Predicting the Future with Business Mapping Software

As a business manager I’ve always wished I could predict the future. Visualizing the next big thing could greatly improve my business decision making. But the reality is I can’t just dream-up where all my new customers will be next year. I need something more scientific to do that.

Map Visualizations Better Than a Ouija Board
As it turns out, business mapping software may be just scientific enough. I can start by importing a spreadsheet of current customer addresses and visualize where all my customers are located today. This is sometimes called customer mapping. Customer densities appear – areas where our customers tend to congregate on the map. That map now clearly defines where our customers are located and, more importantly, where they are not located. And where customers are not is where I predict they will be in the future.

I can add to my map view a simple demographics by zip code layer that displays population gradations by a selection of zip codes. Now I can consider where large populations are concentrated and where our current customer densities are light. Knowing that our product offering is applicable to almost any sales and marketing organization I can safely assume that areas where we are not doing business is related more to customer awareness than to geographic eccentricities that might preclude the use of Map Business Online. It’s like selling toilets to town residents with no plumbing, you know they want toilets but they haven’t got the hook ups yet. Fortunately I’m in the mapping business.

Maps Inform Good Business Decisions
So my business decisions will be focused on areas where we think we can sell more. Those decisions might include:
• Hiring a sales calling service to focus on a few target areas of high population densities where we see low Map Business Online user densities
• Launching an advertising insert into the local papers in those low density areas to generate some interest
• Set up a Map Business Online roadside hot dog stand manned by scantily clad male and female millennials during the B2B weekday lunch hour in those low density districts

Expansion Planning
But I’ve got large business customers that require more face-to-face time. A few traveling sales people might be just the ticket to land some big companies and drive more respectable testimonials. So we’ve interviewed several prospects and they’ll be coming on board shortly. To accommodate their sales capabilities and manage their time we’re tapping into Map Business Onlines’s sales territory mapping capabilities. We’ve developed three sales territories by county across the Eastern USA – the Mississippi East Region.

We used counties because states boundaries didn’t adequately represent large business proximities that correlated efficiently with our new sales peoples’ home bases. By basing our territories on counties we can divide states where necessary preserving a map visualization balance between estimated windshield time and sales compensation coverage.

As we planned our expansion we used MapBusinessOnline to estimate drive times around key metro areas. Each targeted metro area included at least four major businesses that were qualified Map Business Online leads. We imported a list of additional business addresses by metro area that we secured from an online business listing service. Drive time polygons were used to query those lists and saved results, or Map Business Online marketing lists, were turned into optimized multi-stop vehicle routes.

Traveling sales people will plan their weekly schedule using a metro area hotel as the central point. All qualified businesses located within a given drive time polygons will be targeted for calls. Any businesses with significant potential within a one hour drive time of the original scope of call is a fair target, at the sales person’s discretion, because we don’t want any more windshield time expended without special permission from corporate.

Share Editable Maps
A shared and editable business map will be created, saved and shared with the team of account managers. The map will show:

• Sales territories by county
• Metro drive time targets
• Prospects color coded by call status and with hover-notes showing the number of potential users

Each week, using shared map editing capabilities, the new account managers will update our shared business map. Account managers are accountable for their own territory updates – this is written into their contract. They edit their maps daily or weekly as long as updates are complete by the day of the monthly sales meeting. If during the meeting we have to waste time speculating about whether an account had been visited or if the data was up-to-date, that account manager will suffer a demerit. Five demerits and they are back to selling roadside hotdogs.

Once a quarter a business decision will be made to hand off accounts to the inside sales team and create new market areas of interest for the traveling account managers to target. Leads from happy customers tend to drive a large percentage of new target development. And it’s a fact today that customers, once set-up, do not want to spend a lot of face time being glad handed by outside sales people.

We’ll follow this process until we feel we’ve saturated our territory scheme. At that point we’ll either move the focus west or drive deeper into detail and setup territories by zip code by metro area. Either way, even though we can’t peer into the future we can plan our way forward and create our own future using business mapping software.

Isn’t it time you developed a work flow that includes location intelligence and business mapping software? The Quija says, “Yes.” The Eight Ball say, “Decidedly so.” And Madame Marie is busy selling roadside Map Business Online hotdogs.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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