How Do Business Maps Handle Sales Territory Overlap?

Millions of businesses use sales territory mapping software is used by millions of businesses to support their sales organizations in many ways.  Some of the more commonly applied business mapping territory use cases are:

  • Define sales account responsibility for sales reps and other customer support personnel.
  • Share sales goals and track progress against objectives.
  • Sales planning purposes in team meetings and for sales reps on the road.
  • Franchise territory mapping to define franchisee areas of ownership.

Other non-sales departments also use territory mapping tools. Examples would include:

  • Accounting for tracking commission payments.
  • Operations for tracking field service technician distribution, product installations, or transportation and delivery systems.
  • Developing location-based market analysis.

In many ways, the primary purpose of sales territory maps is to improve and control account responsibility. All other applications and departments tap into accountability territory map views to get answers and solve problems.

Because so many businesspeople access territory maps, managing overlap is very important. If a territory map system allows overlap, careful management and attention to detail are necessary to prevent chaos. There’s nothing worse when determining account ownership than getting the ‘He went that a-way’ answer.

“He went that-a-way.”











Picture the Three Stooges pointing arms in opposite directions.

Regarding sales accountability, territories define who is responsible for sales initiatives, customer follow-up, and internal paperwork resolution like unpaid bills or returns. Business, like life, can become messy.

Over my forty-year career in sales organizations, of one kind or another, overlapping territories have often caused trouble.  A common argument for overlap is legacy account management. Protecting legacy account ownership tends to be a demotivator for salespeople.

By legacy account, I am referring to old, lucrative relationships kept in place just because it’s the way we’ve always done it. Or, “Jim’s always covered that account. Janet won’t mind if he holds on to it.” Janet minds.

Allowing a legacy account to remain the responsibility of a tenured salesperson outside the territory detracts from commissions and leads to resentment between sales reps. Ultimately, the customer will be left with unresolved problems – refer to those infamous Stooges referenced above.

Salespeople are usually paid on commission for at least part of their compensation. Introducing overlapping territory accountability waters down the commission payout erodes the sales incentive and sows the seeds of dissatisfaction. I’ve often seen green salespeople overshadowed by legacy or seasoned sales executives move on to greener pastures where they outsell an entire team. Don’t pour water on the belly-fire of your latest hire just to keep good-old Jim happy in his sunset years.

Overlap can be strategic too. Paired coverage of the same territory might help new salespeople to come up to speed with the help of a seasoned pro. A gradual transition would benefit the old and new people as they manage new sales challenges and possibly new technologies.

Franchise businesses require overlap controls because franchise territories, by definition, usually imply an exclusive right to market products and services in a well-defined geographic area. Maps help sell and define franchise territories. Territory maps are often included in franchise rollouts’ selling, negotiating, and transactional processes.

The critical takeaway about territory overlap is to be aware that it exists and act on issues that arise from it.

MapBusinessOnline provides sales territory management tools highlighting overlap and allowing territory managers to consider alternatives to unfair sales incentive practices or other challenges related to overlapping territories.

Display Territory Overlap

To access MapBusinessOnline territory overlap or intersection tools, open Map and Data.

  1. In Map and Data, along the top, click Map Options.
  2. Along the right side, click the Intersections Tab.
  3. Check the boxes for Allowing Territories to Intersect and Highlight Intersections on the Map.
  4. Finally, in the color box provided, select a bright color to highlight intersection areas.

These tools ensure your business map boldly displays those intersecting territory areas on a business map.

Setting up Territory Overlap Using MapBusinessOnline

Transportation & Delivery Networks

The transportation industry also applies territory management tools. Transportation and delivery systems develop and maintain territories that are usually carved out of highway and road networks. These delivery and pick-up areas represent repeat drop-off points for large shipment carriers, small-package delivery, and bus services.

Often, drive time analysis is used to establish territory areas. Inevitably sections of territory overlap develop. Consider small truckload pick-ups at regional airports. Carriers are contracted to pick up airfreight at transportation hubs and deliver the freight to outlying areas.

Territories for transportation networks may require overlap because airports and storage facilities service multiple urban areas. Thus, one truck carrier business located in St. Louis will be contracted to pick up freight from Nashville, and a truck from the same St. Louis carrier may be picking up freight in Memphis. Company vehicles moving freight across the territories inevitably overlap. Tracking the operational costs of the various pick-ups and drop-offs can be tricky.

In the above map image, several transportation network territories are depicted on the map. The territories use the ZIP code map layer as the territory alignment base. The color red is used to designate areas of overlap. In these overlapping situations, developing an exportable dataset of all ZIP codes that overlap with the territories noted can be helpful.

Export a List of Overlapping Zip Codes by Territory

To help organize overlap complexity, MapBusinessOnline lets you create a marketing list by ZIP code and Territory. The resulting list will display doubled-up ZIP codes with the territory names. With territories created and visual color assignment assigned, pull up the Data Window view:

  1. In the Data Window, select the ZIP code layer in the left-side Dropdown
  2. Select the Choose Column button in the lower left.
    1. Move superfluous column data out of the analysis (like primary county, filler) using the blue arrows in the middle of the Choose Column window.
    2. Select these columns from General, Territories, and Territory Count, and move them to the right side. Exit Choose Columns.
  3. Click the Filter Funnel Icon.
    1. In the left-side filter, select General and Territory Count
    2. In the right-side modifier section, select the Greater Than sign ‘>.’
    3. In the far-right modifier numeric field, choose ‘0.’ This filters for a territory count greater than 0.
  4. Click Filter in the lower right to apply the filter. The Data Window now presents only the ZIP codes with overlapping territories.
  5. To export a list by territory, click the far-right Export button on the Data Window toolbar. Choose the bottom option in the export dialogue to ‘Segment by Territory.
  6. Export and save the file.

Overlapping Territory Filter Operation for Export

Think territory overlaps through carefully. If your business needs to allow territory overlap, MapBusinessOnline will accommodate your requirements. Ensure the overlapping territories you’ve permitted have a solid business reason for being there.


Discover why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

To access MapBusinessOnline, please register and download the Map App from the website –

After installing the Map App, the MapBusinessOnline launch button will be in the Windows Start Menu or Mac Application folder. Find the MapBusinessOnline folder in the Start Menu scrollbar. Click the folder’s dropdown arrow and choose the MapBusinessOnline option.

The Map App includes the Map Viewer App for free, non-subscriber map sharing.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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