Pelham, NH (PressExposure) June 30, 2008 -- As gas prices and airfares continue to climb, sales managers around the country are looking for new ways to control the rising costs of sales travel, while at the same time trying to increase profits in a slower economy. Laptop mapping software and GPS technology is helping their sales reps see more prospects while driving less miles and taking fewer flights, reducing their overall cost of sales.
"It's like the old adage says: Fail to plan, Plan to Fail" Says Keith O'Brien, President of My Point...Exactly, LLC, a Pelham, NH company that trains sales forces how to use mapping and GPS to increase sales. "With the national average price of gas over $4 a gallon and the cost of airfare rising, sales managers are finding that it just makes sense to make sure their reps are planning efficient trips" says O'Brien. More efficient trips mean less driving and fewer airfare purchases - directly reducing the cost of sales and helping business increase profits.
With this technology, sales reps plot their prospects on a map down to street level. Each prospect has its own unique 'pushpin' that shows the potential value of that prospect to the sales rep. When setting up appointments, reps concentrate in a particular travel area and group their meetings together. They then have the computer generate the most direct route to their meetings. When driving to their accounts, they use a GPS receiver with their laptop to receive spoken, turn by turn directions that let them keep their eyes on the road and be guided right to the account.
"There's a term for driving from account to account in sales - it's called Windshield Time" says O'Brien "and it's not productive - in sales, you don't make money driving - you make it selling. This technology helps sales people spend more time in front of their prospect selling, instead of behind the windshield driving."
Mapping technology let's the rep use analysis tools that help them find the best prospects in a particular area, for instance, a benefits services rep can have the map show all companies with over 50 employees within 15 minutes driving distance of a location. "Having this kind of detailed territory information means that a sales rep can see more prospects in the same amount of time and travel that they are spending now" according to O'Brien "And since they see all of their best prospects right on the map - they make sure they've set all the appointments they can - reducing the chance that they'll have to schedule a special trip later to cover an opportunity that they missed."
Beyond the ability to reduce costs and increase sales, mapping and GPS is making the life of beleaguered sales travelers just a little bit easier. They can view the location of business travel services right on their laptop, and with an internet connection, see an aerial view of their prospect's location helping them to even know which door to walk through for their meeting. "Having this kind of intelligence, knowing where everything is and where you are all the time simply makes travelling less stressful for the sales professional" says O'Brien.
Depending on the industry - the average face to face customer sales visit can run into a few hundred dollars. That figure continues to rise right along with fuel and airfare costs and sales managers are scrambling to make sure they squeeze every bit of productivity they can out of their travel dollars.