What to look for while setting up a sales office in a new territory
Setting up a new sales office can come with a number of different challenges. Firstly, the market dynamics in the new territory can be dramatically different from what you are used to in your role. Add to this the pressures of finding the right office location, hiring the right candidates, and setting up the right goals and targets for your team to achieve. All of this can consume an incredible amount of time and resources.
Here are a few quick tips on how to go about finding the right location, hiring the right candidates and setting up a sales office.
Set up a long-term goal
Before you get started on your assignment, it is important to look at the long term objectives for your organization. You may start with a market research study to understand the size of the territory, the ideal market share you could achieve and in effect, the team size that can make this objective possible.
Knowing these long-term objectives can help you make an informed decision regarding the size of office space you will require, the number of people you need to hire in your team, and so on.
Finalizing a location
Several studies show that the average salesperson spends just over a third of their time actually selling. A lot of time is spent on non-revenue generating activities like commuting, preparing reports and presentations. Finding the right location for your business is thus extremely critical.
To start with, it is a good idea to map out the locations of all prospective clients in the territory. This allows you to segregate them into clusters. The ideal office location is one that is close to all the major clusters. In most major cities, these clusters happen to be in the CBD and this can dramatically increase the cost of renting an office space. Finding the right balance between the office location and price is crucial.
It is common for client clusters to often be located several miles apart. Having a sales office midway between these clusters is not ideal since this increases the average time to commute for all sales meetings. In such instances, it is a good idea to hold your team across multiple co-working spaces across the city rather than have them in one large sales HQ. This way, your SDRs minimize travel time and instead focus on prospects within a specific cluster. Additionally, coworking spaces also allow you to scale your team size up or down based on needs without having to worry about its impact on your office space.
Setting up infrastructure
The next step in the process is setting up the infrastructure for your office. Coworking spaces are, once again, ideal in these circumstances since they come equipped with all the networking and communications infrastructure that a sales team will need to get going.
That is however not without its share of challenges. Sales calls do not get through the first time always – SDRs hence receive callbacks from prospective clients on a routine basis and quite a large chunk of these calls eventually lead to sales. In a coworking setting, this can be a challenge since office phone numbers are not always allocated to your organization. Even if it is, this could lead to missed sales when you switch to different coworking spaces.
It is highly recommended that you invest in virtual phone numbers for your organization. These are VoIP calls made over the internet and are numbers that stick with you as long as you want to keep it. Such solutions are ideal for sales teams since you will be in a position to pick calls to your office number even when you are on the move.
Hiring a team
Hiring the right candidates is by far the most important step in the process of setting up a new territory. Ideally, your launch team should comprise of SDRs who have already spent a good amount of time in your organization. This allows for a smooth start in the new territory at a time when there are teething issues with respect to other aspects discussed earlier. Having an existing SDRs accompany you to the new territory also provides these colleagues with an opportunity to be part of a greenfield operation and learn to serve as mentors to the fresh recruits.
When it comes to hiring new candidates, there are a few factors to consider while recruiting for new territory. The first and foremost thing to consider is that you may not be able to afford mentorship to these recruits much in the same way as you could in an established territory. Also, since this is new territory, your organization may not have a network that is required to establish relationships. It is thus important to hire people who have already worked with prospective clients through another employer. Also, you may minimize training and onboarding costs by seeking out people who have real work to show and come with good references in your territory.
Ultimately, the greatest test for your new sales office comes from the targets you set and what you achieve. While this warrants a separate discussion altogether, it is worth pointing out that having the right people in the right location and infrastructure can enable your team to focus on what matters most – selling – and minimizes other friction elements that tend to bring success rates down.