Episode 286: Carrie Millen

Data-Driven Sales Territory Planning
Carrie Millen


Carrie Millen

Carrie Millen is a champion in elevating the sales profession. She is driving sales performance through her focus on enabling Sales Leaders, simplifying the buying process and developing sales pitches that drive action.

Our Mission Is To Change The Negative Perception Of Sales People

Our Vision Is A World Where Selling Is A Profession To Be Proud Of

Carrie Millen jokes that sales territory planning is underrated because it’s spelled “W-O-R-K.” It is “something my boss told me I have to do.” It feels like any time invested in territory sales planning cuts into sales time. Why would they bother doing the work? It seems like busywork over an investment. But that’s exactly what it is—an investment. But the right data-driven sales plan is an investment that will pay off. Carrie explains why in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:44] Why is sales territory planning underrated?
  • [1:38] How to stop being a solely reactive salesperson
  • [2:30] Carrie’s data-driven sales territory plan
  • [4:31] The attributes that make a salesperson great at sales planning
  • [5:41] The tools, tactics, and strategies Carrie implements to stay on course
  • [8:10] Carrie’s top 3 territory sales planning dos and don’ts
  • [11:45] Where sales territory planning can lead

Carrie’s data-driven sales territory plan

Territory sales planning not only provides a guideline but it helps take the thinking out of sales. How? If you have a plan, know it, and work it, you’ll be able to execute sales efficiently. If you spend 59 minutes planning and one minute executing your plan, you’ll likely have more success (Carrie’s nod to Albert Einstein).

While your plan does depend on what you’re selling and where you’re selling it, data is key. What is the size of your territory? Size of an average sale? Size of the clients you’re selling to? 

Creating profitability and long-term value with a client is a major factor. If you are investing your time and effort, you want to build a long-term relationship with that client to continue hitting your numbers. You can’t just focus on whales but must balance with some smaller fish.

The tools, tactics, and strategies Carrie implements to stay on course

Carrie notes that there’s a balance between quick fixes and overall planning. Sales is like being on a dodgeball court—balls are being thrown at you from all angles. You don’t always have time to think and simply have to react. But to react with the proper response, you have to be well-prepared. You need to be intentional about what your day-to-day activity is.

Carrie posts the key things she wants to focus on throughout a quarter as the screensaver of her computer monitor. It makes it easy to quickly refocus her activities and stay on track. She owns the plan that she’s made whenever she veers off track. However you prefer to do it, book intentional time in your day to focus on the plan that you’ve built.

Secondly, if you’ve built a plan for the next 12 months, how do you know you’re on track? You need data. You need to test and measure that data. If you estimate that you’ll have a certain number in your pipeline by a certain date, measure it. Where are you at? What activities are driving the people in your pipeline?

Carrie loves the Eisenhower Matrix. What is important? What is urgent? What isn’t important or urgent? A territory plan will allow you to navigate what’s urgent and what isn’t. Your wins need to be meaningful and help you achieve the goals of your plan.

Carrie’s territory sales planning dos and don’ts

Carrie shares a set of dos and don’ts that she uses to stay on course and organized.

  • Start small and pick a segment and a plan and consistently evaluate it. Then hone in on one small bite of your plan at a time.
  • Make friends with someone who is financially minded or analytical and have them in your back pocket. Humans are not meant to do everything by themselves.
  • Use blinders. Stay focused on the territory plan in front of you. Work the plan.
  • To do this, create a simple criteria framework that proves you’re on the plan. When do you know if someone is part of the overall plan? You don’t want to accept a client unless they fit in your plan.
  • Don’t borrow someone else’s plan or use last year’s. You couldn’t cheat in school, why do it now?
  • Don’t work in a vacuum. Get some feedback. Ask your clients why they chose your product or service.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Go after multiple industries and types of clients that fit your product/service. If the travel industry was your only focus, you’d likely have been out of a job in 2020/2021.

Where sales territory planning can lead

Carrie was coaching someone to help her develop her sales skills and territory planning. This person works at a fast-growing SaaS company that was looking to branch into different niches. She wanted to build a plan for herself to grow the new segment. She approached her leadership with the idea to use new assets. She saw a challenge that could be fixed that could lead to exponential growth.

Her plan caught the eye of the VP. He asked her to implement her plan for every team. Soon after, she was promoted to a role as a Sales Manager. It was all because she applied the skills she’d learned. She looked at the problems in front of her and took ownership. It had a cascading impact on her business.

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Learn More About Carrie Millen

Are there any books on or including Territory Sales Planning that you recommend? You can read a pile of books – it is more of a mindset thing so I would recommend you look at coaching books – as you need to be your own coach. Because building a plan takes time and it takes way more effort to stay with the plan – it is like losing weight – hard to stick to healthy habits. One of my fav coaching books is The Coaching Habit – Michael Bungay Stainier

In the field of Territory Sales Planning – Who do you most admire and why? Greg Rainbird – leading teams to take on the biggest challenges and it was the focus on coaching in the daily grind aligned to the plan – he uses data on activity and results to help teams plan territory growth

Are there any aspects of your own Territory Sales Planning skills that you are working on improving at the moment? As I have restarted my business I am back in the planning game. When you still need to hit numbers, how do you let values play into the equation? Say I want to sell 1M this year, what happens if I come across something that passes the criteria yet may be misaligned to my values – say has a big carbon footprint?

Hobbies, Interests? Writing a kids book as I want to get to children in around grade 2-3 before they become jerks. Kids tend not to see colour, see differences, are open and loving until a point when they start seeing patterns in school/society and a better than less than comes out. They doubt their identity and rather than shining in their glory they pull others down. How do we celebrate each freaking awesome young child?

How can our listeners connect with you?  Beinyourme.com

by | Feb 23, 2022 | Sales Reinvented Podcast

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