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How a route planner can help your field sales teams

How a route planner can help your field sales teams & operations | Steve Benson - Badger Maps

About Badger Maps

Steve: What Badger Maps does is we have a mapping that helps field salespeople or outside salespeople. We connect tours over their customer data lives and then bring them into a mapping environment on their phone or computer. And what the application does is let them focus on the best customers, build a route, and see their territory on a map, and the results are spending less time driving and more time doing your sales activities. It’s an efficiency play. The biggest problem we’re solving is saving time, helping people focus on the right customers, and then helping them organize their time.

Badger Maps top 3 features

Steve: I would say the first one would be the ability to put all your customers on a map so that you can see them, view them, see who to focus on, given where you’re at in a given, and to build a route. Now that I know I want to see these customers, what’s the best way? And the routing and the scheduling kind of go together, figuring out where you will be, when here, not late. And then the third essential thing we do is connect to the CRMs so that all the data you’re gathering when you’re out in the field gets automatically back to your CRM.

Badger Maps best integrations

Steve: Currently, we integrate with Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, NetSuite CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, and Insightly. All those are bidirectional integrations, and we can integrate with basically anything if we do it with an FTP or a spreadsheet and upload those more basic integrations.

Who can use Badger Maps?

Steve: It’s usually field salespeople or field service people going to the field to do a job. And they need to decide and decide where they’re going, who they’re going to focus on, and where they’re going to go, and then gather data once they’re there. That’s the most common use case. Many of our happiest customers are in industries like medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and selling things to construction companies. But we even have things a whole bunch of things in retail, like Cutter & Buck, a great example of a customer of ours. They make a lot of sportswear, and they sell to different stores and colleges and stuff like that, and their reps were able to get about 20% more meetings and sell about 20% more.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Steve: Our main competitor was already purchased by Salesforce. We compete well with them in the Salesforce environment when people do a trial of them and us in Salesforce. We did very similar things to them, except now they only do it for Salesforce. They’re called Salesforce Maps today, and our difference would be that we integrate all over the place. You don’t need to have Salesforce to use us. You can have lots of CRMs or no CRM and use us. That’s probably the most significant differentiator. The quality of our integrations is pretty big. We have another competitor that I think our integrations are a lot better than, and also, the mobile application is superior, and the experience of the mobile application. We also consider our customer experience, customer support, and customer service a differentiator.

Starting the company and the idea

Steve: We started the company in January 2012. My last job was actually I was at Google, and I was in charge of selling the Google Maps API to the Western United States. I was running into many people with these problems, and the Google Maps API is built so that you can build software on top of it. I was exposed to the mapping API and understood what you could do with that. My background is in sales, and I have done a lot of mobile work as well. I understood the technology you would use to solve a problem, and I understood the problem that salespeople face, so it was a good fit to understand what to do next.

Why you should consider debt funding

Steve: The company has been bootstrapped. And we did a small angel round early on. There was some founder investment, and then there was debt investment as well. We’ve probably got about $2.5 million in debt right now from SaaS debt providers, and I’ve been doing that for probably six years. Debt has been pretty expensive, but it’s come down greatly with the different SaaS providers—companies like Founderpath, Capchase, and Lighter Capital. I’ve done business with all three of those. There are a bunch of other ones as well. Those are just the ones I’ve done business with, and I think it’s a beneficial tool for SaaS founders. There are some gotchas you have to watch out for. When you’re getting debt in general, make sure it has a long enough term to pay it back. Even if they don’t give you more money, you can pay it back.

Make sure your customers are happy.

Steve: Make sure your customers are happy because they will tell others. We asked everybody where they had heard about us from. And it’s almost always friends, coworkers, and others who have used it. I think SEO is important too. People look for new solutions on Google, so we get a lot there. But our most extensive searches where we get customers from, on Google, are people searching for the words Badger Naps. So they’re looking for us, they come through Google, but they were searching specifically for us already. I think a lot of it is word of mouth and just having a great product.

What is your story, Steve?

Steve: I went to business school at Stanford. Then I went through IBM’s sales training program. And then, from there, I went to a software company called Autonomy. That’s when the cloud was just getting going. Then I went to Google, and there the cloud started to accelerate. Google was obviously a major part of that early. And I got to work on some of their cool cloud products and mobile stuff. And that’s kind of where I came across this problem and knew it was a solvable one.

Why creating a podcast is a great strategy

Steve: I have a podcast, and it’s specifically for field and outside salespeople. Very originally, it’s called Outside Sales Talk. What I do is I have sales thought leaders come on the show and teach what their areas of expertise are but through the lens of knowing that it’s field salespeople and outside salespeople who are listening. I think a podcast is a great way to get the word out there, and it’s all about creating value for the people you want to serve with your product. A great episode gets shared around, and we have episodes that get watched 30,000 times on YouTube.

What’s your best piece of advice for salespeople?

Steve: There are so many things you need to be great at with sales, right? You have to at least be good enough at them to be a successful salesperson, whether it’s finding new leads and pounding the pavement or pounding the phone, depending on what your industry is to qualifying deals, to really be an expert and a consultant to people, and knowing how to close. All these things are important skill sets, but in my opinion, the most important one is really being an expert with your customers. Really understanding them, really understanding what their needs are, what’s going on with them, what their problems are, even in areas that aren’t related to you. Because if you’re truly an expert in their business, then it’s a lot easier to understand them and create value for them.