Finding the quickest path from point A to B can be both a challenge and an inconvenience. 

The average American driver spends on average 51 hours a year stuck in traffic, according to the latest report from INRIX

Good route planning saves both time and money, a fact known by outside sales and field service teams that spend large chunks of their days traveling in their cars.

In this article, we dive into strategies for optimal route planning, ensuring you are optimizing your resources on the road and achieving the efficiencies your business deserves.

route planning

Understanding Route Planning

Route planning is about finding the most efficient path between different points. 

However, it isn't only about selecting the shortest distance between these different points. Route planning also includes a consideration of variables that include traffic congestion, road conditions, and mileage to ensure drivers take the quickest possible route that saves time and reduces fuel costs.

Route planners like Google Maps or Waze are fine for getting you from A to B. However for field teams with more complex routing needs and who are dealing with multiple customers, you are going to need to invest in a route planner with added features.

Modern route planning software uses advanced algorithms to analyze vast amounts of geospatial data and real-time traffic updates. Through this information, paths are crafted to avoid common delays. Using this approach results in sales representatives and service technicians driving 20% fewer miles each month.

Route planning also saves many hours on the road for more productive tasks, resulting in increased productivity levels and a faster return on investment (ROI).

Looking for your own route planning tool that will help your field team drive efficiency? Check out our definitive list of the 21 best route planners here!

Importance of Route Planning for Field Teams

Optimizing routes through efficient route planning is critical for sales and field service teams that rely on transportation. Here are just a few of the important benefits to consider.

strategic route planning

Streamline Operations

Implementing a route planning software into your field teams operations will allow them to streamline their daily operations. 

Manually planning your routes will no doubt save you money, but it comes at a massive cost. Field teams could regularly be dealing with 20+ customers on any given day, adding up to over 100 customers in a week. Taking the time on a Monday morning to map out these routes will end up causing massive headaches that end up becoming a hindrance.  

Sure, you will have saved money on purchasing a piece of software, but it’s important to factor in the efficiency a route mapping tool offers.

Reduce Fuel Costs

Route planning tools can lead to a drastic reduction in the amount of miles you drive. By optimizing your routes, field teams on average drive 20% less.

route optimization

With the average price of gas as of 2024 standing at $3.611, finding ways to reduce the time you spend in your vehicle will help you get more bang for your buck. Reducing fuel costs is something every person with a vehicle is trying to do, so why not use a route planning tool to help you with it?  

Reduce Carbon Emissions

Everybody has a part to play in reducing emissions. 

Efficient route planning can go a long way in helping with this as it allows drivers to minimize idle time, avoid traffic, and ultimately contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment for all. By minimizing unnecessary detours and identifying the shortest or fastest routes, route planning tools help reduce the overall distance traveled. 

Governments are increasingly looking for ways to meet climate targets and although your contributions alone won’t make a massive difference, you can join an ever increasing group of people who are thinking collectively in order to reduce emissions on a global scale.

A Stronger Brand Reputation

Route planning can greatly improve the reputation you have with your customers.  

Customers greatly appreciate when the salesperson or service technician they are dealing with is punctual and prepared the moment they arrive. According to a study done by Zendesk, 77% of customers say they are more loyal to a business that offers great service. This includes arriving on time to your customer visits.

great customer service

Being on time and reliable is a crucial factor in customer satisfaction, which directly impacts how your brand is perceived. When customers know they can count on their sales rep or service tech to be on time as promised, their trust in your brand increases.

How Route Planning Software Improves Efficiency

Having a route planning system in place can improve efficiency by visualizing sales and service routes, reducing delivery times, auto-dispatching to avoid bottlenecks, improving customer experience, and continually improving performance.

route planning software

Reduce Driving Time

When your field sales representative or service technician is going to a meeting with a customer, route planning software can significantly reduce the time they spend in the car. 

This is done by efficiently organizing routes, minimizing travel distances, and avoiding traffic congestion. Field teams can, therefore, streamline their operations and ensure they are arriving on time to their customer visits.

What are the benefits of this reduced drive time? 

Enhanced customer satisfaction and improved driver productivity will result in greater cost savings owing to lower fuel consumption and maintenance expenses. 

By reducing the time you spend in your car, you can ensure driver safety and avoid burnout which can lead to unnecessary accidents. Field teams can achieve up to 20% reduction in miles driven by using route planning software, leading to significant savings on fuel and less time spent on planning and scheduling.

Check out our useful tool that calculates exactly how much you can save by using a route planning tool!

Visualize Routes

Through the implementation and use of efficient route optimization software, field teams are better able to visualize routes in real-time. 

Tools like Badger Maps allow you to visualize all of your routes, making territory management simple. 

With Badger Maps you can color and filter all of your accounts to organize and effortlessly plan your days. With a quick look at the map, you can visualize your top accounts, mass update information, see who’s generating revenue, and much more. Filters are fully customizable, letting you visualize accounts based on priority, type, next step, or any other field you find useful.

Having access to important customer data on a map gives field teams a complete overview of their customers’ locations and allows them to focus on the best opportunities.

Want to take action after viewing your accounts on the map? Just use the Lasso tool to select the accounts you want to visit with the app giving you an optimized route in seconds.

With the data visualization options provided by Badger Maps, field teams can develop more effective strategies for managing key customer relationships, work more efficiently, and ultimately enhance their performance in the field.

Badger Maps reduces average drive time by 20% and frees up an average of 8 hours a week.  

Sign up for a free trial or schedule a demo to see how you can improve your processes in the field with this route-planning app!

Improve the Customer Experience

Arriving on time to your customer visits will ensure your customers have a great experience and help you gain happy and loyal customers. 

Outside sales and field service teams that focus on reducing drive times will benefit from more customer visits and higher levels of revenue due to increased productivity levels.

Furthermore, drivers that use route planning tools can provide customers with more accurate ETAs while also enjoying the ability to communicate any delays or changes to their routes. This results in greater transparency that customers appreciate and greater perceptions of reliability for your business.

Continual Performance Improvement

After enhancing the customer experience, route optimization software allows field teams to continually improve their performance. Through real-time data, it’s possible for businesses to constantly track operations in the field while at the same time being able to make ongoing improvements that lower operational costs and boost profitability.

This is made possible by monitoring and analyzing data from each sales or service route in order to identify areas where inefficiencies may be occurring and implement strategies that boost their performance.

Check out this guide to see how you can improve your sales performance by using a route planning tool!

The Human Factor: Embracing Flexibility and Resilience

Involving your sales reps or service technicians in the route planning process is essential.

However, it requires clear communication and the ability to remain flexible when there’s a need to adjust to unforeseen circumstances. Examples of these include last-minute order changes or traffic delays.

Other human factors that will play a crucial role in the successful implementation of your route planning software include resilience in adapting to changing conditions and customer needs.

Encouraging open communication, providing necessary training on how to handle unexpected situations, and empowering employees with decision-making authority all contribute to embracing flexibility and resilience.

Choosing the right route optimization software for your needs requires an analysis of several factors. These include your industry-specific needs, your company size, budget, and growth goals. 

A careful evaluation of the tools and software you are considering also means you need to take their features, functionalities, and available options into account to ensure they align with your business requirements. It's also essential to consider the security measures used by operating systems when selecting route optimization software to safeguard sensitive business data and ensure the overall safety of your operations.

Whether it’s for field service teams or outside sales teams, one software you can rely on is Badger Maps. 

Badger Maps was designed with outside salespeople's and field service techs needs in mind and that's what sets this route planner apart from the rest.

With capabilities such as route optimization, customer data visualization, check-ins, and lead generation on-the-go, Badger Maps helps field teams save time on their daily planning, keep better relationships with customers, discover new business opportunities, and close more deals.

badger maps lasso tool

Sales teams have reported that they sell 22% more and drive 20% less when using Badger Maps, in fact, the average team of 10 reps sells $936k more the year they start using the app.


"After getting Badger Maps, weekly meetings per rep jumped from 12 to 20. This led to a 22% increase in annual revenue."

Brad Moxley

Business Development Manager, Cutter & Buck

With Badger Maps bi-directional integration, you have direct access to your CRM data in the field where you need it most. 

Customer records, engagement, and interactions that are created and updated in Badger Maps will be pushed to your CRM and vice-versa, keeping all of your important customer information up to date as you work in the field. Badger Maps route planner integrates with the best CRM software such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho, Insightly, NetSuite, and many more.

Badger Maps is the best route planning tool as it helps field teams optimize the time they spend on the road. 

Sign up for a free trial or schedule a demo and start using this route planning tool to your advantage!

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.


Route planning has tangible benefits for organizations and can help you stay competitive in the months and years ahead.

With optimal route planning, your aim should not only be to find the quickest path to your destination. It’s also about maximizing your resources, improving your customers’ levels of satisfaction, reducing your environmental impact, as well as boosting your field team's performance.

Author Bio: Emil Vasilev is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Inbound Blogging, specializing in Content Marketing and Outreach Strategies.

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