Use Business Mapping Software to Rethink Your Strategic Sales Plan

All businesses have problems. Successful businesses solve problems. I spoke with a Southwest US company that had plenty of sales in the Houston and Dallas areas. The sales people in those areas were overwhelmed with customer calls, technical support, and requests from potential customers. They also netted more commission by far, then the more remotely located sales people.

Outside of those key metropolitan areas, as far north as Nebraska and as far west as Arizona, company sales efforts where far less effective. Sales people faced much longer drive times between customer locations.  Windshield time does not drive sales.

This company needed to shift their sales thinking, reconfigure their sales territories, and create new objectives for their sales people.

Part of this challenge was solved by applying a web-based mapping software.  The simple process of importing company business data including sales peoples’ homes, customer locations, and the most lucrative customer accounts, created the business intelligence and location awareness required to start solving the problem. These business data points displayed on a map, all together or in separate files, highlighted the lopsided nature of the company’s current sales organization.

It was immediately apparent that most of the sales were located in the East Texas quadrant. It also became clear that there were sales people living along a line between San Antonio and Oklahoma City that could easily absorb customers and prospects typically associated with Houston and Dallas sales territories. This helped balance workloads and made incentive plans more effective to all. This was the low hanging fruit derived from this sales territory analysis.

Further west the geographic realities showed that company travel policies were getting in the way of sales growth. Using territory mapping software the sales management team reformatted sales territories to maximize efficiencies based on where sales people lived and where customer and prospect decision makers were located.  A quick analysis using optimized routing tools let managers decide which sales territories suffered from extended drive times.

Two of the sales people were given permission to fly to certain critical account locations. A radius search of prospects around those key accounts helped to create a list of target accounts that further justified the flying expenses.  The sales people had one year to plan sales trips to each set of prospect accounts, meet with contacts, and build interest in their product offerings. The idea was to spend the time saved by flying, on prospecting.
In the end, an overall master sales territory was created to help coordinate strategic planning outside of the company’s existing sales territories.  Another set of outlying prospects was imported into the online web map that showed possible new accounts lying within 250 miles outside of the current master sales territory borders. Whichever sales person met their first or second quarter goals would have the option to fly to a new area of their choosing and start working the new sales territory.

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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