Creating Custom Sales Team Apps

You’ve likely seen  good examples and bad examples of mobile or iPad applications used by sales reps to enhance the consultative selling experience.

How do you create your own?

You’ll want to start with a rock-solid buyer insight. In short, you want to identify an unmet emotional need and find a way to tie that to your product or service. It’s easier said than done, but skipping this step results in a watered down app concept that bores buyers and wastes a lot of your hard earned money, which seems  counterproductive.

Next, set a goal for the app. Are you trying to generate new leads or close a higher percentage transactions? Keep in mind almost everyone says they want to bring in new leads. However, 80% of the time driving leads using marketing, advertising, or cold calling yields no results, leading them to believe marketing “just does not work in our industry.” The core reason is that they lack a strong buyer insight, so their message does not resonate with customers and fails to generate leads.

Once you’ve decided to drive new leads or increase your closing percentage, now it’s time to talk audience. Who will primarily use the app? Will it be used by your own sales team in meetings with customers? Will it be used in cold outreach activities? By channel partners selling on your behalf? Will it be downloaded directly by your customers before they ever speak with you?

Below are different types of applications that you might create depending on who will use it.

For an app used by sales reps in a meeting, look at what your top-performing reps are already doing to add value. Are they masters of the industry, providing essential information? Are they excellent at leading the customer through a verbal decision-tree? Do they make part of the customer’s job easier and take work off their plate? Do they help the customer visualize their pain?

For channel partner mobile apps, there is overlap with how you approach an app for sales reps, in addition to a few other factors. Unlike your sales reps, channel partners often sell multiple products in addition to yours. How will you guarantee they will be talking about your product and not your competitor’s? The key is finding “trigger points” in your channel partner’s conversation with prospects that remind them to sell your product.  Uncover the parts of the sales process where they struggle to connect with prospects, and give them a way to get past those hurdles. You can guarantee they will be pulling your app out every time they face that challenge, and your products will come up naturally in conversation.

If you’re creating an application that customers will download directly, it is helpful to give them checklists,  timelines and forecasting tools to help them better understand the implications of their problems over time.

Notice that I never said recommended an application containing a glorified list of features, benefits and product photos. It’s unlikely you want to build a digital brochure. Unfortunately, customers aren’t interested in your products or services at this stage,  they care about the problems they face.  Using an application to demonstrate you know how to solve their problems will naturally lead to an interest in your products and services. And you’ve already got brochures for that 😉

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