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Mapping software needed to plot / plan routes for four or five sales reps
eTom
Hello! I read through a large number of posts pertaining to this, but I have a small question related to which software to choose. Here is the scenario:

I have a list of around 300 locations for sales calls in an Excel spreadsheet. I can import and plot them all to Streets & Trips, but that seems to be about it.

What I really need to do is to be able to plot / plan routes for four or five sales reps to spread out from the airport and make sales calls to these 300 locations at around 10-12 per day.

Any thoughts on what software to look for? They all have Blackberries with GPS, so GPS functionality isn't entirely necessary. It's more the ability to plan a route to try to cover all these stores in the most efficient manner that I'm looking for.

Thanks,

eTom
My Point...Exactly
Hi ETom -

Full Disclosure - I'm a huge fan of Microsoft Streets and Trips, and in fact train sales forces how to use it to maximize sales by seeing more prospects in the same amount of time (the essence of increased productivity), while reducing travel costs. So - needless to say - I'm not impartial.

That said - I honestly don't know of a better product that you can have loaded to your salesrep's laptops than Microsoft Streets and Trips.

Here's a couple of reviews that may be helpful to you:



Let me know if I can help!
SpadesFlush
Quote:
Originally Posted by eTom
... I can import and plot them all to Streets & Trips, but that seems to be about it ...
It sounds like you haven't taken the next step of making the five routes from the pushpins you have created by selecting groups of pushins and then used the S&T route planner to add the pushpins to a route.

But perhaps if you explain in more detail what you are doing or not doing, someone can give you some help.
eTom
Actually what you described sounds like a pretty good solution. Ideally I'd be looking for a way to automate having our sales reps all start from the same airport, then branch off in different directions covering 10-12 stops per day.

That introduces a LOT of variables, so selecting a bunch of them and planning a route manually may be a good way to do it. After all, 300 locations at 10 per day is only 30 groups to highlight and plan routes!
SpadesFlush
I think you will find it to be a combination of your own visualization of the routes and utilization of S&T's 'automatic' capabilities.

After you have roughly selected a fair division of all the pushpins into the five mini-territories, it might be good to define each group of pushpins as a "set." You can name each set as you please, for instance, "Bill's prospects", "Dave's prospects", etc.

Then in Legend and Overview, select a set and right-click on it. Select "Add pushpins as stops" and click on it. That will add a stop on the map for each pushpin of that set. Now, open Route planner [Ctrl-R] and add the airport as "Start" and again as "End" and then select "Optimize route" at the bottom left. Now, look at the route and see if it makes 'human' sense. If not, make your own adjustments. If so, repeat for each other pushpin sets. Be sure to save each route separately, as Streets & Trips cannot accommodate more than one route.

Bear in mind that what I have described above allows only for travel time for your reps. You will want to allow for the time each call with clients will require and other things like lunch breaks and 'comfort' stops.
winwaed
And taking it further - ie. feeding all your stops to a computer program, and it determining which rep does which stops (ie. the most optimum divisions as well as routes) requires sophisticated routing software which costs $1000s. Makes Streets & Trips (which can do the navigation routing, and optimization of individual routes) look a bargain!


If you find Streets & Trips a little limiting but don't want to spend thousands on a full solution, then Microsoft MapPoint might be an acceptable half way house. This does everything Streets & Trips does, plus some nice business mapping additions, but it can also be extended by third party add-ins. (yes I sell some! :-) )


Richard
My Point...Exactly
Quote:
It's more the ability to plan a route to try to cover all these stores in the most efficient manner that I'm looking for.
Hi eTom -

I hope you folks have increased your sales over the last year using Streets and Trips!

Here's 5.5 minute tutorial video that instructs on using the 'Optimize Route' feature in Streets and Trips. I hope you find it useful.
mikestarktx
I use the Badger Map to build routes and see traffic. It does optimize routes as well. It shows my customer data from my CRM on a Google Map and makes a schedule for the day that includes travel times. Saves a ton of time.
stephenhayes368
Quote:
Originally Posted by eTom
Hello! I read through a large number of posts pertaining to this, but I have a small question related to which software to choose. Here is the scenario:

I have a list of around 300 locations for sales calls in an Excel spreadsheet. I can import and plot them all to Streets & Trips, but that seems to be about it.

What I really need to do is to be able to plot / plan routes for four or five sales reps to spread out from the airport and make sales calls to these 300 locations at around 10-12 per day.

Any thoughts on what software to look for? They all have Blackberries with GPS, so GPS functionality isn't entirely necessary. It's more the ability to plan a route to try to cover all these stores in the most efficient manner that I'm looking for.

Thanks,

eTom
Hey eTom!

I do a similar thing. I have about 2,000 accounts and distribute them among 8 sales reps. I use Badger Maps as well but it sounds like I use different features. I create optimized routes and then I can assign them specifically to each of my reps. I can also track the notes from their check-ins at each stop. It's made management of my outside sales team a total breeze. I used to use Streets&Trips and agree that while it did it's basic functions well, it was lacking some features I needed. Yeah, Badger's business tools are really great for splitting territories/routes/etc.
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