Outside sales reps have a lot of juggling to do. So many sales calls, so little time. You could make a list of all the stops you need to make in a day and do your best to strategically plan your route using something like Google Maps. Or you could let multi-stop route planning software do the heavy lifting.
There are several tools like this on the market these days. They automate the tedious and ever-changing aspects of outside sales calls like prioritizing leads and planning routes accordingly to maximize outcomes, maneuvering traffic restrictions, unexpected client emergencies, and cancellations, so the rep can travel efficiently and focus on the actual selling.
In this article, we’ll break down what effective multi-stop route planning is and how it can benefit your company, as well as some of the top options in route planner apps.
What Is Multi-Stop Route Planning?
Multi-stop route planning is the process of determining the most productive route for a sales rep who’s visiting multiple customer locations. This means planning a route that has a logical order to the stops to maximize the opportunities to make sales. There are a variety of parameters that go into planning these routes effectively.
Three of these are:
- Location: Considering a specified geographical area or territory and focusing the route within that area. Keep in mind, the larger the area, the fewer stops a rep can realistically make in one day.
- Priority of customers/prospects: The most effective route will focus on prioritizing the customers or prospects who will provide the most return.
- Efficiency: The route ultimately needs to minimize driving time and maximize the amount of time a sales rep can spend with a customer.
When these things are factored in, your multi-stop route planning will result in routes that have a reasonable travel time, realistic proximity of target destinations, and a maximized return on investment.
You can elevate your multi-stop route planning efforts by utilizing a route planning app, like Map My Customers, or the others we’ll cover below. These apps help you automate your route planning efforts and create optimized and effective routes in much less time.
Benefits of Strategically Planning Routes with Multiple Stops
It can feel daunting to navigate all the moving parts that come with planning sales routes for a team full of sales reps. Making sure these multi-stop routes are planned strategically will result in significant benefits. A few of these benefits include:
By selecting the best and most efficient routes between customers, the number of visits that each sales rep can make in a day will be increased, effectively boosting customer facetime. This will not only help skyrocket sales productivity but, in turn, the quality of the customer interactions and your team’s overall sales effectiveness.
Using digital analysis, your route plans will become more and more efficient and productive as you track and identify which customers are most likely to buy your product.
Improved Customer Satisfaction & Retention
When reps aren’t feeling rushed to get to their next appointment and can spend the time that is really needed, your customers and prospects can tell. They’ll get quality time with the right decision makers. This will not only increase the number of sales but even more importantly, improve customer satisfaction.
Plus, the real magic happens when you incorporate the data from your travels into CRMs, like Salesforce, ZOHO, and Microsoft Dynamics. If you combine customer lifecycle data with your route plan, you will be able to further improve your relationship with your existing customers and thereby improve your customer retention.
Improved Profit Margin
One of the biggest cumulative benefits of optimizing your multi-stop route planning efforts is an improved profit margin. This is because more sales will be made, and it will cost less to do it.
When sales reps are driving the most efficient routes, this means less driving time, which also means reduced fuel and maintenance costs. Also, as mentioned above, with more quality meetings with customers and prospects the number and size of sales will be increasing. So, as certain costs are going down, revenue will be increasing.
Free Route-Planning Tools for Sales Teams
There are plenty of free tools out there that will help your sales team chart its routes. Here are a few:
RoadWarrior allows you to create a custom route with eight stops or fewer, with a daily search limit of 50. There’s a paid version available that allows for longer routes. It gives real-time, traffic-based routing that alerts you to road closures and other delays. Compatible with Android and Apple.
Input a sales call address, and Circuit Route Planner will create an optimized route. Plus give the option to alert your customers or leads when you’re about to arrive. Also compatible with both Apple and Android.
Portatour Route Planner is free for a 30-day trial period. It can integrate with your existing CRM. You can keep track of where your hottest leads are, and chart out your sales calls accordingly. Compatible with Android and Apple.
Basic Route Planning Tools vs. Robust Route Optimization Tools
Any old route planner (Google Maps, Waze, the iPhone’s Map app) can give travel directions that will get you from Point A to Point B and can even chart the fastest route for you and give real time traffic updates. But if you have multiple sales calls to make and route optimization is what you’re looking for, a more robust route planning software can help you use your time on the road more efficiently and increase revenue.
Using a multi stop route planner like one of the ones below will provide a larger suite of functionality, including tools like color and segment pins, filters, a lasso tool that allows you to select many different location/lead points at a time and segment their data, and the ability to search for leads and log activity. And maybe the biggest perk is that many of these route optimization tools will also integrate seamlessly with your CRM, allowing you to keep track of customer notes, set a sales cadence for follow-ups, and ultimately save time.
Best Options for a Multi-Stop Route Planning App
In today’s evolving business environment, a route planner app is an invaluable tool when it comes to multi-stop route planning. These apps will help you follow the tips that we’ve covered above, optimizing not only the process of mapping multiple stops in a route but the routes themselves that are created.
There are a variety of tools available that will build the most efficient route to cover all the necessary stops, while being easy to implement and including other valuable features as well. The important thing is pinpointing the app that will meet the unique needs of your team and company. Not sure where to start? We’ve done the digging for you and have broken down by use case a few of the top options available:
Work-from-anywhere sales teams need multi-purpose automation tools that can work on the go. So, if you are looking for a robust, mobile-friendly routing and mapping app that will help achieve all the tips we covered earlier, Map My Customers is your answer.
This mobile-first, all-in-one software maximizes your routing efforts, as well as your team’s overall efficiency and productivity, all through a more intuitive workflow. This app, purpose-built for outside sales reps, simplifies routing as well as day-to-day activities, making it easy for your reps to capitalize on more opportunities and equipping you to make data-backed decisions.
With Map My Customers, you can create, store, and share optimized routes and call lists based on location, priority, deal size, and more. Within the routing interface itself, reps can easily view both the mapped route and their step-by-step itinerary simultaneously. They can also quickly and easily log activities, check-ins, and notes directly from their routes, simplifying data entry across your teams.
Reps can plan more intelligently and quickly with the Map My Customers Smart Planner functionality. Reps get smart recommendations for how to build their plan for the day/week, and then easily turn those plans into action. Smart Planner suggests certain sales activities for reps to add to their calendar, preventing accounts from falling through the cracks and reps from having gaps in their day. Daily agendas can be turned into an optimized route with just a tap, putting reps on the road in minutes.
Map My Customers can stand on its own as your primary sales CRM or can integrate with many of the top CRMs. By optimizing your multi-stop route planning and sales activities, Map My Customers enables you and your team to get the most out of their time and supercharge productivity.
So long as you don’t need team management functions, Badger Maps is a solid sales route-mapping choice. It’s mobile-friendly and can save you time by automating activities like lead generation, schedule planning, and sales routing, and gives you a great overall visual of where your time’s best spent route-wise to make the most of it.
You can try Badger Maps out for free for seven days, and after that it’ll cost you $49-$95 per month per user.
If your sales team sells door-to-door residentially, Spotio is the tool for you. Your sales reps can not only create optimized sales routes, but build visual sales pipelines, log customer visits, and color-code, to keep track of all their sales data in one place.
It’s a mobile-friendly app that’s convenient for reps to use on the go, and uses data to show them where on the map to focus their efforts.
Step Up Your Team’s Routing with A Multi-Stop Route Planner App
As you can see, a multi-stop route planner app will be extremely beneficial in improving your sales team’s efficiency, sales productivity, and more. From increased fuel efficiency to fully optimized sales routes to proper customer targeting, the advantages of an effective route planning app can help your business thrive in competitive sales environments, thus helping to continually improve your company’s bottom line and scale sales efforts.
Exactly which route planning app is right for your company will depend on your use case, as well the needs you are trying to meet and the unique characteristics of your team. Try out a couple of these route-optimizing apps, and watch your sales team turn into a lean, mean, efficiently-traveling machine!