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10 Considerations for Mobile B2B Sales Activation

Business-to-business companies undergoing significant transformation improve their success rate when they use mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, to improve the sales process. In this article, Geletka identifies 10 strategies for launching a mobile campaign successfully to transform sales. For example:
going-mobile

  1. Research, test and refine through a pilot
  2. Build a program, not a single app
  3. Put tools and process in place to manage hardware
  4. Update content, tools and apps frequently

Mobility is transforming the way B2B marketers and sales teams conduct business. Successfully using these products can improve the sales experience, make training more exciting and efficient, gather new metrics for better decisions, and cut costs through automation. But leveraging mobile as a sales tool requires more than just building an app.

Here are 10 considerations for using mobile to successfully transform sales:

1. Research, test, refine.

Design and conduct a pilot program with user input. Collect feedback from the sales team about what works and what doesn’t. Develop competitive benchmarks. Refine your apps based on data collected from the pilot program.

2. Don’t deploy a single app — build a program.

A single app is not going to change the business. A suite of tools that align with your business strategy and augment the sales process, will. For example, develop a set of custom apps that serve a variety of functions and work together in some cases to solve business problems.

3. Build apps, not brochures.

Deliver tools that augment or complement your sales operation. The tablet provides a great “wow” factor in sales, but it can also be an efficient way to facilitate the sales process.

4. Update apps often.

An app with an outdated feature set or stale data will not continue to appeal to sales reps. This can lead to decreased usage over time. We recommend that apps be updated at a minimum, monthly, with new content, and quarterly with new features. That said, it’s important that updates add value, address previous development issues, or streamline processes. App development and evaluation are an ongoing process.

5. Implement analytics.

Once the program is deployed, pay attention to your sales reps and the way they use your apps. Track both general usage and precise events within the app on a month-by-month basis. Use this information to inform future development. Google or Flurry are both great options because they allow the business to track custom events and conversions within the app in addition to standard usage information.

6. Don’t try to make your app do everything.

Apps are meant to be fast, light and simple to use. Every tool in the organization should not be crammed into one place. This always causes confusion and hurts the overall experience. It also slows down performance and increases training costs. Instead, build apps that are focused on a particular activity.

7. Get a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system in place to manage the assets of your program.

Make updates, track your devices and manage policy from one central location.

8. Take advantage of the touch interface.

The tablet is tactile, engaging and fun. Think beyond static sales presentations; make the most out of the tablet’s built-in swipe, pinch and zoom capabilities.

9. Working with Apple is tough.

If you decided to use iPads, sign up for an enterprise iOS account months before you start development. You may be required to submit significant information about your company. Once your business has been approved, however, you’ll be able to deploy apps independently to the App Store.

10. Don’t ignore Human Computer Interaction (HCI) guidelines.

Apple and Google have invested millions in user research, and they’ve become adept at delivering a great user experience. Their HCI guidelines are simple, easy to understand, flexible and fully field tested.

In order for a company to be successful in their mobile and sales enablement efforts, their apps must provide useful experiences. Failing to implement a program correctly can lead to sunken costs and the wrong perception of mobile in the organization, stalled innovation and lost opportunities.

John Geletka is Director of Digital at Avenue, a Chicago-based marketing strategy and activation firm that partners with B2B leaders to transform their businesses and brands, and launch new products. He can be reached at jgeletka@avenue-inc.com