Businesses have long since augmented their remote sales teams with portable computing devices to sell and market products while in the field. Prior to the meteoric rise of smartphones and tablet devices, sales personnel were at best equipped with the latest cell phone and laptop. While no doubt an improvement from the days of paper forms/catalogs, pagers, and pay phones—the two hardly come close the technological sales enablement we know today.
The recent IT renaissance in mobile apps coupled with the ubiquity of the Cloud has pushed sales enablement and automation to the extreme. These days, remote sales teams can leverage the best-in-breed technologies to engage potential customers, shorten lead time on sales processes, and ultimately—close deals faster.
The following are 5 ways mobile apps are empowering the sales force in the field to be more effective and productive than ever before.
1. Communication & Collaboration
Apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Line allow consumers to send text messages and place voice calls on mobile devices for free over mobile VoIP. For businesses, a plethora of enterprise-grade apps exist to address the needs of a more professional audience. For example, OfficeChat (for iOS/Android) allows team members to message each other, share videos, and even hold virtual meetings. For use cases that require maximum security, TigerText (for iOS/Android) is a HIPAA and SOX-compliant text messaging solution that features maximum encryption and self-destructing messages— features that may prove especially useful in finance, pharmaceutical, and government sales. Finally, applications like Yammer (iOS/Android/Windows) offer business-oriented social networking tools suitable for corporate use.
2. Selling Tools & CRM
Presenting customers with paper-based collateral and product information is a thing of the past. Sales professionals using mobile and tablet devices can now provide potential customers with an immersive, interactive selling experience. Additionally, most of the leading cloud-based CRM vendors offer mobile versions of their sales management tools that are just as feature-rich and functional as their desktop-web counterparts. Sales personnel can create or modify sales opportunities, view pipelines and forecasts, access sales analytics and customer records. Salesforce.com, the leading Cloud CRM vendor, provides mobile access to their SaaS offering via the Salesforce1 Mobile App (for iOS/Android). Competing CRM NetSuite also offers mobile access to their NetSuite CRM+ platform via their Mobile app (for iOS/Android/Windows).
3. Social Media
Most sales professionals these days regard social media as a critical instrument in their arsenal of selling tools. All major social networking services (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) have mobile app versions of their offerings, but social media management solutions such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and SproutSocial allow busy salespeople to manage all of their social accounts through one convenient interface.
Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft make rental car woes a thing of the past when shooting off to sales meetings in the field. But these two behemoths are not the only mobile offerings on the market—local alternatives like Grab often provide faster, more reliable ridesharing options.
5. Custom Apps
For firms requiring custom mobile software development for selling or marketing their products/services, custom app development firms provide full service mobile software deployment—from strategy to design to product development and launch. Furthermore, these firms can provide custom mobile app development to improve business processes while leveraging the enterprise systems that sales teams are already using. Custom mobile apps can provide remote sales teams with powerful marketing and sales tools unique to each environment and customer, thereby enhancing the selling experience in the field greatly.