The ultimate sales app exists for one purpose and one purpose alone — to make you money. Whether through increased gross revenues or decreased operating expenditures, a custom sales app must improve your bottom line or you need a new sales app. There are four things that you have to consider when planning the ultimate sales app:

  • Purpose
  • Features
  • Barriers
  • Partners

We’ve already covered the first three. The final piece of the puzzle is partners. By that, I mean who you choose to work with to plan and develop the app for you. Unless you have an in-house app development team, which almost no company does, you’ll be choosing an external vendor to do the development work at the very least. If you choose the right partner, though, that company can help you from the first stages of conceptualization all the way through to execution.

We have already written and published a piece on how to choose an app development partner, but sales apps can represent a different animal altogether. For many organizations, it’s one of, if not the most, important business units. It’s the lifeblood of the balance sheet and the engine for corporate growth. The sales process can vary widely between industries and companies as well as between individual salespeople. It’s not enough to choose a good programming development shop; without a detailed and nuanced understanding of your organization’s specific sales cycle, the app will not work the way you need it to — that’s why you need more than just an app developer.

When selecting your partner for this undertaking, it’s all about the questions they ask. Sure, your potential partner will want to tell you about their prior experience and expertise, but the conversation should start and end with you. Is the partner asking detailed questions about your sales process? Have they asked to meet your sales team so that they can get a better feel for what the people on the ground actually want? Are they asking about the mobile app habits of your entire team to familiarize themsevles with how you’re using portable technology already? Are they asking questions about your business obstacles and what you hope to accomplish by launching this app? The bottom line is that the right mobile partner will be asking more questions than they’ll be answering. Only by understanding your sales process in as minute a detail as possible can a mobile partner truly build the ultimate sales app for you.

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One of the other factors you ought to take into consideration is the work history any potential partner brings to the table. Does the leadership team of that mobile shop come from a technology or a sales background? I’d posit that you’d want a team lead by individuals with a rich history in sales because they’ll understand your needs far more than a team lead by technologists. Of course you’ll want strong developers on your project, but the leadership team and your account manager should have experience in sales to better help you plan and implement your app.

The final factor you should consider about your partner is past experience. Have they built sales apps for other companies? In what industry verticles are those companies? Most importantly, does the partner have experience implementing and executing sales apps, as opposed to simply building it? The more comprehensive your partner’s past experience with sales apps, the better they will be able to inform and guide you through the process. You might have an exhuastive list of features and designs going into the development stage on your own, but a mobile partner that has been through every step of the process before will still be able to offer suggestions and advice that can improve your end product and hasten end-user adoption from your sales staff. You can build the most useful app in the world, but if your end users don’t want to use it, then you’ve got nothing. Partnering with a true mobile solutions provider will only help improve your bottom line beyond what you could accomplish on your own.

Every consideration in this process is important — purpose, features, barriers and partners. However, few decisions can make development easier and more effective than choosing the right partner. Doing so allows that partner to help you with the other three considerations immensely. The right parnter can certainly help you get to the core of your purpose by asking the right questions. They can help you define a feature set based on their extensive experience building sales apps. They can show you what barriers to watch out for based on their history of not only developing apps, but also implementing and executing them. No decision can make your life easier, or more difficult, than your choice in partners.

Choose wisely.