Then there are those pesky humans. They don't like memorizing ISO codes, so you'll need read-only spelled-out translations of the country and province names, probably in two forms: English, and the local language of that country. The listing for DE, for example, would include Germany and Deutschland. That way, the mailroom and distribution center have what they need to get stuff out the door.
Lat-Long Grids Can Ease Sales Territory Management
As I wrote in the Territorial Imperative, sales territories are a critical management theme for account development, inside sales, outside sales, channel sales and support organizations. Get it wrong, and you'll have a dozen reps outside your office within minutes.
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Geography is the starting point for most territories. Your firm may have several overlays and exceptions that follow the named-account model, whether they're government accounts, industry verticals or particular product lines, but geography will be part of the formula no matter how complex your sales territories may be.
At the top level, country and province are intuitive, easy to enforce and represent few problems, provided you're on the ISO-code bandwagon. Below that, things get dicey. Phone numbers--area codes in North America, city codes elsewhere--are intuitive but wrong. Easily 25% misrepresent a customer's location thanks to VoIP, number portability, mobile phones and other issues. Move away from this criterion for territories as fast as you can, as the non-geographic problem gets worse every month.
ZIP or other postal code systems are equally attractive for sales territory management, particularly in countries that have a purely geographic coding paradigm. A non-geographic paradigm for postal codes works fine in countries where the economies are highly concentrated, such as France or Ireland, and you know that most of the high-value purchase decisions will be made in a handful of postal codes--for example, 75001-75020 in France or 10001-10150 in the U.S. In the hinterland of these countries, though, the postal codes map is a crazy quilt that is useful only for the postal service, not your sales team. Counties are little more useful, unless you're selling to agricultural markets.