We’ve been involved with several companies over the past three years internally debating if the cost of sales apps for their distributor and OEM networks surpasses the value they bring in return. Hey, it’s all about ROI, and we’re a company too and understand seeing a return is key. You need your distributors to move your product. Will spending capital on a new tool be worth it?
Our experience and customer feedback tells us yes.
Companies often associate value with the efficiency of their distributors and OEM. If revenue isn’t coming in from their partners, they try to regain value by cutting costs to balance budgets. What they don’t realize is they’re taking value away by damaging the customer experience and their distributor’s effectiveness to position and sell your product.
Any tools such as mobile apps should support the growth of your company.
The selling power iPad applications provide companies for their distributors and OEM networks should put cost as an afterthought when you break it down. Many of our clients that invest in a sales app and iPads regain the initial cost in little time. You have to spend money to make money, and keep your distributors and OEM networks engaging in the customer’s eyes.
Let’s break down some of the expected costs your company may encounter below.
Purchasing the app “off-the-shelf” or paying for a developer
Whether you decide to buy a pre-existing app or hire a developer to create your app, this cost shouldn’t come as a surprise. More often than not, going with a developer to create a brand new app from scratch will cost much more than going with a ready to use app.
This cost depends how many employees already use iPads at work. The more employees that need an iPad, the more this cost will escalate.
Training and supporting distributor and OEM employees
This is a financial cost and a time cost as well. If you go with an “off the shelf” app, training on the app and device could be included in the package deal. Support for user questions is critical. If you are responsible, that will be an additional expense.
Replacement and maintenance costs for iPad
Accidents happen, and you should expect some iPads to be put through the ringer. Dropped, cracked and sometimes damaged beyond repair iPads will happen and should be expected. Encouraging proper maintenance of the device will keep the iPads operational. Purchasing insurance is another way to manage this cost.
Integrating CRM/CMS systems into the app
This is a cost you won’t want to skimp out on. Making sure your company can track what collateral is being sent out by your CMS and what products are being quoted back into your CRM makes reporting and forecasting must simpler. This is valuable insight your bosses will want to see.
You will be able to capture product development information through distributor and OEM network employees using your app. Big data on product usage, features customers like and are frustrated with, or even what situations your products are being used can all be captured from your distributors and OEM networks and given to your product development team.
Unifying your sales process
Your sales app will give your company one sales message that will be uniform throughout the company’s reach. No matter where a customer talks with a sales rep along the distribution channel, all product information will be the same throughout the network. That’s huge for your sales process.
Customers and potential clients are impatient. Having all of your collateral and product information at the tap of a screen can greatly increase the speed of sale. A faster sales cycle for your distributors and OEM networks means more of your product sold and more time for distributors and OEM networks to find new customers.
No more hassle with print
Depending how big your network is, print costs for your marketing collateral can skyrocket in a hurry. Plus, how do you know if sales reps at one distributor are using the updated pricing sheets? Push notifications from the app will notify everyone with the app downloaded the new pricing sheets are available, and avoiding the potential confusion. That goes for all updated collateral too!
Customer targeting, campaign effectiveness and prospect profiling stats are valuable information that can drive new marketing initiatives and increase revenue. Much of this information would have to be compiled at the end of each quarter, but back-end analytics give you real time information you can use to make real time marketing decisions.
Value of a Sales App Outweighs the Cost
As a supplier or manufacturer, you have to find new ways to encourage distributors and OEM networks to service and sell to your customers. You have an obligation to make them better partners in order to thrive. When we have clients that make sales after only two days of using FatStax, the value of a sales app does outweigh the cost.