Five Steps to Creating a Valuable Customer Map from Business Data

Business mapping software is all about the data visualization of your business data. Business owners and sales managers are deriving business intelligence and strategies by viewing their business data against an accurate base map. So, what are the best ways to start building a useful business map?

Customer mapping starts and ends with your location based business data spreadsheet:
1. Include Addresses – Create an Excel spreadsheet of your business data that includes address records. Don’t skimp on the address data. I know, you’re a busy person and zip codes should be good enough. But if you’ve got addresses in your data, use them. Create columns in your spreadsheet for address, city, state and zip code. Alternatively you can use latitude and longitude coordinates, which are even more accurate.

By using full addressing you’re providing your business map with the most realistic visualization of your critical business locations. If you simply list zip codes, you’ll get multiple business data points located at the same location. That’s not your business reality. Keep it real, bro.

2. Include Additional Data – Include with your imported business location data any pertinent information that informs your business decisions. Perhaps include a column showing sales associated with each location. Does each customer falls into a certain category or type: retail, industrial, government? On your map you’ll be able to color code based on the data types or numeric ranges included in your additional data columns.

3. Consider importing your own symbols – Perhaps customer logo images or product jpegs will help you’re your business map quickly communicate critical data to your business map audience. Medical maps often use medical symbology to reflect clinician disciplines – A stethoscope image for doctors, life saving symbols for nurses, and a tooth for the dentist. Your map should quickly communicate to your map users. Make your map sing to your map viewers.

4. Define Coverage Areas – Areas of interest, sales territories, and medical coverage areas can be easily displayed as a function of an imported location data sheet. If zip codes, counties or even Census tracts define your coverage areas, you can include a column in your data that defines those location segments. For instances, a list of zip codes for an entire home care coverage area, with another column for any preassigned CNA’s, will provide a coverage area map that displays the designated accountable nurse managing each zip code area. The zips will be colored according to the map legend or key.

5. Double check your data – I know. It’s you. You never screw up. But the old adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ still applies. Make sure you don’t leave empty records where information should go. Glance at your addressing data – does it look right? No weird country abbreviations are included by mistake, right? It happens. A lot. Take your time and double check that the data you are importing is solid, location based information. Your map and your map viewers will thank you.

The Wrap Up
Your location based data sets are the key elements in deriving new perspectives on your business from business mapping. So think it through. An excel spreadsheet of zip codes doesn’t tell you much about where your customers are versus where your competitors are until you import them onto a map and visually absorb the information. You’ll be amazed at what a zip code mapping tool, like Map Business Online will do for your perspective.

Imagine going on an automobile trip around New England with your family for a week. Would you bring just a spreadsheet of all the planned stops and use that to navigate and determine driving times? No way. Your significant other would significantly kill you. A travel map can help pull a family through a vacation and ready them to face the next crisis in their personal drama called life. Wait. Did I say that out loud? Well anyway, it’s the same with a business map. Turn that spreadsheet into a data filled business map and start viewing your business strategically.

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