Whether a sales operations, operations, or service manager mapping out an optimal route or a field-based rep trying to give a client an accurate ETA, you will want to eliminate these challenges with route mapping software.
Efficient route planning is critical for sales and service teams who face relentless pressure to optimize sales revenue, add more calls and boost service time.
To find the fastest, most efficient routes, you need a route planner that is easy to use but, under the hood, is powered by sophisticated technology. Sales and service reps need specialized route planning software, so they need to look past consumer-level GPS mapping apps. The unique challenges faced by field-based teams require dynamic route optimization.
What is route optimization?
Route optimization involves planning the routes and order of calls most efficiently. Simply put, you aim to minimize miles traveled and maximize time in front of the right customers. And do this at scale. That could be a single rep planning a month in advance or a sales or service operations team planning schedules for hundreds of field-based representatives. Manual processes or basic route maps are no longer fit for purpose.
How route optimization works
Consumer apps excel when your route is straightforward, but how often does that happen? Getting from point A to B is not the goal. What if you must add a stop or re-route due to a cancellation?
Planning is tedious, but route mapping software featuring multi-day scheduling is a cinch. You add your customer data, and your route optimizer creates the most efficient route in less than a minute.
You eliminate the hard work and worry for field sales and service reps. No more trying to figure out the order of your stops. So, planning time, travel time, and fuel costs all plummet while face time (time in front of customers) soars.
Experienced road warriors (like sales, service, and operations teams) know that the plan rarely goes to schedule in the field. Traffic is dynamic and unreliable; meetings run late, and customers change times. So you need software that makes it easy to re-arrange and re-optimize your schedule on the fly so you maximize your time.
Professional route mapping software boosts field sales and service team productivity or utilization. When a customer cancels, you open your mobile app, use the map to locate customers nearby and add them to your route. Then click optimize, and in seconds, you are back on track.
Unlike in many consumer-level apps, sharing is easy, so updating your manager, team, and colleagues is simple and intuitive. Share using a public map or privately with a secure link.
The challenges of traditional route planning
1. High effort, low reward
High-performing sales and service teams know their time with the right customers is their greatest resource. Maximizing time spent selling or servicing is the objective for everyone. Under-performers may suffer from over-servicing customers and valuing quantity over quality.
You need more analysis and research before hitting the "get route" button. New reps may lack experience or territory knowledge leading to sub-par results. As they gain experience, they'll see the value in estimating sales potential (if they are in a sales role), understanding their highest-value customers, and prioritizing those over others.
eSpatial has a recommendations engine that can transform planning.
Real World Scenario - Sales
You are a new sales rep in a territory. You have a target list of customers and prospects. You leverage the eSpatial recommendations engine and add a priority weighting to prospect accounts. Put simply; you ask the system to calculate your optimized schedule prioritizing your highest potential prospects. The algorithms do their magic, and you follow the step-by-step journey knowing your day is optimized.
Real World Scenario - Service
You are a service rep in a territory. You have a target list of customer repairs you must make weekly. Some customers must get same-day repairs, and others are more flexible. So using the recommendations engine, you get the system to prioritize those calls and optimize your days around your highest-priority calls.
Mapping software with dynamic route optimization transforms rep effectiveness. For new sales reps, it brings complex sales data and trends to life. It enables them to target new sales leads and untapped sales potential. And it allows managers to work closely with new reps to prioritize target accounts.
Whether meeting more high-value customers or targeting an industry with a new product, it helps align the sales rep with sales strategy and business goals.
An optimized sales territory map for the more experienced salesperson can help them see their area in a new light. Filtering by important factors, like potential sales, reveals a disconnect between effort and results.
For example, you have two customers who spend $1,000,000 per annum. Both get the same number of sales or service calls. But customer A is maxed out. They spend almost 90% of their budget on your products, so sales potential (room for growth) is virtually nil. Customer B spends 10% of its budget on your products. That's $9,000,000 (90%) they spend on competitors. There is much more scope to grow, so you should rebalance call frequencies to devote more time to Customer B. That will boost revenue and lower service costs.
2. Travel time and scheduling pressures
Sales and service reps must analyze their schedule on days with numerous planned in-person meetings. One long meeting can throw your whole day's schedule, forcing you to push or cancel other appointments.
Adjusting schedules in real-time on the fly is critical and gives you an advantage.
3. Increasing customer satisfaction
Service and sales reps have daily call targets. One customer requires more service time than planned. Another customer needs a contract clarification, while another wants a new product demo. It can be challenging to prepare for each meeting.
Lack of preparation can impact performance. The fewer delays you have, the more time you can spend preparing. Access to a routing solution that integrates with your CRM data to see customer data is a game-changer.
You have more headspace and time to plan and execute.
4. Manual route management
Route planning is time-consuming and clunky when done by hand. It's vital for traveling reps but takes time away from meetings. Simply put, there's a better way.
Intelligent route planning software eliminates the heavy lifting for field-based reps. With automatically optimized routes, you spend more time on an activity that drives revenue.
5. Lack of visibility
Where there is a disconnect between field and office teams, you have a problem. But you can solve this by providing access to route planning software for your sales, operations, and support staff.
eSpatial makes sharing this information between team members simple and intuitive.
Sales managers can make effective decisions about sales territory management. It supports decision-making and planning for office admins but also improves efficiency for sales staff and customer service for clients. If a red-hot sales lead needs immediate attention, office staff can quickly and easily contact the closest sales rep who creates the shortest route. All of which lead to more sales deals and happier customers.
6. Balancing workforce resources
Sales and service managers balance resources and workloads with improved visibility of routing. Uneven workloads lead to several problems. Some reps need more time to meet their quotas, but time is finite. Others have spare capacity. That leads to burnout for some and lost sales opportunities for organizations.
Territory Mapping software lets managers and revenue operations create optimized sales territories. That way, reps have the time to maximize opportunities or customer service without being overwhelmed.
When paired with route optimization, it ensures sales reps are spending more time with customers and less time in a vehicle. In turn, customers and prospects receive the right level of focus.
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What does eSpatial's route optimization software offer?
eSpatial's route mapping software is eRouting, and it differs from other solutions in several ways:
Automatic route planning
Route optimization uses intelligent route planning. Specialized software can automatically optimize route plans. And this isn't just from point A to point B — you optimize the route for every stop along the journey.
You can reduce trip planning time by 90% with eSpatial's route optimization software. You can optimize a one-way route or round trip, saving time and money and keeping to your meeting schedule. Best of all, it eliminates manual planning.
Display destinations with CRM data
Unlike other navigation or map apps, eSpatial's route mapping software works with your CRM. It unifies customer data across your tools so sales and service reps can easily access correct, up-to-date information. Your field team has all the information they need for appointments at their fingertips. Stops will display any data you enter, like customer names or order history. Prepared reps are proven to achieve higher revenue and customer satisfaction.
Design the perfect territory for field-based teams
Look for a solution that combines mapping software with territory and route optimization. For many managers, their process starts with data analysis. Heatmaps, Zipcode maps, and pin maps are perfect for visual analysis. Combining route optimization with mapping lets managers create balanced geographic sales territories. And perform visual analysis efficiently.
Planning territories with geography in mind makes it easier to create an efficient route later. Creating manageable territories helps sales team leaders balance workloads and improve customer service.
Visualize data to support decision-making
Visualizing sales data is a huge benefit. It allows decision-makers to better understand the market, including your competition and growth opportunities. For example, managers can easily see coverage gaps or whitespaces with sales territory maps. Lost opportunities and overlapping coverage are eradicated while new revenue is unlocked.
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Why is route optimization essential for managers and field sales teams?
Besides solving the common pain points for sales and service operations teams, there are a few more reasons to invest in an intelligent routing solution:
Efficiency, without the manual legwork
Route optimization for field reps using eSpatial is quick, streamlined, and automatic. It means reps and office staff eliminate manual route planning and no longer rely on consumer GPS apps for each leg of their trip.
Kristen Eldridge, Motiva Operations Support Analyst, and eSpatial user, say it has saved her as much as 25 minutes per sales lead. Since she evaluates and plots routes for up to 30 leads a day, the time savings are massive.
"eSpatial saves me so much time," Eldridge said. "I use it to investigate and target high potential leads, then plan routes for the salespeople on the ground. I used to do this with Google Maps, and it was tedious. With eSpatial, it takes only five minutes each."
Fuel cost savings and sustainability
Intelligent route optimization reduces travel time and fuel costs. When you analyze how much you spend on fuel and vehicle maintenance for each sales rep, the savings quickly add up. Efficient driving routes also lower your carbon footprint - an increasing concern for businesses. Now you can save money and impact your environment positively.
Improved resource management and customer service
Sales and service reps receive equal workloads to prevent overloading or burnout. Resource planning and workforce management are more manageable, with more efficient driving routes for reps and visual data for team supervisors. Using the most efficient driving routes also helps representatives meet with more clients daily, improving results.
"Since we can plan optimized routes for the salespeople on the ground, they can get more done and make more sales," Eldridge said.
Users can even use eSpatial's filtering features to help prioritize accounts and boost efficiency - not to mention sales.
"We have a complete, up-to-date view of our clients, staff, and resources," said Andres Delacruz, NorthStar Deputy Director of Business Continuity and an eSpatial user. "It enables us to mobilize our staff and resources to the best location to support our clients and quickly react to incidents. eSpatial is an absolute game changer, helping us make better decisions."
Agile planning, on the go
One of the biggest wins for teams using route optimization is the ability to adjust their schedules in real time. eSpatial lets users plot multiple stops, including start and end times for each meeting. Should a meeting run long or short, the sales rep can adjust the rest of the route to match. This feature helps end scheduling problems and missed appointments and enables sales reps to squeeze in an extra stop when they have the time.
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Key features to look for in route optimization software
Right now, more route optimization solutions are available for field sales teams, but not all offer the right fit for you.
To overcome your key challenges and reap the benefits discussed above, you need a route optimization solution with specific features, including:
- Schedule 20-day optimized routes with ease.
- Quickly re-route a day if a customer cancels.
- Access an intelligent recommendation engine that ensures you focus on the highest-priority sales calls.
- Seamlessly integrates with Salesforce.
- Mobile ready.
- Visualize and analyze your routes for productivity insights.
- Lock in appointments and optimize your day around key sales meetings.
- Overlay and filter your customer datasets on interactive maps.
- Set priority-based scheduling based on your preferences, like the highest potential to close.
These are must-have features, but the best route-mapping software will also have advanced capabilities. Data styling tools and interactive map features let businesses dive deep and do more with their sales data.
Talk to a mapping expert about your mapping software needs today to learn more about the difference route optimization can make.
What our customers say
Sales data can be mapped in minutes, which has saved customers countless hours which leads to faster more efficient alignments in less time
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Boost in revenue
Extra sales call per day
Improvement in sales productivity
eSpatial saves me so much time. I use it to investigate and target high potential leads, then plan routes for the salespeople on the ground. Not only is the program great, but their customer service is top of the line. Someone is always there to answer my questions and provide step-by-step instructions. eSpatial has helped me tremendously!
Operations Support Analyst
eSpatial helps Essen Health Care to provide a better service to our patients by ensuring that doctors are assigned based on geographic proximity. Our patients are happier and our doctors can treat more patients and spend less time on the road.
Chief Medical Officer
With MapPoint, as a desktop-based software, you have to print out a piece of paper and take it with you. With eSpatial, as a cloud-based software, you can load your maps on an iPad. This means you can send the maps to your reps and they can go in the field with their iPads and quickly and easily punch in the addresses of the people they want to visit.
Want to learn more about route optimization?
Every organisation is unique, so eSpatial offers you three solutions. Start with one and scale. Or invest in the complete package for sales and sales operations.
Support from our experts when you need it
You're the expert on your data and line of work, but to get your project completed, you may need some backup. That's why our support team includes geographic information system (GIS) experts who can assist with mapping and data integration needs, during onboarding and through your time as an eSpatial user.