7 golden rules for building your sales application
You have been hearing about it for a while and you have finally decided to go for it: starting this fall, your sales team will be equipped with a tablet app to optimize selling potential.
Now that the decision is made, what do you actually need to do to get started? Installing an app on an iPad is not complicated, but organizing and designing your application so that it is truly effective and suited to your sales approach can demand a bit more thought. And yet building an application the right way is not hard. Here we share seven golden rules that will save you time and propel you past the competition.
Rule 1: Access information in fewer than 3 clicks
On the Internet and in apps, the three-click rule is still alive and well. It means that when the sales rep is with a customer, they must be able to reach information in three steps maximum. To achieve that, you have to begin by thinking about how the information will be organized. Whether it is organized by product line, customer need type, price level, target or business sector, everything must be easily accessible for your users: both sales reps and customers.
Rule 2: Build the tree structure to be coherent with the sales pitch
Once your information has been ordered, you can incorporate it in a tree structure that should align perfectly with your selling points: key words, sales pitch, competitive advantages, essential features, gains, etc. By linking marketing to sales, your tree structure comes to life: it is relevant and consistent with the product sales pitch. You know how to promote your offer in a savvy way, which makes it all the easier to integrate your content in the application. Even better: your customer gets interested and interacts directly with your line.
Rule 3: Customize the application for different users
Because not all users will have the same level of access to the application, it is important to imagine all the possible scenarios ahead of time. Even if your application needs to be agile enough to evolve and adapt to your future needs, the more solid your foundation, the greater your chance of getting it right. So this is the time to think about different uses based on profile types: What does a sales rep need to access on their tablet to work well? What about a sales manager? And a key account rep? A sales director? By mapping your users and their uses, you can customize the approaches by job, business line, product line or even by geographic area.
Rule 4: Freshen up your sales materials
Your mobile application should only contain what is important and useful to your sales teams. This means that you have an opportunity to take a closer look at your sales tools and update, modernize or refresh them. The style and substance of your materials should reflect who you really are and highlight the competitive advantages of your products and services. Before integrating them in a mobile app, it is important to adapt them for digital use: less words, more visuals, high-impact titles and multimedia components like videos, sounds and 3D.
Rule 5: Create logical links between documents
While the customer experience is fundamental, that of the user, i.e. the sales rep, should also be studied carefully and adapted. Navigation between documents should be logical, smooth and intuitive. You need to be able to link multiple tools and videos to a specific document to illustrate it more easily. As a result, the product line is presented in a comprehensive, exhaustive and logical fashion. Wasting minutes searching for information while your customer waits is out of the question. This means you have to include your field reps in the application design process and be willing to tweak your tools on a regular basis. Sales tools, videos, case studies, testimonials, quotes and order forms should all be integrated into a natural work flow. The way the information is structured matters: it should be organized, connected and thought out to work harmoniously.
Rule 6: Optimize page displays
On tablets, screen size and touch functions induce new browsing behaviors. You cannot merely copy and paste from a web page or in-house software. This means you must focus on the essentials and work in multidisciplinary teams that include marketing, communications, Internet and design expertise to think about page displays, whether they are viewed in portrait or landscape mode. The placement of the menu, navigation buttons, titles, videos, demonstrations and product data sheets must all be considered. You have to know what to show before you even get the app in your hands, so you will be able to imagine it and thus design it faster.
Rule 7: Make it easy to report back information
A sales application offers far more than the intrinsic functions associated with the duties of a sales rep. Information flows upstream, downstream and laterally. It is easy to report information from the field up to the departments concerned, such as marketing, support or logistics. Conversely, those same departments can send data to the sales force or make last-minute information updates. It can all be summed up in a few questions: Who should say what to whom? When? In which format and with which tool ?
Planning for these flows will make you more effective when you get started and will encourage sales reps to get involved and share high value-added data. For example, they could share information about any industry best practices they observe on a daily basis, what the competition is marketing for real-time benchmarking or additional content to add to your tools.
Adopting a tablet-based sales application can be a bit of a disruption when you are accustomed to traditional tools. If you follow these seven rules, you will save time as you learn to use your application and will become well versed in your industry’s best practices. You should always favor visual communication and adapt information to the user, whether it’s functional features for sales reps or specific functions for your customers.
A great mobile application is above all else a virtuous circle of high performance and optimization: your teams will be “learning by doing”, working more effectively more quickly, plus you will embark on a continuous improvement process. Your made-to-order application is not frozen as is; it evolves over time, adding new features and adapting to overcome any existing or future challenges. Just like you !
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