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Open Territories And Not Enough Salespeople | Top Factors That Stop Sales Growth

Updated December 2021

Open sales territories or open sales positions are the most common factors that can hurt companies’ ability to grow. There are not enough people to take advantage of the opportunities available. How does this happen?

When Salespeople Leave

You lose a salesperson. Either they leave through termination or leave voluntarily. It can take too long to replace them. A survey by NFIB “found that 60% of business owners are hiring or trying to hire, and of those employers, 90% reported finding few to no qualified applicants.”

In the meantime, either no one manages their prospects or somebody does it part-time and half-heartedly while they manage their own territory. Unfortunately, this is very common, and most CEOs and sales leaders don’t put nearly the urgency they should in replacing departed salespeople.

Common Problems with Open Territories

If your territories are well maintained, it can boost your sales team’s morale, increase sales, and provide a more extensive customer base. However, if a territory is being under-serviced, the sales team or salesperson can be spread too thin, leading to suboptimal levels of activity. But other challenges can come up as well.

Open Territory Challenges:

  • Drop off in future revenue because the funnel is not being filled.
  • Missed opportunities because nobody is there to find them.
  • Underperformance in other territories as salespeople try to “cover,” which takes time away from their territory.
  • Attrition in customer base because they are not being served.

Improve Open Territories 

Unbalanced territories can cause many problems for you and your sales team. But there are things you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen. For example, if you genuinely want sales growth, your existing salespeople need to sell more, although keep in mind that this strategy rarely works. More likely, you will need to hire more salespeople.

How to improve covering your open territories:

  • Assess whether your current team size and structure is sufficient to execute your growth strategy.
  • Develop a strategy for having a “warm bench” for when you need salespeople.
  • Create detailed profiles of your “ideal” salespeople to help you hire more effectively.
  • Design onboarding programs that get new hires up-to-speed quickly.

In the End

Good territory management can help spread out the workload for your sales team, allowing them to complete tasks more efficiently, build better customer relationships, and increase good-quality leads.

Reach out to us at info@pivotaladvisors.com to get another top reason why your sales growth may have become stagnant.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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