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Apr 24, 2013

Enterprise Mobile Apps for Marketing and Sales – Where to Start?

We keep hearing about mobile, BYOD (bring your own device), and the consumerization of IT -- but what does that all mean for you, your business unit, and your sales and marketing employees? The answer is simple: enterprise mobile apps can help you sell more. Mobile application management (MAM) and enterprise apps are especially relevant for companies with large, geographically dispersed sales teams, who can use their personal devices and mobile apps to demonstrate products more effectively and take orders real-time while with the customer. From the marketing perspective, enterprise mobile apps enable marketing teams to utilize multimedia marketing collateral, which is much more effective at showcasing products and services than the traditional PDF brochure. In addition, with real-time campaign analytics at their fingertips, marketing managers are able to make smarter decisions more quickly and deploy marketing dollars more effectively, thereby higher returns on investment (ROI). In a recent study of 500 US companies conducted by Microstrategy, 1 of every 2 salespeople stated that limited mobile access to key sales systems is a challenge, while 50% of executives stated that failure to keep product knowledge current was a major barrier to success for their sales teams. Clearly, moving to mobile is the way to go if your company is not headed that way already. But to do what? What functions should be mobilized? CRM (customer relationship management) is huge for the mobile enterprise -- sales people hate having to go back to their office after weeks on the road and tediously update their company’s CRM system­­. The information isn’t timely, leaving sales and marketing managers in the dark about the sales pipeline and follow-up opportunities not optimally leveraged. What’s more, without having the information at their fingertips while in the field, salespeople don’t have as much information about the customer as they should, leaving them at a disadvantage. Automating the sales force as a whole is important too, and encompasses a broader spectrum of tasks including; inventory control, order processing, team collaboration, and measurement of sales analytics, and performance. Some other popular functions that can be mobilized include:
  • Pricing scenarios and quote generation
  • Sales proposal creation
  • Lead tracking/contact management
  • Real-time collaboration with sales and marketing colleagues
Companies should also ensure that key functions such as product presentations and ordering capability are available on the device so that the salesperson is not dependent on Internet access for their pitch. In addition, integration with the enterprise resource system is important so salespeople can obtain quick answers on issues such as stock availability and scheduling. Marketers can utilize enterprise mobile apps to rapidly update and disseminate marketing messages, promotions and price lists -- ensuring that only up-to-date information is shown to customers. In addition, the more immediate and graphically rich nature of a tablet enables marketing teams to create more interactive marketing content which is more effective at showcasing the product or service than traditional printed or even soft PDF copies of brochures and reduces printing costs. Mobilizing your sales force is a great idea, but effective is it in practice? According to the Sales Management Association, 70% of sales organizations using tablets are already seeing significant ROI, while a study done by Aberdeen found that companies with a fully mobilized sales organization reported 30% higher customer retention and a 39% higher sales forecast accuracy rate. If your company hasn't already mobilized its sales team, now is the time before any more sales are left on the table.


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