Google Android App Store
sales app simple

“Rusty, if you add this feature, your app will be one the best apps for sales reps.”

How many times have we heard that? Seems daily.

The truth of the matter is simple is not easy.

And the best apps for sales reps are in fact simple.

So when you are building that giant list of features to include in your sales app, please consider that there is a tradeoff between building-in more features and capabilities and keeping it simple for users.

Trust me, your wish list and what you hear from your team for features will contain no lack of ideas.

As a decision-maker evaluating the best apps for sales reps, the more capabilities the better, right?

That’s just putting off the inevitable decisions about what exactly needs to be implemented and what the expectations are for use.

There is always a trade-off…

…so what is not going to get done, because you expect sales to use the new feature-laden app you purchased?

Where do you draw the line when there are so many cool features you can include or buy (with add-on modules)?

As a developer, how do you distill it down into a user interface that is quick to understand?

I had an English composition teacher that used to give us an exercise to cut one-third of the words out of our essays on the second draft. It was tough, but so worth it. Every word and letter counts then.

Believe it or not, we buy apps for our sales reps too.  They use iPads and we want them to have the best apps—including ours!

So here are our guidelines for grading the apps we buy our sales reps.

4 Guidelines We Use to Purchase the Best Apps for Our Sales Reps

1. Distill the to-do list.
Everyone gets their say about what features to include but we focus on users and usability first. Don’t just add items and capabilities because it’s technically feasible.

2. Challenge the suggesters.
You want to keep the ideas coming, but there better be a practical reason to include a feature or capability that will significantly impact sales productivity. Having more information available for field sales reps is not a legitimate reason. It has to be the right information.

3. Don’t be afraid of white space.
A corollary of point one. Just because you have space on a page or site of an app doesn’t mean that you have to fill it with something. Less clutter is better. Reps are crazy busy and don’t have months to learn to new tech.

4. Set up your process to iterate.
You are not going to be perfect and you are not going to get everything right the first time. Recognize that. You need to be stingy and smart with the features needed in an app. Seek out user feedback so that you can see how it is being used in the field. Then, apply all the rules again.

Woodrow Wilson said that preparation for a 10 minute speech would take a week while he needed little if any preparation for an hour speech.

Making something simple takes longer too. It takes a lot more effort to simplify an app, a web page, sales processes, or sales plans.

We welcome any comment or examples of simplicity when using apps or websites, for field sales or other business tasks. There are a lot of great ones out there but we are always looking to learn about more.

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.