The Right Route Planning App: Our Top 3 Picks
The keys to being a successful road warrior lie in the ability to maximize your miles. For field sales reps spending much of their time on the road visiting retailers, travel efficiency can have a huge impact on sales performance. While we’ve featured travel apps in the past, a route planning app in particular is a great way to save time, see more customers in a day, and make more sales. Here are a few choices––each route planning app was designed specifically for sales reps, and can help you better run your territory.
The Right Route Planning App for Sales Reps
Portatour allows sales reps to plan out their routes up to 28 days in advance, as well as change them in real time if there are cancellations or urgent appointments to add to the schedule. It’s a great option for field sales reps from any size business, as it has flexible import options that allow you to either manually upload your customer information or connect with your ERP or CRM. The app has the ability to optimize for several factors, like minimizing driving distance while maximizing the number of store visits you can make. Other features include the ability to rank appointments by priority level, see driving time and distance for each day, and set reminders. It can also account for your favorite hotels, recurring appointments, and regular days off. Portatour supports regions including North America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. The application is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone on mobile, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also has an offline mode, where you can still see your current route, appointments, and customer details.
2. Badger Maps
Badger Maps allows users to instantly visualize customer locations and routes on a map, and plans out your schedule accordingly. As with Portatour, you can react to last-minute schedule changes and shorten your driving time by optimizing your route. Badger Maps also offers key features that Portatour doesn’t, like live traffic updates from Google Maps that show up on your route map and allow you to avoid jams. Interestingly, Badger also helps you find new customers in your territory by looking up similar retail outlets in the area. In order to fully take advantage of Badger Maps’s features, however, it’s best to connect the app with a CRM, which many wholesalers may not be using. Like Portatour, Badger Maps allows for manual customer import using an Excel or CSV file, as well as those CRM integrations we mentioned. ERP integrations however, are only available through their expensive “Enterprise Elite” plan. Another downside is the fact that there’s no offline access. The app is available on the web, iOS and Android.
3. Sales Navigator
We’ve featured Sales Navigator before in our Travel and Calendar Apps posts, but we’re including it again here, because it’s another great route mapping solution. Not only does it do much of what the previous two contenders do, i.e. optimizing your route by priority and minimum driving distance, it also integrates with your iOS, Outlook, or Google calendars to help you manage and sync appointments. Those appointments can be viewed in a list form, or as a daily route. Like Badger Maps, Sales Navigator also allows you to discover new sales leads. Like Portatour, there’s an offline access mode. It doesn’t, however, include real time traffic updates, and it’s only available on iOS devices. Furthermore, key features like schedule optimization and distance/travel time views are only available on iPad and not iPhone. Therefore, we’d really only recommend this app for iPad users. If you’re on any other device, choose from the other two apps on this list. Are you a road warrior with other route planning solutions up your sleeve? Do you have any experience with any of the apps we talked about? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.