Territory Management in Zoho CRM

by Denise Hazime on November 29, 2013


Zoho has recently released a new feature called Territory Management (TM) in their CRM system. In this article we will overview the business aspects of this new feature.

First of all, the name “Territory” is an understandably practical choice, but the word’s geographical connotation should not mislead anyone - it can be used for much more than just simple geographical territories. What TM does in reality is bringing in a new layer of segmentation for customer Accounts, Contacts and Potentials. And that segmentation can be arbitrary - based on product lines, customer profiles or other criteria. Territory Management is technically a meta data structure, it allows for creating an additional attribute for the aforementioned CRM record types.

The data record categorization TM allows for, has implications on other areas of the CRM system as well. First, it adds to the complexity of data access rules that are defined by the user security settings. Second, territories can be used to create sales forecasts and assign sales quotas. On this token we would like to mention that Zoho CRM’s Forecasts module has received a major, well executed overhaul in the same update where TM was rolled out, making it much more usable for serious sales management purposes.

Primary Benefits

Territory Management fundamentally changes the way your CRM data is shared and accessed among CRM users. Traditionally, data access was determined by record ownership, user roles and the access privileges assigned to them. Territory Management will allow for a more dynamical way to share records between users as users assigned to territories will have access to records within their territories.

Territory Management is a multi-dimensional data segmentation tool. What this means in plain language is that a particular record can belong to multiple territory categories. Even more, these categories can be hierarchical, one category can contain many sub-categories. This opens up new possibilities in sharing, reporting on or forecasting for territories; a single piece of data record can be managed by multiple users, will show up in multiple reports and forecasts / sub-forecasts.

The multi-criteria segmentation of Territory Management will take reporting and dashboards on a new level. Instead of placing a customer in one data “bucket” or another, it can now be in many. Additionally, reports built with this complexity in mind will provide new insights into sales results.

Let’s use the following example scenario, where a customer is assigned to Region 2 within a certain COUNTRY. In this case COUNTRY is a territory and Region 2 is a sub-territory.

The same customer can also be assigned to Product 1 (sub-territory) within a PRODUCT LINE (territory). Please note how the territory has nothing to do with geographical location in this case.

What this allows for on the data level is to look for customers (and sales opportunities) at the intersection of multiple criteria.

The actual CRM settings for this scenario would look something like this:

It is easy to conceive that the complexity can be increased to represent even more complex scenarios:

These types of categorization lend themselves to powerful reports and sales management practices.

Zoho CRM’s revamped Forecasts module can handle the same structure Territory Management creates. Forecasts and sales quotas can be set up against territories and sub territories and therefore the performance of these sales segments can be projected and monitored.

The use of territories can also help with sales management. Individual managers can be assigned to territories and that will help keep territory managers focused. They will have to look at customer, sales opportunities, forecasts and quotas in their territories only. The multi-dimensional nature of territories (one record in many categories) will make sales management effective as well as finding cross-selling opportunities possible.

Points To Consider For Setting Up Territory Management

When evaluating whether to use Territory Management you may want to consider the following points:

  • Do you have existing territories / structured sales team? - If you already have a territory or other criteria based segmentation of sales then territory management can be a great feature for you in Zoho CRM. But if you do not have such structure yet, the whole process may take quite a bit of planning and thinking.
  • Do you need multi segmented customers? - Does or could your sales benefit from having a highly structured categorization for your customers?
  • Do you want to handle the complexity? - While rich and very detailed data is generally considered good it actually create more complexity (and work to maintain it) than what is practical. When designing and using territories, please keep in mind the real data needs and the amount of work users will have to put in to maintain proper categorizations. Also, territories are not mutually exclusive, meaning that the system will not keep a user from assigning conflicting territories. This will have to be handled by proper training of the users with territory assignment privileges.
  • Availability - Please remember, that Territory Management is only available in the Enterprise Edition of Zoho CRM, which is the highest license tier. For more information on editions and pricing visit this page: https://www.zoho.com/crm/comparison.html.

For technical details and information, please visit Zoho's Territory Management page.

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Denise Hazime
VP of Alliances at UpCurve Cloud
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