening to the Market?

It’s natural for businesses to rely on what has historically worked, especially when it comes to sales channels that have consistently delivered. For example, take a business that has used direct sales and partner channels. However, as their market evolves, customers have come to prefer to use marketplaces due to the convenience and variety they offer. Adding new channels to your sales motion can be very complicated, particularly when they are so different from your historic interactions with your customers. While the reliability of direct sales and partner channels shouldn’t be undervalued, it’s essential to recognize the shifting sands of customer preference.

Questions to consider:

  • Could our territory structures be inadvertently sidelining the potential of online marketplaces?
  • How might integrating marketplace insights transform and refine our territory allocations for a more customer-aligned approach?
  • How can we strike a balance between established channels and emerging platforms to ensure our territories resonate with the diverse needs of today’s customer?


By focusing on a customer-centric territory plan, you place your organization in a position of strength. Recognizing and rectifying areas where convenience has overshadowed the customer experience can pave the way for more meaningful engagements and better business outcomes. Take a moment to evaluate your current practices, and consider reaching out to our team for a deeper consultation on refining your territory strategies.

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