Redefining Sales Territories: From Geographic to Social Proximity

Redefining your sales territories by social proximity, rather than geographic areas, can increase conversions. Here’s how!

April 18, 2016

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Nothing gold can stay. That’s right, not even you, sales territories. The old way, established over a century ago, of assigning sales professionals territories based on geographic location is on the way out. Sure, it made sense when most meetings were mostly conducted in person, but in a world of conference calling services and social selling, the way we determine sales territories has to change.

Determining Sales Territories by Social Proximity

This change, however, won’t create a vacuum in your sales strategy. Leading organizations have already started divvying up prospects according to a new metric: social proximity.

What is social proximity? Where geographic proximity is being physically close to a prospect, social proximity offers a more meaningful closeness. Dividing your sales team by social proximity means determining accounts based on who is most connected to a specific set of prospects.

When it comes to social selling, “connected” can have different meaning—but in a world where in-person meetings are at best a last step and at worst an inconvenience, these are the connections that matter most.

Benefits of Social Territories

When you assign accounts based on who has the strongest personal connection to the account (in other words, the closest social proximity), the sales rep is more likely to get a response. If you have an existing relationship or connection with a prospect, he or she has more reason to trust you and engage in a meaningful conversation.

Social proximity also means that the assigned sales professional has more insight into the prospect or account. They can conduct more personalized outreach, resulting in more conversions.

Buyers don’t want you in their conference rooms anymore. They’ve already gone through much of the research phase online and do not want or need a full in-person introduction to your product.

You don’t have to worry about how to determine your team members’ social proximity to a target because social selling tools do it for you. With the proliferation of advanced social selling technology, social territories make even more sense.

The idea of determining sales territories based on social proximity instead of geographic proximity is the natural extension of a sales process that involves less and less in-person and telephone communication. It is a piece of the ongoing process to create a more customer-centric, targeted, personalized approach to selling.

If you’re in the process of adapting social selling by taking on strategies like creating social territories, you should check out our Sales Rep’s Checklist.