Before joining GEOCONCEPT as an Alliance Manager, Estelle Bertin has been a Mobile Sales Manager in several companies for 8 years. Find out on this post her testimony on benefits of the integration of the geographical dimension in a CRM tool.
Life-changing for mobile sales staff: putting geographic intelligence at the heart of your CRM…
Before I joined GEOCONCEPT I worked in sales for eight years, for different companies. Along the way I had to use several different CRM applications. With these applications, I always appreciated having access to a centralised client base, shared by the whole sales team, and a single tool for managing, tracking and reporting my business activities on existing accounts and prospects.
However, these CRM applications never provided the help and guidance I really needed to mastermind the most basic - and also the most time-consuming - aspects of the job: organising and handling my customer appointments to optimize my visit plans out in the field.
The times you really miss the geographic dimension…
There are times I remember when I was working on building new offerings aimed at our industry customers, when I was travelling all over France to present products and packages to these clients. When planning a trip to Toulouse or to Nantes I always tried to find out whether there were any old clients the company had had dealings with before near to the factories or sites I was intending to visit, who I could call in on briefly on behalf of one of my colleagues. Laying my hands on this kind of information was extremely complicated!
In the CRM I was using then, I could of course conduct a search on post code or by city or town, but using this type of query I could easily miss finding an important client, just because they were situated in the commune next-door (which I hadn’t included in my search)… There was no means of applying the search using precise geographic criteria of the type « customers within a radius of 20 kms » around a specific point - which in this case was the address of the factory X or Y that I was intending to visit. Moreover, since the CRM didn’t display the results of queries on a map, I used to spend a huge amount of time to work out the order in which I would need to carry out my visits to see the maximum number of customers while travelling the least possible number of kilometres in a day.
A CRM that meets the real needs of a mobile workforce
WIthout knowing it, I was dreaming of something that really does exist, but which sadly many companies don’t yet have access to: a CRM equipped with geographic intelligence!
Equipped with these APIs, GEOCONCEPT puts geographic intelligence at the service of mobile sales teams. Whatever CRM you are using, you will have the option to enrich its functionalities so the geographic dimension of your CRM database can be fully exploited, and your sales team can in turn structure their work and operate much more efficiently.
For sales personnel taking to the road each day with a visit list of perhaps 7 or 8 clients, or even more, to achieve their targets, a CRM enriched with geographic optimization functionalities provides the guarantee of schedules that are well structured, a territory that is covered more completely, and fewer kilometres to travel. I have in mind in particular the sales staff who service the mass consumer end of the market and the convenience products sector: some of our clients already using our geographic optimization tools in their CRM report productivity gains of up to 30%! What a shame it would be if this kind of selling potential bypasses your company, and sales staff have to carry on doing by hand something algorithms can perform in their place, more rapidly and taking every imaginable constraint possible into account!
FIVE added advantages in your CRM
The moment a geographic optimization engine is integrated within your CRM, you gain access to tools and functionalities that rapidly become indispensable:
- that automatically associates precise geographic coordinates to each address input or present in the CRM. As soon as all your customers’ and prospects’ addresses are standardised and geocoded, it will become possible not just to see them on a map, but also to perform finely targeted geographic queries on your customer database: this is what I missed most when I worked in mobile sales: the capability to search for all clients marketing such and such a product within a radius of X kilometres around a given address, or along the route of a particular trajectory/route…
- to be sure the whole territory is covered, and to balance portfolios across the sales team, taking into account not only the characteristics stored in the CRM (turnover per client, development potential, product range…) but also the exact location of customers over the territory and in relation to the departure point of the salesperson (home, branch office, depot, company headquarters…).
- A geoscheduling wizard to optimize appointment-making and draw up schedules that automatically take geographic criteria into account - for instance the locations of clients to visit, distances, journey times - and also configurable business constraints such as average visit duration, date of the last visit, account status (client/prospect), etc.
- A route optimization tool that, working in tandem with the geoscheduling wizard, puts the day’s visits in a sequence that will plan the optimum number of appointments for the day, while keeping dead times between visits and distances travelled to a minimum. Routes are automatically recalculated if visits are added or deleted, but the agent will always be in control and able to make alterations manually from the office, laptop, or via a mobile app.
- Full reporting for all activities accomplished in the field can be handled directly in the CRM, with geographic data to hand for precision analysis of costs related to mobility, about distances travelled, and the efficiency of an existing sectorization and how effectively the market is covered – all this, of course providing the vision and perspective needed to work on improving business efficiency.