Map Business Online Blog

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

Organize the Sales Pipeline by Geography

Many businesses invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that store customer contact data and compile customer sales potential into a sales pipeline. If your business has installed a CRM that now feeds a robust sales pipeline you are to be congratulated. However, you may be surprised to find that a CRM and a sales pipeline do not always drive the sales results you had imagined. This essay suggests you that take the next step in the sales process and connect that sales pipeline to geography through sales territory mapping. Connecting your sales pipeline to a business map plants the seeds your future sales in fertile soil.

Dividing your organization’s sales coverage into sales territories may seem a daunting challenge to the uninitiated. Especially considering the myriad of software products business managers have to evaluate, install, and master these days. The good news is that there are business-mapping options available that make it easy and fast for you to institute geographic sales territory management within your organization. You will find that the benefits of establishing sales territories by geography can be significant:

Accountability – Sales territory management helps define and direct sales accountability
Shared Objectives & Results – Use sales territories to display team objectives, and results
Fight Chaos – Lack of a sales territory map invites chaos and infighting, a deadly distraction to sales growth
Visualize Customers & Prospects – Sales territories are a platform for customer and prospect visualizations
Agent for Change – Sales territories act as guides that can be adjusted to redirect and hone the sales effort

Drive Accountability
A well-defined sales territory management scheme defines the rules of the game for your sales team. It tells them where they can and can’t go, and when they get credit for the sale. It can display areas of allowable overlap or define clear boundary lines that can’t be crossed. It helps the sales team clearly understand who is running the show – hint: it’s not the sales team. Armed with this critical information the sales reps can focus on planning their month and selling.
Sales territories can provide template-maps for navigation planning. Each rep should be able to access their territory map and divvy up their business according to their unique style and their specific job description. Clear guidelines and planning tools promote accountability and accountability drives results.

Share Results
Clear sales objectives with quarterly results postings are critical to the success of your sales team. Your sales territory map can provide a public place to post sales objectives for all to view. With a clear objective in place, monthly or quarterly postings of sales results by territory will naturally establish the pace of success for your sales team. Sales accountability is now defined on this shared sales map where performance will be fairly measured. Posted results are anxiously awaited by all sales teams. Ritualize this activity.

There is no better way to communicate results than by posting a clearly defined territory map showing each sales rep’s quarterly results in sales dollars by region. And believe it or not, posting this information can take less than a minute. A sales pipeline with posted results married to geography defines accountability, driving results. This is your sales plan in action.

Have the Wisdom to Change
Sales objectives are not easily defined. It takes preparation, data, and thought; and it takes buy-off from your sales team. That’s why you want to apply visual controls that enforce rules and encourage performance. With territories clearly established, if Salesperson A’s territory doesn’t perform close to goals set for Q1, you have clear evidence defining the problem and the tools to quickly adjust A’s area of responsibility for Q2. Sales territories aren’t etched in polished granite. If sales aren’t happening after a period of clear effort, have the wisdom and the courage to change things. Good leadership has the ability to recognize the need for change and to appropriately apply it. Address inefficiencies, obstacles, and unfair assignments based on clear evidence. Your reps will thank you. Territory mapping creates order and order enables change when and where necessary. Your sales plan is now flexible.

From Chaos to Visual Accountability
Even if your sales team is made up of inside sales, non-traveling representatives, your sales pipeline can benefit from geographic based territory planning.

I once worked for a sales organization that should have applied geographic territory tools to help manage their sales pipeline. They hired Gurus, invested in Salesforce.com, and regularly screamed at us. Monthly sales meetings were held to review pipeline opportunities with no visual accountability. Account lists existed as random assignments with no basis in geography at all. Progress toward goals was slow and ultimately tanked. Leadership tended to focus on a few larger opportunities, quickly polling the group for status and next steps. Lower tier opportunities were never reviewed in detail. They forgot that lower tier opportunities, filled with painful objections and obstacles, are the beginning of tomorrow’s outstanding sales achievements.

By restructuring sales opportunities into geographic territories, sales objectives are displayed by region and sales person. Individual opportunities can be classified and color coded by type or even by blocking issue, facilitating a more helpful discussion, reinforcing accountability and driving results. Shared views of sales territories naturally promote sales accountability. Again, visual sales accountability drives results.

Without sales territory management your sales team may be adrift. The visual aid of territory maps expands personal accountability, informing daily sales activities. When you eliminate doubt about who gets credit for sales efforts productivity and sales numbers naturally go up. The focus returns to assigned accounts and prospects and how to convert them into sales achievements.

Implementation
Frankly, you are going to spend more time selecting a business mapping software then you are setting it up. Your preparation for sales territory management includes the following:

• Decide which geographic segments best represent your territories and regions – state, county or zip code. There are additional options but those are the most common.
• An accurate list of your current customers and prospects by location is helpful. These can be used as a guide for territory set-up and later for activity planning. I recommend customer map locations by address, city, state and zip. Why not be as accurate as possible?
• If you have a spreadsheet of current assigned territories, by all means use it. If you already have a spreadsheet that lists zip codes and territory names you can immediately import this list to create territories

Your process for set-up involves importing spreadsheets to automatically create territories and conducting polygon queries of administrative districts (usually zip codes) to create territories. You should be able to define areas of overlap, which may or may not be allowed in your business. Once those base level sales territories are established you can begin posting sales results by territory on a periodic basis.
Consider adding demographic data to help standardize or optimize territory sizes. Add other map layers to your territory map like city and highway layers. Adjust all labels on the territory map to reflect messages that resonate with your team. A great business mapping software will help you customize your map message to your map audience.

Now you can also share your territory map views with your constituents. Get feedback from your sales team, your management group and your peers.

Now post those results and help your sale pipeline grow.

For more information on using Map Business Online for sales territory management see these posts:
MBO Sales Territory Manual
Sales Territory Map for Elvis
Five Ways Territory Mapping Software will Improve Your Business
Sales Territory Mapping Where Do I Start

______________________________________________________________________________
Let a digital map help you learn about your business

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, g2crowd

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Presentations Using Business Mapping Software

On occasion business mapping customers and Map Business Online users get asked by their higher-ups to generate a presentation based on map views. That means it’s time for you to test your new map skills in front of your peers, and your executive team. Gulp.

Fear not! For as Shakespeare said, “Of those presenting to their King, none have fared better than the lowly cartographer – for he paints the world as the King would have it.” Ok. I made that up. But let’s imagine that’s how the Bard felt about maps. Maps are business intelligence. Map makers, therefore are keepers and communicators of business intelligence. So, show your peeps some intel.

You have two digital options for presenting map views to your executive team – use Power Point or some similar slide presentation software, or use Map Business Online itself. In either case I will reiterate my usual caveats:
• Keep the map simple – don’t try to over communicate
• Color code points to describe categories or classifications of things. Color code types of customers, products, or vendors. Do not color code individuals or store names which creates map clutter and invites derision or worse
• As a rule, import no more than four data layers per map and use different symbolization schemes to display each layer
• Use the map legend editing tools to cater to your audience. Your map should speak your audience’s language

In general, a chaotic map presentation that misses the mark means you won’t be asked back. A clean and simple map presentation that delivers the desired message(s) makes you look like a reliable authority. Maps are data visualizations. Maps clarify concepts through geographic display.

Embed Your Map Views in PowerPoint Slide Shows
Slide shows are effective ways to communicate business plans. Your map may show sales results, it may add value to strategic planning meetings, or it could show market statistics in support of product development plans. There are many reasons your boss wants a map. Slide shows, like PowerPoint, allow you to present map views in stages. Take advantage of this by building one to six map views that tell a developing story.

• Build several slides describing last year’s sales, year-to-date sales, and projected sales
• Create a series of slides that show existing customers, prospective customers, and then sales representative base or home locations
• Build maps that show product sales for 2014, new product inventories by store locations, and competitive product locations

Any of these slide show map views will contain a mix of your imported business data layers and map layers derived from the business mapping application. For instance, you’ll import your customer data, prospect data and competitor data while using the map application to display key demographic map layers, zip code maps, and city names.

Use your slide show tool to clearly state your discussion points. Then show a simple map slide that backs up your point. By using a text slide followed by several map slides in sequence, your audience will stay awake. Always keep text slides a brief as possible – avoid more than one line of text per thought. Keep your bullets limited to three, if you can.

If you find yourself editing paragraphs of text and adding more and more salient points, start over. Your presentation is going to fail. Do not do this:
• Write long and detailed lines of text that show how informed and smart you are
• Cram as many points into your slide as the slide parameters allow
• Try to impress your audience with all of the various aspects of your topic that you can list (Yawn)
• Create slides who’s content continues into the next slide

Instead do this:
• Be succinct
• Use 3 points/slide
• Focus on money (Bosses love that)

Use the Save Map Image to File button to create images for use in slide shows (that’s the globe with floppy disk icon to the right of the Print Button). I typically save my map view as a PNG file for use in PowerPoint, but Jpegs work too. Sometimes I’ll use the Print Screen keyboard button to copy my image and paste it into PowerPoint – but that captures everything on your screen. You could also use the Windows accessory Snipping Tool to grab images, and I have a subscription to SnagIt which comes in handy especially for video captures.

Using Map Business Online to Present
“Use the Force to present to your master, young padawan.” – Yoda on Swagellian, 2655
Ok I made up that one too, but if you are gaining confidence in your abilities using Map Business Online you could use the application in conjunction with the Force to present to your team. First, make sure you have a solid Internet connection. If not, go back to slide sharing.

Use Map Business Online to create the map you’d like to share. Use various data layers to make your series of points. Turn on one data layer at a time to describe each business point.
• Start with a map of your area of interest – perhaps a territory map
• In the Map & Data Tab click on the locations of all of your branches or stores – small circles on the map, perhaps color coded by product or type
• Now click on an imported data layer of your competitor locations
• Finally click on a heat map symbolized display of sales by location – that always wakes them up

Keep in mind, with any MBO map you could utilize various administrative layers to color code and display different aspects of your business. Turn on zip codes for territory layers, and counties for a demographic median income view.

Microsoft still supports PowerPoint unlike MapPoint. MapBusinessOnline.com will provide even better PowerPoint presentation graphics than MapPoint. MBO is web-based, maps for Mac or PC, and our data is updated regularly.

The Wrap Up
Regardless of how you do it remember:
• KISS – Keep it simple stupid
• Don’t try to solve all problems with one map. Consider one for sales, another for operations etc.
• Don’t drone on and on. Keep it lively.
• I sometimes insert random images in my presentations to wake up the audience. Here’s one that always worked. Feel fee to use it.
Barney Fife

But remember, I’m not the one risking all in their map presentation, you are.

______________________________________________________________________________
Let a digital map help you learn about your business

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, g2crowd

Filed under: Business Mapping Software blog post, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

SpatialTEQ Releases MapBusinessOnline.com 4.4 – City & Road Territory Overlays, and Expanded Map Limits & Controls for Team Users

LOWELL, MA (January 20, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc. today announced the release of MapBusinessOnline.com 4.4 – affordable business mapping software for sales, marketing and territory planning professionals in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K.. With MapBusinessOnline.com 4.4 MBO users will be able to overlay vector layers of cities and roads on top of sales territory maps, demographic maps or business planning maps. In addition, 4.4 provides a series of enhanced account management tools controlling the set-up of map editing teams, groups of annual subscribers interested in sharing map editing capabilities.

Road & City Vector Layers
City and road vector layers are new optional vector layers that provide accurate, labeled line and point layers to be used as overlays on user maps. This frequently requested feature adds additional visual references to advanced business mapping applications, like sales territory management. MBO map editors will be able to clearly define and display road networks that are relevant to their map’s mission. For instance, a major highway vector might be used to define general areas of sales responsibility on a sales territory map. Or city labels can provide obvious reference points for urban areas without covering shaded areas with boundaries or additional coloring. The user will be able to pick and choose street or city layers from a list of additional map layers. Sources for additional map layers include © OpenStreetMap contributors data. New vector layers are powered by SpatialTEQ’s proprietary FastMappingServer (FMS) map-attribute rendering engine.

Team Account Management
MBO 4.4 team account management, for annual subscribers only, will enable easier purchasing and upgrading options so that businesses can easily move users into and out of team editing groups. Controls will enable the selection of total user quantities at discounted prices. MBO team users will now receive additional map allowances including up to 400 saved maps per user, and up to 2400 MapShare sessions per user per year. MBO users will be able to purchase additional shared maps and multi-stop routing allocations. MBO 4.4 provides users with the ability to shift account log-in credentials from one email address to another.

Sales Territory Planning
Sales territory mapping functionality includes the ability to add demographic categories to territory data breakdowns, enabling views of total demographic values by territory. Easy territory creation workflows leverage demographic totals by territory; for instance MBO 4.4 users will be able to note total population by territory or total income by territory. Demographic layers and territories can be compiled by city, county, zip code, zip3, state and Census tract.

About Map Business Online
From the creators of BusinessMAP, http://www.MapBusinessOnline.com has been providing sales & marketing professionals with affordable and intuitive business mapping software, retail and customer mapping software for Macs and PCs since 2010. Design, edit, and share maps that reflect your business. Create and manage sales territories that drive accountability into your sales force. Replace discontinued Microsoft MapPoint with MapBusinessOnline. Access optimized multi-stop routes to control travel costs. No other map software solves so much for so little.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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MBO MapShare – Free Map Sharing vs. Paid Shared Map Editing

Seeing as 2015 is the year of the MapShare, now is the time to layout some details regarding what to expect when you share interactive web maps using Map Business Online. Web map sharing is a distinct benefit of using a web-based business map, as opposed to desktop mapping systems such as MapPoint.

Let’s keep in mind, under this MapShare scenario we’re generally using maps to communicate with our associates and our customers. Applying business mapping software to your business case should not be an afterthought. You know, the Big Guy passing by your office saying, “Oh, and Marge, when you get done with those quarterly reports, whip up a nice map for the executive team. Something colorful and distracting, I need to waste a good 15 minutes of their time in the late morning session.” No, no. That’s not appropriate map use. Map generation takes some preparation and thought all geared to clear and valuable communication.

Sharing business maps should start with a good understanding of what you want to communicate through MapSharing. Import your key datasets; ones that are pertinent to the issue at hand. Color code your data in a meaningful way.  Include enough data, demographics, and shading to communicate related and critical content, but don’t over-do it. Once your map is to your liking, start the sharing process.

Your Data Will Be Shared

I know this sounds obvious, but any data you import into your Map Business Online map is going to be viewable and possibly down-loadable by your map audience. Whether or not you’ve checked the Data Box associated with your imported data layer in Map & Data, once that map is saved that data will be available for viewing by everyone who clicks on your MapShare URL.  You do have control over allowing or not allowing downloads/exporting of your data – there’s a check box for that. If you don’t want some viewers of your map to see a certain data set – do not import it, or delete it before you save the map.

 

This can come up when sharing sales territory mapping with competing departments or organizations. This is especially important if you are managing overlapping sales territories. Just give it some thought before you save that map. Do you want Super Man the sales rep and Lex Luther the sales rep to see their overlapping accounts? One solution is to build separate parent maps for these two feuding reps. Tedious I know, but perhaps less expensive than kryptonite proofing the men’s room. It’s your call.

 

Who Can View My Map?

The short answer is, you decide. MBO subscriptions allow up to 100 free MapShare sessions or views per month. That’s no charge for view only and those free viewers do not have to be subscribers. A MapShare session is initiated by clicking on an interactive web map link or by pasting it into a browser. Each session can include panning and zooming, clicking on points, viewing data, radius & polygon searches, saving views, saving & exporting data, measuring distances, printing, and multi-stop routing.  Once you close that window your session is complete. The next time a MapShare link is clicked or pasted counts as MapShare number two.

 

Paid annual subscribers can be set up to share editing privileges. This is controlled by the map editor/creator. Get your map ready for sharing and save it. Then click the Share Map button (the politically correct interracial mixed gender icon on the toolbar.) Here you will find controls over the following options:

  • To turn off sharing – make your map private
  • Public sharing and free map viewing
    • Public sharing with data export allowed
    • Password protection over public sharing
  • Team sharing and map editing
    • Adding users and creating teams
    • Designating who can edit or view your map
    • Designating who can access and edit data
    • Team & editor management tools
    • Map lock to prevent overwriting by multiple users
  • Map sharing instructions through links or emails

The Sharing Process

I usually use the auto-generated email with the MapShare link to share the interactive web map.  In the MapShare dialogue, click the Show Map Viewing Instructions button.  You’ll notice a Show e-mail option in the resulting pop-up.  Click that to generate the preformatted email and then you can edit it. Now you can click Send Email.

Once you shared the map, any changes you make to your shared map will only be shared if you save that map. Remember – What you save is what you share.  This is important to remember because on the one hand, you want to make sure your audience gets to view the data you intend to share and on the other hand, you may not want to share some data sets so – do not include them in your map.

What the Share Map Does and Doesn’t Offer

With a view-only free MapShare your shared map will allow your map viewers to do the following:

  • Pan and zoom across the entire globe map view – all the way in and out
  • Plot new location points and look up zip codes through the address bar.
  • View, query, and filter shared data through the Data Window – viewers can create their own marketing list from your shared data and export those lists
  • Take notes on your data records. These are not synched to the original database but can be exported as CSV/Excel files for external use
  • A map creator can share a route via the shared map. Viewers will have access to the turn-by-turn directions and the map route view
  • A shared map viewer inherits the route limit of the map creator. Thus a MapShare viewer may be able to create routes with as many as 100 stops
  • Measure distances on the shared map
  • Save map views as Jpeg or PNG files with the option to save as a conterminous U.S. view
  • Access to help documentation

Your map viewers will not be able to:

  • Edit the map
  • Automatically route to marketing list results
  • Query and export administrative district (zip codes, counties, states) lists
  • Symbolize data, apply heat maps or color code the map
  • Print large format
  • Import additional location spreadsheets
  • Conduct drive time or drive distance analysis
  • Access draw tools

Annual subscribers who have been designated as map editors will have the ability to fully apply their editing tools to shared maps.

Real examples of Map Business Online MapShare applications:

  • CRM – Call center contact management – reps use the map to retrieve contact info and take notes
  • Non-profit donor activity sharing
  • Sales territory map sharing among internal and external sales reps
  • Nationwide customer sales activity sharing – Customer Mapping
  • Driver multi-stop optimized route sharing

_________________________________________________________________________________________
Let a digital map help you learn about your business

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, g2crowd

Filed under: Business Mapping Software blog post, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

Drilling Down on that Low Hanging, Open Kimono

The Drill Down
It’s 2015 and time for you to finally explore your business mapping options; especially in light of the shutdown of Microsoft MapPoint. We can make this transition easy for you. We really can. And if you’ve been following my business mapping blog a while you can tell my New Year’s resolution is to beat this dead horse – i.e. Map Business Online as a MapPoint alternative.

There’s a good sales reason for this. No one seems to know exactly how many MapPoint users there are out there but our best guess is it’s in the tens of thousands. And for business mapping software companies, this is what business talkers using business speak like to call “low hanging fruit.” So let’s go open kimono, drill down, and circle back on the subject so that at the end of the day we’ve generated more low hanging fruit.

The Fruit
If you’re using MapPoint for basic business mapping processes like customer mapping or prospect visualizations, sales territory mapping, or geographic market analysis, then Map Business Online can directly replace what you do with MapPoint. In fact, we’ll help you take it to the next level, which could be franchise mapping, finance analysis, or health care operations maps.

This means you can easily import spreadsheets in Excel format, text files, or other basic database files into Map Business Online. We’ve got YouTube videos and help documentation to help you achieve these imports quickly. Once you’ve pulled in your data you’ll be able to symbolize, segment, color code and total numeric data by administrative district (county, zip, etc.) You’ll find these Business Mapping Software applications easier than MapPoint, if our actual customer applications and feedback is any indication. We get multiple calls and emails hourly on replacing MapPoint. Visualization tools include various symbolization options, import your own symbols, and heat maps – which are way cool. And if you assign a unique ID column to your data you’ll be able to update changes in your imported data wicked fast – business speak for really fast.

Our Core Competency Thingy
Sales Territory Mapping is our strongest suit. That’s right, until you reach a price point north of $5000 per year or per install you just won’t find a better sales territory mapping software. Period. We own that market. So look forward to experiencing a much more advanced mapping tool than the one you’re used to in MapPoint. Much more advanced and much more intuitive – and with actual map data that is up-to-date.

If you have territories pre-assigned in a spreadsheet then import them and watch your territories easily take shape and color in your new mapping software. Or start from scratch, it doesn’t take long. Simply turn on a state, county or zip code layer, grab the polygon query tool and start grabbing selections of zip codes (because they are the most popular administrative district for territories) and build your new territory map. Save it as a map template for future work, or share your territory as a MapShare URL. Your map viewers don’t need to be subscribers to view your territory map.

Vertically Speaking
Market analysis means you can import your sales or prospect data, competitor locations, proposed store locations – whatever – and view that data on an accurate map. You’ll be able to add demographic data and color code those demographic files by administrative districts. Conduct drive time analysis from specific addresses to get a sense of the proximity of your stores to population centers or income densities. Pretty soon you’ll have that marketing map you could never quite get out of MapPoint making us even more than just a MapPoint alternative. Like many aspects of life, when something passes, better things are in store for you.

If you have questions about your application of MapPoint and whether or not it is doable in MapBusinessOnline.com simply ask us by email or phone. We are here to help and will do our best to respond quickly. We can always set up a web demo, we’ll even use your own business data (if that’s allowed) to examine MBO’s relevance to your organization. And if you can correctly identify the number of business speak phrases used in this blog, I’ll give you an hour of free training.

At the End of the Blog
So let’s ‘dial it up a notch’ and start improving your business mapping core competencies by getting you to drink the Kool-Aid of Map Business Online so at the end of the day, you rock. We’re really bleeding edge (that’s good right?).

_________________________________________________________________________________________
Let a digital map help you learn about your business

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, g2crowd

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