Let’s not forget that digital maps are a recent invention. Remember the MapQuest era? Yeah, that was around the time the GPS became accessible to the public. The GPS revolutionized every industry that involved travel, especially sales.
Let’s go back in time. Before Waze, Google Maps, and even TomTom, there was Streets and Trips, the original sales GPS. In 1988, Five friends in Surrey, England began building the platform that would eventually be downloaded by half of the computers in the UK. Made popular by a loyal fan club, the software became an overnight success. Then, all of a sudden, it disappeared from the market. In this article, we’re going to dissect this mystery and how we’re supposed to respond to it.
What was Microsoft Streets and Trips?
Microsoft Streets and Trips was revolutionary for its time. With an extremely user-friendly interface, it featured ground-breaking technology that contained more than six million miles of map. Its first version was released in 2000 with the ability to create detailed maps and driving routes. Also, it had a robust database of restaurants, gas stations, hospitals and more.
You may be thinking this sounds like a GPS. Well, it is! Streets and Trips is the reason why you’re able to map your sales route today. It paved the way by creating the first visual routing system.
The most impressive feature was Streets and Trips’ ability to update route information in real time. The software would identify roads that were under construction and provide information on how to avoid them.
The combination of business data and route optimization was a smashing success within sales departments. It provided a comprehensive solution that offered territory creation, route optimization, management efficiency, and territory mapping. This revolutionized the sales industry. Don’t take my word for it. A simple Google search will lead to hundreds of forum posts raving about the benefits of Streets and Trips.
But in 2013, Microsoft chose to discontinue the product and in 2015 it ended Streets and Trips support lines.
Why did this happen? It was mostly thanks to a little thing called Bing.
In 2013, Microsoft was pouring resources into Bing, largely due to an ongoing arms race it was in with Google. It was Microsoft’s hope that Bing Maps would eventually compete with Google Maps, which hasn’t exactly panned out so far.
In the end, Streets and Trips released a goodbye message urging their customers to use Bing Maps instead. But Microsoft made the mistake of tailoring Bing Maps to everyone, and — as a result — they lost sight of the business market that MapPoint had once held.
Can Streets and Trips be Replaced?
It wasn’t long before Microsoft lost the attention of its business audience. But for a long time, that audience had no suitable alternative.
Most sales reps wound up resorting to free mapping software — like Google Maps, because who the hell uses Bing Maps? — and manually entering each data point themselves.
This led to a lot of frustrated customers, including (of course) ourselves.
The year was 2016, after all, and we were stuck running our sales like it was 1988. It was inefficient, it was boring, and in the end, it just didn’t make any sense. Why hadn’t a good alternative cropped up yet? What was getting in the way?
Nothing was, it turned out — people were just waiting for someone to come along and bring the solution to them.
So in 2016, we built Map My Customers, using the best of what was Streets and Trips had to offer:
- Route Optimization — Reduce planning and travel time with our leading routing algorithms.
- Data Visualization — Visualize sales opportunities and customers to gain access to vital sales insights.
- Sales Analytics — Create custom reports and charts on you or your team’s sales activity.
- Lead Generation — Identify new customers and create additional appointments while on the road.
We also improved on some of the worst parts of MapPoint—MMC is not only desktop but mobile. We’ve added dashboards to organize and analyze your data and easily transfer data between sales team members. We also have a way better UI. But above all — we promise not to disappear.
Streets & Trips Alternative Feature #1: Route Planning and Optimization
With a very quick and simple import, you can view all of your customers as pins on a map. You can then use those pins to create and save custom routes, which our smart routing technology will optimize for you based on a variety of preferences.
Similar to Streets and Trips, our route optimization takes into account real-time factoring such as traffic congestions, required stops throughout the road, weather conditions, traffic accidents and more. Since our platform is powered by Google Maps (proven by CNBC to be more accurate than Apple Maps) you can rest assured knowing that the route directions you receive will always be the fastest route possible.
Creating a route on our platform is actually much easier and faster to do than on Microsoft Streets and Trips. In fact, many of our customers praise our platform for saving them countless hours that would have been spent on driving and planning routes. Some customers have even cut their weekly planning time in half and reduced their weekly driving time by 200 miles.
The image above shows what your route looks like on the map. It also shows what the route would look like on a stop-by-stop basis. In this image, you’ll also see that we tell you how many miles you will travel on your route and how long this route takes. From here, you can click “Directions” and open up Google Maps to get the directions for each stop.
This feature is also available on our app on iPhone, iPad or Android devices. Changing the order of a route is also very simple. Simply drag and drop each stop and rearrange it in the order you want it to be in.
Streets & Trips Alternative Feature #2: Customer and Sales Data Visualization
Quick and extremely simple in its approach, a single field of view brings all of your customer pins onto your map.
In addition to planning your sales route, you can use pins to visualize the locations of all your customers. Expanding beyond the boring map views in Streets and Trips, our heat mapping tool shows you exactly where your hottest customers are located.
You can also utilize our powerful filtering features to segment your customers according to groups, date added, distance, and any other field you find in your CRM. Combined, these two features allow you to identify unique insights about your customers.
Streets & Trips Alternative Feature #3: Sales Analytics
Just like MapPoint and Streets and Trips, Map My Customers offers amazing integrations. Our platform allows for integrations with many applications like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, and Microsoft Dynamics. With these integrations, you can easily sync your accounts, contacts, leads, or any table you choose with Map My Customers.
With all your information in one platform, your sales team will be able to get deep sales and account insights. We even offer custom reports and charts with performance metrics to identify areas for improvement. You can see the activity of each of your representatives and use our push messages to communicate with them on the go.
Streets & Trips Alternative Feature #4: Lead Generation
One of Microsoft Streets and Trips revolutionary tools was their business rating and reviews for finding new prospects. Similar to Google, it allowed you to see customer ratings and reviews on businesses to take the guesswork out of deciding which customers to explore when searching online.
Our powerful lead generation tool expanded beyond those online searches to allow you to find nearby prospects while on the road. Simply type in an industry that you are interested in selling to and your map will populate with potential new customers and relevant information about that company.
Replace Streets & Trips Today
Streets and Trips was a revolutionary product, but it was limited in some of its features. One of the biggest advantages of Map My Customers is that we are both a web and mobile solution. You can easily create routes on the web and have it be available and accessible from your mobile device (iOS or Android) and vice versa.