Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman—not the attitude of the prospect.

Account_settings-orange–W. Clement Stone

For every manager, in every area of business, complacency is the enemy. There are few things more frustrating to business owners and entrepreneurs than unrealized potential, and it is possible for even the best salesman or field representative to fall into that trap. If you have restructured your goals for field teams time after time, and your proven representatives are still falling short of expectations, it might be time to change your territory management system.

What managers should take into consideration is that no matter how well-suited each representative was for their designated territory when it was decided upon, demographics and consumer opinion are constantly changing, and for businesses to thrive, they must evolve alongside their customers. As a general rule, businesses should evaluate their territorial plans at least once per year, and make adjustments to accommodate changes in existing territories. This gives customers enough time to build up a relationship with representatives, but can prevent the switch in mentality that occurs when consumers and representatives decide that they are negotiating with a personal friend, and not a business partner.

While it may illogical to remove existing relationships from your existing customers, studies suggest that in the long-term, representative rotation can have a positive effect on the customer interaction with the business. As long as higher-volume customers are notified of the changes in advance, the rotation can go off without a hitch, and give your customer interaction a new spark of energy. While things like team morale and the level of customer comfort with representatives can be extremely hard to quantify, having someone with a deep understanding of the business set benchmarks based on these criteria can help to pinpoint the best time for rotation. So how exactly do you collect that hard to quantify data? There is a plethora of field management software available to managers which makes it easy to collect information on customer satisfaction, geographic location, and any other data you could possibly want—all in real-time.

If each territory is measured by the same set of criteria, then areas of weakness will quickly become apparent, and you should be able to re-assign field representatives as you see fit. By playing to their strengths and utilizing all of the data and tools available, you can make sure that your team and customer are happy, and your goals in the field are met. Remember, complacency can creep up on you—remaining vigilant about changes in field performance will ensure you’re never caught off-guard.