Michaela Mendes
Head of Content & Strategy
Table of contents:

An overloaded sales team isn’t going to achieve 100% account coverage. They can’t be expected to touch every account in their book of business. But is 100% coverage even the right goal to set? 

If your account coverage is too high, it’s a sign reps are spread thin, or you don’t have enough accounts in your CRM. Too low, you might have a productivity problem, or your reps are focusing too much on the same accounts. 

Hitting the sweet spot is a great way to maximize rep productivity and make the most of your target accounts.

So what’s the average? What’s realistic? And what do most companies consider “good?”

We analyzed over 961,000 accounts to answer these questions. Here’s what we found: 

Companies only have 20% account coverage on average, meaning they haven’t had activity with 80% of their accounts in the last year. 

In real numbers – the average company has 30,302 untouched accounts. 

But when we looked across each company, we found the top companies don’t have 100% account coverage. Not only is it not feasible, it’s not desirable. According to our data on the top companies, the sweet spot is 31-40% account coverage.  

Where should sales leaders start to get there?

We decided to talk to an expert to find out. 

Coverage modeling: a sales rep retention exercise 

Kevin Davis is CEO and Co-Founder of BoogieBoard, an AI-driven territory planning tool. He says account coverage is one of the most important metrics for sales leaders to get right.

Why? Because it could make or break the team. 

“If reps are spread too thin, sales teams will fail to  retain customers or generate enough new  revenue. On the flip side, if reps aren’t getting enough opportunities, they will leave the company.” 

Beyond this, it’s just good resource management. “Salespeople are some of an organization's most expensive resources. Understanding the utilization of those resources is important for running an efficient team.”

And finally, smart account planning means revenue. Making sure people are in the right place at the right time is the key to success. Having a clear process allows you to measure the effectiveness of your territory planning and account management, adjusting in the future as needed. 

3 steps to effective territory planning

Here are Kevin’s recommendations on how to get started: 

#1: Decide where to focus within a total addressable market. 

Which accounts should be prioritized? Companies typically decide this by scoring accounts on the basis of ideal customer profile(s) (ICP) and fit criteria. 

There’s usually a systems data exercise to make this happen, but it'll never be perfect. The goal is to simply start somewhere. 

#2: Break the market down into larger buckets. 

If you have two distinct types of customers, you should have two segments, and two distinct sales motions. Maybe you organize accounts by industry, region, or some combination of criteria  

This will inform your reporting structure. Make sure there are enough accounts to go around. If not, you may need to change things up.

#3: Divvy up accounts between teams and reps

It’s important to try to give everyone a fair shot to reach their goals. 

The goals don’t have to be the same. More senior reps might have a higher opportunity and therefore a higher quota. But the amount of opportunity should be quantifiable and divided fairly amongst reps that are meant to be on the same playing field.

Biggest account management mistakes to avoid

Kevin cautions against falling into these two traps: 

Mistake #1: over-leveraging geography

Geography can be used to build community with customers and limit travel costs. But when you deploy exclusively geographical territories (ie. the rep gets a set of zip codes or states instead of a list of accounts), it makes it very difficult to carve them equitably. It’s also difficult to change after the fact. 

Mistake #2: not collaborating with their teams

Territories are a really big math problem. Take one account away over here and it causes a domino effect over there.  

Solving these problems can be time consuming. So it’s tempting to avoid asking for input in the process and say, “you get what you get.” But these accounts/territories represent people’s livelihood, and they will get mad if they feel unheard or shafted.

Getting back to basics: 5 steps to reset your account management approach

For sales teams that need to revisit the way they approach territory planning, or set it up correctly from the beginning, Kevin recommends these five steps: 

Step #1: Figure out what data you actually need. 

Kevin says: “Stop trying to get every perfectly enriched CRM Account field from 8 different vendors.  Some of your CRM data will not be useful and some will.”

Step #2: Understand basic ICP(s) criteria

Kevin says to ask yourself: “What are the attributes of the top 50 accounts that our execs want to target? What do our closed-won and closed-lost deals tell us about customer profiles?” 

Step #3: Be very clear about account prioritization. 

Kevin recommends: “Ask for rep and manager input about which types of accounts they want to target and why. This makes the prioritization process more collaborative.”

Step #4: Create a clear process for dividing up accounts. 

This is how you give everyone a fair shot. Check out tools (like BoogieBoard) to help with this. 

Step #5: Know that the process will be ongoing. 

Kevin says: “Reps will leave or get promoted. Account criteria will change. Build a process that can handle change and grow with your business.” 

What’s true for you? 

Use SetSail’s CRM Health Grader to see the current state of your team’s account coverage and 11 other key metrics of CRM health.