Businesses are constantly seeking ways to optimize the sales process, whether it’s through new software, more efficient workflows, or better analytics. One of the latest, widely-discussed innovations is geolocation.
If you keep up with business technology trends, you’ve likely heard of geolocation, but few people truly understand what it means. Even fewer are using it for gain. Is it a device that tracks customer movements? A hunt for buried treasure? A way to recover lost or stolen products? Well, it can be any of those, but in the business sense, we’re after something a little different.
Geolocation is a set of tools and geospatial data that help sales and marketing reps track and analyze customer locations, and sometimes even navigate directly to them. There are a lot of differing interpretations of how this manifests itself, but most perspectives revolve around two main aspects:
The remote acquisition and analysis of customer locations
Examples include proximity and location data from mobile app usage, IP location from site browsing, or location data attached to social media activity (check-ins, location-based posts, tweets, etc.).
Territory management based on existing proprietary data
This kind of geolocation typically relies on addresses and locations already stored within customer relationship management (CRM) software or other business systems. It allows salespeople to analyze regional markets, plan visits based on the optimum route, and even navigate directly to customers.
The synergy between geolocation tools and CRM software in particular has seen an uptick in recent years with the launch of third-party geolocation apps. These apps are designed to integrate with major CRMs (e.g. Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics) and use customer data to provide reps with territory insight and greater efficiency in the field.
Most business leaders are still testing out the waters for geolocation, trying to decide the value it offers, and how they can put it to practical use. Here are three ways your sales team can use geolocation:
1. Better analytics
Many CRM-integrated geolocation apps give you visualization and analytical tools for the contact data inside of your CRM. You can display customers and leads within a specific area and apply filters based on demographics, purchasing behavior, or level of opportunity. This helps sales agents better manage their territories, see where the market is concentrated, and keep local prospects from falling through the cracks.
2. Route optimization
Sure, you could look up each customer’s address and use your own GPS to travel from one to the next until the day is over, but there’s a better way. Geolocation tools that integrate with CRM software (like Geopointe, for example), help you plan routes between multiple contacts in an area based on the most direct sequence of visits, and stay apprised of nearby opportunities that might arise. Many apps even have built-in GPS and voice-navigation services, so you won’t have to bounce around between maps, your CRM mobile app, and your notepad. Seamless navigation means sales sales reps can spend less time meandering and more time selling.
3. Targeted engagement
Geospatial data can also be used to better contextualize content and offers to customers based on location-specific behavior, such as entering a retail store, browsing an e-commerce site from a particular region, or posting a location-specific tweet. These measures usually require that the customer download a mobile app or give location-tracking permission to a third party. Of course, location-based targeting is a practice typically relegated to marketing teams, but what is marketing if not a prolonged sales effort?
As the new wave of customer experience initiatives increasingly demand relevance (relevant content, relevant products, relevant engagement), businesses will need to understand not only who their customers are and what they might buy, but where they are. Along with greater efficiency, insight, and sales optimization, geolocation promises to deliver just that.
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