Microsoft has discontinued MapPoint starting this year, which was used as a territory mapping software.

This left many users with an urgent need to replace it.

However, the big question here is, what exactly does a business, like a franchise, need in a mapping package?

The Biggest Feature Needed Isn't A Map

The biggest features that I hear are needed in mapping software are: something they can use quickly, get decisions fast, have cloud ability to collaborate with other team members and ultimately to the franchisee. Microsoft taught us that creating something that only works on a PC no longer works.

Benefits of a Map

Selling Franchises

Of all the bells and whistles that Microsoft offered, the one that is most important is whatever allows the franchisee a means to make decisions faster for buying into what the franchisor is selling.

Saving Time

The main "pain point" from franchisors depends on what you're using mapping for. Such as this post relating to Microsoft going away is one big example. As many franchisors have told me, "Franchise territories are the most important things to our company." The feature for territory mapping needs to handle decades of old territories mixed with new territories and edits. In can be incredibly time-consuming for a retailer to manage all of this.

Few Extra Things Needed

Franchisees also have a need related to territory mapping. They want a starter package from mapping suppliers.

Not an expensive product and they definitely do not want a product that they need to purchase a full subscription to use the product.

They need minor demographics, simple site management and one or two territories. Low friction to usage is again a highly desirable feature...meaning "non-technical users".

Uploading a list is still important. Usually any locations of existing or proposed sites.

Routing for franchisors is also desired to generate sales leads.

Again, all for ultimately selling to a potential franchisee.

Lastly, sex appeal. It helps to make it shiny and new.

Summary of Top Desired Mapping Options From Franchisors

Features

  • Quick to use, they don't need to spend all day on it.
  • Easy to use so anyone in the company can use it.
  • Collaborative with decision makers, perhaps even the franchisees themselves.
  • Allows multiple users on the same plan.
  • Demographics, of course, how detailed depends upon its use, but usually not very detailed.
  • Sexy product that looks cutting edge.

Benefits

  • Sell franchisees.
  • Allow franchisees to have faith in the franchisors.
  • Provide strong communication between the franchisor and franchisee.
  • Builds trust between the franchisor and franchisee.
  • Allow franchisees to expand and grow.
  • Sexy product that is cutting edge helps to sell franchisees, shows one's being in touch with the times.
  • Sell franchisees (so important I had to list it twice).

So to sell, sell, sell is the main benefit.

Save time, time, time is the second benefit.

The map is just the means to the end.

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