Sales apps are critical for the business. But done incorrectly, and having an app means little. Here’s seven steps for enterprises to take to ensure the process is not a waste of time.
1) Think about your mobile strategy as a continuous and incremental process.
Prioritize a first set of features (MVP) to generate value and deliver them as soon as possible; based on real feedback and metrics, define the next steps; make this cycle continuous.
2) Put yourself in the user’s shoes.
Apply user experience (UX) techniques and processes such as the Product Canvas, User Journeys, Personas, Usability tests, etc. These should not be done only at the beginning, but all along the development process. As you learn more about your users, their needs, and how they are using (or not using) the app, you must review and update your assumptions about the best UX. Use the incremental and continuous delivery cycle to make small experiments, text hypothesis and then invest in bigger features.
3) Remember: The simplest solution can be the best solution.
This is especially true for mobile apps. Users want to accomplish their work easily and quickly. It is your job to provide these values through the mobile app.
4) Offline usage is mandatory.
Sales people cannot afford to only use your app when they are connected. You need to consider this during the design and development of your app and make sure most of the actions are still possible even if the user is not connected. Smooth and performatic sync mechanisms need to be put in place.
5) Secure your sensitive data.
Sales apps have critical information for the business: product and costumer data, orders, price lists, etc. Most companies cannot afford to have this valuable data available to anyone who gets access to the app. MDM solutions have a place in this process for assuring the necessary level of security, but the apps also need to be designed, developed and tested considering security requirements. Things such as encrypting local data, applying smart authentication mechanisms and managing data connections should be considered as additions to the app architecture.
6) Leverage the power of the device.
We all know that devices are very powerful computers with plenty of built-in features (GPS, camera, accelerometer, phone, etc.) and apps (calendar, email, chats, etc.). They can make the life of your sales rep much easier and productive if you are clever enough to build an app that is able to integrate all of these resources wisely. Be careful to not reinvent the wheel but also consider the need for providing a consistent UX, even between different apps.
7) Metrics, metrics, metrics!
Make your sales app the most powerful source of precise and rich information about your sales process and team. And not only the transactional information — the collected orders, the visited customers, etc. — but also more subtle insights as the route of your sales rep; how they interact with the app; which products they showed to customers; and which sales collateral was displayed and shared. Customize it to your business case.