Territories vs Wide Open for Sales Teams

At Pardot, we built the sales team to almost 30 people before the exit and never had territories (everything was inside sales). Our model was wide open with simple round robin lead assignment based on two different queues (one based on leads from the test drive form and one based on leads from all other forms). When I talk to entrepreneurs about their sales strategy, territories are commonplace. Naturally, we had internal debates about the pros and cons of territories vs wide open.

Here are a few thoughts on territories vs wide open:

  • With wide open, sales reps get an equal number of qualified leads as company lead volume ebbs and flows
  • With territories, sales reps get a reduced geography as the sales team grows, potentially resulting in morale issues
  • With wide open, there’s a constant tension around the rules of engagement for stale leads (we made it so that if a lead hadn’t been engaged in six weeks, it was fair game)
  • With territories, sales reps that are primarily inside have a better opportunity to meet with multiple prospects on the occasional trip to their territory as well as attend regional events

The growth of inside sales is causing entrepreneurs to rethink the traditional territory approach and look for ways to make sales more efficient. Entrepreneurs would do well to evaluate both the territories approach as well as the wide open approach.

What else? What are some more thoughts on territories vs wide open for sales teams?


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