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What are the Best Practices for Piloting iPad Sales Apps?

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Many companies wisely decide to pilot their iPad sales app prior to launching to their sales team at large.

This begs the question – what are the best practices for piloting iPad sales apps?

The pilot period can the be best way to determine how the sales team will use the iPad sales app and what collateral is missing or successful. Its also a great time to observe key user interface problems, like difficult features or concepts that aren’t a fit.

We unequivocally recommend piloting your iPad sales app before launching to more than 50 sales and marketing people. If any app developer or sales person doesn’t – run. Seriously, they are the wrong shop and don’t know what they are talking about.

Furthermore, the temptation to look for immediate home runs like actual sales during the pilot is large and, but can often derail the project.

We get it. Your company has invested a lot of money, effort, and time to get the iPad and you want to make a splash. But to be successful over the long term, you need to get this right before making a splash!

Here is one simple concept that will make an iPad sales app pilot program a smashing success.

Avoid ‘Failure Points’

What the heck is a failure point you ask?

Have you ever eaten a really great dessert like a soufflé and then tried to make it at home? I bet it was terrible. Mine was a complete disaster, inedible. The reason – too many failure points. Egg fluff, cooking temperature, wrong pans – you name it there are too many ways to screw up a soufflé. Each one is a failure point.

An iPad Pilot is the same way, lots of variables that lead to failure points. Here are the few that matter most to your pilot.

  • Too much information – this leads to too much gathering and preparation time prior to launch. Simplify to the most important collateral first.
  • Intimidating Features – introduced too early to the team leads to reps not using the app at all.
  • Too many integrations – we love Salesforce.com and Marketo, but integrations require manpower and can be expensive.
  • The “Legal Swamp” – your legal team should get involved mid-pilot to review the Software License Agreement. Then they have a narrow window to get their job done and won’t be a road block.
  • Too many expectations for different user groups. One goal for the pilot is “do they use this.” Not can we capture leads and measure usage of collateral and tweak our messaging.
  • Updating ANYTHING during the pilot. Tinkering, tending, watching, tweaking… do these after pilot when the users can tell you everything that really needs to be addressed at one single time.

The goal of an iPad Pilot Project is to systematically overcome failure points by not allowing them to gum up the pilot. Features and loads of content will come later, but have no place in a proper pilot program.

We’d love to hear your experiences piloting iPads for your companies and what did and didn’t work. Leave us a comment below, or just drop us a line any time.

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.