What is a Cross Reference App for Sales Reps?

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

UPDATED MAY 24, 2017

What is a cross reference app and why would my sales people need one?

We hear this question often from organizations looking at mobile sales tools.

To put it simply, a cross reference app gives sales people the ability to instantly find the right products in their portfolio when they need to compare them directly with a competitor’s product.  Simple and effective!

Sales people often find themselves in situations where they are forced to talk about the competition when meeting with customers.

It happens all the time no matter whether you are selling products, services, or anything for that matter.

A typical situation might be an up sell opportunity when a current customer tells a trusted rep they are currently using product X from Competitor B and asks the rep, “Do you have something similar to offer?”

The reps then scrambles and fumbles through PDFs or catalogs or their website to find the competitive product for the customer.

Often times competitive information is kept on a spreadsheet on somebody’s computer (I bet your company has this right now).

Leaving the rep to have to call or email the holder of this critical piece of information to find out what she has that is comparable, killing the chances of the up sell.

The cost is amazing when you consider the time it takes to track down the information by the rep, the time to send and email, the keeper of the knowledge’s time to look it up and answer, and the time to get back to the customer with a coherent answer.

Over dinner last night, a product marketer and I did a back of the envelope calculation that the dollar amount was in the $100s to $1000s  per interaction depending on whether you believe in the lost opportunity cost in not responding quickly enough.

Another reason your organization may look at a cross reference app is because you have a constantly evolving product line.

A couple weeks ago, one of our account executives was talking with a prospect about sales rep turnover at their organization.

Our product line changes so frequently, our own reps can’t keep up to speed on what they’re selling and how it compares to our competition. It’s making our own employees jump ship!”

This is a perfect use case for a cross reference app.

With properly coded cross reference app can give sales people and tech support people an easy way to find the right product and how it competes. A really good one will separate the information so that your product info can be sent while keeping the competitor info secret!

Cross reference apps are easy to create and deploy if you have the data. They can easily pay for themselves in weeks not years.

Don’t believe me?

Ask your sales team how much time they spend researching competitors products?

Learn more about Cross Reference Apps here.

 

 

71% of companies take 6 months or longer to on board sales employees – Let’s fix that.

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

How Sales Acceleration Technology  Speeds Up the On boarding Experience for Companies with 500+ Products

Congratulations – you’ve made the job offer to a new salesperson. They accepted.

Now, it’s a matter of figuring out the quickest, most effective way to prime them for selling, because the amount of revenue they generate is effectively zero until you can get them fully functional in the field. 

The more tools, time, and people involved, the more bogged down your entire on boarding experience can become, which typically leads to two possible outcomes: Read More

10 Mobile Sales Tool Etiquette Tips to Maximize Sales Meeting Success

By | B2B Sales, Mobile Productivity Tools

Nowadays every field sale person uses some kind of mobile sales tool to do their job.  More companies then ever are rolling out mobile devices for their sales teams to use during sales meetings.

In fact IDC predicts that by 2020, mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters (72.3%) of the total U.S. workforce.

Those in-person conversations are critical for closing opportunities and using a mobile sales tool is proven to be an incredibly effective way to increase your odds of closing that important deal.

Great – right?

Absolutely, but there is one major problem I need to point out. Read More

Fix 5 Common Mobile Device Mistakes at Trade Shows and Boost Your ROI

By | B2B Sales, Mobile Productivity Tools, Sales Productivity

Mobile devices, included iPads, Android tablets, phones and iPhones are being used more and more at trade shows these days.

Whether it’s as a mobile sales tool in a sales reps hands, a tablet on a stand showing videos, or even just a mobile tool for scanning badges, Trade Show Managers need to prepare their sales teams appropriately. Read More

ipad sales app

#1 Reason Reps Only Use 35% of Digital Sales Collateral Marketers Create

By | B2B Sales, Mobile Productivity Tools, Sales Productivity

Marketers spend a ton of time, money, and effort creating digital sales collateral for our sales teams.

In fact, I would argue it has never been easier or more cost effective to generate videos, images, PDF brochures, mini-apps, etc.

Never!

Yet, despite all the systems and repositories…time and time again salespeople ask us if we have a brochure for X or case study that is an example of Y.

Are you kidding me?  Yes, we gave you that 6 months ago.  Why are you emailing me? Read More

Most Effective Way to Launch a Distributor Mobile Sales App

By | B2B Sales, Mobile Productivity Tools

We’d just gotten the biggest opportunity in our career – the chance to deliver a distributor mobile sales app to 1000s of plumbing dealers across the US and Canada for the top manufacturer in the industry.

For our fledgling company, this represented the largest single purchase of seats in our history.  A great distributor mobile sales app meant huge long-term value to us and our shareholders since 1000s of people would be benefiting from its use.  Failure to create the right tool Read More

How to create a PowerPoint presentation that looks great on an iPhone (free template)

By | Mobile Productivity Tools
One surprising downside to using a mobile sales tool on your iPhone is PowerPoint presentations look like utter crap.

I get it, presentations with PowerPoint on iPhones are made to be projected onto a big screen in boardroom, but these days sales presentations can happen anywhere, anytime.  Coffee shops, bars, airplanes, you name it. Read More

What is a mobile sales tool?

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

What the heck is a mobile sales tool any way?  The reality is most people including Google seem to have very different opinions.  So we set out to fix that.

We asked our design team to spend some time creating an engaging and humorous presentation that demonstrates exactly what a mobile sales tool is?

The presentation is fully available on SlideShare and has been downloaded close to 60 times since we published it.

Hope you find these sales tips and tricks useful!

 

 

Here’s my notes from a recent talk I gave using this slide deck. Maybe they’ll give you further guidance.

What is mobile sales tool?

1. WHAT IS A MOBILE SALES TOOL? Heck, maybe you have been tasked with building one. You own a smart phone You’ve heard about mobile sales tools

2. ONE BIG PROBLEM

3. GOOGLE CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT A MOBILE SALES TOOL IS!

4. a variety of apps that can be useful to sales people on their smart devices.

5. Google thinks it’s a mobile tool salesman.

6. If Google can’t figure out what a mobile sales tool is, how can a Marketer be expected to do any better?

7. LET’S FIX THAT!

8. n/a

9. CAN WE ALL AGREE THAT SALES PEOPLE COULD USE MOBILE APPS TO: LOCATE THEMSELVES SAVE KEY INFORMATION LOOK UP CUSTOMER INFORMATION PRESENT INFORMATION TO PROSPECTS

10. DEFINITION OF A MOBILE SALES TOOL An application that is used to enable or accelerate the sales process conveniently from a tablet or smartphone wherever or whenever the timing is right.

11. AS A MARKETER OR SALES MANAGER, YOU ARE MOST LIKELY CONCERNED WITH GENERATING REVENUE.

12. REVENUE-GENERATING MOBILE SALES TOOLS FALL INTO THE “PRESENT INFORMATION TO PROSPECTS” CATEGORY.

13. SO, WHAT TYPES OF MOBILE APPS DO THAT?

14. IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOUR TEAM SELLS.

15. THEY MAY SELL WITH: PRESENTATIONS GIANT CATALOGS (DESCRIPTIONS, PRICES, SKUS) VISUAL SELLING AIDS (VIDEOS, IMAGES, CHARTS, ANIMATIONS) FORMS FOR CUSTOM PROJECTS AND SERVICES

16. Or they may use ALL THE ABOVE to sell to prospects.

17. SO, TO DEFINE THE BEST MOBILE SALES TOOL FOR YOUR TEAM, YOU NEED TO START WITH HOW YOUR TEAM SELLS FIRST.

18. HOWEVER, TO GENERATE REVENUE, YOU NEED TO PICK A TARGET. A REVENUE-GENERATING TARGET.

19. HERE ARE 10 WAYS Marketers and Sales Managers can hit revenue-generating targets with mobile sales tools. 1 Focus on the middle 60%. 2 Profitable products first. 3 Train new reps faster. 4 Reduce your print spend.5 New product training is key. 6 Build for your top dealers and distributors. 7Make pricing easy to find. 8Focus on HOT new products. 9 Get the jump on competitors by cross-referencing data. 10 Stop emailing sales collateral.

20.
21. So, now you know how your team sells and you have a target. Let’s dive into the tools to get your app built.

22. Mobile sales tool platforms on the market may be composed of 3 layers.

FILE MANAGEMENT LAYER – Where marketers organize, upload, and manage product assets.

PRESENTATION LAYER – Where sales reps interact and present product data to prospects.

AUTOMATION LAYER – Where prospect information is seamlessly integrated into your CRM.

23. These 3 layers make it easy to: Manage and easily find information Deliver information (files, product specs, branding) Capture information (customer data and usage data) Integrate into other systems (CRM, Marketing Automation, ERP)

24. A great File Management Layer makes it easy on the Marketer and engages them to use it!

25. The Presentation Layer is an App on a Smart Device or “System of Engagement.” Presents information to reps and prospects Captures information via rep input Sends sales collateral

26. THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE IS TO ASSUME THAT THE APP IS THERE TO ENGAGE YOUR CUSTOMER!

27. The app is the system of engagement for your sales people, not your customers. Sales people use the tool to engage prospects and accelerate their sales cycle.

28. Thus, a mobile sales tool enables your reps to sell more of your products & services via the Presentation Layer.

29. The Automation Layer logs the activity or triggers the appropriate actions within a third-party platform such as a CRM or Marketing Automation system.

Simple plan to solve Yosemite’s $1M print issue and yours too

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

200px-Yosemite_falls_winter_2010

Simple plan to solve Yosemite’s $1M print issue and yours too

I recently saw this article which describes how changing the name of the concession stand and a hotel in Yosemite National Park will cost the tax payers “$1 million” for reprinting the signs, garbage cans, and brochures.

With annual operating budget of $30M, $1M represents a significant share (1/30th) of the much-needed budget Yosemite requires to not only operate a park, but to attract more visitors in the future.

If you went to your boss or CFO tomorrow and told them you were going to spend 1/30th of the entire operating budget of your company to fix the words in your brochures or printed catalogs, what do you think the reaction would be?

Nes too good pas!

Yet, thousands of Marketers dedicate huge budget to print brochures, catalogs, and one-pagers every year.

Prices and spec changes? Reprint.

Rebranding after a merger or strategic change? Reprint. The costs can be astronomical, and the process takes years.

In this article, I’ll show you how your company and Yosemite can:

  1. Maintain a reasonable level of printed materials (50% of current spend)
  2. Replace print with digital versions on devices that people use already (30% of current spend)
  3. Deliver critical content digitally so that it can be accessed offline in the backwoods
  4. Re-allocate savings from your print budget to your lead generation marketing budget (20% of current spend)

As we enter the mobile age and Moore’s law continues its predicted rapid climb, Marketers (and National Parks) will have to deal with more and more rapid shifts in the way people consume and use information.

And the shifts are seismic. Like California-falls-into-the-sea seismic.

Yosemite’s print budget is just like yours.

Like most people, I get really upset when I see public dollars being wasted on printed materials in the digital age.

And the idea that our beloved National Park could possibly be spending 1/30th of it’s operating budget to fix some marketing brochures is especially maddening, given the need to improve roads and staff such a massive enterprise.

Many companies operate with the benchmark of 10% of revenue is spent on marketing to attract more buyers.  Let’s assume the National Parks operate on the same idea.

And like most companies selling products and services, I get that Yosemite has to “sell” its offerings (hotels, concessions, nature walks, new trails).

But why does Yosemite need to print that many brochures to accomplish this?

What happens to printed materials?

My hypothesis is 90% of Yosemite’s brochures are tossed into the newly stenciled garbage cans soon after people pick them up at the gate or, they get used to start camp fires.

Do you have a brochure drawer at home? Unlikely.

Will you look at the brochure again in a few months? Nope.

trash-at-trade-show-900x500

How many brochures are in those bags?

This perfectly parallels what I see attending major industry trade shows with our clients. Shows where companies spend thousands to have a booth and rely on that rented space to generate a huge portion of their qualified leads.

I bet you’ve had a similar experience where every time you go into a booth the staff keep trying to hand you printed materials.

It’s like a conditioned response.  Look, a prospect, here’s a brochure on our coolest product. Let me scan your badge. Sweet,  I got another lead.

However, it’s shockingly wasteful and represents wasted opportunity in the digital age.

The Marketing team spent money to design and print that product literature.  They also shipped it to the show and likely paid to deliver the box to the booth.

To take it one more step, many times the undistributed brochures get boxed up and shipped back home or worse simply dumped in the trash.

One marketing consultant I spoke with described another potential black hole for these printed brochures,

“Believe it or not, when these get shipped, they don’t always get received or found and then they have to be given out.  Remote offices don’t usually get the same love as headquarters.  Tons of boxes go untouched under a table or desk.” – Josh Krasnegor,  Consultant.

Josh said it well, tons of boxes of untouched marketing budget.

Simple plan to solve Yosemite’s $1M print issue

The biggest mistake for companies with out-of-control print budgets is that they don’t know how to best compare and contrast the cost of mobile content delivery systems to their status quo (e.g., printing catalogs, brochures, etc.).

And neither does Yosemite.

Let’s imagine the good folks at Yosemite took a look around the Park at what people are doing.  What do you think they would see?

yosemite_selfie_-_Google_SearchPeople using smart phones to take pictures, navigate roads, chat with friends, look up information on animals, or just ignore nature and stare into them.

Noticing this, Yosemite might create a mobile app that:

  1. Delivers key information offline (cellular is not always available in the park)
  2. Updates automatically when visitors phones hit WiFi hotspots in the park (entirely possible with background sync)
  3. Reaches visitors on the tool that 99.9% are carrying their pockets (yep, their phone)

What would Yosemite put in the app?

Everything!  Maps, brochures, videos, history, daily schedules, alerts to road closures. You name it.

Would they still need to print stuff?

Sure, I get that some people are just going to demand printed maps, etc.

So why not print, 20% of last year’s volume to start and direct people to their app for the other 80%? This might cut their print cost in half or more for the year.

One might imagine that an app like that would cost millions to produce however I suspect that the true cost deploy and maintain that type of app is in the $300k range in year one with roughly 20-40% annual maintenance in subsequent years.

$300,000/4 million visitors = $0.33 per visitor.

I’ll pay the 33 cents with my insanely under-priced entrance fee thank you very much.

Keep in mind that the park is spending $1m to simply FIX their outdated print materials.

The number one mistake made by marketers with out-of-control print budgets

The biggest mistake for Marketers with out of control print budgets is they, like Yosemite, are not comparing and contrasting the cost of mobile content delivery systems to status quo (e.g., spend on printing catalogs, brochures, etc.).

So using our Yosemite example, here’s a possible end result:

$1m annual print budget for Yosemite

x 50% CY = $500,000 print spend to fix their brochures

and $500,000 left over to spend:

$300,000 to deploy a mobile content app that everyone can use on their smart phones

and

$200,000 to spend on other items for growth.

Keep in mind that Yosemite’s $300,000 hypothetical app is based on 4 million people potentially using it.

Most mobile sales apps on the market cost between $100-300 per sales person per year. So your cost and savings might be massive compared to Yosemite’s $200,000 depending on your print spend currently.

So what do marketers share with Yosemite?

Although, I think the parallel is obvious let’s break it down.

  • Overspending on outdated technology with no measurable ROI = print
  • Refusing to see that people want to access information in a new way = mobile phones
  • Equals throwing away much needed budget

In a world where marketers and National Parks are continually asked to do more with less budget, delivering critical information to the devices people already own and want to interact with is the new norm, not the exception.

The reality is reliance on antiquated methods (print) will only widen the gap between the successful and those left behind.