A Complete Guide to Route Optimization in 2021 with Best Route Optimization Software

The average field sales rep drives about 2,000 miles per month. 

A field sales rep that uses route optimization software would drive only 1,600 miles. 

That’s 20% miles less, each month!

In terms of money, that’s $852 saved each year. 

In terms of time, the average field sales rep using route optimization saves 540 hours per year.

Most traveling intensive industries (such as outside sales and delivery services) waste enormous amounts of time and money planning/driving routes every year.

So, what can you do differently?  

The answer is route optimization.

Say that you’re a field salesperson. By using route optimization technology, you could use those extra hours every week to meet with more customers and close more deals.

Most field sales reps using route optimization software manage to gain $8,800 per month. That’s a 22% increase in sales.

Read on to find out how.

What is Route Optimization?

Route optimization is the process of finding the best route that is both time- and cost-effective. 

While you can easily find the fastest route between 2 points using an app like Google Maps, you will need a route optimization system for a trip that involves more than 2 stops.

Finding the optimal route for any set of stops is a complex calculation, because of factors such as distance, traffic, number of turns, etc.

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How does Route Optimization work?

Because this calculation is very complex, route optimization software uses computer algorithms to quickly compare all different scenarios and find the best solution for you.

As a user, you simply need to input all your stops. Then, the software will create a route that is optimized either for distance or speed, or both.

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Why should your business focus on Route Optimization? 

Today, almost every business uses route optimization software, from mom-and-pop stores to large B2B enterprises of all industries. 

According to the 2020 Fleet Tracking Trends Survey conducted for Verizon Connect, 53% of the businesses that started using route optimization technology reported actual productivity increases.

32% of these companies achieved a positive ROI in less than a year.

As a result, not using route optimization software puts you in a position of competitive disadvantage.

However, there are some types of businesses where using route optimization is mandatory if you want to survive, including outside sales, delivery services, and fleet management. 

While the software will have specific features and benefits depending on your needs (such as territory management for field sales), the major advantages of using route optimization software are: 

  • Fast and efficient route planning
  • Time and fuel saved on each trip
  • Better customer experience
  • Improved business performance 

But what happens when you don’t optimize your routes?  

Not using route optimization software in field sales and other driving intensive jobs results in: 

  • Time wasted because of inefficient routes
  • Under optimized workforce’s performance 
  • Inefficient planning & scheduling
  • Increased fuel costs
  • Poor customer experience (because of delayed meetings or missed deliveries)

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Route Optimization - Real-life Examples 

Have you ever struggled to visualize where customers on your spreadsheet or CRM are located?

Say you need to see 10 of your top leads this week. Who should you see first, who should you see next, and who should you see last? Without route optimization software, it would be too difficult to answer these questions.

With a route optimization tool for field sales like Badger Maps, you just enter the names and addresses of your contacts (or find them automatically), and they all appear on a map

By seeing all your leads on a map, you can identify places you might have neglected or places where your customers are clustered together.

Then, select the ones you need to see for the day, and the app will automatically create the most optimized route for you. 

That’s it! 

Let’s look at the route optimization tool for field sales, Badger Maps. How does it help you drive less and sell more?

If you have many clients to visit, Badger tells you where to go from A to B, B to C, C to D, and so on. 

If a client cancels a meeting, Badger re-optimizes your route.

You can also use Badger’s lead generation feature to locate potential customers nearby. So instead of waiting for your next meeting, you can visit a prospective client or do a sales call.

With Badger Maps on your mobile device, you will never be lost or clueless about the location of your most valuable leads.

Let’s now look at a real-life example:

NCR Aloha is the market leader in Point-of-Sales systems.

Aloha’s sales process hadn’t changed in years.

Sales reps found leads on directories, kept track of meetings by memory, and took notes by hand. Most importantly, they wasted too much time on planning and driving.

Driving takes up a large percentage of time for Aloha sales reps. They cover large territories and have 30 to 40 meetings per day.

The drive to each appointment had hidden costs – lost time, gas expenses, and mileage.

Luckily, Aloha isn’t the type of corporation to shy away from innovation. In a search for the best tool for field sales efficiency, they found Badger Maps.

The sales team achieved three major improvements:

  • Accountability: Badger became Aloha’s primary tool for accountability. Reps can now check in to each meeting through the app. They use Badger to record new sales data that sync directly to their CRM.
  • Strategy: Badger’s visualization targeting enabled the sales team to meet the right customers at the right time, making each meeting more valuable. Sales reps now have an easy way to focus on their best opportunities.
  • Productivity: Aloha’s sales team can now generate leads anytime a meeting falls through. A quick search in Badger’s Places feature populates leads anywhere on the map. Sales reps can now recover productivity from a canceled meeting.

With the help of Badger Maps, sales reps at NCR Aloha managed to decrease planning time by 50% and daily drive time by 25%. After incorporating  Badger, the company reported a 20% increase in monthly sales.

After incorporating  Badger, the company reported a 20% increase in monthly sales.

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badger-quote

“Knowing our most valuable accounts, and the best way to get to them, saves us a ton of time driving. Badger’s route optimization cuts our drive time by 25%”

John O’Kain

Territory Manager, NCR Aloha

Is Route Optimization Software worth it? Find your ROI

Say you decided to try out Badger Maps’ free trial and test it for a month.

How can you calculate the monetary return on your investment?

Based on data from the average sales team, using Badger Maps for 1 month results in:

  • 20% fewer miles driven
  • $71 gas savings
  • 32 hours saved planning and scheduling
  • 13 hours saved driving
  • 22% increase in sales

Download our free ROI Calculator and input your own numbers to see how much money you will gain in a month.

How to Optimize your Routes on your own?

In case you’re wondering if you can optimize routes without using a tool designed for this, the answer is yes, kind of.

You have two options:

  • You can optimize your routes manually, meaning you will need to insert all your addresses on a map and plan your route by putting the different stops in an order that makes the most sense. It goes without saying that this option is very time consuming and it won’t be effective if you need to do this on a daily basis. Also, keep in mind that you can’t keep track of all variables, including traffic, weather conditions, road…, which route optimization software does.
  • You can use a GPS app like Google or Waze to create a route. However, these tools won’t optimize your route for distance or speed, meaning they will find the best route from one point to another but they won’t optimize your entire route. Also, you won’t be able to add more than 10 stops to your route. 

In general, if you only need to optimize your routes occasionally, for example for a road trip, you have some options. But if your job requires you to travel a ton,  not using a route optimization tool means wasting valuable time every day.

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How to select the best Route Optimization software for you?

The right route optimization software for you will depend on a series of factors, like your industry, the size of your business, your budget, your goals, etc. In the list below, we’ll cover all these aspects so you can choose the best option for your specific use case.

The 5 best Route Optimization software by industry:

Field Sales

 

Price: $49/month Business, $95/month Enterprise (Free 7-day trial)

Best for: Field sales teams 

Main Features: Route optimization, route planning, lead generation, keeping track of appointments

When it comes to sales, there’s no better route optimization software than Badger Maps. 

Outside sales reps use Badger Maps as their all-in-one tool for optimizing routes and managing territories.

With features such as route optimization, Check-ins, and lead generation, Badger Maps helps field salespeople save time on their daily planning, improve relationships with customers, discover new opportunities, and close more deals in less time. 

Sign up for a free trial today and see for yourself how Badger can help save you 8 hours every week in planning and driving time, while also helping you close more deals.

PROS CONS
Optimize delivery routes and get to your appointments faster Requires Internet connection
See all your customers in an interactive map Doesn't include Mobile Invoicing
Create Check-ins to keep track of completed deliveries Doesn't automatically record deliveries
Get instant activity reports Only available in English
Sync with your CRM and update customer data from the field Max. of 30 pin colors available

According to the latest data from the American Transportation Research Institute, the average trucking cost per mile in the U.S. is $1.82.

Say you’re a food distributor. Using average numbers for trucks in the U.S., you could save about $320,027 a year by reducing your fleet miles by 15%.

How can you do that?

Again, using route optimization software. Let’s dive into the best apps for delivery services, fleet management, logistics, and road trip route optimization.

Delivery services 

RouteXL

Price: Free for up to 20 destinations, premium service starts at $39.10/month

Best for: Delivery

Main Features: Route optimization, shareable routes, save routes for future use

With RouteXL, you can easily import a spreadsheet with all your destinations, and you’ll get the optimized route.

Then, you can share your routes and save the route for use at any time.

RouteXL doesn’t have a mobile application but you can export your optimized route to a GPS device.

While you might find RouteXL to have a bit of a steep learning curve, this tool is free to use for up to 20 stops, so you can give it a try!

PROS CONS
Free for up to 20 destinations Learning curve can be a bit steep
Addresses can be imported from spreadsheets or emails Maps are not powered by Google
Routes can be easily created and shared Route finding is usually slow
Ability to save routes for future use Doesn't support navigation systems
Meets basic delivery needsThe UI looks a bit dated

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Fleet management

OnFleet

Price: Starts at $149/month (Free 14-day trial)

Best for: Fleet management

Main Features: End-to-end route planning, dispatch, communication, and analytics

When it comes to fleet management, in particular for food and beverage, retail, e-commerce, or pharmacy industries, OnFleet is another solid option for your route optimization needs.

This software is designed to handle the complicated logistics of overseeing a fleet’s operations and does so with a clean, professional user interface.

It looks at real-time traffic data to find the most optimized route at any time.

PROS CONS
Route planning and optimization A bit expensive for smaller companies
Clean and professional UI Doesn’t sync offline
Real-time traffic data Limited reporting features
Integrates with Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps. Slow data loading

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Logistics

My Route Online

Price: Starts at $29.95

Best for: Logistics

Main Features: Optimize up to 350 stops, easy to use, reliable, allows users to save routes

My Route Online is a great option for delivery people and truck drivers looking for route optimization software with multiple stops.

You can use it to easily manage delivery logistics. 

You can upload your list of addresses either from an excel spreadsheet or from cloud storage, and My Route Online optimizes your route either by time or distance. 

Then, you simply need to export the route to the GPS system you prefer, and you’re all set. 

PROS CONS
Route planning and optimization Limited learning resources
Ease of bulk entering and importing data. Doesn’t sync offline
Easy to use  Sometimes the software crashes
Great customer service No way to specify an address as a permanent start/end address

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OptimoRoute

Price: Starts at $17.10 per driver (Free 30 day trial)

Best for: Logistics, mobile workforces

Main Features: Tracking and ETA, vehicle specifics, data recorded automatically, workload balance 

While OptimoRoute’s main feature is route optimization, it also offers unique features for logistics. For example, users can plan routes for multiple days, weeks in advance. 

The workload balance feature analyzes drivers working hours, and distributes new orders accordingly, so the workload is always distributed evenly.

PROS CONS
Great for long distances Doesn't take into account traffic
Plan routes for multiple days Occasional software glitches
Optimize route to prevent overtime and unnecessary costs Steep learning curve
Change routes on the fly to account for last-minute deliveries Limited integrations

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Trucking

TruckRouter 

Price: Free

Best for: Trucking, small trucking companies focused on long-haul

Main Features: Truck-specific routes, weight/height restriction information, trip cost calculator

TruckRouter is the best free route optimization tool for people who make their living driving trucks across the United States.

As a truck driver using this app, you have access to information like truck warnings, toll roads and costs, and route elevation, so you can prepare appropriately before each trip.

While Truckrouter doesn’t allow you to add many stops to your route, you’ll be fine if you need a tool for long-haul truck drives.

PROS CONS
State mileage, toll costs, hazmat, warnings, and truck stops Limited stops per route
Find the best route based on vehicle type, number of axles, and more The UI looks a bit dated

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Road trips

MapQuest

Price: Free

Best for: Logistics

Main Features: easy to use, point-of-interest search, voice-guided navigation, hotel booking options, real-time traffic data

With a very intuitive user interface, MapQuest is a great choice for optimizing your routes for your next road trip.

Add up to 26 stops to find an optimized route and save time and money for fuel.

You can use it to create optimized routes but also to find points of interest along your route, including restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and hotels.

You can also create custom maps to share with your friends and family.

PROS CONS
Straightforward routing features Limited to 26 stops per route
Ability to search for points of interest Limited database
Voice-guided navigation available Geolocation is sometimes not 100% accurate
Real-time traffic information Pop-up advertisements
Includes hotel booking options The UI looks a bit dated

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Roadtrippers

Price: Free

Best for: Road trips

Main Features: Instant fuel cost estimation, explore based on categories

With an intuitive and engaging planning process, Roadtrippers is one of the best route optimization solutions when it comes to road trips.

You can easily find places to stay along the route and sync the route with Google Maps for the best navigation experience.

Just keep in mind that if you need to add more than 7 stops to your trip, you’ll need to upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus.

PROS CONS
Fuel cost estimation Limited to 7 free stops per route 
Find places to stay along your route Only available for U.S.-based users

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Conclusion

While everyone can benefit from route optimization technology, if you work in a travel intensive industry like outside sales, not using software to optimize your route means wasting money and time every day.

Benefits of route optimization include fast and optimized route planning, saving time and fuel on each trip, improving customer experience, increasing employee retention, and improving overall business performance and sales.

While there are many route optimization tools, the best choice depends on your unique needs. If what you need is an all-in-one sales tool that helps you save time and money every week with features for route optimization, route planning, scheduling, and keeping track of appointments, then the decision is a no-brainer. You should use Badger Maps. Try it out for free today.

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MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT ROUTE OPTIMIZATION
What is an optimal route?

An optimal route is the result you get (usually by using route optimization software), on how to organize your stops to save time and fuel. Learn more about how route optimization software works

What is Route Optimization?

Route optimization is the process of finding the best route in terms of time and money savings. Optimizing your route allows you to save money, time, and energy every time you travel from one location to another.

Can Google Maps Optimize my routes?

While you can use Google Route Planner to find the fastest route between points A and B, you will need a route optimization system for a trip that involves more than 2 stops.

How do I map more than 10 locations?

There are several tools that you can use to map more than 10 locations. Choosing the right mapping software depends on your specific needs. For example, if you work in outside sales, you can use Badger Maps to easily map all your clients.

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