Why Your Company Should be Building Mobile Sales Apps

January 18, 2015 John Gorup

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If you were in elementary school in the United States from the mid-1980s to late 1990s, you might be familiar with the game Oregon Trail. The game takes place in 1848, and the player’s goal is to get a family safely from Missouri to Oregon. Of course, it’s not an easy journey, as players face all sorts of dangers from disease to broken wagon wheels. But what makes the game an educational tool is the practice of making choices with limited resources. Do you buy more spare wagon wheels, or bullets for hunting? Each decision has an impact on the ultimate outcome.

For CIOs and other business leaders, the practice of making choices with limited resources is familiar. While IT departments will always have certain fixed costs to keep the operation going, there is increasing pressure to find ways to make technology a key driver in the business’s success. CIO magazine, in its 2014 State of the CIO survey, described the CIOs that are driving business as “Digital Strategists.” Like the pioneers of 1848, these are the executives who take great risks in order to gain great rewards. In a world of limited time and money, finding the right projects to increase innovation is the key question Digital Strategists face.

In many organizations, mobile applications have become nearly synonymous with business innovation. In a survey commissioned by Appirio of 400 IT decisions makers in the United States and the United Kingdom, 64% said their organizations were building mobile apps for employees, customers, or partners. The reasons for building mobile sales apps are obvious. Workforces are becoming more mobile, and companies need to bring technology to the field where they work. Along with this is the greater societal trend away from PC-type computing to mobile devices.

Organizations that want to build mobile applications, but don’t know where to start should begin by looking at their sales team. And indeed, many already do this. According to a Forrester Technographics Survey, 43% of U.S. firms with over 500 employees say sales is the most important department on to focus on for mobile software. Over 61% of firms in this survey said they plan to invest in mobile for sales. Appirio has seen this movement towards building mobile sales apps to improve performance first-hand. The following are three types of sales-enablement apps we have built for our customers.

Mobile Quoting

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For many sales professionals, quickly getting a quote to a customer is key to closing a sale. For HD Supply, Appirio built a mobile quoting solution that shortened the turn-around time to close a sale from fourteen days to two. The app included an integration with SAP to align Accounts, Products, Projects, Quotes, Customer Specific-Pricing, Price Book and Price Book Entries, Blended Margin, and forecasting information via Web Services.

Field Sales Guided Selling

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Getting sales professionals to be experts in every product in a complicated business can be almost impossible. For Kindred Healthcare, Appirio built a closed-loop marketing mobile app that provides dynamic content to patients and families. This strategic mobile app increases the cooperation between sales and marketing, and makes sure the sales team is presenting the best collateral to their contacts.

Mobile Surveys

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Getting feedback from your prospects is vital to seeing if your sales message is working., Appirio created a mobile survey app for BMC Software that gives BMC real-time visibility into Executive Briefing Center (EBC) attendee perception. With this survey tool, the influence of marketing collateral on the closing of deals can be accurately measured.

The ability to develop effective mobile applications gives an organization a strategic advantage in the market. Reaching business goals in 2015 can seem like migrating across the continent in 1848. Of course, IT departments don’t deal with dysentery as much as the pioneers did. Nevertheless, the key to success in both cases is to allocate limited resources to the right tools at the right time. For many organizations, this means developing a mobile app that can take your sales team to the next level.

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