Does The Internet And Social Selling Make Sales Territories Obsolete?

For ages and ages, salespeople have been defined by the region they’re responsible for selling to. Right down to their very title, this geographical area stipulates who they are. But that’s all changing with social selling.

Let’s take a step back. Just look at your own business card or email signature. Below your company and name it probably says something like “Mid-Atlantic Area Sales Representative.” In other words, where you sell is who you are.

Or is it? With the Internet changing how we sell, is this still true?

Think about this for a moment. The world of sales is changing thanks to online research. People just don’t need sales reps like they used to. Who needs to call a salesperson in Washington, D.C., to buy a widget when a quick Google search rounds up all the widgets in the world, compares the prices, outlines the pros and cons, and lists reviews? Armed with a computer or a smartphone, there are no geographical boundaries for online sales, with the only drawback being perhaps the cost of shipping products purchased. 

With this in mind, here’s our question to you: How do you define sales territories in the digital age? In other words, did the Internet make sales territories obsolete?

Social selling has blurred the lines of the business. Our LinkedIn profiles, for example, show that people are communicating with us about our products from all over the place. But does social selling take the place of a geographical territory? Or is it more complicated than that?

Truthfully, we don’t know definitive answers to these questions. It’s tough to figure out why sellers continue to be restricted to geographic identification if the Internet really has changed everything. In theory it shouldn’t be different now, right?

Perhaps all of these changes mean that a salesperson’s territory should be based on industry or segment size, rather than location. This allows sellers to have many smaller, different customer types with expertise related to each one. It’s easier to sell to this kind of a group rather than a geographical one.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): The point is this — we need a fresh way of thinking about sales territories in a globalized world. And we want to know what you think. As a salesperson, what’s your experience? How does your email signature read? What should it say? Sound off in the comments section below!

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