Why ZIP Code Territory Maps are Preferred

MapBusinessOnline enables the creation of digital sales territory maps through an affordable cloud-based digital mapping service. Sales territories define areas of account responsibility for salespeople. Sales territories are also a platform for calculating anticipated or projected sales revenues for a specific area of interest.

Map users create sales territories using business mapping software in various ways. Here are most of the territory creation schemes that we run across:

  • Create territories by state, county, or ZIP code map alignment layer. In MapBusinessOnline city limits and ZIP 3’s are sometimes used as well.
  • Generate ZIP code-based territories by a range of ZIP code numbers.
  • Create hand-drawn polygons of territory areas unrelated to map alignment layers.
  • Generate drive time or driving distance polygons and use those boundaries for territory creation.
  • Generate specified radii around a set of points – circle territories.

While MapBusinessOnline does provide the ability to create hand-drawn map objects – a circle or polygon – this is not our recommended method for territory creation. Hand-drawn map objects are inaccurate and difficult to attribute to relevant sales territory data – such as revenues, demographic makeup, and other numeric criteria. To generate sales territories with supporting numeric data use a map alignment layer for your territory boundaries.

A ZIP Code Points Only Map Using MapBusinessOnline

ZIP Code-Based Sales Territory Maps

MapBusinessOnline applies map layers’ beautiful and elegant power to the practice of sales territory map creation. The ZIP code map alignment layer is far and away the most popular sales territory basis.

Let’s examine how a ZIP code map layer enhances the power of sales territory maps.

The United States has a complete and stable collection of 33,353 ZIP codes with boundaries. There are an additional 7,635 point ZIP codes for a total of 40,991 ZIPs as of this writing. Point ZIP codes represent large mail stop deliveries like skyscrapers or assisted living centers.

Don’t bother memorizing the number of ZIP code totals because they change yearly as the Post Office realigns delivery options.

MapBusinessOnline provides the ZIP code boundary map layer in part for creating sales territories. ZIP codes are a compact and familiar geographic jurisdiction. ZIP code population counts are supported by the Census Bureau and lend themselves nicely to territory creation. ZIP codes are great for territory creation because:

  • ZIP codes are generally small, offering manageable building blocks for larger territory schemes.
  • ZIP codes are known areas familiar to locals. They provide sales knowledge and travel familiarity.
  • Demographic category estimates from the Census Bureau accommodate ZIP codes, counties, and states in an orderly, cumulative fashion.
  • ZIP codes provide more territory balancing opportunities because there are many more of them than counties or states. Counties and states are often too large an area for fair and balanced territory assignment.
  • ZIP codes offer more reasonable drive times than counties or states.
  • ZIP codes are unique numerically vs. counties that repeat names across state lines. There’s only one 01966, but there are multiple Essex Counties across the USA.

Because ZIP codes are relatively compact mail delivery zones, they tend to offer more manageable areas for sales account responsibility. Counties can be too vast for traveling salespeople to traverse in a day. Here in Maine, the largest, most northern county named Aroostook is commonly referred to as ‘The County.’ It’s just not an efficient trip up there, no matter how you look at it. Other states have similar county challenges.

Create ZIP code Territory Map near Essex County, MA

MapBusinessOnline sales territories based on ZIP codes or other map layers automatically include a Data Window tabular view. This view presents a data sheet view of each territory and includes:

  • Map layer information – ZIP code, County, FIPPs codes, etc.
  • Relevant demographic data as selected by the map creator.
  • Imported appropriate sales data columns.

Read more about setting up and optimizing your sales territory Data Window view.

An Alternative to Radius-Based Territory Maps

Some companies come to us with a requirement for radius-based or circle territories. You can undoubtedly draw multiple radii on a MapBusinessOnline map. You can associate a text label with each circle too. But using drawn map objects for territory assignment offers limited territory functionality.

A better way to approach the challenge of radii-based territory maps is to allow the radius of each object to query the ZIP codes associated with that area. Allow the ZIP code query result to represent the territory for each radius.

Drawn circles will provide rough demographic estimates at best, while selected ZIP codes will offer more accurate demographic totals by territory.

Zip codes will tend to be more driver-friendly as they follow town and enclave boundaries. That said, many areas where rivers and mountains disrupt territory maps, making it challenging to justify assignments.

The process for creating one radii-based ZIP code territory in MapBusinessOnline is:

  1. Use the Radius Search tool to create a circle object on the map.
  2. Click Search in the menu of action options.
  3. Select the ZIP code map layer for a search target. Click Next.
  4. Name the Territory. Click Create.

Please note to temper the ZIP code assignment and avoid grabbing ZIP codes that are not intersecting the circle with most of its area. To adjust the Map Options Search criteria:

  1. Go to Map and Data Map Options
  2. Click Edit Search Options
  3. Choose whether or not you desire your target ZIP codes to Intersect, Interest at 50%, or are Fully Inside the territory circle.

Additionally, you can import a list of multiple radii and create multiple circle territories at once using the first option, Search and Segment Data from Multiple Centers, in the Analysis button. Please note you can include a column in your territory data import Excel sheet for radii.

Read more about multiple territories from multiple radii here.

Overall, we recommend that users create sales territory maps using the available map layers in MapBusinessOnline. You be happier, and your family will be happier. Well, your family will still be there, anyway.


Discover why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com 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 – https://www.mapbusinessonline.com/App-Download.aspx.

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.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra or g2crowd.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives at geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson at jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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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