A recent Gallup survey shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans check their mobile phones at least once an hour, with 90 percent of that mobile-phone time devoted to using apps. With more than 2.2 million apps available for download, what are the best developers doing to keep these habituated smartphone users engaged?
For starters, they have a solid understanding of their intended end users and their needs. In the selling profession, for example, reps and managers have very little time on their hands, so it’s critical that mobile applications be designed to make them more effective in their jobs. While the goal of a B2C social media application might be to hook end users and ensure that they stay on the application longer, the goal of a B2B sales productivity app is to engage users for the completion of a specific task, creating efficiencies and minimizing disruption to selling time.
At the same time, the most effective mobile applications for sales can also be a powerful way to capture data, such as performance, engagement and activity levels. Synthesizing this data provides insight to leadership in their business decision-making processes, and must be optimized to provide dashboards that can be easily consumed.
To ensure that a mobile application for sales is effective, both at engaging the reps and providing value to sales managers, it’s important for developers to keep the following factors in mind.
Be respectful of the user’s time.
For sales reps, field service personnel, and contact center agents, time is money. Ensuring that applications are built for the way sales people actually work includes streamlined workflows and the ability to put critical information at their fingertips instantly. Delivering high levels of productivity and engagement requires that applications be first intuitive and easy to use, but also highly relevant to the tasks they must perform. True mobile-first applications are designed to work by eliminating the onerous task of navigating an enterprise application that isn’t optimized for mobile’s small screen.
Make it convenient.
Using native apps and webmail to support sales enablement tasks can help organizations reach reps they were previously unable to engage with traditional methods. The use of push notifications based on an employee’s profile offers another great convenience, eliminating the need for reps to go looking for content, and alerting them to important updates or next steps in a sales cycle. There is an emerging class of mobile sales communication tools that incorporate workflows such as these, and are designed to serve up the right content at the right time for the right audience using any mobile device.
Deliver a great experience.
Although it’s well understood that a hybrid app approach is typically faster and less expensive to launch, native apps designed specifically for iOS, Android (News - Alert), or Windows devices will typically provide a better user experience. That’s because native apps take advantage of the full potential of the device platform. In addition, ensuring that workflows are streamlined for each user type, whether it’s sales reps using the app or managers reviewing dashboards, will go a long way in creating a valuable and gratifying experience.
Additionally, many of today’s most successful mobile applications embrace features that prey on extrinsic motivation. These are designed to keep reps continuously engaged, and include the use of social, reputation, and game mechanics or other rewards. Simple tactics such as scoring and leaderboards have been found to be highly effective at driving desired behavior among reps.
As millennials overtake the baby boomer generation in the workplace, sales organizations will need to consider engaging them in different ways. Traditional approaches to sales enablement that demand long attention spans will fail to engage these digital natives. Because the best sales performers tend to move quickly from one task to the next, a strategy that is at the same time mobile, fast, effective, and engaging is important. Put technology to work for the user, and not the other way around.
Lisa Clark is vice president of marketing at Qstream.
Edited by Alicia Young