Every week I speak with businesses about their use of online business mapping software. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and it always surprises me. Because we protect business confidentiality, below I can only talk about applications in a general way.
Probably the most common use of mapping software for business is around sales and marketing. It turns out geography is an incredible supplement to sales and marketing planning tools like CRM and ERP systems.
The simple concept of visualizing customers, competitors, or prospects on a map will inform any decision making process. I would estimate ten percent of our users go no further than to plot an Excel spreadsheet on our map and view customer locations. Suddenly they see where their sales activity is located, and more importantly, where it is not located. Sales managers geographically informed of their customer locations and corresponding sales activities, more effectively direct their people. Maps drive strategy.
Individual sales people access web mapping software to plan their days and weeks. We get calls from manufacturers’ representatives, insurance sales people, and various industry sales road warriors who utilize web mapping tools as a way to visualize their customer locations, conduct radius searches around city destinations, and efficiently route across their daily or weekly call lists. Accessing optimized turn-by-turn directions for their customer stop-offs for any city in the USA in minutes, is a game changer and a life saver for the traveling sales person. “Just the mileage tracking alone turns my expense reporting nightmare into a three minute routine exercise,” said one happy sales person recently.
Sales Territory Design & Management
Sales organizations very often will apply online business mapping software to the challenge of creating sales territories. Most sales management users base their sales territories on states, counties or zip code areas. Sales managers create sales territories either by importing spreadsheets of pre-assigned territories or they create new territories from scratch using a polygon search tool or, as I recently heard it referred as, a ‘mouse lasso’. The ability to export a list of territory zip codes with user data appended is very popular, not to mention cool. Some web mapping software allows the user to create free form territory boundaries that bisect zip codes, county or state borders.
Easy maintenance of territory changes, and the ability to show territory overlaps are also important aspects of sales territory web maps. Many sales users like to share their territory maps with constituents, which can be done as a map URL or web-link but can also be achieved through image capture for visual use in presentations and videos.
Users of territory management really cover the waterfront. We provide territory mapping services to bog box retail stores, insurance companies, and franchise businesses all across North America. Almost any business with a reseller network or dealer network is going to require map software to adequately manage their business territories. And many individual sales reps come to us for territory maps just to help them organize travel and sales reporting.
Marketing Analysis Maps or Business Intelligence
Viewing an address database of prospects enables list segmentation by geography. This means you can create email, phone call lists, or direct mail campaigns that focus on specific areas of interest. Many users like to create circles at varying radii around a city point. They want to collect all of the zip codes within that circle and append any associated sales data and demographic data for each of those zip codes.
These radius based marketing searches may be used to plan retail store expansions, or large hospital expansions in metropolitan areas. The very same tools are applied – data imports, radius data searches, and data appends. The usual customers of map-based marketing analysis tools include training organizations, direct marketing firms, and advertising businesses. But we all know any business requires marketing analysis and that is why we get calls from all types of business for this sort of map data analysis. I’ve spoken with flower companies, non-profits, insurance companies, ad agencies, liquor distributors, and many more organizations about market analysis.
Another industry that takes great advantage of map marketing analysis is banking and financial advisors. Banks have competitors and prospects just like any other business. A bank may cater to a local or national customer base; either way, importing location enabled databases of mortgage lending, interest rates, and savings trends can expand a bank’s perspective on its market area. I wonder how much money a national bank could save if it segmented its lists better? I know my wife and I get the same mail pieces on the same day from the same bank – maybe a dozen times each month. I’d take a 1% cut of the cost reduction, no problem.
Resource Planning and Location Awareness<a
Where are my fire stations? Where did those searchers search last night? Where do my technical representatives live? These are resource questions and many web mapping users want the answer to those questions. We get calls from all sorts of resource planners, public safety managers and mobile enterprises who want an easy online map solution addressing the question, where are they now or where are they going to be today?
These resource inquiries are almost always related to customer workflows. Common business examples are vending machine companies, traveling inspection organizations, bus and taxi organizations, police departments, energy companies, and home health care agencies. All of these organizations find online maps are critical to a more efficient workflow. Mapping tools that support optimized multi-stop routing and basic Excel spreadsheet location visualizations go a long way towards improving workflow efficiencies.
Business mapping software can provide optimized routes that lower costs per mile while improving response times. Online map tools provide various modes of communicating the location, status, and next steps in a project or workflow. A project manager has map communication options like embedding map images in presentations, sharing a map webpage, or printing a wicked big wall map to clearly display centers of activity. Map communication works well in a call center, during public safety emergencies, or for home health care scheduling.
Almost any business can improve their process, save money, or share information by applying web-based business mapping software. And most web mapping tools are affordable and easy-to –learn. You should try one today.
Www.mapbusinessonline.com – America’s fastest growing business mapping software. Let a map help you answer questions about your business.