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Rethinking Territories With the Customer in Mind

Headshot of Amber Bellaire, Director of Sales at Vena Solutions

Amber Bellaire
Director of Sales, Vena Solutions



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Photograph of a globe

Historically, sales territories are carved out based on the best interest of the salesperson. They’re divided by zip code so the sales rep can see how many lunches or coffees with customers they can fit in every day.

But in this current environment, where meetings take place over Zoom instead of face-to-face, there's an opportunity to rethink the strategy behind territory segmentation and provide more value for our customers.

At Vena, many of our customers are having an incredibly difficult year and don't have time for endless meetings anymore. So as salespeople, if we want to get time with our customers, we need to offer them more for their time. 

At Vena, we had a hypothesis that we can be more effective and provide more value to our customers by organizing sales reps and accounts based on industry and company size rather than zip code.

In my recent interview on The Forecast, I discuss how we implemented this change at Vena Solutions, and the success we found as a result.

During this current crisis, our customers are facing different challenges based on their industry. Some industries are struggling through layoffs or restructuring. They are looking to Vena’s FP&A (financial planning and analysis) software.

At the same time, other industries have benefited tremendously through COVID-19 and are turning to us for direction on how to scale.

In either scenario, our goal is to help our customers understand how financial planning helps them in the next phase of their growth. To do this, we needed to be prepared to provide industry insights and thought leadership. The key to providing this value was to stop trying to be a jack-of-all-trades and start being specialists.

Here are the steps we took to provide better industry-specific value for our customers.

1. We Dug Into Data 

The first thing we did was review data from the big four consulting firms and enterprise research analysts to best understand where our customers were and how to help them. We used this research to understand how different industries performed amid COVID-19.

2. We Re-Evaluated Our Ideal Customers

Next, we examined our existing customer portfolio to see which types of businesses really benefited from financial planning software and, more specifically, Excel-based software. We looked at data like average deal size, average order size, and average length of sales cycle, and asked ourselves tough questions around product market fit and which industries were best suited for Vena.

3. We Looked for Untapped Markets

Lastly, we examined where our competitors were playing to see if there were any untapped niches, and if there was an opportunity for us to stand out for our customers and help them by being the industry solution of choice.

More Confident Sales Teams and Positive Customer Feedback

In the beginning, shifting sales territories proved difficult, because people felt a sense of ownership around the accounts that had previously been in their territory. But as we worked through these issues, we found that the change led to greater confidence in our sales reps. They now feel more comfortable having conversations with C-level executives, because they feel like experts in the specific industry and believe they can provide value throughout the call. 

We’ve heard similar positive feedback from our customers. Working with a sales rep that understands their industry has been much more helpful than learning about what the next door neighbor company is doing, which may not have any relative significance to them.

I believe we’ll start seeing more sales teams centering the best interest of the customer. Moving forward, we need to make sure we're organizing our territories based on how much value we can bring to our customer as opposed to how quickly we can drive from office one to office two.

More videos:

The Sales Activity That Matters Most to Growth

Building a Remote Structure for the Future of Sales

The Post-IPO Revenue Transformation