Map Business Online Blog

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

Summarize Your Data by Zip Code, County or State Map Layer


New to our blog? Each week we try to talk about Map Business Online features or real world applications of our business mapping software. Occasionally we might touch on a subject outside of business mapping software. We try to keep it light and quick. You should find a video or map samples to help explain things. Some times we get silly – apologies for that.

We view Map Business Online as an affordable business mapping solution helping basic business users to access the power of location-based or geographic views of their business data. The tool is used for sales territory creation and management, business analysis, strategic and operation planning. These map data visualizations are most often accessed by simply importing an Excel spreadsheet of your business data. The tool includes demographic data, a variety of geographic map layers like zip codes and Census tracts, and comprehensive help documentation with links to our growing YouTube video library.

A few weeks back MapBusinessOnline.com experienced one of our regular quarterly updates. One of the new features was the ability to summarize data by County, State or Zip code.

Summary data is nice to include in reports or business presentations. Summarizing both visually and using a numeric table gives you a couple off different approaches for communicating information to your business map audience.
SummarizePic
This capability to summarize data was inserted into the first page of the Color Code by Point, Color Code by Circle, and Color Code by Chart dialogs. This new option confused a few people, who were used to starting with the select data column option. If you want to use the Color Code by Point option in your usual way just click Next at the summarize page and carry on as usual.

However, if you’d like to summarize sales dollars by state and data count by county, for instance, choose county as you pass through your summarize by geography option. By doing so, all of the points associated with a county will be consolidated into one point for each county. You could then choose to color code by map layer for the state layer and summarize numeric values by state as well. In this way you could summarize dollars by county and total count by state or some other really cool combinations. See the video for a demonstration.

Summarizing your data by geographic districts means the color coding process will consolidate your imported data by district and place one point in the middle of that district instead of a group of points, like the address points in your data. So, if you summarized 1000 address points of sales data you’ve imported for New England by state, then all your records would be summarized for the six New England states by placing six different colored points across New England.

There’s an additional Map Business Online Summary option you can choose, that’s also new. If you are viewing imported data or a territory in the Data Window, you’ll notice a Summary button on the lower right. Look for the Sum button – Summary in the lower right. Upon opening the Summary function in the data window you will be presented with the opportunity to import data from our demographic library or from data that you may have imported. Add these to your summary column as required and then export. This is another great tool for generating reports that sum up data columns based on the geography you have defined in the data window via query results.

The next time you fire up Map Business Online be sure to explore summary options for symbolization and for summary reporting. They are both nice tools to have in your bag of business map tricks.

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, or g2crowd

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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.

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, or g2crowd

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How Can I Derive Demographic Data Related to a Radius or Circle Search?

We get many requests for work flows to achieve a variety of business mapping results. One common request is to derive demographic data from a circle around a point on a demographic map. In other words, here’s an address, draw a 25 mile circle around it and tell me the population of that area.

Many customers require demographic circle search results in their work. These population or income results add value to strategic planning, expansion planning, competitor analysis, and even post divorce lifestyle optimization for paunchy old white guys. Although, if those old ex-husbands are turning to a map application to add value to their final years perhaps they took a few wrong turns a while back.

Like a Circle in a circle or a Wheel Within a Wheel
Of course, the circle radius can vary greatly depending on the particular business using MBO and the nature of the inquiry. Some users are extremely zoomed into the map, viewing circles of just a few miles across. Others prefer a wider view and could request a circle radius of 50 miles or more. And yes, Thomas Crown, you can insert multiple circles on the map.

Enter Demographic Data
Demographic data requirements can vary as well. Usually population is the requested demographic dataset. However, median income and household data are often requested and there’s a list of many more categories available within our growing US Census data library. Census data is compiled every ten years with occasional updates. We’ve posted the latest update from 2013. We’ll compile more data as it becomes available and as it fits it into our software release schedule.

Our demographic data is presented in MBO by geographic district, also referred to as map layer. The user can request demographic data by zip5 code, zip3 code, county, state, Census tract, Metropolitan Statistic Area, or City Limit. When you choose to derive population by a circle or a polygon or even a drive time area, the application applies your shape to the underlying district of choice. You draw your circle or shape and then select the district layer to apply – usually people choose zip codes. That area is going to approximate the circle or polygon based on the district boundaries. The resultant shape will include any areas of the district layer touched by the drawn shape. So any zip code touched by the circle will be included in the demographic results.

The circle or radius tool is available in multiple places in the application – on the overall tool bar, on the mini-tool bar at selected data points, or even in the list of draw tool options. Drive time queries are available on overall tool bar and or at the data point – see the mini-tool bar. If you’ve only selected or checked on zip codes in Map & Data then the spatial query will default to a search of the zip code layer and immediately offer a save-name option for that area of interest or territory you’ve just created – a zip code map.

The Data Window pops up to show you your list of Zip Codes, Counties or States etc. The Data Window is essentially a spreadsheet tool within MBO. Here, in your area of interest Data Window spreadsheet, is where you click Add Data and grab that General data drop down option, on the left. Choose Demographic Data and go to town (or have a ball, as the case may be). Population, households, even ethnicity can be moved over from Left to Right in the panel. Then Set the Data Column values in the lower right. Refer to the video above for a step by step view of the process.

Totally
Once you’ve assigned your demographic data to your area of interest or territory, you’ll notice a Total button at the bottom of your territory view. This will let you see the total population by territory. Thus you can use the tool to visually selected an area of interest by circle or shape, and then fine tune that area by adding additional zip codes to the territory and increase the population; if you are into that sort of thing.

With MBO subscriptions you are allowed to export the data out for use outside the application. Typically that process (a button click on the right of the Data Window toolbar) works well. However, Excel versions vary widely and can behave strangely depending on versions or on how many Excel sheets you have open. Some suggestions:

• Save your file as an [Name].XLS as you export. You could also save as [Name}.CSV. MBO exports to .CSV as a default
• Shut down all other Excel windows when exporting from MBO

You can always re-query your circle or shape for other data layers – just select the shape again and click the binoculars. You are limited to querying one data layer at a time.

So now you know the secret to grabbing demographic data in a circle around a point. I will reiterate that the actual numbers reflect the zip codes, counties, or states touched by that circle and not the area of the circle itself. If you need something that precise, you should contact geographic information systems (GIS) companies like www.Esri.com for a more scientific result. Bring your credit card.

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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A Business Mapping Sales Process

Managing a sales team takes a combination of patience, maturity, and vision. And on occasion you’ve got to be willing to kick a few butts. You spend a lot of your time coaching sales people, asking questions about opportunities, and making sure your people are doing the basics – following up on leads, quoting prospects, qualifying the sales pipeline, and following up on quotes.

Another aspect of your sales manager role is presenting to the executive team. They have expectations that your sales pipeline is going to grow, and grow quickly. In fact, that’s the real reason they hired you. Your job from their perspective is to generate or purchase leads, convert them into qualified prospects, and then convert those prospects into orders. In short, you must manage your sales pipeline and thereby grow sales revenues.

The job of sales manager can be challenging yet rewarding, or it can be challenging and terrifying. I prefer the former. Creating a geographic model of your sales organization based on a business map can help turn terrifying into challenging. You can achieve a business mapping sales process using opular business mapping software available online.

You’ve Got To Get Organized

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ve57l3c19g

Successful sales management can occur when a team gets organized. We’ve all seen sales teams that are not clearly directed flail about looking for sales growth. Sales chaos can happen in any economy. In many ways it’s a function of the leader of the sales team. I have watched a flailing sales team suddenly start to produce under a new manager’s firm and steady guidance. Simple things like phone queue management, organized customer assignment, rules on discounting, or fun lunch-time sales meetings, can have a rapid impact on a department’s ability to generate sales. Just knowing there’s an accessible, reasonable listening ear to go to can make a sales team feel empowered and get the orders rolling in.

Part of the sales organizing process should be developing an understanding of the geography of your sales environment. Business mapping software can help the sales manager and the sales team create that location-based sales model and integrate it into your overall strategic sales approach. There is power in location and market analysis maps – ignore this at your peril.

A first step might be building a customer location map complete with your sales representative’s home addresses, and your major competitor locations. Viewing these three core datasets against an accurate map creates an immediate field of view on your sales operational theater. This simple business data import and data visualization process opens up a world of understanding:

· You now know where all your customers are, and where they are not

· You have an understanding of how well positioned your competitors are to service your market

· You have a logistical model with real locations from which you can derive sales progress and productivity assessments

Basic data visualizations like this should be a standard practice for any sales organization.

Here’s an example of how a business map can impact your sales process when you simply plot locations on a map. Considering purchasing a prospect list? Get some sample data with addressing and view the data on a map. This process can tell you many things, like how accurately the addresses are geocoded, which can indicate how up-to-date the list is. Are there too many duplicate addresses? And how many of these prospects are located close to existing customers? This can have an impact on sales productivity. Let someone familiar with the area view the prospects against a map – do the names look right? Ask what they think is missing.

Let a geographic perspective add value to your prospect list analysis. Business mapping can provide new perspectives that drive creative thinking. Creative thinking will improve sales.

Accountability and Sales Territory Management

Now that you are getting a grip on your theater of sales operations, let’s think about accountability. One of the biggest challenges a sales manager faces is driving accountability into the sales process. Sure, your whole team means well. From the poorest to the best performers, I’m sure they are giving it their very best. Still, your job is to hold everyone on the team accountable for appropriate follow-up with their assigned customers. This means your sales people should:

· Have a clear understanding of their goals and objectives

· Communicating the correct messages to their assigned accounts in a timely fashion

· Be focused on the sales potential of their book of business – not those assigned to others

· Be posting regular and accurate updates in your CRM system – updates that accurately reflect realistic opportunities and customer expectations

Accountability – what is it anyway? For you the sales manager or business owner, accountability is a fair presentation of goals and expectations, not a constant manipulation of the rules to limit or cap commissions. Be fair and honest. At the same time, accountability is making sure the goals are challenging and benefit overall company profitability. Accountability is management keeping the company in business so people have jobs.

For you sales people, accountability is balancing an awareness of company goals and objectives with the requirements and stated objectives of the customer. It is leaving your ego at the coat rack, and shouldering today’s business load. Accountability is you, the sales person, doing the job you said you would do. Accountability is focusing on your goals and objectives not the goals and objectives of other sales people.

Sales accountability is understanding that you work for a living and that that living requires a certain number of phone calls, follow-up emails, and meetings to achieve your sales goal. Accountability means you listen to understand, ask questions when you don’t understand, and that you have the gumption and clarity of thought to speak up when you believe something is amiss.

Sales territory management helps with many aspects of sales accountability. By arranging sales territories by zip code, county or state, a sales manager makes very clear what the sales person’s area of responsibility is. And usually that sales territory is going to define which accounts they are responsible for. Armed with that knowledge, a salesperson should take control of their customer base and begin looking for and accurately processing opportunities. Without territories in place the sales team is at high risk for sales chaos. And you know what that means – your sales manager role is now up for grabs.

Communicate Goals Effectively and Share Business Data

Sales territory mapping is a great way to assign and shared sales goals. Mapping applications let you aggregate numeric values by geographic area of interest. Moreover, business map visualizations are easily shared as interactive web maps, image files for presentations, even printed wall maps. Posted and shared sales goals are viewed and understood by the entire sales team – preferably in a shared meeting and over a shared network. With the entire team now well aware of the overall and individual goals, sales activities can become the primary focus.

And there are further productivity improvements possible through sales territory management. A shared interactive business map usually means your team has access to customer maps, and prospect maps. These business data visualizations will offer the ability to conduct spatial queries. Spatial queries are nothing more than the ability to search data within a radius, a polygon, a drive time area, or a territory.

Encourage your people to conduct spatial queries to segment their lists of customers and prospects geographically. Segmented customer lists allow the sales person to bite off manageable sections of their overall list of customer contacts. Segmenting the data could make physical sales calls more productive, perhaps creating a potential list for a week long sales trip. And segmenting data makes sense for outbound calling or email campaigns as well.

Customer data segmentation exercises for sales and marketing people:

· Color code your prospects by total purchasing responsibility using dollar values

· Create a list of prospects that reside within one half hours drive time of your planned hotel for next week’s trip

· Create a prospect list against a map of zip codes or counties with high median income rates. Choose only those zips or counties that have minimal existing customers located within those areas

Creating a Sales Pipeline Using a Map

Here’s a new approach. The challenge is this: how many of the customers on your client list have been recently and truly qualified as potential buyers of your products within the next six months? Admit it – your sales pipeline data is getting stale.

Share a business map with each sales rep that displays a full list of clients to contact on the map. They are to contact each client and ask qualifying questions about potential orders for the next six months. They will note each customer response in the mapping database and save that MapPoint. When a clear potential for upcoming purchases is recognized they immediately convert that client in the overall customer database to a pipeline database on their map. That is they move client A from the overall client list to a new qualified pipeline dataset on the map application.

Business mapping software will allow your reps to create these datasets at just the click of a mouse. In a matter of weeks you will have an up-to-date sales pipeline with specific dollars projected by date. Hold them accountable to this new list. Keep it updated moving forward. Welcome to the power of the business mapping sales process.

Once you mastered these three basic aspects of geosales:

· Business data map visualizations

· Sales territory management

· Geographic sales pipeline construction

You’ll be able to recognize the power of applying business mapping software to your other business challenges. You will find business mapping to be an indispensable tool for common business intelligence exercises including:

· Strategic planning

· Market analysis

· Expansion planning

The list goes on. In many ways you’ll just be using the same data import and visualization tools over and over in different applications. For instance, building a competitor analysis map will supplement your strategic planning as much as it will your expansion planning.

Now let’s go back to the presentation requirement – that of you, the sales manager, presenting to the executive team. I’ve just outlined above a bunch of ways for you to enhance your visual presentation to the management team; including the bit about using maps to verify and upgrade the sales pipeline. How do you think that’s going to play? A new visual approach to presenting the pipeline, complete with enhanced sales accountability across your department of ‘misfits’ – as they are known in the Executive Suite. I think you can count on holding your job for a few more months.

In the long run, you’re going to find the use of business mapping software to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And like Rick and Louis, you’ll come to understand that in business you focus on your little piece of the world and you make it your hill of beans and that it does matter.

Visualize, make it accountable, verify and report. Um, “Here’s looking at you kid.”

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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