I saw a great tweet from social selling all-star Jill Rowley (@) recently.
“If you want your sales team to be successful, you need help from your marketing department.”
So Marketers here are five ways you can use mobile sales tools to drive more REVENUE.
What we are about to share with you has taken us over four years to learn.
On November 18, 2011, Melissa Kuhn took one of our custom built mobile sales tools into a live customer sales call. It was our first live test of the system we built. And since then, we have been configuring mobile sales tools for some of the largest global brands from hockey sticks to toilets.
When people ask us what we do we say:
“We find scalable and repeatable ways to use mobile tools to grow revenue for our clients.”
And while we have been growing and doing what we do, we are starting to identify a set of tactics that reliably deliver measurable revenue results for our clients and peers with mobile sales tools.
The hacks we’re about to share with you come from 4 years of measuring sales analytics, talking to sales and tech support personnel, and most importantly listening to the users of the mobile tools we’ve helped create.
We call these five tactics hacks because when mobile sales tools are used effectively, they can target very specific business issues at the regional, team, or even individual level to directly increase in measurable revenue.
Traditional sales tools will get you traditional results.
Traditional sales tools have become “table stakes.” You have to have them. They are considered a cost of doing business. But they are a one-size fits all proposition.
How would you use Salesforce to help a single division sell more?
You wouldn’t because it’s just not practical to reconfigure it for the entire org to help one group or individual.
But mobile sales tools are scalable and repeatable.
Scalable means you can easily expand the user base of your mobile sales tool as you grow. Repeatable means the process is simple enough you don’t need to hire a consultant or a temp tech guy to spend weeks expanding it for your entire organization.
That makes mobile sales tools different from, and often more valuable than CRM systems or sales reporting dashboards.
Get to the hacks already!
Please keep in mind – we are not professional sales trainers or coaches. We help companies configure mobile sales tools to address business issues.
These hacks are meant for marketers and sales leaders who:
- Don’t know what apps can do
- Don’t have mega budgets to hire coders
- Just want results now
HACK #1: Create an app that CRUSHES pricing questions.
We have noticed that our most successful B2B marketer clients embrace pricing, instead of running from it. So one of the top hacks we see is to make pricing information easy to access at your team’s fingertips.
Pricing, Pricing, Pricing.
How many times a day do sales people hear, “Can you tell me the price?”
So why are so many marketers focused on creating sales tools that contain only PDFs and videos and NO PRICING?
I suspect it has something do with all the new fangled sales techniques that de-emphasize selling on price. We get it. But at the end of your awesome Challenger Presentation, the prospect is still going to ask, “What does it cost?”
So maybe you don’t focus your mobile sales tool completely on prices, but at the same time why make it hard on your team?
We’ve seen marketers use a variety of techniques to facilitate easy access to pricing information.
- Build a catalog pricing app – Catalog apps by definition contain detailed product information like specs, sizes, details, and, of course, pricing. These apps are appropriate for companies that offer more than 250 different SKUs and may scale to well over a million. Pricing at list will keep your reps safe from awkward conversations. The ability to soft quote a prospect works best for offline apps since you won’t always have access to the Internet to check inventory or customer-specific pricing.
- Keep your Price PDFs updated regularly – If you’re not going to use a catalog app, but instead want to load up you’re pricing PDFs make sure your tool can search within the file. Another good suggestion is to place pricing documents in easy to access locations for like the home screen or an obvious folder for quick access. But no matter where you put these files, update them regularly. There is nothing more frustrating than opening an old pricing document and quoting someone incorrectly for a sales person.
- Provide a web link to the product – Most companies use their website as the source of truth for product details. Embedding a simple link to a product page can provide pricing information for those that don’t want to include it in their mobile sales tool. The caveat is that Internet access is required to see the pricing.
- Specials, Promo Sheets, and Flyers – One of our clients ‘dances around’ the pricing issue by regularly updating their mobile sales tool with PDF specials flyers. Essentially ‘one-sheeters’ that have special prices for a given period.
Below is last quarter’s top 10 items viewed by their team in our Analytics Platform.
A quick glance shows that of the top 10 pieces of collateral a whopping 50% of the most viewed items were their quarterly updated flyers this is in an app with 1000s of individual items in it. Analytics is the key to success here, e.g., knowing what your team needs to drive revenue.
The great thing about firm pricing information in a mobile sales tool is it give marketers a reference point to dig into the data and show a real return on investment. Especially, when soft quotes are captured in CRM that can match to the order in your ERP.
If you can even get close to matching this type of interaction from a mobile tool to an actual deal, that is solid gold when you sit down for your annual review meeting with your boss!
HACK #2: Design your mobile sales tool for your middle performers first
Many companies make the mistake of implementing a mobile sales tool as a one-size-fits-all solution. Often, only a few top performing sales people are asked for input as to how the tool should be built. This completely overlooks the needs of the largest part of your top line revenue driver – the middle 60% of your sales team.
Let’s look at the math. According to research from Sales Executive Council, improving the performance by 5% of the “core” 60 percent of your sales force can yield approximately 70 percent MORE revenue than a 5 percent performance boost among your high performers.
*Image from Shifting the Performance Curve. SEC. In the example above, it’s easy to see that the core drives more top line revenue and simply helping them do their jobs more effectively can drive the kind of revenue that gets you promoted.
3 Ways to Build an App that Will Move the Middle of Your Sales Team:
1. Ask the middle what they need. – It’s that simple. But we can guarantee that almost no marketers do this when planning and building their sales tool. They get distracted by what devices the team uses, or how many bells and whistles they can program in that they forget to get the input that matters most.Get your core involved early. Send a poll, send an email, pick up the phone, or pop into a weekly sales call. Whatever it takes to get their input.
2. Dig into the reasons the middle is not closing more. – Spend some time with your sales managers or snooping around in your CRM. Time spent figuring out the “whys” will pay huge dividends.
- Is it product knowledge?
- Lack of product training?
- Has your company changed recently (merger, re-org, etc.) making it harder for the core to adapt?
You might discover some useful things about your sales team. And you will always gain insights that will help you build the best possible mobile sales tool.
EXAMPLE: After asking all the “whys”, a client of ours made a simple change to their app homepage. They put new product training in a highly visible spot and built an easy-to-consume landing page for those products only one tap away. Simple, effective, and their team responded to this change almost immediately.
Using mobile reporting tools they learned that the sales numbers for those products were increased substantially. Total time needed ~ 1 hr. Yep, one hour.
3. Make pricing easy to find. – One thing we consistently see in our clients’ mobile sales tool reporting is sales people searching for pricing. So many mobile sales tools are filled with files (PDFs, videos, etc.) that make finding pricing difficult.If your core has to sell a book of more than ~100 products, they likely need access to quick list pricing.There are lots of ways to design a mobile sales tool to make it super easy to get immediate pricing information during a sales call. For example, many of our clients build hybrid apps that incorporate brochures in digital format as well as individual product pages (with pricing info) that are “native” text within the app.Still others have built tools that use offline product information written native into the app. They make the choice to chuck out the PDFs and videos all together and focus on the ONE thing that can drive revenue the fastest – fast specs and prices at your core’s fingertips.
Focusing on improving the core of your sales team is not meant to suggest you should neglect the rest (I’m sure the skeptics’ brains are screaming right about now!). It simply means you are focusing on the easiest and most logical method to drive measurable results – helping your core 60%.
5% increase from the core of your sales team drives 70% more revenue than a 5% increase from the top 20% Tweet This!
HACK #3: Building a mobile sales tool focused on the top 20% of items, products, or services that contribute 80% of your profits
Yep, the old 80/20 rule (thanks Tim Ferriss!).
Without even firing up Salesforce.com, I bet you can close your eyes and think of the products and services that generate 75% of your sales.
But which ones drive PROFITS.
Oddly enough many marketers don’t approach mobile sales tools with profit at the top of their minds. Why not?
At the end of the year, how awesome would it be to walk into your review with tangible evidence that you directly influenced measurable increases in profits?
In the example below from the Business Owner, Peerless Consulting created more profit by simply eliminating 2 of 20 products that their reps could sell.
This shows that profits matter not sales or revenue per se.
A mobile sales tool can easily be crafted to focus your team or channel reps on your most profitable products first, so you can keep these top of mind.
Here are two ways Marketers are simplifying their mobile sales tools to sell more profitable items first:
- Create quick reference “hot spots” for your top 5-10% of products. – The key to a great mobile apps is SIMPLICITY. The easier it is for your sales people to use, the more they will use it, and the more they will sell. Creating a “hot spot” for your most profitable products will help your team keep those profitable products top of mind.We first saw this with a customer that constructed a very simple image based screen for their top 3 product lines. They sell these products in North and South America, so they duplicated the hot spots in English and Spanish to reinforce the concept across bordersThe images featured easy to scan text and were tappable.
When tapped a product-focused screen appeared that had everything a sales rep might need to speak intelligently about the profitable products.
Another example would be to create a folder clearly labeled Key Product Information if you are utilizing a file sharing app like Box or Dropbox. The idea is to provide easy and immediate access to the information for your most profitable products every time your team members open their app.
- Simplify your mobile sales tool to the top 20% of profitable products – PURGE, BABY. PURGE! Simplify your mobile sales tool. Get rid of the all extraneous PDFs, videos, PowerPoints, etc. For every item in the app, ask yourself – “Is this information piece going to create more opportunities for a rep to sell something? Or is it just an unnecessary distraction?”Files that are likely to be unnecessary distractions might include – complex cumbersome calculator tools and old PowerPoints with out-of-date information among many others.Streamline your app content to include information ONLY for the 20% of your most profitable products… and you’re likely to see your sales increase.So… what are your most profitable products?
Drive revenue by making it easy to share your most profitable products on your mobile device in front of your customers Tweet This!
HACK #4: Use your mobile sales tool to rapidly on-board new sales people
Getting new people up to speed fast can be a large driver of both top line and bottom line revenue. It’s a binary equation.
TOP LINE: The faster you can get a new rep or dealer up to speed the faster they can create deals.
BOTTOM LINE: The less time you spend training new people, the more time leaders have to focus on more important things.
You can drive top and bottom line revenue by simply assembling a repeatable process to reduce the time it takes to deploy your sales personnel into the field.
MORE TIME SELLING = MORE OPPORTUNITIES = MORE REVENUE.
(Plus – you’ll also free up a good amount of time on your calendar!)
Here are three situations where a mobile sales tool can be a revenue multiplier for on-boarding new people.
- You just re-orged, merged, purchased, or got purchased by another company or division – Major organizational shake-ups mean large-scale changes. And they can be extremely stressful. Besides worrying about your job getting down-sized, you will likely get tasked with merging and retraining the sales teams.
A mobile sales tool can provide a common anchor for everyone to latch on too.
An easily searchable product app now becomes your learning tool, sales tool, ace in the hole to answer tough questions, and the single source of truth for your sales and marketing team.
“Where’s the XZY spec sheet?” It’s on your phone.
“What’s the price of ABC?” It’s in the tool.
You save time. They merge faster. They sell faster.
- You just got promoted or took a lateral move to a new position/company – In a leadership role, you are in essence on-boarding yourself. Your first 90 days are your chance to make a splash, impact revenue, and create your reputation of success. Implementing a mobile sales tool that drives revenue, address communication issues, and acts as a anchor between yourself and the new team can make your job that much easier.Furthermore, in the first 90 days you have so much more leeway with budget and can get things done before red tape starts to bog down your creative, inventive brain.
- Creating a new channel or signing with new distribution – Everybody knows that distribution channels can explode your revenue. Everybody knows that cajoling new channel reps and training them to sell your wares is like pushing a boulder up hill… all day long.It’s an obvious situation to drive revenue with a mobile sales tool.Design your app to focus on the most common questions and objections. Make it really easy to find the exact specs and details a dealer needs. Support your new channel by updating the tool at least monthly. Track usage by dealers and reward the 20% that are using it and driving revenue.Incidentally, a dealer conference is the perfect time to roll out a new sales tool, BUT you have to make it really easy for them to access the app while you have their attention in person. That’s a topic for another day.On-boarding new reps and channel reps is a critical time in their success. Providing people with an easy-to-use tool that contains comprehensive product and training information can be a boost to revenue that is easily measured and provide a resource that your team can rally around.
HACK #5: Use your app to milk your best channel reps
We first learned about Pareto’s Law (80/20 rule) from the Four Hour Work Week. Since then, it seems like we can find an application for almost any business problem.
As a reminder, the 80/20 rules states that 20% of the inputs drive 80% of the outputs.So by determining the 20% of inputs that are working and doubling down on them you can double your results with 60% less work.
Using a mobile sales tool to increase revenue from your dealer and distributor channel sales is the perfect opportunity to apply the 80/20 rule. Here’s why:
- Many marketers are looking for ways to drive more revenue via their channel.
- Channel reps do not work directly for manufacturers and choose whatever devices they want (phones, tablets, etc)
This leads to the BIG RUB.
Coding apps for every device and managing content for 1000s of distributors’ reps seems like an insurmountable mountain (too much volume). This leaves many marketers returning to status quo = their Intranet portal or email.
What 20% of my channel is driving 80% of our revenue?
Apply the 80/20 rule by asking yourself that question. When you have the answer, you can drive revenue by making a simple choice:
A. Help the top 20% improve their sales of your products to drive more revenue = 200 dealers of a hypothetical 1000.
B. Help 20% of the remaining 80% to sell as effectively as the top producers = 160 dealers of a hypothetical 1000.
Focusing on one of these two subsets and showing measurable success will then produce a trickle-down effect to the rest of your channel as the stories and comments are passed along. (e.g., Dealer A talks Dealer Z at your annual dealer meeting.)
Focusing on smaller target group will allow you to focus your mobile sales tool on a specific measurable target and get top of mind with your best revenue partners.
5 steps to constructing a great sales tool for 160 channel reps:
STEP 1 – Set A Revenue Goal – Examples – Improve channel sales by 5%; or Create 10% more opportunities with the middle performers in my channel.
STEP 2 – Poll The 160 Reps On What They Need To Be More Effective. Descriptions, training, videos, price sheets, configurators, cross-reference? You won’t know until you ask. A simple Survey Monkey form could save you months of work.
STEP 3 – Build A Great Home Screen In Your Mobile Sales Tool. Build it to work on your dealers’ smart devices and to feature the most requested items and information.
STEP 4 – Pilot Your Tool For 4 – 8 Weeks. Before launching it live, a pilot will create ownership of the tool. The job of the pilot users should be to use the app and provide direct feedback on how to improve it for everyone.
STEP 5 – Launch, Measure, and Update. A good mobile tool should have solid analytics and you should be prepared to update the tool at least monthly. Only after letting the analytics tell you what to change. Rinse and repeat. Measure and Update.
Beware the Loud Minority.
Yes, you will hear people screaming that they want your tool to work on their generation 1 Kindle. Yes, you will hear people asking for costly items like calculators and configurators. You will hear lots of “suggestions” from a loud minority of your channel reps.
When you do go back to the 80/20 rule.
Does this loud minority represent 80% of revenue? If yes, then take action. If no, then give them a $400 iPhone as spiff instead spending $50,000.00 on a Windows 8 compatible app.
Hope you got something useful out of this article. We want you to take action today. Even it is small.
Next week we’ll be publishing part 2 – 5 more hacks Marketers can use to create measurable revenue.
The Team at FatStax