Map Business Online Blog

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

Some Recent Favorite Map Business Online Application Examples

I speak with many business mapping customers every week. Many are novices, perhaps new to the concept of business mapping and may require a little basic assistance just to get rolling importing customer locations or building a zip code map. Others have used mapping tools like MapPoint before and are interested in specific mapping applications that supplement their business workflows. Listed below are a few of my most recent favorite map applications from MBO users.

Importing Telecom customer sales dollars by zip code and summarizing the totals of the zip code sales by Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Map Business Online is able to easily import your business data by address, zip code, lat/lon, county, or state for instant visualizations against an accurate and up-to-date web map. (So it’s different then MapPoint in that the data is actually up-to-date!) Once imported to the map, the application can total or average your numeric values (sales dollars) by geographic district.

Compare Year Over Year Demographic Data. I realized Map Business Online could do this on the fly one day during a web demo. I was using the Calculate Data Column tool in the Map & Data Tab to compile four or five segments of population data into one file. The customer said they really wanted to compare three years worth of data. I remembered we had three years of data listed in the MBO demographics library. All we needed to do was compile the columns in the same manner for three years running and access the data either from a Market Area of Interest view or as a Summary File which you can now add to your map.

Team Map Editing – We released a collaborative business mapping product about 9 months ago. We’ve now got many companies applying teams of map editors of five or more users to their location based business work flows. Collaborative map editing combines the convenience of shared map views with the ability to actually allow someone else to edit your map or your map data.

We’ve had customers use the team feature for a variety of business work flows including market analysis, sales territory management, and operational awareness.

In general there are really three reasons a business uses shared map editing:
1. To leverage multiple people towards solving a business problem. Here the old adage “two heads are better than one” holds sway. With team editing, you get a whole group of heads considering a shared problem. And the amazing thing is collaborative map editing helps solve problems more completely and faster. Think about it, instead of generating departmental silos that don’t communicate you’ve just created a team using a shared tool to solve a shared problem. I think that fact that maps are fun helps.

2. To share business data efficiently and keep it up to date. Shared map editing provides a platform for viewing and editing data. Sharing marketing and sales results on a location-based platform means that when people view it they see values, trends, and location placements all at once. Results and edits have more meaning when viewed against a map. Consider a sales meeting to review progress. One view the group might see is an Excel sheet highlighting sales results for June. OK, so there a numbers there. That’s fine. But another view might be the same sales results totaled by zip code on top of a sales territory map. Now the team is considering where and why sales are happening.

3. Conduct operational monitoring. Some companies require their sales people to report how many people they contact each day, week or month. By applying a team map collaboration tool to the business work flow they can encourage their people to update customer records on shared editable maps. Thus everyone gets a quick sense of the latest customer feedback, orders or problems. Good or bad news, it’s always better to get the news sooner rather than later.

And speaking of a MapPoint replacement, MapPoint is the gift that keeps on giving as more and more people drop by the Map Business Online website to explore the possibility of MBO as an alternative to the now defunct MapPoint. Many businesses built work flows around the Microsoft mapping tool. These basic functionalities are common requests from MapPoint users easily transitioned over to MBO:

• Easily look up a zip code and zoom to that area of the map. Simply key the target zip code into the upper left hand corner search bar and click the binoculars.

• Lasso a bunch of points on the map for routing. Select a group of destinations or imported address using a polygon or free form draw object tool to create a subset list for routing stops. Just a couple of clicks and you’ve got your list.

• Multi-stop optimized routing. MBO lets you build multi-stop optimized routes of up to one hundred stops per route. For more routing stops that that you’ll need to contact routing companies like Route Smart, Esri’s ArcLogistics, or Telogis.

• Up-to-date Map Data. This MapPoint hadn’t offered in years. It was killing MapPoint users. We get many users weary of failed address locator operations, but fear not for in MBO most location locate correctly on the first pass. And if they do not geocode correctly you’ll have an opportunity to fix the error by simply choosing to edit the point location and selecting a corrected point on the map. You’re done and good in seconds.

Keep us informed about your map use. This makes us aware of new feature requirements. Our customer’s application of mapping software always surprises us.

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

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

A Change Can Do You Good – with Business Mapping

Managing change is critical to your organization’s ability to grow and achieve goals. Change is also inevitable, like death and taxes, right? Change has to be managed – as a business manager you can’t just let things change and do nothing about it. Sometimes change has to be pro-actively implemented. If your current business model is no longer achieving what it used to, then a change is required. On occasion change can be sudden and, as a manager, it’s your job to help lead the organization out of any crisis.

But Cheryl Crow was right when she sang, “A change (pause) will do you good.” Sudden or gradual, good or bad, changes in our business environment inform us about our business. Because understanding your business better is always good.

A downturn in the economy can quickly tell us that the company payroll and operating expenses are oversized for our target market. A gradual decline of sales in a market niche tells us we need to change our sales strategy. Reacting appropriately and reacting quickly can turn a threat into a business opportunity. Responding to change can turn the loss of a customer into the discovery of new markets. You see, it’s good!

Business mapping software provides analysis tools that can help unravel market shifts and provide clues as to what business direction to take next. Map data visualizations and location-based analysis suggest new directions in the face of old and failing business patterns. Don’t make the mistake of implementing radical strategic change in your business without spending time viewing your location-based data against a business map. Regardless of what business mapping application you use, today’s tools are completely affordable. There’s really no excuse not to take the time to import your business data onto a web-based business map and look at it. Then spend some time considering what you see.

When I Was a Boy…
When I first moved to Maine I worked for an industrial electrical wholesaler that catered to the paper mill industry. Business was great. The paper mills were major employers in Maine and they purchased lots of industrial electrical parts. The whole world needed paper back then. About six months after I came on I was introduced to my first IBM business PC. A strange looking machine with its own huge table at the back of the office. No email yet, no Internet, but that large piece of equipment held the seeds of the decline of the paper industry. Unbeknownst to us, big change was coming.

Thirty years later, with the paper businesses largely gone, Maine’s industrial wholesalers are somehow still selling industrial products. Many have merged with national chains to assure survival, but all of them learned to sell products into new and growing industries – biotech, telecom, local food, alternative energy, and health care industries to name just a few. Most of these industries didn’t exist in 1985, including business mapping software.

In 2007 I was managing a mapping software publisher’s professional sales team. Much of our revenue was generated from the oil and gas industry. That year our team noticed orders coming in from wind energy companies. When we mapped their locations we saw new wind energy businesses located all over the country, but coming to use for low cost GIS software. We sent sales people to meet with these new accounts. We decided to exhibit at the American Wind Energy Association. By paying attention, conducting some basic map market analysis, and acting immediately, our team was one of the first to market in the booming wind energy field. For two years that revenue stream helped us meet our sales objectives.

Like a Shark, Keep Moving Forward
There are many ways a business map can help a business navigate or manifest significant change. Here are some real life examples:

Franchise Organizations utilize several geographic visualization features from mapping software. Typically they like to arrange franchise territories by zip code maps. A shared web map can provide a dirt simple visualization of zip code sales territories for new franchise owners, keeping the competing retailers or service orgs out of each other’s way. Additionally, a franchiser might use a business map to explore potential new markets through demographic analysis by zip code or county, or by setting up competitor franchise maps that show where they might do well by increasing their presence around the nation. At times, a franchise company may choose to manage their franchise sales by color coding zip codes, red and green zip codes denote sold or available territories. Although these companies tend to use zip codes, any district geography like counties or Census tracts, would do.

Cross Industry Sales & Marketing Teams – Competitor maps should be a basic tool for any sales or marketing department. It’s quite simple. Compile a spreadsheet of your top ten competitors by address. Import the spreadsheet into your business map application and view those competitor points on the map. Add some demographic data; perhaps population and median income. Add a spreadsheet of your own company’s locations. Now sit back and think about what you are seeing. If there are areas where your competitor exists and you don’t what should you do? Open a store? Hire an outside sales person? Conduct a direct mail campaign? Or perhaps, based on demographic trends, you should skip that area and focus on more lucrative markets. Sometimes I hear people complain about what a chore it will be to compile those competitor addresses. Ever wonder if your competitor took the time to compile a map of your locations?

Retail StoresDrive time maps come in handy for market analysis simply because driving time is always a consideration for measuring retail store potential or sales call efficiency. The question answered by a drive time query is, “How long will it take a customer to drive from their home or office to my store location?” Think like a pizza store. There’s got to be a sweet spot for customer driving time to pick up a pizza. I’d drive ten minutes to buy a pizza, but I probably would not drive a half hour (especially with kids under the age of ten in the car.) Now reverse the analysis and consider how far you want to drive to deliver pizza or how far your sales people should drive to talk to a customer. Windshield time vs. talk time should always be a consideration. Maps can help us assess how many possible customers live within a radius of our sales force and how likely it would be to interface with them.

Health Care Expansion Planning – Expansion happens constantly in the healthcare field. As hospitals and insurance companies expand into new markets and adjust to the Affordable Care Act, they are forced to consider how they will interface with related medical businesses within any new market areas. It’s not unusual for hospital systems to create business analysis maps that display every possible medical business within a 25 mile radius of a hospital center. This radius analysis compares the customer and ambulance drive times with rural medical coverage areas, home care agencies, and quick care opportunities, thereby providing a geographic starting point for strategic expansion planning. Market expansion possibilities are side-by-side with operational realities in a map like this. Medical systems are complex and maps help to organize complexity into a business strategy.

Business Listings are often used to describe a market’s potential or to populate a business area of interest with potential customers. Business maps may or may not offer business listings but you can always secure datasets through online services like http://www.infousa.com, http://www.specialdatabases.com, or https://www.dandb.com. Add a list of potential customer addresses into your business mapping software to your market analysis maps. Apply the business mapping filtering tools to develop and manage call lists across your sales organization. A small investment in a target area prospect list will provide new objectives for your sales team and ultimately should lead to new industries that require your products and services.

There are many ways in which technology can help us face change effectively. Mapping software is one tool that is available, relatively easy to use, and affordable. If you’re using spreadsheets and web browsers you are capable of using business mapping software. At the pace our business mapping software is growing, I can assure you that others in your industry are considering their business by looking at a business map.

Don’t wait for change to happen to you. Take control over your business direction. Start business mapping before your competitors do.

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

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

Map Business Online Now Integrated with Act! – But why?

Over the last six months Map Business Online has been upgraded to integrate with both Act! and Salesforce.com. Users of both of these popular CRM systems should find this upgrade extremely convenient for viewing contacts and prospects against an accurate map, creating marketing campaigns based on map filters, and for achieving more effective route optimizations.

Business Mapping and Customer Relationship Management are natural technology partners. Both Act! and Saleforce.com users apply their CRM software to their customer lists. These powerful software products allow sales and marketing teams to organize their customer and prospect lists for more effective utilization in sales campaigns and general lead management. The critical element for sales people is to make sure to actually use the CRM systems provided.

For both Act! and Salesforce.com integrations Map Business Online provides an easy-to-access import process. Act! users can actually export their list of customers directly to Map Business Online from within Act! to build customer maps. Salesforce.com users launch Map Business Online and proceed with an import process that offers Salesforce data, contacts, prospects, or accounts, as an import options. MBO is a true sales mapping software.

Act! users will also find an easy ability to create vehicle routing stop lists from their Act! dashboard. They can choose to export a segment of customers specifically for generating an optimized sales call route. This makes the tool perfect for the individual sales person who wants an efficient route focused on a particular city or hotel location. The MBO multi-stop route planner is derived from the base map data. It takes into consideration road classifications, bridges, turn restrictions, and speed limits to develop the most efficient way to get from a starting point through a list of stop required for the day or the week.

Both Act! and Salesforce.com integrations with Map Business Online offer an on-map tool bar button that lets the user view the customer record all the way back in the CRM database. Just click a point on the map and hit that CRM button on the mini-toolbar and you are viewing your contact details in your Act! or Salesforce.com CRM.

Those are the major features of the integration. However, the real power of Map Business Online for CRM users goes way beyond these direct integration conveniences. As a CRM user and Map Business Online subscriber you now have access to some pretty cool benefits:

Business Data Visualizations – At the click of a mouse you can visualize a segment of your customer list on a map. You can see where your customers cluster and more importantly, where they do not cluster. No sales or marketing strategy is complete without map visualizations
Sales Territory Mapping – You CRM environment now has direct access to Sales Territory Management. You’ll be able to clearly define who calls on specific areas of interest for your company. You can show overlapping territories, query accounts by territory, and publish and share periodic performance results using shared maps. Business maps define sales accountability for CRM organizations. Use them!
Shared Map Editing – Map Business Online can be used to set up teams of collaborative map editors. These share map projects can further drive results within your organization. Collaboration leverages your best minds towards your toughest problems. You will encourage cross department problem solving with shared map editing. Team editing is perfect for sales territory sharing, market analysis, and customer payment monitoring.
Market Analysis has many elements that are enhanced through the application of business mapping. With MBO you can bring demographic analysis to every map view your make. A competitor map view will reveal places you may want to consider or stay away from. And MBO’s advanced Market Analysis tool lets you compare two data sets to derive distance matrixes or query records around multiple points.
Classify & Color Code – Symbolization options abound with Map Business Online – import your own symbols or use the heat map view to liven up your business maps. The beauty of Map Business Online is its ability to customize your map based on your terminology, your business data, and your organization’s goals and objectives.
Access Geographic Layers – Every business has their own work flows and often they involve zip code look ups or zip code maps, county views, or some other district level operation on a map. Access these map layers in MBO for use in your particular business model. Share view-only maps with constituents at no cost.
Up-to-date Map Data – Finally, view a business map with updated and accurate road maps and addressing. Throw out that old MapPoint mapping with the outdated maps. MBO will geocode your address databases faster and more accurately than any mapping application you’ve tried. And if a point doesn’t geocode (locate), for whatever reason, you’ll have an opportunity to correct it.

All this is what I mean when I say that Map Business Online is the perfect complementary software for a CRM organization. Expand the reach of your CRM tools through business mapping. Explore the power of adding up to 100,000 customer locations per map to your business map view. Extend the strategic vision of your organization through the power of location based market analysis.

Win with business mapping and CRM. 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

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,