Whether it’s as a mobile sales tool in a sales reps hands, a tablet on a stand showing videos, or even just a mobile tool for scanning badges, Trade Show Managers need to prepare their sales teams appropriately. Read More
At your national sales meeting two years ago, your channel partners started bringing up the topic of mobility with you.
Last year, they showed you an example of a competitor’s sales enablement app.
This year, they cornered you at the opening night dinner and asked how long until we get ours?!
You know how important it is to support your channel partners and keep them happy.
So you ask yourself, “Just how much do channel partner sales enablement apps cost?”
The short answer simply is it depends.
Think of a channel partner sales enablement app like a boat.
Remember the famous boat scene from the movie Caddyshack? (Here’s the video link)
Do you want people to notice you in a boat like Judge Smails’ skipjack, or Al Czervik’s sporty double decker party boat?
Sometimes all you need is a skipjack to cruise the lake, but you decide to go big like Al Czervik because… well, it’s totally cool (and it has that awesome horn)!
There has to be balance between what your channel partners need and what it will take for their customers to notice your products.
So, when it comes to giving a sales enablement app to your channel partners—consider what you’re willing to bet on your corporate image. You may think your dealers need a pontoon overflowing with everything you can throw at them, but they will probably want to hit the water in something that makes them look awesome.
That’s because they will be using this app:
- Every time they meet with their customers
- Every time they go to trade shows
- Every time they go to a site for service
We see manufacturers very confused when it comes to deploying apps that can reach their channel partners, which results in paralysis back into the status quo of mailing catalogs and boxes of brochures.
You’re still mailing print materials right now…aren’t you?
To help you avoid this paralysis, let’s look at some key variables that affect the cost of every sales enablement app and some that are specific to channel partners:
- The number of dealer reps (100 reps or 10,000 reps?)
- The sophistication of the manufacturers product mix (1000’s of SKUs or a handful of large complex machines?)
- The image the app portrays (Whether the sales enablement app needs to have your branding and corporate image or your dealers demand their own branding)
- The manufacturers’ connection with channel reps (Can you talk to them directly or is there a barrier?)
- The amount of effort the manufacturer has to put in update digital sales collateral in the app (PDFs, videos, PowerPoint product presentations, etc.)
- OS upgrades (Think about your smart phone. Often you must update its operating systems. Same goes for sales enablement apps.)
- Feature upgrades and additions. Inevitably, your channel partners will ask for new and different features. Those features (and what it takes to code them) will surely drive the cost up.
So, the first key is to understand what your channel partners need and will allow.
Then, take that set of parameters to determine the best sales enablement app to match those needs.
After you have that information, we can tell you exactly how much an sales enablement app costs to support them.
Let’s look at some potential options for channel partner apps and some ballpark costs. Think back to the skipjack vs. the party boat.
Simple Web-Based File Sharing App
– Designed for manufacturers just getting started. If you want to test out a sales enablement app with a few channel reps, this is your ticket.
These web-based file sharing apps are limited by their inability to access files without Internet connection.
Examples might include Dropbox, Box, your web-based file sharing system and the manufacturer’s website.
Pricing – It can range from free to $5,000 per year, depending on need. Don’t forget your cost associated with supporting the updating of materials, though.
Positives – Inexpensive, fast to try, common apps and websites are familiar to dealers already.
Negatives – Manufacturers’ files are unavailable without Internet, no branding, no tracking to see who’s using it, and no warm fuzzy feeling from dealers that you bought them a cool new tool.
Complex Sales Enablement Apps
– Designed as fully functioning sales tools. Complex apps are fully equipped for manufacturers with world-wide dealer networks that may range from 100’s to 1000’s.
These apps are large, scalable, and flexible to support different sales channels and multiple languages.
Everything is branded, private and secure to meet high corporate standards.
Pricing – $10,000 to $100,000 per year depending on all the bells and whistles.
Positives – Everything is available offline, without the need to Internet access. These apps make updating products and materials simple, and help make the manufacturer look technologically ahead of the curve.
Service and support are present to help manufacturers distribute materials and the app. They can be branded for both channel partners and/or the manufacturer. Made to handle both 1000’s of SKUs and complex file types. Can be deployed via MDM or in the AppStore.
Negatives – Well, pricing and costs.
So, what do channel partner sales enablement apps cost?
The answer is it depends on which “boat” is the best fit for your dealer team.
Tablets, like the iPad, have opened new possibilities for businesses and enterprises, as expressed in our recent white paper on how businesses can launch the iPad to your sales team.
They easily and securely integrate into existing business environments while having the power to transform the way people do their work. In fact, during an April 2012 earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said 94 percent of the Fortune 500 and 75 percent of the Global 500 either are testing or deploying the iPad. Whether that’s overstated or not, it’s definitely eye-popping. Companies that want to make the iPad an asset to their brand need a plan.
At FatStax, we happen to specialize in helping companies implement the iPad with our iPad sales app. The steps we outlined below can help guide a rollout of iPads and iPad software to enterprise sales teams.
Create a Cross-Functional Team
Think about existing software systems and business processes that will integrate with the iPad. The owners of those systems—on the technical, operational and business sides of the organization—should get involved early in the process. Build a cross-functional team that connects internal stakeholders with external consultants and developers.
Can you believe it; we have made it to the final step in our series for Adding the iPad to Your Sales Arsenal, written for Marketing and Business Opps. If you missed a step along the way feel free to take moment and download the complete plan here.
Remember a success plan is followed step by step. Let’s go over what we have done so far.
Step 1: We defined what success meant to you and your company.
Step 2: Explained the importance of gaining C Level Support.
Step 3: We went over current systems and processes to determine where the iPad would fit in. We also talked about how important building a cross functional team is.
Step 4: The budget, one of the more important steps because you want to make sure include all costs associated with an iPad roll-out.
Step 5: The Apps – how can a company save money on branded apps. Why they are important… who can help.
Step 6: Testing Assumptions through a Pilot. A one or two phase pilot will help you determine what needs to be done before launch. Here we also talked about running a successful pilot.
At the Disruptathon Mobile Enterprise Event, FatStax was voted Most Liked and placed for Best Design, Most Disruptive, and Best Business Model.
“Making something simple is not easy.”
This bit of wisdom came from one of our developers at FatStax, as we are considering which features to add with each new development version with our app for field sales. There’s a tradeoff between building in more features and capabilities and keeping it simple for users. Client wishlists and what we hear from the marketplace feed the to-do list of features. There is no lack of ideas.
How Important is That?
For example, one of our sales clients recommended that we add the capability to attach PDF sales brochures to the emails sent to customers from FatStax. Not a bad idea (but there is no lack of ideas). “How important is that?” is the key question. Read More
There is a key difference between using data to plan sales activities versus utilizing the information at the moment of selling. I think that’s where most corporate managers just don’t get it. Field sales need for information is different when doing the essence of their job–selling.
Try and use existing apps as much as possible during your discovery and pilot phases. It’s less costly and enables you to figure out what features your sales team really needs.
New iPad Business Productivity App Mobilizes Product Information
FatStax shortens sales cycle, reduces training time and cuts printing costs for subscribers
INDIANAPOLIS—Red Funnel Consulting, LLC, recently released FatStax for iPad, one of the first-to-market sales productivity apps that mobilizes a company’s product information, making it easier for field sales forces to access complete and up-to-date data. Read More