Why Do Sales & Marketing Professionals Love Business Maps?

Map Business Online is business mapping software and 90% of the customers I speak with use the product for sales and marketing applications. Those sales and marketing users could be advanced users, comfortable with all types of software, or they may be novices to cloud services and may occasionally be unfamiliar with creating a simple spreadsheet. These sales and marketing users may work alone or they may work in large sales organizations like national retailer chains or at Oracle. Regardless of how big their company is, they use sales mapping software and marketing maps to supplement their sales and marketing activities.

But in talking to them all I’ve learned that geography as an applied discipline is perfect for sales and marketing.

The power of seeing your customers or prospects against an accurate and compelling web map is not to be understated. And I state it a lot because it’s true. Data visualizations can manifest in many ways. It could be just address records with points on a map. But it could also be symbolized and color coded points based on account types. Or those records could be converted into sales numbers and visualized as a component of total sales by county or state. Whatever way you visualize your data, sales and marketing numbers in a spreadsheet take on a whole new meaning when associated with areas of interest on a map.

Sales Territory Management
Organizations of all kinds use territory mapping to assign and monitor sales progress. Typically sales territories and coverage areas are assigned by zip code or county, but states may make more sense for larger organizations. In some cases databases exist with counties or zip codes pre-assigned – these can be imported into mapping applications for territory display. Sales managers can also create territories by selecting groups of zips or counties with a polygon search tool or by clicking districts incrementally. Either way the sales territories can be color-coded and labeled for obvious accountability. Mapping software can even allow or disallow sales overlap.

Mapping software applications provide that missing link between CRM apps like SalesForce.com, ACT! or Oracle and your ability to actually see how territories exist on a map.

Market Analysis
Some of the same tools that set up territories are used to establish market analysis by areas. Zip codes and counties may be set aside in favor of MSA’s, Zip 3 areas, or Census Tracts in this case. But no matter what areas of interest you choose, mapping applications enable the segmentation of data – your data, business listings, email lists, or demographic maps – by geographic area. I’ve seen market analysis applied in hundreds, perhaps thousands of ways from event planning to product launches, from competitor analysis to business expansion. And other business aspects can benefit from the exact same analysis – like health care organizations determining coverage areas by skill set or discipline.

Marketers and strategic sales planners love to take their databases and strategy outlines and visualize how they layout against an accurate map. After all, we live and work on this planet. Our business plans should always incorporate a perspective that takes the world as we know it into consideration.

I know I can’t open an email or Google a restaurant without seeing some sort of ad for sales and marketing tools. Everyone has their own special sauce for furthering sales success. We pay good money for CRM, email management tools and possibly LinkedIn. Mapping software is a relatively inexpensive way to augment all of those tools in ways that add value.

Export your email lists out of your CRM or email system and segment it geographically. Plan campaigns around when your sales people travel to certain areas of the country. Market events based on potential customers living within X miles of your selected hotel in key MSA’s. Determine which zip codes you have not yet milked for your donor campaign. Really, the list goes on and on.

There’s a magical component to the geographic view of a business strategy. Geography helps organize our minds. It brings new perspectives and patterns to our analysis. Sales and marketing professionals love this aspect of business mapping software. As do many other professionals across many disciplines.

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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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