How L’Oréal UK Arranges Sales Territories

Richard F.


Sales territories, or the districts assigned to salespeople, are about as stable as magma in a volcano. Dividing turf in ways that intuitively make sense and implementing call rotations may once have seemed sufficient. However, as companies like L’Oréal discovered in Britain, there’s a lot more that can be done to bull’s-eye customers in Britain’s 34,000 hair salons.

The Base L’Oréal UK Started From

L'Oréal supplies brands including L’Oréal Professional, Kérastase, Redken and Pureology through seven sales teams. In a single month, a hundred salons may become L'Oréal customers while a similar number may switch to different suppliers. L’Oréal previously used cumbersome tools to physically map these changes, but found the process unwieldy and time consuming. They came to a point where they knew they needed help to measure what was going on.

How Technology can Help

MapMechanics has a digital toolkit that can merge street-level mapping, postcode boundaries and government ordinance survey maps to create correctly-sized territories that contain equal numbers of business opportunities within them, and position depots optimally. The customer provides decision criteria and weighs them. The result is a user-centric, semi-automated service that divides large areas into delivery routes and rounds, thereby greatly improving geospatial efficiency and, consequently, sales.

The L’Oréal UK Experience

L’Oréal Commercial Manager Arthur Ehoff believes that managing territories is more than working within boundaries. “Centers of interest vary over time,” he explains. “For instance, several new salons might spring up in quick succession in one area, while there might be a temporary decline in another.”

When there’s a staff change Ehoff doesn't just plug the new person in into the role. Instead, he views this as an opportunity to reshuffle the matrix and even modify or create new territories. While this might once have seemed like an overwhelming task, digital mapping has added a new dimension to the historically cumbersome process.

The Human Overlay

However, geodata is never going to close a sale. Its job is simply to streamline the process of getting salespersons into hair salons, thereby ensuring that there’s optimal opportunity to convert a lead into a customer. Leveraged relationships are important in sales. This is why L’Oréal Commercial Manager Arthur Ehoff is wise to only reallocate turf when there’s a change of staff.

The Importance of Metrics

Likewise, while metricating matters may never replace human insight, it does eliminate a great deal of cumbersome human thought that in the past may have been a barrier to creativity.  As in L’Oréal's example, it is wise to integrate both interpersonal relationships along with cold hard data when managing your sales territories.  Rely on data to guide you on how much opportunity is available per territory, ideal territory size, trends by customer segment and how your reps are doing over time.  But make sure you take into account existing relationships between your company, your sales staff and customers before changing things around too much or too often.  Data can highlight the path, but your staff still needs to close the deals.