The complete guide to cluster mapping for your sales territories

Liam Costello by Liam Costello on January 17, 2024  |  5 minute read
Bubble map
What is cluster mapping
Video transcript for What is cluster mapping

Cluster mapping is also known as either bubble mapping or density mapping, and it uses geographic visualizations to explore relationships between locations.

So here is a Bubble Map and the larger the bubble the greater the density of the points. Or here is a Regional Heatmap showing by state the concentration of points using colors.

Cluster mapping is an invaluable tool for sales, marketing, and logistics teams seeking valuable insights from geographic data. By visualizing patterns and relationships between locations, these proximity maps reveal opportunities to optimize operations, engage customers more effectively, and drive better business outcomes.

This guide will explore cluster mapping and how businesses can leverage proximity maps to enhance their efforts. It will also provide a step-by-step process for creating geographic clusters using mapping software.

What is cluster mapping?

Cluster mapping, also known as bubble mapping or density mapping, uses geographic visualization to explore relationships between locations. Data points are plotted on a map and assigned a proportional symbol, like a circle or bubble, to represent a metric, such as population size or customer volume. This clustering technique shows concentrations of groups of similar entities.

By displaying clustered geographic data in an intuitive, interactive format, patterns that traditional data simply cannot convey can emerge. For example, a heat map showing sales activity clustered by zip code highlights new potential markets around population centers.

With clustering software, users can visualize how neighborhoods, customers, or other entities relate based on location.

What are cluster maps used For?

Businesses leverage cluster maps to enhance operations, refine marketing efforts, and generate new growth opportunities.

Here are some of the most common applications:

1. Visualizing data patterns

Cluster maps instantly uncover trends, outliers, and natural groupings in data that more quantitative analysis may miss. Spotting these patterns fuels strategic planning. A well-designed cluster map can reveal that most customers are concentrated in one neighborhood rather than spread out evenly. It allows businesses to target their resources and marketing more effectively.

2. Analyzing and segmenting your target audience

Cluster mapping's spatial segmentation capabilities assist comprehensive audience profiling. Locating where clusters of customers concentrate based on their attributes provides valuable context. Overlaying purchase histories, demographics, and other qualities onto map views reveals natural groupings. For example, clusters may emerge around differences in average spending, product preferences, or needs within various locations.

3. Identifying potential locations for expansion

Reviewing coverage gaps in sales territories or detecting underserved neighborhoods presents prime areas for new store openings or rep assignments. A cluster map can show that while one region is saturated with incumbent stores, an emerging residential area is underserved.

4. Managing sales territories

Territory optimization tools within mapping software can help align accounts, balance workloads, and maximize efficiency through scenario planning. Cluster mapping makes it easy to view account concentration vs coverage gaps across assigned territories. A comprehensive territory management solution to help organizations design, analyze, and optimize their sales territories to drive better performance.


5. Analyzing customer behavior

Clustering customer profiles based on shared metrics helps recognize how interests align along certain lines that follow real-world geography. For instance, a cluster mapping example application may reveal that customers clustered in urban areas have different purchase behaviors than those in rural areas. Cluster mapping detects when these groups fragment into new concentrations as residents relocate or interests diverge.

6. Highlighting opportunities for innovation

Cluster mapping can reveal underserved yet dense pockets apart from current operation centers. Uncovered demand concentrations signal prospects for tailored offerings designed for those contextualized needs.

7. Supporting decision-making

Spatial insights simplify the understanding of complex spreadsheets full of data. Exploratory tools promote examining situations from various angles to reach choices solidly backed by facts revealed through project data visualization.

How to make cluster maps

A cluster map visualizes concentrations of data geographically. It summarizes your mapping project data based on location to reveal insights that may not be obvious from tables and charts alone. US cluster mapping allows sales managers to optimize territories, helps marketers analyze customer behavior, and assists operations teams in seeking efficiencies.

1. Define your objective

Understand why you want to create a cluster map and what question you want it to answer. Common objectives include identifying expansion opportunities, balancing sales and service team workloads, gauging supply and demand patterns, or analyzing economic clusters. Defining your objective upfront will help focus the analysis and ensure the map provides valuable insights.

2. Choose a mapping software

Pick a mapping solution that allows cluster mapping. It should efficiently handle your data volumes and enable customization. Such a tool ideally supports various data formats and team collaboration tools.

3. Collect and prepare data

Gather address-level data for customers, sites, or other locations into a centralized spreadsheet. Ensure fields like address, city, state, and ZIP are formatted consistently. Clean any duplicate or missing entries.

4. Set up your cluster map

Upload your data set to the mapping platform. Select "cluster map" and choose the field to cluster by city or state. Adjust colors, cluster sizes, and labels as needed.

5. Analyze the results

Review the generated clustered map to spot trends, outliers, and geographic patterns indicated by cluster size and placement. Note any novel insights into expansion areas, customer behaviors, or supply chain efficiencies uncovered that could enhance your clustering project. Mapping software offers cluster search tools that let users interactively search clustered data, refine results, and gain deeper insights.

Mapping solutions for businesses from eSpatial

With comprehensive mapping software, teams gain insight into how best to support customer concentrations through more informed decisions. Customizable tools empower data-driven operations, from sales territory mapping to route optimization to marketing campaign targeting.

Intuitive territory management software like eSpatial integrates seamlessly within existing workflows for clustering, analyzing, and acting on the geographic relationships revealed. Get started today and elevate your business through the power of mapping!

Liam Costello Written by

Liam Costello

Liam is an eSpatial account manager and mapping expert. He specializes in helping businesses solve problems and increase sales through mapping visualization, territory management, route optimization and more. Liam holds a Master's Degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.

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