Map Business Online Blog

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

Who Put the Business in Business Mapping Software?

New customers to Map Business Online often ask questions about customizing their business map data layers for their map viewing audience or their team shared-map editors. It’s natural that before you jump into a new technical product you want assurances that tool will work adequately for your team.

The truth is Map Business Online is rarely customized by our software developers for specific customers. If it is customized it generally involves creating an entirely new hosted product that entails a larger business opportunity for both Map Business Online and for the customer. It’s not cheap but could be a winner for the right opportunity. Don’t hesitate to ask about such customizations.

However, Map Business Online as released is in fact very customizable by the business map customer using the tools already provided. This means the application is designed to give business customers plenty of opportunities to customize their maps up to support their specific work flows. It’s kind of what we’re all about. We made Map Business Online to be a mapping software that can enhance your work in a variety of ways.

Templates
Firstly, the new MBO map administrator or creator can establish customer mapping that represents their basic business data visualizations and save them as a template for their users start from. This is especially effective for team sharing applications where you can pro-actively share a map, complete with imported data layers and geographic map layers, for your team to use as a starter map for more detailed work.
Import the data you want, keeping in mind that any data you import will be shared with your team and anyone they share with. If you don’t want someone to see it – don’t import it. Once you’ve got the map to your liking, save it as a MyTemplate map. Then go through the sharing process with your team or map viewing audience, as the case warrants.

Map Templates allow you to control what your editors and viewers start with. They also allow you to build a baseline map for your own future work. Perhaps you build a monthly map out of data that only changes once a year? In January you might build the template map and thereafter open a monthly version from that template.

Import a Unique ID Column
Or maybe you reimport a monthly dataset that’s usually pretty close to a previous release and you don’t want to have resymbolize and re-color code your data every dang month. If you have a Unique ID number associated with your data records you can use that upon import to set up more automatic updates for later work.

Your unique ID must actually be unique to make this work. No duplicates allowed. But if you do this upfront it will allow an easy button click to update the data. To update hover over the Map & Data Tab’s imported data layer and click the Edit Gear. You’ll find the update data buttons at the bottom of the dialog page. Test it out to make sure it works for you.

The nice part is that you don’t have to resymbolize and reclassify your data ever month. Combined with the saved template map work flow MBO processing just became what we New Englanders call, “wicked easy.”

Edit Your Data Map Side
Yes you can. Once you’ve imported a data layer you can edit the data on the map. I know I’ve talked about this before but it is important. In the Data Window, by hovering over the left hand column of green and yellow locator dots, you can choose to edit your data’s placement on the map or your data’s actual data records. This is beneficial for updating a few records, or to add a few new records.
If I was going to add a whole bunch of records, I’d boot up Excel, make my changes and update my data through reimporting or through auto-updates. But that’s me. You just need to know you can update your data on the map if you want to.

In fact, Map Business Online let’s you create entire new datasets on the map by adding new addresses. So you could set up a work flow where a user inspects an imported dataset, record by record, and culls out certain data records based on sales activity or patient acuity, and turn those data points into a new dataset on the fly. Pretty cool.

Generating Reports
In Map Business Online the business map user creates territories or areas of interest out of geographic districts like zip codes, Census tracts, or counties – to name a few. Once you established a sales territory, for instance, you’ll end up with a Data Window spreadsheet describing your area of interest by zip code or county or Census tract. These market analysis results can be appended with other data. So, for instance, you could add:

• Data from data you’ve imported like counts per zip, or sales per county
• Data from included MBO Demographic Data like population, income or ethnicity to name just a few
• Calculate column results – this advanced work can be done in MBO. It’s in the Map & Data Tab

The resulting dataset can then be exported as a CSV file report for use outside the application. And from within your MBO spreadsheet you can now generate summation reports for export as well.
Once you understand how Map Business Online transforms simple map data visualizations into a market area of interest or sales territory you’ll begin to understand how to generate report information applying the tool to your own specific work flows.

Enhance your work flows with business mapping software. Release your business data from boring and hard to access silos and let it soar above beautiful maps enlightening your overall business processes. Leverage the power of location in your business data and expose your next strategy. Or just create a zip code map.

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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Common Sales Territory Mapping Solutions from Map Business Online

Sales territory mapping is a common and valuable business application of business mapping software. I’d have to say I get more calls and emails from business people looking for territory maps than any other business mapping application. Here’s list of the most common territory mapping challenges we hear about and solve with Map Business Online.

I need to create a territory map from a zip code list
MBO has an import button on the tool bar dedicated to this task. Simply navigate to your territory spreadsheet and import the territories. You should have a column for zips and a column for territory name. You can also import lists for state, and county territories. And the crowd goes wild.

I want to optimize my territories by Census population
Create that first territory (by polygon search, import, or incremental selection of zip codes, counties, states, or Census tracts) and then, in the data view of your territory click the Add Data button (lower right) to access MBO’s included demographic data. You can add columns for population, population segments, median income, households, ethnicity, and much more. Once you’ve set up one territory with demographic data, all other territories created in that map view will have the same demographic layers included. Using the Total option in the bottom section of the territory Data Window view you can tweak your zip code segments adding to or subtracting from your territory, based on Population totals. And remember, you can export each associated territory list for use outside of MBO. You’ll have territories with demographics by zip code, county, state or Census tract. Take a bow.

I need to generate a list of all our zip code territories by territory name
In the Data Window, select the full, USA wide zip code layer in the data drop down. Use the Add Data button to generate the append data dialog. In the left drop down choose General and pick the Territory column, then move that Territory selection to the right side dialogue panel. Click format data columns. Now, you should filter your list. Click the Filter Button on the Data Window toolbar. Filter for General and Territory, then choose a modifier of “>” (greater than) and in the numeric field on the right put “0” (zero). Click Filter. You’ve just filtered your data to reflect only your zips with a territory name. Export to CSV file using the last Data Window button on the right. The same logic applies to counties, states or other district based territories. You are officially a hero in accounting now.

I want to isolate one territory and show it on the map view
In the Data Window drop down select the territory you are interested in viewing. Right beneath the drop down selector check the box labeled “Filter Data on Map.” Viola! You can save this view as a saved map for easy retrieval later.

I want to query imported customer data by territory
In the Data Window drop down, select the customer data you want to target for your query. Once selected move to the right side of the tool bar and select the Yellow Puzzle Piece Icon – “Search Data Inside of Territory.” Give the saved dataset a name. To view only that territory’s allocation of data, right beneath the drop down selector, check the box labeled “Filter Data on Map.” You rule over minions and they bow to your mapping skills.

I want to export a list of zip codes from one territory
Select the target territory in the Data Window data drop down. Each territory displays a column listing the zip codes included in that territory. Note the quantity of zips included is listed in the bottom left. Move your cursor all the way to the right of the Data Window tool bar and click the Export Dataset button. Save in your favorite location on your desktop Mac or PC. Then give a thumbs up sign to your cubical mate.

I want to share my territory map with my sales organization.
Once your map is arranged to your liking, save the map view. Next click the Two People icon on the tool bar (towards the left.) A MapShare dialogue opens up. Choose the Public Sharing tab, which can still be Password protected for security purposes. Click Share map. You can copy the selected unique Map URL and paste it into a text or email, or you can use the e-mail option to generate an email with the link included, from your default email application.

Your map viewers do not have to be subscribers. They can simply click the link or copy and paste the link into a web browser tab. Each MapShare view starts with the click or paste and ends when the Viewer shuts that tab down. You get up to 200 free map views you can share per month – see subscription options: http://www.mapbusinessonline.com/Subscription.aspx And you may be up for an academy award.

I want to manipulate my Map Legend.
If the legend is not showing, you can open it from the Map & Data Tab. Click the Edit Properties Gear and look to the bottom section for the Edit Legend button. With the Map Legend displayed, click the small Edit Circle in the upper right hand corner. Once in edit mode, you can choose which data sets you want displayed, and pretty much over write any content in a white box. Use this editable legend to make your map communicate effectively with your map audience. Use words they understand based on your business vernacular. Hint: If the audience is the C-Suite use money terms. If it’s product management, use product terms. If it’s your in-laws, play up the grandchildren and hint about a trip to Disney World.

I want to show sales results by territory.
This is actually pretty easy and a real differentiator for Map Business Online. Once your territory map is complete you can import a dataset of accounts with associated sales dollars. The points will show on the map, but you can do this with the imported layer turned off or on.

In Map & Data hover over the map layer you used as a base for your territories – most often that’s zip code but it could be state or county. Click the Gear icon that pops up. Choose Labels and Callouts (vertical text on the right side), then choose the Format Labels and Callouts button. Pick the Territory callouts Tab. Use the lower section that says: “Select data column to show its total value in territory callout.” In the drop down choose your data, and then choose your sales dollars column. You can edit the Prefix to your liking. Click the Change Labels & Callouts button in the lower left. You are now officially “too cool for school.”

Use business mapping software for market analysis, customer mapping, competitive analysis, or any number of business reasons.

_____________________________________________________________________________
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, , , , ,

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, , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , ,

How Do I Start My First Business Map?

Your boss or your organization has recently realized they need some sort of businessmap and they’ve asked you to manage the process. What do you do? I recently watched my wife go through this process with her organization. It inspired this blog post.

First, don’t panic. There’s plenty of business mapping software options out there. Use an Internet search engine to find a few alternatives. Use their demo software or buy a reasonably priced version and start thinking about your map’s goals.

Define Your Map’s Purpose
Every map has a reason for being. What is your map’s main purpose in life? This is important because you want your map to serve one or two key purposes only. Multi-purpose mapping that handles more than two layers at once is generally the realm of GIS specialists trained to build complex maps. That’s not you. You are conducting business mapping. You want a map that supplements your business somehow. Ask yourself, “What is my map attempting to communicate to my map viewing audience?”

Possible answers:
• My map should accurately and quickly depict all the event locations that our org hosted in 2014
• My map should show all sales reps by territory with home locations and include sales for 2014
• My map should show where all of our patients are located and their top three medical issues
• My map should describe our company’s coverage area by zip code and note all competitor locations in the five state area

Make Your Map Sing Through Data Prep
The world is now full of beautiful and accurate digital maps – ours included. And no matter what business mapping software you choose, your map application will include a basic set of tools – data import capabilities, line and polygon draw tools, zip code layers, etc. But what makes your map sing is the detail and consistency of your map data. This is where your time should be invested. Thoughtfully massage your business data with an eye towards what your audience will want to see:

• Include full addressing for the an accurate and organized mappoint placement
• Review your data for holes – missing addresses or records with no data. Remember “garbage in, garbage map.”
• Assign sensible column headers – name, address, state, zip, type, status, sales, etc.
• Remove superfluous sections of your data – comment areas, instructions, multiple datasets on one sheet
• Organize your data records into types, categories, and statuses. Use these columns to symbolize and color code

Many people expect the map application to be their biggest challenge. I find the biggest challenge for most users to be compiling a clean and organized dataset to import for map display. The columns in your data will impact how well you can color code areas and points on the map. And you’ll be able to label and query based your columns too. Give your data some love before you import it.

As you massage your data think about its purpose – are you building a dataset of customers. Then you are conducting customer mapping. Are you building a dataset of retail stores, perhaps yours and your competitors, then you are conducting retail mapping. Likewise if you are creating a list of sales territories, you are sales territory mapping.

Consider Your Map Audience
The digital map you create for Donald Trump is going to look much different from the one you create for President Obama. The Donald’s map will have lots of gold and red colors, lots of exaggerated monetary figures, and lots and lots of references to Trump businesses because The Donald wants to read about The Donald. The president’s map will tend to be focused on the problem at hand with several layers of critical data supporting key aspects of the issue, perhaps highlighting worst hit areas and several areas where the problem is under control. The president wants to quickly understand the problem so he can work on a solution.

Know your map audience. Utilize the business map application’s tools to cater to their way of thinking. For example, use the map legend to describe data layers with words your audience uses every day. Add explanatory labels where necessary. Don’t make your map a puzzle to be solved, make the map something they immediately relate to. This is how you become a map hero. If your map is for the corner office, focus on describing dollars by region or territory. They’ll want to see dollars reflecting growth and regions that reflect sales accountability. Consider using the Heat Map tool when displaying sales by location. This will sex-up your map and wake up your viewers.

If your map is for operational use show customer or patient locations that are easily grasped by type. Avoid symbolizing by customer or representative when you have more than five reps. Don’t clutter your map. Instead organize your data into types or categories and color code points by that column. Use zip codes, counties or city limit districting to show areas of interest or territories. For example, instead of listing and symbolizing every clinician, color code by type of clinician – DO, MD, RN, PA, Aide, and PT.

Let the Map Do Some Work
Take advantage of the business mapping software calculation tools designed to compute totals, averages, and counts of your business data. This means, for example, you can sum or total up customer sales data from each data point in a territory label . That’s pretty cool. Or a nonsales related example might be importing a dataset of all 2014 reported influenza cases by patient address and then totaling the count by county. The results would show in the county label – “Essex County – Flu Count 345”.

By understanding your map audience and the purpose of your map you’ll be better able to determine when your map is more or less complete. At this point any further data layers would probably be more appropriate for a new map. For instance, you’ve created your sales territory map for the C-suite big wigs. Now your manager wants you to add a data layer describing operational parameters and display this against demographic data. This sounds to me like a second map. Not a problem, you’ll just have two finely tuned maps to bring up. Push back on demands to solve all problems with one map. Why clutter up one finely tuned map when you can communicate more effectively using two maps?

You can always save your map as a map template. This protects the map you’ve created while allowing you to utilize it as a base-map for other appropriate layers in the future. For instance, save that sales territory map as a template. Use that template map as the starter map and include a layer of competitor locations for an additional topic of discussion in the strategic plan meeting.

My Better Half
Recently my wife required a business map for her work at the Maine Food Strategy. I set her up with Map Business Online and watched with interest as she went through the business mapping process. As usual, her biggest challenge, and the one that took the most time, was preparing her map data. After her map was complete I asked her what her thoughts were on Map Business Online. She replied, “Setting up the data layers was much easier than I expected. And MBO provided many more background data options then I had anticipated. I was also surprised by how much data column set-up impacted map use. I had many more options when I used full addressing, first & last names, plus company names. Why doesn’t the company provide any female icons in the symbol library? I see lots of potential for additional maps.”

So remember, focus on your data, know your map’s purpose, and understand your map audience. And have fun building you business map. I’ve got some research to do regarding female mappoint icons.

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 review us at Capterra, g2crowd

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

The New! Drive Time and Driving Distance Query

Ever wonder what the polygon created by driving your car in every direction possible from one central point, for 30 miles, would look like? Yeah, you have. Admit it. Using your car to solve this conundrum is going to take you a while to accomplish. But fear not! Because someone has provided an answer to that vexing question about driving distance polygons and that someone is Map Business Online, America’s favorite Business Mapping Software.

Believe it or not, some people do want an answer to this driving distance polygon question. Whether you conduct customer mapping, market analysis or resource planning DTDD analysis is a valuable tool. With our latest release we’ve adjusted our Drive Time analysis tool to include an option for Driving Distance. It works exactly the same as drive time – choose the tool, drop a point, select either time or distance, and pick a number of minutes or miles to analyze.

Access Drive Time and Driving Distance in MBO
The Drive Time Driving Distance tool (DTDD) is accessed from several convenient places within Map Business Online. The tool icon is represented by this image:
Drive Time icon
Whenever you notice this shape you can conduct a Drive Time Driving Distance query.

Access the Drive Time Driving Distance icon from the main Toolbar. Find the Circle with the Binoculars icon and use that drop down arrow to its right. There’s the icon.

You can also access this tool when you plot a point on the map. One way of plotting a point is to enter an address in the address-bar and click the binoculars. Look for a small toolbar under the plotted map point. Notice the DTDD tool icon second from the left.

There’s yet another Drive Time Driving Distance toolbar option when you use the Draw Tools located on the main toolbar. Click the drop down arrow, scroll down to the bottom option – a map pin – and manually drop a mappoint anywhere on the map. There it is – that DTDD icon again.

Using any of the DTDD buttons lets you establish a polygon on the map that represents the distance or time you can cover if you travel outwards from a central point in all directions along the road network. The resulting polygon is the area covered considering the turn restrictions, speed limits, one ways and two ways, regular streets and highways, your virtual vehicle will have to travel over for the specified distance or time. Like any other MBO map object, you can choose to fill or shade the object with various colors or leave the polygon transparent. You can also adjust the line thicknesses.

All DTDD polygons are query-able. Click the binoculars to search for data within the polygon boundary. Save that file with a unique name and work with that query result. Export the data, plan a route from the data, or filter the data to develop a more refined list.

Example Applications
Companies, non-profits, and governments can all benefit from drive time distance queries. Here are a few query examples:

Chiropractor query – Develop a list of all patients living within a 25 mile driving distance of our satellite office. Determine if the resultant polygon overlaps with a 25 mile polygon drawn around our headquarters’ office location.
A non-profit query – If I drive 25 minutes from my home office in any direction, how many donors from the 2013 donor list could I visit?
Marketing query – Use a driving distance polygon to develop a demographic map displaying population by ethnicity and metro area around our top retail outlet. Query the polygon for zip codes and create an Area of Interest with demographics. Conduct a 30 minute drive time study to determine the estimated market potential for our upcoming product release.
Brookstone retail mapping query – Generate a list of all family yard sales within ten miles of a Brookstone store. Generate optimized routes to these locations and make sure they are not selling used Brookstone vibrating foot and back massagers. Destroy all used Brookstone massagers and heating pads found and payoff the home owners with Brookstone coupons. Give them a map showing drive times to the closest Brookstone stores.
Police department query – Generate a list of all Brookstone retail stores within a 50 mile driving distance of the three residential address locations reporting harassment at their yard sales. Match the Brookstone coupons to the originating coupon pad and arrest the employee in possession. See if they’ve got one of those pillows with built-in speakers, while you’re there.

The driving distance component is an improvement upon the old MapPoint drive time tool you may be familiar with. If you are a MapPoint user, be sure to consider Map Business Online as a MapPoint replacement.

As you can see, drive time and driving distance queries come in quite handy. They can be applied to many disciplines across numerous industries. It’s a little like exploring the world from the comfort of your very own Brookstone vibrating massage chair.

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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 review us at Capterra, g2crowd

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A Map For Crazy Incorporated

Submitted by an Anonymous & Fictitious Female User

My boss is screaming again. He’s like the donkey in the horse yard, keeping the wolves at bay. Oh well, at least it’s not internally directed today. This time he wants to see all company job site locations on one map to better analyze our position in the marketplace. That actually sounds reasonable.  And for some reason he’s looking at me. I’m the latest genius in a long line of geniuses that the boss places all of his faith in for a few months and then he promptly fires them. Today he wants a female genius. Lucky me.

The boss doesn’t know it but I’ve used business mapping software before – both MapPoint and BusinessMap.  Both applications were great business mapping tools that were terminated by their publishers.  I need a replacement for MapPoint and BusinessMap that’s reliable and more advanced – if that’s possible – without breaking the bank.  His Nibs won’t pay a lot for that muffler.

Well, he is the boss.  All I can do is the best I can do, right?  At least for this project I’ve got Map Business Online.  I anticipated his latest hissy fit and imported all the job site records already, mapping multiple locations across New England – 250 lovely blue dots on a map. Now what?

Just then God’s gift to the C-Suite walked by my cubicle. “Sweetheart, I see you’re working on that map I want.  You’re alright,” smiling and patting my head in a way that makes me rethink my position on gun control. “Make sure you show me everything.  I want to see everything on one map.”  Just then, a ball of tin foil rolls by and the world’s most obnoxious CEO runs into the conference room to hook-up with Herman Cain Inc. He’s got a date with 9-9-9, I guess.

Back to the map. If I follow Mr. Whack Job’s demand and turn on all 250 map labels the map looks like the floor of a waste paper recycling transfer station. You can’t see anything meaningful for all the map clutter.  But I think it through and import even more datasets, turn on all the labels and save the file.  I’ll show that map view to his Majesty if he starts complaining about wanting more data labels. And while he’s contemplating that mess of a map I can get my coat, gather my things, and head out for the unemployment office.

In the meantime, I realize with Map Business Online you can filter the states. In a new map view I turn off the labels and turn on the State Map Layer and then filter the layer to show only those New England states we’re interested in. Then I turn off the entire street data background.  For this analysis, we don’t need the streets – it just adds to the map clutter. This map is looking better already.

Next I contemplate my data.  Turning on all job labels makes the map impossible to decipher. But I noticed each job is named after the city it’s located in. There a few cities with multiple jobs, but not many. Hmmm. I decide to turn on the City Limits data – a layer option within MBO. That looks interesting – all those metro areas are now outlined and labeled. No need to show the job names.

Next I realized with Map Business Online you can color code the City Limits by the imported Job Site data.  A few clicks on the tool bar icon and I’ve arranged a shaded city map that color-codes the cities based on the quantity of jobs we’ve got in each metro area.  MBO even generates a legend that defines the color scheme and labels the data layer as “Crazy Inc. Job Sites – New England.”

I even turn the blue dots back on, color them black, and then use the sizing control to make them just noticeable. That’s a great way to show where the job sites are specifically located while keeping the map looking clean. It provides a density view of our data as well.

I had imported sales dollars by account data too. For a final touch of drama for our job site map I used the heat map Excel button to display sales. Heat maps are cool because they look a little like a weather storm map – they add a flashy layer to the map that wakes the map viewer up. Very cool.

Wow. That looks pretty good. But he wants it on a wall-map. With Map Business Online you can save the file as a large format PDF file and then bring the file down to Kinko’s to run a plotter print.  And just then I hear the yelling stating up again. Slipping the map PDF file onto a USB drive I grab my coat and purse and head out for Kinko’s, confident that for one more day I’ve got a job at Crazy Inc. Thanks to Map Business Online.

“Hey! Someone stole my lucky mouse pad!” I hear as the door closes behind me. Maybe Kinko’s needs some map plotting help?

Find out how digital maps can help you learn about your business.

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

Review us at Google+, g2crowd, chekkt , or Best Vendor

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Helping Customers Move from MapPoint to MapBusinessOnline

I’ve been selling business mapping software since 2002. So roughly fifteen years. During that time I have learned what typical business people look for in a business mapping application. Most of the time the desired software features are basic location related tools and are quickly achievable using business mapping software. For busy business people who have a new or long-established appreciation for the power of mapping in business, Map Business Online is often just what the map doctor ordered.

In just the last ten days Map Business Online has been applied as a solution for:
• Nationwide media market visualizations
• USA conglomerate sales territory creation and management
Retail mapping & chain store maintenance program management
• Strategic planning map visualizations
• Independent sales representative inner city account visit planning
• Hospital system market analysis by bed count
• Demographic analysis of potential market areas for an insurance company
• Asset and pick-up fee visualizations for a waste management company
• Optimized route generation for a team of homecare clinicians
• Visualizing real-estate property data within X miles of a point

MapPoint Shutdown
For many years here at MBO, we chased Microsoft MapPoint as the competitor to beat. Like MBO, MapPoint was a basic business mapping application – more advanced than navigation software but not as complex as full featured GIS software. Over the past five years Microsoft stopped advancing the tool. MapPoint street data fell way behind, and the feature lists became stagnant. In the meantime, MBO’s feature list surpassed MapPoint as a business mapping solution professionals could quickly apply to their specific challenges – especially in customer/prospect visualization a.k.a. customer mapping, sales territory mapping software, and optimized routing. Now with the imminent MapPoint shutdown, more and more sales planners, marketing professionals and sales territory managers are moving away from MapPoint on the desktop and trying Map Business Online and other mapping options in the Cloud. MBO has become the MapPoint alternative.

There are many other more expensive business mapping applications available. At first glance you might think these applications, priced at $2,500 or more might be the solution you’re looking for. Think again. You may just find it worth the extra time investment.

Lately I’ve had multiple customers tell me they had almost purchased a $5,000 plus software for territory mapping and decided to check out MBO based on late-in-the-game Google search results. All of these customers chose Map Business Online and are extremely happy both with the solution and the consequential savings. Ah, ‘the customer is always right.’

Try Us
With Map Business Online you can explore a free trial or a limited scope, ninety-day subscription to determine if a $250 per year business mapping web-service truly does trump a $5,000 piece of desktop software. We’ll support your experiment with Map Business Online to make sure you’re sure it’s the right solution for your specific requirement. Don’t feel bad about asking for support. Even if you decide to purchase some other software we’ll have learned something about what mapping customers are looking for and what our competitors can achieve through their solutions. Learning leads to better sales.

Our next release, due out any day now will include a dozen new demographic layers and updates for older layers. We’ll be expanding our map layers by adding school districts and more town and settlement data. We’ll also be including more advanced map-template tools. Look for the ability to work with teams of map users sharing map editing and data management responsibilities.

2015 promises to be an interesting year for Map Business Online as we consider our next development options. We hope you’ll continue to suggest the new location intelligence and business mapping features you’d like to see included, especially any MapPoint features we’ve missed. We love that.

Find out how digital maps can help you learn about your business.

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

Review us at Google+, g2crowd, chekkt , or Best Vendor

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Five Ways Territory Mapping Software Will Improve Your Business

You may be a manager in a large business or an owner of a small business, either way an investment in territory mapping software can help your business grow and grow faster. Let’s review how.

Territory Maps Define and Enforce Accountability
One of the reasons man invented maps was to show boundaries. Bosses from Alexander the Great to Warren Buffet want to see clear boundaries describing their areas of influence. It’s the same with your business. You don’t need two sales reps arguing over a piece of business because they’re not sure whose responsibility it is. Use a web-based mapping service to define their areas of responsibility.

Clearly defined territories help to determine sales responsibility over critical accounts. By displaying all customer locations against territory maps sales managers can develop Customer Decision Maker flow charts that show geographically where spending/buying decisions are made. By tracking sales by decision maker location you can define revenue hot spots and more appropriately assign account responsibility. It might not make sense to send your best sales person to Grand Junction every month if the purchasing decisions are made consistently in Denver.

Territory Maps Organize Prospecting Campaigns
Marketing and sales operations are always dreaming up new campaigns. These could be product presentations, direct mail campaigns or a sales contest. A business mapping software allows your sales and marketing directors to easily control their campaigns geographically by creating marketing territories. Popular examples include direct mail test areas, call center callout campaigns to a metro-region, or radius zip code map established at X miles from a hotel event.

By establishing smaller campaign territories marketing and sales managers can test different approaches on a limited basis and tweak future approaches based on results. Such testing can save big chunks of your marketing budget. And ultimately, testing by geographic segment can mean the difference between a failed campaign and a runaway success.

Sales Territory Mapping Software Addresses Overlap in Sales Coverage
Few companies choose to have overlapping sales coverage but let’s face it – sometimes overlap is simply necessary. Good territory mapping software understands this reality. You should be able to adjust settings within your software to allow or disallow sales overlap. Hopefully your territory tool let’s you easily identify those overlap areas. This is necessary because overlap can cause confusion like double coverage or no coverage at all. By keeping overlap front and center in the sales conversation – making it a regular topic at meetings – your team will be aware of the overlap and will work to extract the best sales possible result from the situation.

Possible reasons for overlap in my experience include: legacy relationships, highly technical customer requirements that warrant the most experienced representatives, or physical proximity to other accounts. Whether or not overlap is appropriate is not the mapping software’s problem. We must admit overlap exists and address it systematically. Territory mapping software may help you manage overlap or eliminate it.

Territory Maps Organize Your Customers and Prospects
So many companies just total the sales at the end of the month and roll them up into legacy categories. Territory maps give you the opportunity to break outdated sales measurement structures and determine new ways of measuring success.

I like to compare sales to warfare. Progress in World War II was not measured just by how many battles were won, or by how many of the enemy had been killed; progress was analyzed by theater, by army group, by operation, and by front. It’s great to review overall sales numbers month-to-month, but a great sales general will review each territory and consider the customers and prospects located within that territory:
• How many new prospects and customers have appeared this quarter?
• How many new prospect have been contacted year to date?
• How many prospects have been converted to customers by a particular sales person and how does that compare to average conversions?
• Overall, where are we winning and where are we losing and why?
• Do we need more troops?
• Are our supply lines too long?

By asking questions about a specific territory a manager may find the answers she has been looking for – for a long time.

Territory Mapping Is an Exercise in Understanding Your Business
Data visualization is a commonly cited benefit to business mapping software. I’ve been selling mapping software for many years but this benefit just never gets old. Every day I witness people importing data onto a map and being surprised by what they see. Basic visualization is powerful. But more powerful still is the power of seeing your data and its relationship to other datasets – viewing spatial relationships. Territory mapping provides the structure that enables spatial analysis of your business data. Your data can be compared, and contrasted with other data layers:
• View your business sales by zip code and include Census population, and growth rates
• Compare business points with competitor locations and include median income by county
• Show all of your medical sales in the Northeast and include all hospitals
• Create a mapping software review of your business

These views tend to inform your business especially when considered over time, making you the better sales representative, sales manager and business owner.

Sales territory mapping software belongs in your arsenal of business tools alongside ERP, CRM, and SEO. Sales territory mapping software is well on its way to becoming business acronym worthy.

Www.MapBusinessOnline.com America’s fastest growing business mapping software.

Let a map help you learn about your business.

Filed under: Business Mapping Software blog post