Today latitude and longitude can be important in your daily use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 if you take the time to understand the impact and what it means for your CRM data but before we get to the CRM aspect it’s time for a quick update on GPS and also read on to the end to learn of a free way for you to experience the power of CRM + Bing Maps with a solution from InfoGrow Corporation.
Latitude and Longitude are two simple numbers that specify your position anywhere on earth however while knowing the latitude and longitude of your location is useful, how can you get this data in a new location? That takes us to the GPS or Global Positioning System which as most readers know is a series of satellites operated by the US Department of Defense. This in combination with a GPS receiver is what makes our daily lives and commute so much easier and helps us avoid getting lost while driving in unknown locations or be able to find the nearest coffee shop.
In fact while in the past you had to buy a dedicated navigation device, today most smartphones now have an integrated GPS receiver which can calculate and make available your latitude / longitude coordinates which can then be used by applications. While currently operated by the US Department of Defense you may not be aware that similar global positioning systems are under consideration / development by Europe (Galileo), Russia (Glonass) and China (Compass) and in fact the first smartphone that can receive data from the Russian system (Glonass) is already in the market.
Ultimately what you get from these orbital satellite systems is the ability to accurately determine your location on planet earth in 3d space and therefore also work out how to get somewhere else. Okay but enough with the history lesson what’s this got to do with Dynamics CRM and how can latitude and longitude help me?
Let’s talk about some examples of how using latitude/longitude with CRM data can be useful
Getting to another location – the scenario we all use
In this scenario you already have entered your latitude/longitude for your office address into Dynamics CRM 2011. If not you may have used a service like Bing Maps to geocode your address into a set of latitude/longitude coordinates and stored them in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. (Geocoding refers to using a system or service to turn a street address into latitude/longitude coordinates)
As you can also do this with a destination address you can then using software to calculate a route between your office and the customer.
How many customers are in a particular area?
Let’s say you are travelling to location X and want to also visit customers in a radius of say 10 miles of that location. If you have geocoded all of your customer addresses you can easily work out all of the customers nearby and visit then.
Display all of your customers on a map
Couldn’t be simpler, display a map of the USA for example and plot a point for every one of your customers. You might be surprised that you have not targeted companies in a particular area for example. Sure you could look at the data directly but displaying on a map makes it so much more visible.
If you also display the areas your employees cover you might find that you need to hire a new employee to cover an area which is growing rapidly. Seeing this plotted on a map is far simpler than trying to work it out from lines of data.
Let’s say you operate group of field service engineers and want to tie each engineer to a particular region you define on a map. Using real time tracking your headquarters can be alerted if a vehicle strays out of this defined boundary based on its determined latitude/longitude coordinates (more on this scenario on a follow up blog).
Who is the nearest sales guy?
Perhaps you can use your CRM system to track your sales people in real time as they travel about the country. With a simple service on their phones they could be transmitting their position every 15 minutes or so. With that data you could respond when a new lead comes in and have the nearest sales guy reach out and perhaps visit in the same day. Perhaps an even better example might be when an irate CEO calls your support desk because of a product problem you could have the nearest sales guy drop in to smooth things out while your technical support guys work the problem.
In a real world example I deployed CRM to an organization that did a huge amount of direct mail each month at significant expense. Using geocoding and mapping I was able to display not only a map showing all the addresses they targeted but also overlay demographic data such as income per capita showing they were targeting area where they had little chance of closing business and also missing areas which could be potentially lucrative. This was definitely one of those moments I wish I had a camera to record the reaction when the head of marketing saw his data presented in this way.
In the above example I show how simple latitude/longitude coordinates can be useful but when you combine with additional data sources such as income levels, zip code regions and more. The story gets even better for CRM.
Every day users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 use the system to track and analyze relationships in the data to make better business decisions. By taking advantage of just two simple numbers (latitude and longitude) and a map, a whole new world of analytics and possibilities can be opened up.
To experience and get a taste for the power of CMR when combined with mapping consider taking advantage of this offer from InfoGrow Corporation.
Free Mapping Tool Now Links CRM and Bing Maps
Mapping is changing the game in CRM. It is the latest source of innovation adding value to the already value-stuffed Dynamics CRM 2011. InfoGrow Corporation has developed CRM2Maps, a mapping tool designed specifically for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. This free mapping tool gives users the ability to map leads, accounts, and contacts inside CRM for making better sales and marketing decisions. CRM2Maps is a powerful, visual, and easy-to-use tool, providing users the convenience of mapping inside CRM for increased sales rep productivity and greater user acceptance of CRM.
With just one click, users can convert a CRM record into a map with street, image, or a bird’s-eye view and save time in planning their trips. Users can also retrieve detailed driving directions to the displayed location from any address.
The launch of CRM2Maps is just the first by InfoGrow in a series of mapping tools for Dynamics 2011. Dynamics CRM 2011 users can expect to see additional tools for call planning, territory management, service planning and target marketing.
The application can be downloaded for free at www.CRM2Maps.com.
About: InfoGrow Corporation has been developing desktop and cloud applications with Microsoft mapping and Dynamics CRM since the inception of both products. With 21 years of experience, InfoGrow has an extensive client base in financial services, hospitality, distribution and health care. Their tag line captures the focus of their enterprise services – Accelerating Growth Through Better Sales & Marketing Decisions.
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