Map Business Online Blog

Read about business mapping and how it can help your business succeed.

Why Do Sales Managers Assign Sales Territories?

National Territory MapSales territory creation organizes your sales force. In most cases sales managers want their sales people in separate, clearly delineated sales sections. This helps drive accountability; it focuses the sales person on their own unique set of goals. It also anchors the sales territory assignment in sales logic; that is, territory assignments are developed through an awareness of facts.

One fact may be the concept of sales territory overlap. The best sales territory software will include the ability to show territory overlap as an option. Sometimes sales managers allow sales people to share territories, others do not. Allowing overlap could be due to legacy relationships, work load, or training realities. Each company handles sales overlap differently.

Sales territory facts can be multifaceted. A sales territory could be assigned based on historical sales data. Sales volumes vary by region and balancing the sales load, as well as sales compensation, only makes sense. Contributing factors towards an historical sales territory assignment might include the number of sales people available for assignment, how geographically spread out your target area is, and where most of the sales are located.
Sales territory facts could also include results of a demographic analysis. The sales assignment justification may use population, median income, and household levels per zip code as its basis. Or some companies may choose to import additional demographics such as health or real estate statistics, depending on your industry. All statistical additions should contain a location component (zip code, county) to connect it to territory assignment logic.

Still further factual justification could be based on the location of customers and known prospects. This is especially important where sales and service rep travel has a significant impact on expenses. A visual analysis of key customer locations informs the sales manager of obvious territory assignment needs, and leads to proper focus on more dense and thus complex areas. Add to this list a view of where your sales people start their day (office or home) and where all your competitors are located and you have a pretty complete picture of your business network.

Business mapping software tools simplify and organize sales territory assignments. Web map tools provide a baseline and a methodology enabling maintenance of territories over time – because things change. Often the real work involves conducting a radius or polygon search of your data in key areas. The results can surprise you. I’ve recently had one customer, a national DYI retailer, completely reorganize their national sales team by assigning web-based map territories. Almost all of their requirements were met by existing web mapping software, and the rest are planned for further development work on our territory solutions.

Territory assignments, once implemented need to be communicated. Web based territory sales maps should be sharable through simple web-links. Let’s face it, we all communicate by using the web. I bet I’ve presented 1000 web demos in the past year. I often ask call-in customers to pull up the web page join.me for desktop sharing. To date, not one customer has answered that suggestion with a negative response. Not one. We communicate and work on the web and your territory assignments should too.

In review, Sales territory software assignments drive sales decision making, develop sales goals, and help sales people monitor their own progress. Use a web-based business mapping software to help you build sales territories. It should be easy, affordable, and an improvement to your business work flow. If it’s not, go find another one.

Www.mapbusinessonline.com – America’s fastest growing business mapping software. Let a map help you answer questions about your business.

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Where Can I Get Business Data Lists for Use in Online Business Mapping Software?

Show business lists on a map

Many of Map Business Online customers try our web mapping software expecting to find harvestable business listings embedded in the product. To date that has not been our business model. Although we do provide Census demographic data associated with zip code, county and state districts, we do not provide business or organizational data.
If a Map Business Online user can find business listings with a location component – an address, a city, county, state or zip – then the user can import that data set for use within our business mapping software in much the same way that you import your customer or prospect lists.

There are companies that offer business lists. In fact, there are quite a few, which at times can be somewhat overwhelming for the professional interested in accessing business data. In general, do not expect business data for free. You might find some teaser datasets out there but user beware, quality business data is managed by data professionals who compile and quality check the data. This means data costs money. If anything is out there for free it’s either real old or just plain wrong.

Companies like Info USA, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Axciom are giant data providers that offer business lists. These companies offer online services that enable users to select and upload business data sets in various segments. D&B and Hoovers tend to be more subscription oriented as opposed to allowing one-off purchases. I was able to download a list sample from Experian but these organizations did not respond to my inquiries for more information.

Www.MelissaData.com did respond. Melissa Data is more of a broker than a compiler of business data. They have access to many of the above referenced compiled datasets and allow the user to pick and chose smaller sets of data by SIC Code (Standard Industry Classification) or by geographic segments like county, zip code, or state. Business data records typically include employee size, sales volume, along with key contact information. Obviously address information is there as well.

Melissa data is a one-stop-shop for business data records with more data layers available to you, due to contractual relationships with the large compilers. You will find attentive sales people, and above average geocoding and general data accuracy. My Melissa Data contact told me that business list pricing starts around $0.05 per record. You can ask for more business data criteria but this will add to the price per record.
http://www.melissadata.com/dm/mailing-lists/business.htm You can start at this page by clicking the Getting Started button.

Where ever you get your business data lists, you can import your business data onto a business map and visualize where your prospects are located, segment that list by specific geography, and create subsets of that list – append demographic data, and export these files out to a third party application. Map Business Online supplements business data views nicely by providing zip code maps, sales territory maps, radius maps and polygon searches.

Let us know who your favorite business list solutions are.
Www.mapbusinessonline.com – America’s fastest growing business mapping software. Let a map help you answer questions about your business.

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Why do Businesses & Organizations Use Business Mapping Software?

A use case synopsis
I'd Turn Back
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.

Sales Organizations
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.

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Where Are Your Competitors? Asking the Key Questions

Competitor MapWhere are your competitors? Well, do you know? You should.

Understanding where and why your competitors are located is part of any successful sales manager’s job. Back in the day, when the kids in the neighborhood put up lemonade stands to sell to thirsty tourists, it was important to know where the other neighborhood stands were located. Any third grader knows to not locate their stand on the same corner as the next third grader, unless it’s truly as busy as Time Square.

It won’t take a lot of effort to find or create a spreadsheet that includes the addresses of your primary competitors. Import competitor data into a business mapping software and think about what the web map tells you. Look at it in terms of your sales territory and your competitors’ sales territories.

Retailers will view the competitive landscape in a very practical way. Retailers want to know whether they are missing growth because they have no physical presence in that location or if the target geographic market is too crowded to justify the required investment. Viewing competitor locations on a map may instantly reveal obvious courses of action, like exploring a new mall location through a kiosk placement, or perhaps a site visit to a department store. Often a closer look is required but you can start by simply importing business data onto a web map.

Competitor locations, viewed in conjunction with imported customer and/or prospect locations, can reveal answers to sales planning mysteries. Perhaps a key customer’s sales activity is not what it once was. Could it be that a competitor has moved into the neighborhood? Are specific cities developing niche markets that support certain industries? Often a manufacturing environment will spawn subset industries which might require your products or services. Do you understand these subset market possibilities? Do you fully comprehend why your competitors are located where they are?

A higher level view of the whole United States with competitor locations displayed in your map view will strategically inform the manufacturing sales manager. Consider which competitors have locations by region. There may be certain products located close to large users for logistical reasons. If you compete in that product field you could consider alternative areas where you can dominate a local niche. Also, by tracking competitor locations overtime competitor strategies may come into focus as they open and close locations to try to leverage strengths and weaknesses.

And what about competitor company headquarters? Where are they located and why? Ever think about sending a sales person to call on accounts in your competitor’s backyard? Why not? Maybe the prices in that area are inflated. Perhaps there are some easy pickings within your competitor’s sales comfort zone. At worst, you can talk to customers that know your competition well and learn something about the way they do business or the industry in general. Because ultimately, competitors compete in markets based on what the market wants. The more you understand about your competitors the better you will compete. Competitor location is a great place to start.

Viewing competitor locations will generate questions. Questions are the first step to answers. And answers can help provide a competitive edge in your business.

Www.mapbusinessonline.com – America’s fastest growing business mapping software. Let us help you answer questions about your business.

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Define Your Sales Territories by County, State or Zip Code

Walter & Saul
The purpose of using sales territories is to assign sales accountability and to measure sales progress. A sales organization can choose to make this a simple process or a complex process. I am sure there are examples of organizations that require many layers of management and measurement that make the process somewhat complex. My vote is for keeping it simple. Build sales territory maps using counties, states, and zip codes.

Most business mapping software applications provide an easy and simple way to build sales territories by applying standard administrative districts e.g., counties, states, and zip codes. These common geographic segments simplify and organize sales territory management.

For the most part, the physical boundaries of these areas are well known, and agreed upon. This can come in handy when attempting to negotiate sales responsibilities between two or three aggressive and commissioned sales reps; all sales professionals can agree on a boundary and an account location.

A zip code, county, or state is also easily converted to a demographic map. Population, household, income or other demographic data sets are routinely published in geographic segments which enable informative map views that can help define and quantify a territory. Especially when selling consumer products a demographic perspective can clearly illustrate market potential.

When drafting boundary lines for territories it just makes good sense to follow existing administrative boundary lines instead of creating arbitrary lines. Here’s a partial list of reasons why:
• Arbitrary lines have no basis in the real world. How does a sales person adhere to an imaginary random line? Random lines create gray areas which can decrease accountability.
• Arbitrary lines are a lot more work to create, requiring advanced drawing tools and techniques that take time away from the business of selling.
• Because arbitrary lines require more work, sales managers are reluctant to change them which can impede territory management, territory adjustments, and process measurement.
• Arbitrary areas cannot be associated easily with published Census demographics.

Using simple administrative districts as a basis for sales territories allows managers to create higher level territory tiers or regions that provide overall sales management districts for handling groups of sales associates. These management regions distribute the management load while providing sensible geographic segmentation to the sales process.

Developing sales territories based on administrative districts also allows users to build spatial queries that relate and display account and prospect business data to sales territories. Now your critical account base and your target accounts are associated with sales territories, and that is the fundamental criteria for sales territory accountability. Armed with such a geographic sales database a sales manager should be able to drill up or down to view sales results and responsibilities at various levels within the sales organization. Measurements applied on a monthly or quarterly basis will provide all the detail necessary to improve results. As a result sales planning, travel and measurements will all improve.

Export those results and expectations into your sales funnel analysis and begin to control your future.

www.mapbusinessonline.com – America’s fastest growing business mapping software. Contact us for a web demo of sales territory management tools.

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