Chapter 3: Improve your business performance

Conquering mapping software - The ultimate guide

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Use mapping software in various ways to improve business performance. This chapter will examine three of the most common ways this occurs. We will discuss how you:

  • Grow revenue
  • Reduce costs by boosting sales productivity
  • Improve customer service

Sales growth using mapping software

Use mapping software to grow sales revenue. In this section, we will discuss:

1

Sales territory alignment

2

Market growth planning

3

Location planning

1. Sales territory alignment

The previous chapter described how you use mapping software to enhance territory alignment (the process sets sales areas and workloads, allocates customers or products to representatives, and assigns personnel to territories). Territory alignment provides value to organizations in several ways:

  • Balance with a workload index to optimize sales productivity
  • Spot inefficiencies quickly when you view sales territories on maps
  • Spot whitespaces or territory gaps where accounts are not assigned to sales reps
  • Mismatches, where one territory overlaps with another
  • Size variations, where the geographic size, customer volume, or market potential is out of balance from one territory to another

Territory mapping software should include a balancing tool to compare territories using one or more metrics. It helps identify whether the distribution of territories is balanced and fair. Use heat maps or regional heat maps of territories to help spot regions that may have easy targets with a high density of high-potential customers compared with areas with low potential.

Improve quota setting accuracy by realigning to optimize sales potential. Where territories are balanced (based on revenue potential, workload, volume, or geographic size), sales rep motivation is improved, with performance improvements.

Proper workload balance also allows for better productivity and management of travel time. Finally, assigning staff to territories provides a structure for Sales Performance Management reporting and tracking.

2. Market growth planning

Mapping software can help identify where to target new initiatives for market growth. Most companies know their ideal customer profile, but where these potential customers are situated is often unknown. Identifying the regions in which to acquire new customers to plan for market growth is a critical benefit of mapping analysis.

The starting point in this process is to analyze existing success factors, such as:

  • Proximity to outlet, office, distributor, or franchisee
  • Demographic profile of region served (for instance, age, income bands, socio-demographic groups, administrative considerations)
  • Competitor locations

You can then use the map to identify regions with similar characteristics in several ways by:

  • Plotting the distribution of potential customers across the catchment area
  • Assessing the aggregated demographic profile of the region
  • Analyzing demographic distribution using heat maps or regional heatmaps
  • Mapping competitor locations

Using proximity analysis tools, such as distance buffers or nearest neighbor analysis, to understand the accessibility of target market groups. Most companies will look to manage growth on a phased basis, first moving into areas with the highest potential. Using mapping software, it is possible to create multiple target regions for development and to compare potential across these regions, for instance, by using a regional heat map to identify areas with the best underlying market potential.

Opportunities for growth in markets currently served but underperforming can also identify growth potential—map performance by territory or region using a bubble map to identify performance from high to low. Compare with market potential by mapping this in the same way. It is then easy to locate mismatches –for instance, where market potential is strong, you under-perform.

Map your regional market share statistics to identify poor performance. Visualizing under-performing territories or regions unlocks new insight, which is the real benefit of mapping. Examining geographic factors to identify potential causes. For instance, you may have a franchisee (such as a restaurant) operating in a territory with good potential but under-performing compared to a similar market profile. It is easy to see if the restaurant's location is a factor using a map. Is it on the edge of the territory; does it overlap with the territory of another restaurant; are there competitor outlets close by; is accessibility an issue; or is there some visual or environmental problem nearby?

3. Location planning

The previous section described how mapping software helps identify territories or regions for potential market growth. Once you have identified a region to target, the next step is to pick your location site.

Site selection is one of the most important decisions that companies face. Picking the right location is essential to ensure success over the long term. Use mapping software to help make the right choice by identifying potentials, such as demand potential, customer density, accessibility, or delivery routes.

Picking the best location for your business is related to your industry. Retail organizations will require locations with high customer demand and ease of access. The questions identified above in the restaurant example are relevant to assessing a specific site –where is the site relative to the target customers? Is it in a central position; does it overlap with existing stores or competitors; is accessibility an issue? Assess these questions visually using mapping software.

Service organizations will need to assess a potential location to see how quickly personnel can reach customers. They can map the distribution of customers relative to the proposed location and see how well it fits. They can run routing programs to estimate drive times or plan scheduled service stops. They can use drive-time analysis to assess catchment areas.

Manufacturing companies will be concerned with site access, distribution networks, and proximity to key suppliers. Most companies will look to analyze alternative sites relative to employee recruitment –are relevant skills available in the catchment area?; is the site accessible?; is the location attractive for access to facilities such as dining, shopping, or leisure facilities?

For some companies, a coverage map will automatically highlight potential locations. A radius or coverage map on existing locations and customers will highlight clusters of existing customers outside your definition of a reasonable distance. Mapping software helps visualize and analyze these selection criteria leading to a better-informed site decision.

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Managing costs using mapping software

1. Workforce optimization

You are engaged in an ongoing battle to save costs, and mapping software is the perfect tool to achieve this. In the previous section, we described how mapping could identify opportunities for market expansion, but the same processes can also point to opportunities for contraction or consolidation. Using the same analysis techniques to spot opportunities for growth, such as territory alignment or market coverage analysis, you can find under-performing territories. The causes may be related to location, such as accessibility, wrong socio-demographic profile of catchment area, or strong competitor presence. It points to an opportunity for closure or a re-alignment.

Similarly, mapping analysis could highlight overlaps between locations, for instance, two distribution or service centers servicing the same customers. Or retail locations too close together based on drive times. It presents an opportunity for consolidation and cost reduction.

Use location planning techniques to assess the qualities of existing sites, not only to find new ones. Analyzing existing sites in terms of distribution costs, traffic delays, logistics patterns, and employee costs can point to opportunities for re-location or closure.

Company acquisitions or mergers often result in duplication of locations; mapping software excels in analyzing the location to close or move.

2. Resource allocation

Mapping software is an essential tool in resource allocation, managing people or assets. In many cases knowing the precise location of assets is critical before remedial work is carried out (for instance, underground utilities). Work is prioritized based on location and risk score. Efficiently managing work orders can save costs and enhance customer service.

Use maps to show daily tasks and visualize critical information for each job (such as job status, risk score, the process involved). Allocating staff or equipment to jobs based on location or skills is optimized. Just plan your routes and communicate the schedule with the team. An eSpatial customer reported an increase in productivity of up to 30% using our mapping software to plan, schedule, and report on resource allocation. They reduced operational costs as repair work was executed quicker and customer satisfaction improved.

3. Marketing/advertising campaign management

Mapping software is the tool of choice for managing marketing and advertising campaigns. Focusing on tightly defined target groups can reduce the cost of campaigns and increase the effectiveness for direct marketing, online advertising, flyer distribution, in-store advertising, billboard and placard placement, and many other campaign types.

Your starting point is a good understanding of the profile of current customers to build a target profile for prospects and identify regions that match that profile. Factors to consider include socio-demographic, income distribution, location proximity or accessibility, and competitor influence. You eliminate waste by concentrating spending in regions with the best profile.

Use heat maps, regional heat maps, pin distribution maps, and buffer maps to analyze underlying demographic or market data. Prospect data sets can be added to maps and filtered based on geographic constraints to consolidate a target list to the best fit. Region by region comparisons allow you to hone in on areas to concentrate your campaigns. Securely share maps and lists with staff running the campaigns. Identify specific locations for advertisement placement. Organize itineraries to show the most efficient routes for face-to-face campaigns.

4. Route optimization

Mapping software takes your data from different programs visualizes it for greater insight. You can load your calendar and link this to addresses from your CRM, excel spreadsheet, or other programs and optimize and visualize your routes. Customers estimate that they reduced their trip planning time by 75% and added up to one extra call per day for sales or service reps.

Every sales operations team's goal is to spend more profitable selling time with your highest value, highest priority customer. Fuel cost savings average 30%. Sales productivity gets a 15% plus boost. And you achieve your objectives with route optimization software.

With good mapping software, generating customized maps and directions is an easy process. It can be done for ad-hoc sales trips, planned service calls, regular delivery routes, or any itinerary with multiple stops. Plot your data, select the locations to visit, pick a start point and a finish point, and the software will create the optimized route for your day, week, month, or quarter.


Improving customer service using mapping software

In the previous sections, you learned how to use mapping software to grow revenue and manage operating costs. In many cases, the steps taken will also result in customer service improvements such as:

  • Territory alignment and market coverage analysis result in better sales rep utilization and increased productivity
  • Location planning puts resources in the right place
  • Resource allocation results in faster turn-around times and risk prioritization
  • Route planning optimizes selling time and rep productivity and speeds up response times

Mapping practices used to deliver these results can be employed with the specific focus on improving customer service (with revenue growth or cost management as the spin-off). Companies also use mapping software to improve customer service in other ways:

  • Call centers use map interfaces to communicate with customers and know when and where field representatives will be available. Call centers use maps to allocate the most suitable representative to a job or a cluster of jobs -reducing the time to service calls while also reducing costs to the company by allocating resources more efficiently.
  • Customer service reps use mapping software to advise customers on their best location based on needs and availability. For example, schedule clinic appointments or a maintenance visit to a service center.

Add maps to websites to help customer communication (for instance, store locators, service centers, or fault reporting systems).