This morning, I discovered a new AppExchange app that quickly became the second-most exciting thing I’ve seen on a Monday morning in quite some time. (The top most exciting thing this morning was trying out my new french press coffee maker at work (shown at right))
The app is called Find Nearby Accounts, Contacts, and Leads and it provides you the means of geolocating all your Accounts, Contacts, and Leads using Google Maps in a completely easy way. The installation took five minutes. Configuration took another ten minutes (really only on account of watching some helpful videos provided right on a setup tab for the app). Soon thereafter, I was geolocating all my records like a mad-man. Well, truthfully, the Geo-code tab took care of that whole thing for me, but it was completely easy, user-friendly, free, and best of all, the end result was a pretty fantastic app.
So what does it do?
You add a few fields to your Page Layouts in Salesforce like “Find Nearby” and “Mapping Status.” If the address has not been mapped before, simply click Locate Account (or Contact or Lead) next to Find Nearby and it will geocode it for you. Then filter your results by whether you want to see Accounts, Contacts or Leads and within what mile range of that initial account. The result set can then be dragged over to the Driving Directions section. There you can quickly order the people and places you need to see and quickly generate Google Maps of how to get from one to another.
For the sake of challenging the system, I selected 16 accounts that I wanted to go see. I didn’t put them in any particular order and literally, 20 seconds later, I had directions for the 1755 mile trek I’d need to take to visit all 16 of those customers.
Another feature within that map is a green plus sign on each Account, Contact, or Lead which quickly helps me create a calendar event to meet with them, right in Salesforce. It couldn’t get much easier.
You can also add a “Map” button to your List View Layout and create a map of any grouping of Accounts, Contacts or Leads that you can find using a List View.
While there were some apps available on the AppExchange before to help you geolocate records and even very nicely get you directions, this is the first time I’ve seen something so deeply integrated, easy to setup and completely free. I kid you not that I was up and running in under 20 minutes. That’s the power of a great set of APIs from both Salesforce and Google. The AppExchange makes it easy to install it, and I have to hand it to Iman, the guy who hosts the six videos showing how to configure and use the features of the app. Iman’s work was not only really useful, but he’s now set a great standard for setup help that I hope other AppExchange partners will use as well.
This app got my mind thinking of all the other things I might want to use this for in the future. Maybe it will spark something with you too. One of the things I appreciate most abou the AppExchange is seeing what others have done and imagining how to take it further with my company. It could be something little or something huge, but it makes me think.
To see the magic, check out these short demos.