Mobile-first. Authentically-mobile. What’s the difference?
Mobile-first refers to the increasingly common practice of designing and building content and apps for optimal user experience on smartphones and tablets before adapting them for the larger screens of PCs and laptops.
Most mobile-first apps, however, are not authentically-mobile. This is because they fail to take full advantage of the powerful capabilities inherent to mobile devices to deliver novel and differentiating functionality, which is the primary focus of authentically-mobile.
Why are authentically-mobile apps so important for field sales?
Authentic mobility is a boon for field sales rep apps in particular. The ability to collect and put to innovative use new reams of information obtained at all points during the sales process can increase efficiency and optimize a sales team’s workflow — boosting productivity and profits.
9 examples of capabilities offered by authentically-mobile sales apps
1. Geolocation-based sales planning and tracking
Leads and contacts that are visualized on an interactive map, enable sales reps and managers to plan the most logical route for the day and visit the maximum number of clients. While on the road, reps can view nearby accounts and get one-touch driving directions using built-in GPS capabilities of their mobile device. Managers gain instant visibility into which customers were visited, which activities were performed onsite, and when.
2. Scheduling tasks and activities
Sales activities, action items, phone calls and sales calls can be scheduled, managed and published to the mobile device Task and Calendar apps. Timely notifications and business alerts are "pushed" by management to the sales reps at a click of a button, facilitating field collaboration.
3. Interactive catalog presentation
Tablet devices are great for eye-catching interactive product catalogs, with supporting multimedia content as mobile sales tool. Sales teams can showcase their product lines, quickly hone in on top-selling or high-margin or promotional items to take orders of higher average value.
4. Efficient order taking using barcode scanning
Sales reps scan products using their mobile device to quickly take orders and check inventory and prices—especially useful at intense, fast-moving venues such as trade shows and exhibitions.
5. In-store merchandising
Reps leverage their mobile device to capture photos at retail locations concerning new product introductions, POS advertising, planograms, competitive displays, pricing, storefronts, and promotional materials. These are automatically geo-tagged and categorized for subsequent mining by brand, category and product managers.
6. Mobile survey taking
Using customized mobile forms, customer satisfaction and sales staff questionnaires, as well as market research surveys, are effortlessly filled in too quickly and accurately capture customer and market data. This data is analyzed to enhance customer and employee satisfaction, and ultimately, increase sales.
7. Stock taking
Stock checks and replenishment is always a burden for reps. Mobile devices, equipped with barcode scanners and replenishment recommendations can slash the time and effort for sales reps to keep their customers’ shelves filled with best-selling items.
8. Capturing and embedding signatures
For better order management, customer signature can be easily captured into any sales transaction (e.g. quotes, orders, returns) or merchandising activity (e.g. planogram audit, new product introduction survey) for proof of business transactions.
9. Offline operability
Last but definitely not least, an authentically- mobile sales app offers full offline functionality, so that all sales activities are never hampered by poor or absent Internet connectivity. This means that the app needs to run natively on all mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, and Windows) and support bi-directional asynchronous updates to the back office.
Mobile-first is a great start for sales apps but it shouldn’t end there. To provide innovation in process efficiency, productivity, and customer experience, and ultimately gain a competitive edge, your mobile sales apps should leverage the unique attributes and capabilities inherent to your mobile devices.