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Steve DeLay's picture


The team had done many things correctly to call on corporations.

  1. They had developed a full menu of ticket packages for companies of all sizes.
  2. They purchased a lead list from Full House of all the businesses 10+ employees and $500K+ in sales within 20 miles of their building.
  3. The outside sales staff went through an intensive three day boot camp to teach them how to get appointments and how to make a face to face sales presentation to CEO's and Presidents.
  4. Salespeople were coming in early to make calls to schedule appointments and staying late some days to call late afternoon.
    1. Still, they weren't making enough appointments and sales calls.


      I asked how the territories were set up.

      The Director of Ticket Sales looked blankly at me. "Territories? We just dumped all the corporate leads in to our CRM and have the salespeople pull the leads they want to go after."

      I asked how he knew whether the salesperson was really working the lead. He said, "They have to make contact at least once every 30 days and show some signs of progress. If they don't, the lead goes back in to CRM."

      "How do you know you're calling on every single prospect in your market?", I asked.

      "Well, quite frankly, I don't. I'd have to run a CRM report to see who we've contacted and who we haven't."

      The salespeople were doing what was natural. Something every salesperson would do. They went after the biggest and best prospects in town. Can't blame them but that wasn't what the team needed. The team needed every single company in town called on, not just the big boys.

      The Director of Ticket Sales went on to say he spent way too much time checking up on lead distribution, fights between salespeople over who called which lead first. It was a pain.


      By having every salesperson calling on any lead they could corral in CRM, the salespeople ended up spending an inordinate amount of time in their car, driving all over town to appointments. It was a profit center for the salespeople because they were reimbursed based on mileage driven. However, it was a highly in-efficient system.

      A salesperson might have a meeting on north side of town in the AM, drive back to the office to make a few more phone calls and then drive to the west side of town for an afternoon appointment. Then they'd drive back to the office in traffic to make a few more calls.

      The salespeople just flat out didn't have time to make the number of calls needed to schedule their required 12 appointments a week. They were spending too much time in the car driving around. Sure, they could make a few calls while they were in the car but it wasn't very effective or efficient.


      No matter how good your list broker is, their list won't contain every company. Some companies just slip through the cracks. They might have recently moved offices, fall under a different corporate name or be a brand-new company in the area.

      Also, salespeople don't get familiar with specific parts of town. There are always corporate prospects where you just can't get the top decision maker on the phone. If a salesperson is driving to an appointment and sees that company, they can stop in and canvas. Heck, they can plan to canvas that company if they know they are going to be near by.


      1. Calling everyone - A corporate sales territory should be about 1,000 leads. If a salesperson makes 12-15 appointments/week for 50 weeks, they'll have 600-750 appointments for the year. They have to call everyone to hit that appointment level. Smaller businesses, the ones between 15-75 employees many times are the best season ticket prospects. The owner is the decision maker and will see salespeople. You don't have some big corporate office with mountains of red tape to get through to get a decision.
      2. More efficient - If salespeople work via territories, they can schedule meetings efficiently. Schedule one meeting at 9am on Tuesday, you can then schedule another right down the street at 10, 11 and noon. They drive to their territory once, have four meetings and drive back. The team doesn't pay as much in driving reimbursement and more importantly, the salesperson manages their time better.
      3. Nobody slips through the cracks - If a salesperson 'owns' a territory, they know every business. They can plan canvassing between appointments. If someone is ignoring them on the phone, they can go knock on the door and get a new contact in person.

      IBM created sales territories back in the 40's and 50's to sell their electric typewriters to businesses. They used to regularly split the geographic territories in half to make the salespeople dig deeper and deeper for prospects.

      Google "creating a sales territory" and you'll find story after story why territories are more efficient. It's not rocket science or anything radically new. It's just flat out more effective in maximizing sales to corporations.

      If you want to know more about sales territories and our recommendations for structure in The Ultimate Toolkit to Sell the Last Seat in the House send me an email and I'll send you the chapter that spells it out.

      Steve DeLay is co-author with Jon Spoelstra of The Ultimate Toolkit to Sell the Last Seat in the House. He has more than 20 years experience helping teams and colleges sell tickets and sponsorships. He can be reached at or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeLay2.

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