Map Business Online Blog

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

Is Map Business Online Easy to Use?

We often get this question through phone calls and emails, “Is your business mapping product easy-to-use?”

This is a reasonable question that is somewhat difficult to answer. One could approach the answer from a variety of perspectives.

The easy answer for me is, “Yes. Of course it is. That’s why we’ve been so successful growing the user base and replacing MapPoint.” But, I’m a sales guy and who can really trust a sales guy to answer that question honestly?

One reason the question can be problematic is that I am not familiar with every caller’s technical abilities. There a variety people with a variety of skills and capabilities who could ask that easy-to-use question. Here are a few examples of how it might go:

Techno-Wizard – this person is great with technology. Technical challenges are usually easy for her to solve. She enjoys them. The chances are excellent she will find MBO very easy to use.

Competent Organized Business Dude – This guy is confident, in control of his day. He has administrative help to help him get things done. He made his goal and bonus last year. MBO will be easy for him too.

Ms. Hathaway – Administrative Assistant to Mr. Drysdale – Always competent, Ms. Hathaway finds MBO quite easy-to-use and has used it to help her boss visualize the bank branches where profitability can be most improved. However, when Jethro Bodine walks by while she’s retail mapping, her symbols have been difficult to manage. Ms. Hathaway realizes she needs to make sure distractions are at a minimum before she maps.

Admin to a Demanding Boss – Many administrative assistants call to learn about Map Business Online in terms of what their boss wants. I always prepare for trouble here because no matter how much the admin prepares her map, her boss is going to have a more complex vision of what the map should do. So I often suggest that admins be prepared to explain to their boss, “Maps are designed to communicate. Trying to solve all problems with one map often creates map clutter and defeats the purpose of a shared business map. At times a boss with a vision thing can make easy mapping difficult.

My Dad & Lt. Colombo – My father is really good with technology for an eighty two year old, but anything new takes time and he’s going to ask hundreds of questions. Does that mean the program is not easy? Not really. It means he does pretty well for a Parkinson’s patient. He behaves a lot like Lt. Colombo; pretty much convincing you he’s ready for lock-down and then asks a brilliant question that solves the murder, or mapping challenge.

Mr. Intimidated by Technology – Many people are intimidated or overwhelmed by technology. I can’t blame them. It happens to me regularly. Ask my wife about our broken remote pile. For those intimidated by technology MBO can be a mystery on a bad day or a God send on a good day. My suggestion for those of us who’s brains can freeze when overwhelmed – take a walk, take a nap, take something, get a cup of coffee and take your time. Make mapping fun. If you can do those things your business mapping and other technical work will be easier.

Health Care Manager – Usually MBO can help to simplify the lives of health care managers. They are often using maps to manage or visualize a mobile staff. Applying territories and coverage area maps to their work can be illuminating. But I’ve learned these people are extremely busy. And usually technology isn’t their number one priority. Savings lives or keeping patients comfortable is at the top on their priority list. This presents constant conflict in their lives as they struggle between emergencies and organizing chaos in preparation for future emergencies. For them MBO can be easy-to-use and then, during an emergency just logging in can feel like planning an Apollo moon shot. Practices and preparation for the big game is key to keeping things easy under fire.

Large Business Users – Especially with the demise of MapPoint, people who work in larger companies need new mapping tools for their work. Sales and marketing pros usually use maps to visualize or analyze a situation. They recognize fairly quickly that MBO is easy-to-use. Their challenge is more focused on their company’s restrictions, especially around cloud services. It’s important to realize that privacy and security are top priorities for Map Business Online (see this previous blog.) We’ll work with you procurement process and your IT department to make sure your business is as protected as it can be. So they feel comfortable allowing use to access an easy-to-use business mapping software. Read more here.

Territory Managers – This is actually a fairly common role in North American medium to large size businesses. And of all features in Map Business Online, we really do make the sales territory mapping process much easier. The tools ability to import customer data sets in Excel, pre-assigned territory regions in Excel, and the ability to create and manage territories on the fly, is unsurpassed at our affordable prices point. Try the application for free to see for yourself.

In general, people who are comfortable with basic technology – spread sheets, word processing, web browsers, do just fine with http://www.MapBusinessOnline.com. People who crush an occasional remote should be sedated. And people who are intimidated by technology should consider learning MBO for their own personal achievement, for they will find themselves business mapping or creating territories or building customer maps in short order.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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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Label Your Map Like You Mean It, Using Map Business Online


As you know, business mapping software is all about data visualizations. Business data imported into Map Business Online provides our business users with views of their competitors, staff, customers, and prospects. All of those points require labeling options.

With larger datasets, more than just ten or twenty records, we discourage turning on all labels at once. Labels can overwhelm a map and the map becomes meaningless when all you can see are labels. But we do allow the user to hover over a point and view a label with five flexible fields that display the information you feel is primary to your map goals. And if you really want to, have at it and turn on all those labels. It’s your map after all.

MBO provides multiple opportunities to customize the labeling of your imported business data points when mapping multiple locations. Included in these location point label features are MBO’s latest capabilities associated with adjusting the Callout Tag. In general we divide location labeling into three types:

Label – These are labeling tags associated with zip code, county or state districts. For example, each state shows a state label within the state.

Callout – Callouts are label tags that popup when you mouse over an object, point, or a district
Territory Labels – Territory labels act the same as regular labels do but are associated specifically with the territories you’ve created while sales territory mapping.

All naming tags and labels in MBO can be turned off and on. With regard to map layers like zip codes and states, you have the power to determine when those labels appear based on zoom level. Hover your mouse over the layer in question and click the Edit Gear. Choose the Label tag along the right side, and use the bottom function to control whether or not labels show, their size and font, and at which zoom level they appear. At each zoom level, the application will automatically decide which labels show and when labels don’t display, to control map clutter and label overlap.

The Callout Tag Enhancements
Callout tags are pop-up labels that occur when you hover over an imported layer point or a district like a zip code. We recently enhanced our callout tag features so that the user has more control over the size of the call out and how the text is displayed.

To access Callout Tag editing, in the Map and Data Tab hover over the layer and click the Edit Gear. You can now control callouts by adjusting:

• Callout tag size, and position
• Callout tag font, and text enhancements
• Callout tag color backgrounds
• Callout tag data sources and formats

Adding Sales Dollars to Territory Labels
Territories are usually built based on zip codes, counties or state map layers – or other map layers available in the Add Map Layers option. So when you want to add a calculation or numeric update to your territory label, once again, hover over the related map layer and click the Edit Gear. Select the Label option along the right side and then choose Format Labels.
Now choose Territory Labels. From Territory labels you will see below an option to link with your imported data layer. Choose the column that contains your numeric sales data. Feel free to edit the label text – like adding a “$” sign or maybe the words “Q2 Results.” After you’ve finished click Change Labels and see your data now populated in the territory label on the map. This is my favorite feature in Map Business Online, except the ability to import Jpegs as symbols so I can build a map dedicated just to Don Knotts. See video.
Barney Fife
Grow Your Own Symbols
Map Business Online let’s you choose your own symbols and add them to the available library of symbol options. Your industry may have its own library of standard symbols to choose from. As long as the symbols are of reasonable size, in Jpeg or bitmap format, you can import them for use on the map as mappoints.

To do this, you should have already selected a jpeg image and saved it to you desktop somewhere. Then in MBO simply click into the Symbol library where ever a symbol is available (color code by point, the Data Window) and scroll to the top of the library. Choose Custom Symbol and import your symbol pic into the library.

Editable Legend
And speaking of labeling, let’s not forget, that the map legend is entirely editable in Map Business Online. Use this tool to make your final map speak to your map audience. The legend pulls together your entire map presentation by allowing you to spin your message using terms your audience understands. Click that little circle in the upper right corner of the Map Legend and edit the points and layer names. You won’t regret it.

Your map viewers will never remember a confused, overwhelming map, but if you use MBO to make your map speak to your audience in terms they understand, they’ll always come to you for maps that help. You’ll be like the mad map maven, or the map-meister – at last known for something.

You should find the labeling of your imported data layers or on map geographic districts to be pretty straight forward. Click the help button for more suggestions or go to our Youtube video library for more approaches.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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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Map Business Online and Your Data Security

For good reason both large and small businesses are worried about data security. It feels like we read about data breaches in the news almost every day. While at the same time, desktop software is steadily giving way to web-based or cloud service software because cloud services require less infrastructure, software updates are automatic, and these online tools are usually much more affordable. How can a business decision maker reconcile these two trends and feel their business data is safe and secure?

Data security at its most fundamental requires that business managers remain both cognizant and vigilant. We must stay aware of the challenges facing data privacy and be on guard for missteps and violations. Part of data vigilance is making sure certain business data sets are never uploaded to shared applications – on the desktop or the web. Personal data like social security numbers, credit card account numbers, and patient identity data are all extremely private and should never be used in a business mapping application. Make sure your business’ super sensitive data is never released for business analysis. Be vigilant by establishing and adhering to strict rules around your sensitive data management and make sure all employees and contractors adhere to your policies.

Map Business Online Data Protections
Here at Map Business Online, a web-based cloud service, we take data security very seriously. Our customers come to us from health care, financial services, national retail chains, franchise organizations, and a host of other vertical markets. So whether we’re talking about HIPAA concerns, bank accounts, credit card data, or just business intelligence, our customers share a strong desire to keep their business data well protected. Our customers depend on our data security vigilance.
MapBusinessOnline.com is a business data visualization tool. Data visualization is the core value of business mapping software. So, if you are using a businessmap, you are using it specifically to import business data onto a map, usually to develop shared data visualizations for constituents, clients, and employees.

Map Business Online collects certain personal information such as your name, e-mail address, and postal address, in our registration processes, to improve the services we offer to you, to communicate with you about Map Business Online services, and to provide effective customer support when needed.

When you plot a database on a digital map using Map Business Online we process the data on our servers. We extract only the data columns that you designate to be used on the map. We delete original data files immediately after the designated data has been extracted. We store selected data columns for you in our access-protected-database in encrypted form.

Encryption

Any and all data that is imported into Map Business Online is encrypted. Not all Cloud services provide encryption. Map Business Online applies best practices, standard data encryption algorithms that work at the account level and make routine business mapping sessions extremely difficult for evil doers to access.

Cloud Hosted Services

Software products typically offered as a Cloud or web-based service are served over the Internet by a cloud hosting agent. Map Business Online is hosted by Microsoft Azure, out of Atlanta, GA. Microsoft Azure is reliable, advanced, fast, and provides security compliant protocols that protect client software platforms and assure general security compliance for hosted applications. This means applications served up over the Azure cloud can comply with specific industry security requirements. Read more here: Microsoft Azure

Azure is one of several large and secure hosting agents available in the USA. Any of these cloud services spend a great deal of time and money making sure all of their services are secure. Map Business Online engineers comply with Azure policies and recommendations to assure hosting services remain secure across all transactions.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Protocols

MapBusinessOnline applies Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocols to all business mapping web sessions specifically to protect user security across all transactions. SSL ensures that all business transactions, be they e-commerce or data analysis related, are kept private. Look for the S after HTTP in web URLs, and check for the Pad Lock symbol on any website to make sure SSL security settings are in place. Click the Globe icon to the left of our URL text to read about MBO security settings. Read more about SSL security protocols here: https://www.globalsign.com/en/ssl-information-center/what-is-ssl/

Map Business Online requires that all users logging into the application use their email address and a specific password. Your password prevents random users from accessing your account and viewing your maps and imported data layers. In fact, Map Business Online software engineers and employees cannot access your maps or view your business data. We have metering tools that let us monitor how much data you’ve imported, how many maps you’ve stored, how many routes you’ve developed but we cannot access your maps without security keys and software development.

The only way evil doers can access your saved MBO maps is if you provide them with your login credentials including the correct password. MBO does allow for shared web maps, and shared business map URL’s include password protection options. We encourage all business map users to share maps and imported business data only under password protection. And, if your data is not for public viewing consider not sharing it at all.

We can’t claim that Map Business Online is not 100% secure from privacy and data violation events. No cloud software service or desktop software can provide that level of protection. But through vigilance and through the assignment of proactive controls over your data sharing activities your business can remain confident that your business is at minimal risk of a major data breach through our business mapping services.

We encourage your feedback, questions, or suggestions about data security or any other business related matter.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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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SpatialTEQ Releases MapBusinessOnline 4.5 – Improved GeoData and Demographic Reporting for Sales & Marketing Professionals

MBO 4.5

LOWELL, MA (May 6, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc., developer of North America’s premier affordable business mapping software, today announces the release of MapBusinessOnline.com 4.5 (MBO) – expanded business data and demographic data reporting for sales and marketing professionals across North America and the UK. With this release Map Business Online business map program introduces improvements to data visualizations, report generation options, callout controls, and location point and map color coding capabilities.

Data Window Enhancements and Reporting Options
MapBusinessOnline 4.5 geographic search tools and the Data Window or data sheet view, now include demographic report buttons for easy report generation. Users can select this button to summarize demographic data by selected geographic extent and include report views in the map as a text box. Users may also export report results to CSV file format for use outside the map application.

MBO Data Window database controls will now include the ability to cut and paste data from the Data Window and user created marketing lists into Excel. MBO Data Window improvements also include the ability to search zip code ranges, apply column width controls, and the ability to reorder fields. Data window search filters will now allow users create zip code maps by filtering by a defined series of zip codes.

Color Coding Improvements
MBO 4.5 adds the ability to summarize by numeric value, imported and color coded locations by state, county, zip5 code, zip3 code, MSA, city or Census tract. During the color code process MBO users will be offered the option to summarize numeric data by map layer. This new color coding option enables the ability to view sales totals by zip code using colored circles or charts for symbols. All MBO color coding dialogs, except heat maps, will be expanded to enable group color code locations summaries by state, county, zip5 code, zip3 code, MSA, city or Census tract maps.

A recalculate button will enable easy recalculation of updated datasets preserving color coding schemes and saving time. The color coding dialog will include options for excluding negative, zero, non-positive and empty values from range calculations. Color coding will now support unique values in numeric fields.
Business Analysis Map
New Callout Options
Responding to many feature requests, MBO location point callouts (labels) will now include size control and additional content control. Users will have the option to select compact or regular size callouts. Other callout controls include background color, format adjustments to originating column, and the assignment of up to five data values.

About Map Business Online
From the creators of BusinessMAP, www.MapBusinessOnline.com has been providing sales & marketing professionals with affordable and intuitive web-based business 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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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 MBO. 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 MBO user densities
• Launching an advertising insert into the local papers in those low density areas to generate some interest
• Set up a MBO 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 MBO 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 MBO 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 MBO hotdogs.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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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