Create Sales Territories Using Drive Time Queries

Driving time is always an issue, isn’t it? How long a drive is it to get to Rolanda’s birthday party tomorrow? How long will it take on average for our patrons to reach our new restaurant? Is it faster to take the 10 or the Freeway to get to the All You Can Eat Icelandic Buffet tonight?

Driving times impact our lives daily, be they commuting delays or an emergency routing times during heavy traffic. Drive times have impact. So it makes sense that some companies might want to base their sales territory mapping assignments on driving times or driving distances. Using Drive Time tools to create sales territories are an alternative to the standard Map Business Online methods of territory creation including polygon queries, incremental selection, and territory creation from preassigned spreadsheet import.

Company’s with lot’s of field technicians may have interest in defining sales territories by drive time. It makes sense to organize areas of responsibility around specified drive times or distances from the technician’s home. Drive time is essential for retail mapping.

Drive Time Queries
Map Business Online business mapping software includes a Drive Time/Distance button in the toolbar – click the drop down next to the Search Data in Circle button. You’ll want that odd-shaped polygon button.

To begin a series of new sales territories based on Drive Time or Drive Distance polygons start with a list of points. Your drive time analysis usually starts from a series of specific locations, like all of your sales representative’s home offices. You might also choose all of your branch business locations. Create a spreadsheet of those business addresses and import those locations into Map Business Online. Plot multiple locations on a map.

Once imported, you will see that when you click on any of these points a mini toolbar opens up below the point, and on that mini toolbar you will find a Drive Time button. Before you click that drive time button choose the geographic district layer or map layer you would like to base your territories on: state, county, or zip code. More layers are available by clicking the Add Map Layers button.

The drive time button:Drivetime

Using the Map & Data Tab choose the district layer most appropriate for your territory. Most people focusing on drive time territories choose zip codes. But you could choose zip3 codes or Census tracts too. For this exercise let’s go with zip code mapping.

Now, back to that mini toolbar under your selected point. Click the drive time polygon button. Choose the drive time increment you’d like to set for your territory. For example, if you choose 25 minutes Map Business Online will draw a polygon on the map that represents an area drivable along the road network in all directions from your central point for 25 minutes. (If zip codes are the only layer checked on, you’ll go right to naming.)

Once that polygon outline is displayed in yellow on the map, click the Binoculars icon on the mini toolbar. This will let you query the zip code layer. Choose the zip code layer and save your territory name when prompted.

Now you have created your first drive time sales territory. You could do the exact same process and choose a driving distance polygon instead. A driving distance query simply returns the zip code list within 25 driving miles of a central point, as opposed to driving minutes.

Demographic Maps
Remember if you add demographic data to your first territory by choosing the Add Data button in the Data Window, you can expect all additional territories based on zip codes in that map, to include the same demographic data. This is a fantastic way to optimize your territories based on population or income.

Additionally, in Map & Data you can click the Gear Icon and choose the Territory Options tab, which can allow territories to overlap. Allowing territories to intersect will let you identify areas of overlap and address them per your particular business rules.

Drive time business analysis helps smart businesses plan around the very real restrictions we face in day-to-day living. People may be willing to drive to visit retail stores, schools, and medical clinics up to a certain time frame. Drive time can help your business understand how far your customers are willing to drive and or operationally, how far your associates can drive and be efficient. Either way, the All You Can Eat Icelandic Buffet stands to benefit.

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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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