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A Strategy for Dealing with Open Territories

by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Jun 04, 2014

What happens when your top rep gives notice? Or an A-player goes on maternity leave? Or that amazing candidate takes another offer?

Turnover and open territories are a sales reality. They also take a big bite out of your revenue.

The other day, I was talking to a SaaS VP of Sales with a team of 34 closing reps. Internally, she was facing 28% attrition (both voluntary and not). Externally, a tough hiring market made positions harder and harder to fill.

She told me filling open spots was like a never ending game of whack-a-mole and put her ability to make the number at risk.

I offered this: Ranger Reps to the rescue

A Ranger Rep is a seasoned, organized, and team-oriented rep who thrives on change and challenge. 

Their mission is to help the team hit the group number by flattening the dips that come from losing reps. Ranger Reps are there to cover (and sell!) in your open territories.

E.G., your Boston Rep goes on maternity leave for 12 weeks – move your Ranger Rep to that territory.  Or your Rocky Mountain Rep quits – assign your Ranger Rep.  Your Higher-Ed Rep takes an internal position outside your team -- Ranger Rep to the rescue.

wo_ranger

 

These would be full-time headcount -- meaning that you keep one or more within your group at all times. Their territories would change, based on needs -- by month, by quarter.

Ranger Rep profile

Where do you find a Ranger Rep?  First, look to promote from within.  This role would appeal to someone who:

  • Thrives on change & challenges
  • Knows your market, product(s) & company
  • Has embraced your processes & tools
  • Is looking to make a change (but not jump into Sales Management)

Compensating a Ranger Rep

Since their mission is to keep the team on track, compensation should include a higher base and incentive tied to total team sales.

  • Base: Inside Rep + 15% bump
  • OTE:  Inside Rep + 25%  bump
  • Variable: tied to group’s goals (not individual quota)
  • Payout: monthly or quarterly (following your normal commission calendar)


A single Ranger Rep could fill the needs of a team of 8. Have a larger sales organization?  Ranger Reps could specialize by function (opportunity generation, closing, account management, etc.).

Final thoughts

The concept has many potential benefits:

  • Offsetting the revenue hit (and accompanying fire drill) that stems from open territories
  • Opening career options for high performing reps who aren't interested in the management track
  • Smoothly handling vacations by leaving deals in 'proven' hands
  • Providing in territory support as new reps are ramping

So, what say you?

I’m thinking out loud here. Please give me your take in the comments. What do you see as the pros and cons of this role?
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authorTB

About Trish Bertuzzi

Trish writes about emerging inside sales trends. She is author of
Motivating & Retaining Sales Reps and Inside Sales Oboarding.

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Topics: inside sales hiring

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