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Lessons in Effective Mobile Sales Tools From Bob Vila

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Lessons in Effective Mobile Sales Tools From Bob Vila

By Rusty Bishop

mobile sales tool lesson bob vila

Is you B2B sales app a specialized mobile sales tool or a Swiss Army knife?

What about that app catalog for sales your deployed last quarter?

Swiss Army knives are amazing with all of those mini-tools right in your pocket. As a kid I loved them and never left home without it.

But would you hammer a nail with one?

Could you get a manicure with one?

Of course not, you would use a specialized tool that is designed for the job. Specialized tools make jobs easy because they were designed to accomplish a specific task.

Think about using a Phillips head screwdriver to tighten a flat head screw. Would you do that?

Let’s ask Bob Vila.

The same can be said for sales enablement apps.

We see so many companies trying to cram a million features into their app—like a sort of digital Swiss Army mobile sales tool.

But why?

The iPad is designed for multiple apps.

“There’s an app for that” is Apple’s slogan, right?

How many do you have on your phone right now? I’m sure a bunch, and each one is designed for a specific purpose.

You’re not checking your stocks with your weather app or using a flashlight app to find directions to the nearest gas station.

Yet in their effort to simplify things for field people or in some case IT, companies create these huge, all-encompassing apps that act more like a Swiss Army knife than a specialized tool.

Does this mean your app shouldn’t have great features? Far from it.

It means you, the manager, need to concentrate on defining simple and specific actions every user should be able to perform with your sales app.

Complexity in a mobile sales tool will only bog down development and hurt adoption rates.

For example, there are a few critical daily actions an iPad sales application can help all sales people with.

These might include:

• Be up-to-date on new products and product updates

• Capture key customer data (contact info, hot buttons, touch points)

• Look up product information after a sales call

• Play videos to show how a machine works

To make your app easy to use, define the simple actions you expect from your team and make sure every user knows how to perform them.

These actions need to be reinforced constantly during your monthly, weekly, and daily management interactions with users to reinforce them.

Sure there will be champions among your sales reps using advanced features quickly, but if you can get the entire user base to at least perform the few critical expected tasks with an app…ROI is sure to follow.

Finally, the metrics you are monitoring on weekly basis will continue to guide you on who is up to speed using the app and who is not.

Take it from me, and Bob Vila, and keep your mobile sales tool specialized.


FatStax, from Red Funnel Consulting, is a mobile content delivery platform that enables companies to manage, deploy and track digital collateral for field sales and service teams. You can learn more about FatStax here or sign up for a free demo.

Pushing Your B2B Sales App Updates to Market: When is Fast Too Fast?

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B2B-sales-app-post-image-1Pushing Your B2B Sales App Updates to Market: When is Fast Too Fast?

By Corey Trojanowski

Equipping your sales reps with the latest and greatest updated version of your B2B sales app as quickly as possible is a top priority for a mobile business strategy. However, if not done carefully, it can also cause serious problems your company might struggle recovering from.

B2B sales apps are a great way to show off your products, train your sales reps and even interact with your customer base. But you’re not the only business on the block trying to do the same thing. You want to make sure your app is better than your competition’s app. Your B2B sales app needs to be on the cutting edge of cloud-based technology, secured to the fullest extent, and helps to increase sales rep productivity and profits for your company.

It needs to be the best! But does it need to be rushed?

Remember the Space Race?

The United States and the Soviet Union were competing for space exploration supremacy. Each country kept trying to outdo the other with launching new satellites, maned orbits around the Earth and, eventually, the race to put a man on the Moon. A lot more dangerous than pushing out the most updated sales app to your reps, but an example that complements the magnitude of risk/reward none the less.

On October 24, 1960, the “Nedelin catastrophe” was one of the most horrific accidents during the Space Race, and it could have been prevented. A prototype Soviet rocket called the R-16 was pushed to launch in time for the Bolshevik Revolution (November 7). The commanding officer, Mitrofan Nedelin, ordered unprepared tests of the rocket to ensure it would launch. These tests caused numerous safety precautions to be ignored due to the extreme scheduling pressure Nedelin placed on the workers.

During the night of October 24, a short circuit occurred during a test of the rocket and caused its engine to ignite. The rocket exploded killing hundreds of Soviet military and technical personal, including Nedelin. [Watch more on the Nedelin catastrophe]

Nedelin didn’t need to push up the rocket’s schedule just to make some anniversary. He should have taken the time and preparation needed for a successful launch.


Businesses need to think the same way when sending their B2B sales apps to market. While we aren’t saying there will be the type of catastrophe illustrated above, you get the point. Don’t push an update out just because the other guys did. If your the latest version of your app isn’t ready, the repercussions to your business could be huge.

If the app isn’t working properly, it will impact the ability of your sales reps to function in the field. This will hurt their image as a trusted B2B partner when standing in front of clients or prospects, and could impact sales before a corrected update is made. It will also damage your development team’s credibility in the eyes of their users.

The best way to avoid such catastrophes for your sales reps is create and stick to an app update cycle. Essentially, have your development team or app provider perform a competitive review of your B2B sales apps on a regular basis. Facebook updates its mobile app now every 1-2 months. If you determine an update needs to be altered, set achievable push dates without rushing your team and compromising the credibility of the app.

Taking your time and don’t rush your B2B sales app to your team. Taking those extra precautions could save your business big bucks and from being made the example of the mobile sales world.

Click on a book below to download one of our mobile sales enablement help guides

SalesApp_OrangeBookHow to choose the best mobile app for your team. 7 questions you need to ask before buying.

SurvivalGuide_GreenBookSurvival guide to adding the iPad to your sales arsenal with an 8-step plan inside.

This is the ultimate mobility guide any distribution channel manager needs to read.

FatStax, from Red Funnel Consulting, is a mobile content delivery platform that enables companies to manage, deploy and track digital collateral for field sales and service teams. You can learn more about FatStax here or sign up for a free demo.

Tools to Keep Your iPad Charged During Your Next Trade Show

By | B2B Sales, ipad trade show, Mobile Productivity Tools, Sales Productivity | No Comments

Tools to Keep Your iPad Charged During Your Next Trade Show

On Day 1 of Dreamforce this year, we used 3 iPads in our booth. By 3 pm, 2 of them were completely dead, likely because of trying to connect to the horrible wi-fi accessibility at the trade show. We made a quick trip to Staples and we bought an iPad Battery Pack and a Targus dual iPad Charger.

For Day 2, all 3 heavily-used iPads lasted the entire day.

iPad Trade Show Charging

Thinking about using an iPad during your upcoming trade show? When most companies decide to add the iPad to their trade show booth, multi-tasking staff can get overwhelmed, focusing on how to sell with the iPad, and not thinking about the basic elements needed for a successful show.

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iPad Trade Show Stand Review

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iPad Trade Show Stand Review

Are you looking for a solid stand for using iPads to engage customers at trade shows in your booth?  We really enjoyed using the Twelve South HoverBar recently.

We chose to use the Twelve South HoverBar at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco after seeing a few companies using them at the CEDIA trade show in early September to share information on audio equipment. Here is what we thought about using the hover bar as an iPad trade show stand.

HoverBar iPad Trade Show Stand Basics

The stand ships in nice box complete with clips, converters for different iPads, and an adjustable clamp/vice to lock the device down. At first glance, it’s a pretty sturdy looking stand that should clip onto about any table or part of your booth. Unfortunately the gap in the clip wasn’t quite wide enough for our table, so we had to remove the rubber piece to make it fit. Not a huge deal, but we recommend testing the set up before the show.

In our hands, it is a pretty solid device that’s easy to maneuver into position as you present. We purchased ours from Amazon and it arrived the next day. So, if you’re in a pinch thats a fast turn-around time, too. Read More