If you have just recently heard of route optimization apps, you may be wondering: “What is the difference between them and Google Maps?”, and the truth is Google Maps and these apps do entirely different things; they just both involve a map.
Google Maps is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, app for navigational mapping. It is incredibly user-friendly and efficient, and finds the best and fastest route for you to get from point A to point B.
But what happens when you need to get to points C,D,E,F and G?
There is a way on the Google Maps app to put multiple stops on a route before your final destination, but, it simply displays the stops in the order you entered it and can’t optimize the route for you. This means that in order to get the fastest route to reach all of your destinations on a route, you would have to manually reorder the stops according to what you think makes sense distance and time-wise. But let’s be honest, planning your route this way is a waste of time. Why spend an hour every day planning your route when you can use an app that plans it for you in seconds?
Google Maps, along with Apple Maps and Waze, are great for turn-by-turn directions and getting you to your next stop in the most efficient way possible. The turn-by-turn directions on these systems have vastly improved since Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute ended up in a lake while driving on their sales route.
Google Maps is state of the art for navigating you from one place to another, but it needs a worthy counterpart for outside salespeople who need an optimized route with multiple destinations. Route optimization apps are on the rise, and it’s now a must-have for companies with outside sales teams in 2019.
Now, you may be wondering, “What should I look for in a route optimization app?”. The perfect route optimization and map creator app should have all of the advanced tools needed for busy salespeople that Google Maps lacks.
be incredibly easy to use
have advanced optimization, visualization, and tracking features
be compatible with Google Maps, Apple Maps and/or Waze
So, with a few clicks of your mouse or taps of your finger, the app will ideally plan an optimized route that will get you to all of your destinations. It should also get you to your destinations before your set appointment times while taking into account traffic and other affecting conditions.
For visual comparisons between route optimization apps and Google Maps, we will use examples from… you guessed it, our very own Badger Maps.
Google Maps and Badger Maps are not competitors because they have complementary functions to each other. Think of them more as like a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich; you could technically do fine by having just one of the two, but together the whole thing is much better. Just imagine what “much better” means for your sales! Their purposes are very different, but together, they go hand in hand extremely well. By using Google Maps through a compatible route optimization app, you can easily use Google’s turn-by-turn with your optimized route to get to all of your destinations on time.
With that being said, let’s break down exactly what you should look for in a route optimization app by category.
Set Departure, Arrival, and Duration Times:
You just show up at your client’s doors whenever you want right? I’m sure you don’t. Every salesperson has appointment times with their clients that they don’t want to be late to. Your app should help you out by alleviating the stress of wondering whether you can make it on time.
Google Maps only allows you to choose a specific time to leave or arrive by when you are just going to one destination. As soon as you add a stop, this feature disappears and is no longer available. If you have a specific time you need to arrive at a single destination by, then Google Maps will be enough. Salespeople, however, have multi-stop routes with appointment times they need to arrive by.
With route optimization apps, you should look for the ability to set appointment times for each location on your route. Also, when you optimize your route, it should be able to give you an estimate on how early or late you would be to each meeting, given your current route.
Along with this, you should also have the ability to add the duration of how long you will be at each stop. These features are not available on Google Maps but are key features you should look for in a route optimization app.
Wasting time on manually planning routes and appointment times as well as spending more unnecessary time in the car means way less time for making sales! Your route optimization app should make the planning easy, so all you have to worry about is the selling.
For more information on Badger Maps’ time setting features, click here.
This is the bread and butter of your optimization app. Although both Google Maps and route optimization apps allow you to make multiple stops, Google Maps only allows 9 while the best route optimization apps allow more than 20.
For more stops, your route optimization app should allow you to save routes and combine them so that you aren’t ever really limited on the amount of stops. There is no way to save routes on Google Maps, therefore it is not able to combine routes to include more stops. Because this is one of the most important features to have in your app, your app should be close to limitless when it comes to amount of stops!
Click herefor the step-by-step process on how to combine your routes on Badger Maps if you need to make more than 23 stops.
Every outside salesperson’s worst enemy. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it. And other times, you’re sitting there stuck while you turn your head and see the side streets you could’ve taken completely empty. Taking into account the live traffic conditions is essential when optimizing a route. Your route optimization app should highlight avoidance zones and have a live traffic feature so you don’t have to go back and forth between the app and Google Maps (or Apple Maps, or Waze). Both apps have a traffic layer feature that displays the live traffic color-coded hotspots (see below).
Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to retype addresses every time we want to include them on a route? Well, you shouldn’t have to!
Google Maps allows you to save locations as a Google Maps pin under “Your Places”, but it only saves the location. For route optimization apps geared towards salespeople, it should save accounts with important information about the client like location, contact info, notes about the client, check-ins, priority, etc. This way you can easily keep track of all of the client’s information in one accessible and easy-to-analyze place. Why have three different apps do the same work that just one could?
Take Meeting Notes on-the-go:
Gone are the days where you have to wait until you are back in the office to enter in information from your day out in the field. Your app should have a feature where you can easily input information and notes from a visit into the client’s account immediately after each visit.
Your app should also be able to take the information you have entered and send reports to your sales manager for you. This is a huge plus, as it can save you a lot of time and hassle. Instead of spending time at the end of an already long day to enter notes into your CRM or create a sales report to give to your manager, your route optimization app should make it easy to enter in notes on the go and create reports for you based on your activity and entered information.
Okay, so, you’ve input all your information in and… now what? You should be able to visualize and analyze the information you had entered so that you have a clear view on the “who”, “what”, “where”, and especially, “when”.
Knowing when your last visit to a client was is a great feature to have so that you can plan future visits accordingly. These features are what make good salespeople great, and are unavailable on the Google Maps app. For personal use, you may not need any of these features. But for salespeople, being able to visualize key information leads to 25% more sales and driving 8 hours less each week. An app that has categorical filters makes it simple to visualize certain account types, location territories and other important segments.
In short, Google Maps and route optimization apps do not do the same things, but when used together can make work for sales teams a whole lot easier. Each of them perfectly covers what the other does not, and together they could be the key to crushing your sales quota. Now that you know exactly what your route optimization app should do for you, you’re on the right route to making more sales!