What if you could save money and win more sales at the same time?
There are few forms of technology that can offer its users the opportunity to both save AND earn money together. Yet, that’s exactly what route optimization does. Still relatively new in the world of tech, route optimization gives you the chance to cut down on gas expenses and time wasted in the car, so that your sales team can spend more time with your customers.
Route optimization allows you to create the perfect routes for your sales team every time. It offers a wide range of benefits for both you and your sales reps, such as more time to sell, better customer service and boosted morale.
How do you find the right software for you, though? We created this handy guide to lay out the reasons why you should use route optimization software, how to find the best software for your business and the top tools of the year.
Read on to find out how you can improve your sales team with the right route optimization software.
What is Route Optimization Software? Why Google Maps Isn’t Enough
Optimization software is the answer to the classic Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). TSP refers to the issue: “Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city and returns to the original city?” For a long time, it was too complicated for technology to handle. Now, though, with the use of sophisticated algorithms, software can harness the power of digital technology, historical traffic data, and scenario modeling to answer that question.
Route optimization software allows users to create the most effective routes between customers. Although it may seem fairly straightforward, the shortest route doesn't necessarily mean the least number of miles.
Google Maps is an excellent software for personal use. However, it doesn't have the capabilities to make efficient sales routes. It’s called a “web mapping service” because it provides the simple solutions that users need on an individual basis. It’s not capable, though, to handle the advanced needs of a sales team. Once there are multiple stops in the picture, using a personal app like Google Maps or Waze can get overly complicated.
Route optimization software is a way to simplify planning routes on a professional level. It can be used for a multiple number of stops and plans the most effective routes to get there. It harnesses advanced data technology to take into account anticipated traffic and scenario modeling to make sure that your sales reps not only get to their customers as quickly as possible but to also use the most fuel-effective route.
The sequence of the route can add complexity that sales managers or sales reps need to navigate. With Google Maps, you have to put in each address in different orders to find which one is fastest. However, depending on how many stops you have, there could be thousands of combinations. On the other hand, optimization can order the stops for you to make it most effective. Its technology is powerful enough to run through all the possible scenarios and find what works best for you.
Route optimization is highly beneficial for sales. That is why sales managers and sales reps have manually done so for years. However, it takes time and can be imperfect. Software makes planning faster and more accurate, no matter how complicated the routes.
Not only is route optimization better than traditional web mapping, but it offers benefits for you and your team.
Why Use Route Optimization Software?
Faster routes can offer your sales team a wide range of benefits. For outside sales, the ability to get to clients reliably and accurately is critical. If your sales team depends on traveling to get more sales, then you can’t afford to take the slowest routes.
Here are some of the benefits your team will see include:
As mentioned earlier, there are, at best, thousands of options to choose from when you plan a route. It can take a painstaking amount of time planning who should go where, and when. It means checking on traffic, figuring out fuel efficiency, and lots of trial and error.
Not planning routes, though, can waste even more time than planning. Sales reps can lose hours that could be spent making sales stuck in traffic or going back and forth across their region between customers.
For too long, sales teams were forced to spend significant amounts of time planning routes or wasting it in the car. Even when they spent the time planning routes, they would still lose efficiency because they couldn’t calculate all the routes or anticipate traffic.
However, route optimization can free up your lost time. You can simply put in who each rep needs to see and have where the reps need to go and how much time to allot to get there. Some software you can integrate with your CRM, so you're not searching for customer addresses to input.
Not only does it free up planning routes, but sales reps can be guaranteed that they are spending the least amount of time possible on their drive. They can avoid peak traffic times, take the most efficient way, and come up with a better plan for their day.
There are so many important aspects in sales. The time lost in planning routes could easily be spent elsewhere. Instead, delegate the tedious task to the software so that you can spend your time where it counts.
The increase in efficiency means that your sales team has more time to do what they were hired to do: make sales. They can meet with more customers and spend more time making calls, writing emails, and focused on the more important aspects of their job.
Increase sales by automating and streamlining the parts not directly related to selling. Not only does route optimization streamline planning where to go, but it makes sure you get there as quickly as possible.
Achieve Better Fuel Efficiency
Many factors go into better fuel efficiency: fewer stops, less traffic, shorter routes. Optimization software achieves all of this to make sure that you are getting the most efficiency out of your course.
If rising fuel prices are killing your budget, consider route optimization to save on costs.
Provide Better Customer Service
There are few things as frustrating to customers as setting a meeting only to have the rep show up late. More accurate mapping capabilities mean that you can plan on traffic and any other potential issues so that you can show up on time, every time.
With more time, your sales reps will be able to provide better customer service to your potential clients. They can respond to emails and calls faster and meet with more customers.
Sitting through traffic, spending more time than necessary in the car, and inefficiency can make almost anyone frustrated and cranky. When your sales reps are spending hours in the car, stuck in traffic, or taking the long way to a client, they're more likely to show up feeling less than their best.
Outside sales, when not done correctly, can be a significant drain on your reps. However, the more time they can spend selling instead of sitting in traffic, the better their mood. This lift in mood can translate into better motivation and sales.
Boost the morale of your sales reps so that they can be excited about your company and product. A worn-down sales rep that spends too much time in the car will not bring the enthusiasm that the face of your company requires. Sales will likely suffer, and company culture will dampen if they are stuck, day after day, in their car.
By making their job easier and their drives shorter, you’ll likely see the morale improve in your sales team. Your sales reps are the face of your company, so make sure that they are energized and happy to sell for your company. Route optimization software can improve their mood by making sure they aren’t stuck in traffic or taking longer routes.
What to Look for In Route Optimization Software
Investing in any software can be intimidating. How do you know that you’re getting the most for your money? There are a few basic aspects to look for when considering what you need from route optimization software:
Price. Software can run the gamut on price. However, keep in mind that you often get what you pay for. Free or lower-priced applications can be a great choice for new start-ups with one or two reps. For growing businesses, though, it might not have the capabilities they need to support their team.
Integration. Make sure that the software you get can integrate with your CRM or other sales tech. It will help cut down on the back-and-forth uploading addresses into your software.
Mobile-friendly. Does the software work on your phone as well as a PC? You can take the routing features with you on the road to get the most from your software.
Flexibility. Some software offers more than just route optimization. For example, some software can interlink for territory management or strategic planning.
Data points. Some software calculates by miles alone. However, the best software takes several events in account to make sure that you are truly getting the most optimized route. For example, they have historical data for traffic patterns and weather to make sure you're going the best way.
Support. If you run into any issue, make sure that you get the help you need when you need it. What does their support look like? Are they based in the US, or do they outsource? Can you reach them through their website, or do you have to make a phone call?
By taking a holistic look at the competition and your needs, you can find the right one to help your sales team.
Top Route Optimization Software of 2019
There are great options for software, depending on your needs:
Route XL is a free app to help get you started in the world of route optimization. You can try it out for free and decide whether it works for your company. You can also use it to see if your sales team needs increased capabilities, or if specific team members need the software more than others.
Batch Geo is another option to get started. They have a free tier, but you do have to pay for an ad-free upgrade. Their mapping capabilities are not specific to sales, but they can work well enough for sales purposes. You can also embed a custom map to your website for your customers or share them with stakeholders.
Mapline is another basic mapping solution that can be used for sales teams. You can import data from Excel to overlay on a map. From there, you can draw territories according to client concentrations.
Spotio is a comprehensive routing software specifically for outside sales teams. The CRM allows sales teams to build pipelines and centralizes sales teams' activities.
Google Routes is Google's answer to their limited capabilities in its basic Maps app. They provide more capabilities for businesses, including comprehensive data and real-time data.
Map My Customers is for the company that is ready to ramp up its sales team and start seeing real results. We provide the first fully geospatial sales platform that can either be used with our CRM or integrated into the CRM you already have. Our platform is purpose-built to drive higher revenue, efficiency, and accountability out in the field.
Route Optimization for a Better Sales Team
With the amount of benefits that route optimization software offers, businesses can’t afford not to invest in one. They can save time and money while driving efficiency and sales. By finding the right one for your sales team, you can build a better company culture and a happier sales team.
Ready to start seeing a difference in your outside sales? Request a demo today and see how Map My Customers can help you!