Geolocation: A Major CRM Trend
By: John Chan, Director, ISM Software Lab Director
ISM rigorously tests and reviews all major CRM software applications so we can provide up-to-date guidance to our clients. During our most recent evaluations, we discovered a significant trend: The Increased Availability of Geolocation Functionality.
Geolocation is a set of tools that provides visualization and mapping insights to help sales and marketing reps track and analyze data about the location of their customers. Geolocation functionality is increasingly available for mobile devices, and ISM sees it becoming more common as CRM applications seek to offer a more complete view of customers and prospects.
Here is some of the more noteworthy geolocation functionality ISM staff has observed from our Top 15 CRM vendors:
- bpm’online CRM – Two options for identifying the geolocations of contacts. Whenever a contact performs a certain action in response to an email (e.g., opens, clicks on a Weblink) or visits a client’s Website, the system automatically captures information about the contact’s location.
- StayinFront CRM – Ability to access map listings of participating stores for a promotion on a map. The user can also filter/sort stores by various criteria to be displayed on a map. StayinFront CRM also offers GPS tracking to confirm sales rep visits to particular stores.
- Sage CRM – A mapping add-on feature that enables users to plot their company’s location on a map. The user can view other companies, opportunities and cases that are located in the vicinity.
- Aurea CRM – Built-in geo features such as the visualization of selected records on a map (e.g., company, person, etc.). There is also visualization of visits scheduled for a selected day, plus fully-automated visit planning that optimizes routes based on criteria such as hours available, company classification and “near me” functionality.
Here are three ways your sales team can use geolocation to its advantage:
- Better analytics
Help sales reps better manage their territories and see where market opportunities are located. Many CRM geolocation features can provide visualization and analytical tools for contact data already in your CRM system. Display customers and leads within a specific area, and apply filters based on demographics, purchasing behavior, etc.
- Route optimization
Help sales reps spend less time traveling and more time selling. Geolocation tools can help plan routes between multiple contacts in an area based on the most direct sequence of visits, and stay apprised of nearby opportunities.
- Targeted engagement
Better contextualize content and offers to customers based on location-specific behavior.
As the new wave of customer experience initiatives demand increased immediacy and relevance, businesses need to understand not only who their customers are and what they might buy, but where they are – in real time. Along with greater efficiency, insight, and sales optimization, geolocation promises to deliver just that.
In future ISM blog posts, I will discuss more of additional CRM market trends in greater detail.
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John Chan, who joined ISM in 1999 as the Software Lab Director, is responsible for software testing and defining the evaluation criteria for The Guide to Mobile and Social CRM and the CRM software offered on ISM’s Reviews Online service. He oversees the implementation of ISM’s Top 15 CRM Software Awards selection program.